Ahh, more cakes! Yes, lately I'll take any opportunity to bake. My brother-in-law's birthday was earlier this month, but as he's been working a project job out of the state for the past 2 months, we will be celebrating it late, tomorrow. He's a tough one, because he says he's "not a cake person".. so it's hard to know what to do with that. My husband reminded me that he ate up all of my cowboy cookies I made for Christmas, so I went on the search for creating a similar flavor in a cake. I found something really close, and just added coconut, pecans, and chocolate to it, and I think it came out pretty well, but next time I would add more sugar, as it really wasn't sweet enough for me, especially without any frosting. It would be great to eat for breakfast as is though.
Brother in law is really into fishing, boats, and even fish painting (where you use an actual fish dipped in paint..), so I went with that theme. It was a lot of fun, and I think it came out really cute, although certainly not as realistic as some I found online. But hey, it didn't take long at all, and I think he will like it. I also bought a cutting board for a serving plate, an idea I borrowed from someone else.
To decorate this cake, I frosted it and let it sit up in the fridge until it was slightly stiff to the touch. Then I just used a toothpick for the fins, and the small end of a frosting coupler to make the scales, since it was on hand. It worked out pretty well. Oh, and I tried out Betty Crocker's Decorating Spray which is how I got the 2 colors (all the frosting was the light green color). Never used this before, but got some for Christmas that was sitting around, and I thought it was pretty cool.
The basic recipe was Oatmeal Cake with Broiled Topping, but here is my version, as I made it.
Cowboy Cookie Inspired Cake
1½ cups water
1 cup quick cooking oats (uncooked)
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 stick butter — softened
½ cup granulated sugar (I would suggest increasing by 1/4 cup)
½ cup packed light brown sugar (I would suggest increasing by 1/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut (I used 2 tbsp unsweetened fine coconut, and 2 tbsp sweetened shredded)
2 tbsp pecan flour (finely ground pecans)
2 tsbp chopped pecans
3 oz chopped dark chocolate (or semisweet chips)
Bring water to a boil in a lidded saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in the oats, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove cover and let sit for another 10.
Meanwhile, stir flour, pecan flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg. Beat in the vanilla and oatmeal. By hand, stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the coconut, pecans, and the chocolate.
Pour mixture into a greased cake pan (I used a 7x11 pan and 2 small heart shaped pans) and bake on center rack at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes (my small hearts took 18 minutes, the larger pan took about 25).
I used my new standby buttercream recipe, but I think this cake probably would go better with some other flavor added to the frosting.. just not sure what. Maybe coconut, or cream cheese frosting. Brother in law hates cream cheese though, so I didn't go that route. It still went ok with this frosting, and definitely needed the sweetness.
This is just a scrap piece I had cut off to shape the fish, but I figured I'd post a pic of it anyway so you can get some idea what it looks like inside.