This Rock climbing cake was a big hit at my son’s 8th birthday at the rock climbing gym, Rockreation. It was so easy to make and so easy to make look good. (And I’m not crafty and I’m definitely no artist.) I started with this Vanilla cake recipe from Martha Stewart except I used about half white whole wheat flour and half white flour, and I substituted low fat plain yogurt instead of the buttermilk. (You can easily substitute a gluten-free cake.) I made this Vanilla Frosting Recipe, which uses way more butter and vanilla than I normally use, which explains why it tasted so great.
Here are the directions:
Bake the cake in two 9 inch pans lined with parchment paper. Don’t try to make the paper lay flat. You want the edges to be jagged.
Cool the cake completely on a wire rack and then cut in half.
Make the frosting per the directions. Set aside 2 tablespoons. Add a few drops of black food coloring to the rest of the frosting until the color is gray. Dab some frosting on the cake round and place half of one cake near the edge of the round (don’t put it in the center). Frost the top and built up from there leaving one side flat and the other rounded. Cut the other three layers to make each one slightly smaller than the one before it – place frosting between each layer – and use the extra cake for the top. Frost the entire cake using half of the frosting. Try not to make it look smooth, it should look like rock. Don’t worry if the cake doesn’t look perfect or if you have bits of cake showing.
Let the cake frosting set, I let it set overnight. Frost the cake again making sure to leave the edges imperfect like rock. Place jelly beans cut in half or rock candy on the front of the cake to make the rock steps. Take your reserved frosting and color it blue, green, or brown for the ground around the rock wall. Frost a layer around the cake and to the edge of the cake round.
Insert any toys to serve as rock climbers. You can use licorice or string as the rope.