Shalanna (shalanna) wrote,

FOOD/CELEBRATIONS: Make a Swan Cut-Up Cake!

This was one of my grandmother's favorite cakes. She made it for her own birthday almost every year. We kids also received cupcakes on the side that we could actually *eat*. You didn't get a piece of Swanny until the birthday dinner with ice cream (Jamoca almond fudge) and presents (you'd better get her something good--she really got disappointed if she didn't!) She made it with a white or yellow cake mix. You can sprinkle mini chocolate chips into a white cake mix for a really yummy outcome.

It's from an old Baker's Coconut baking book, "Cut-Up Cakes," that we'd had forever. We made every one of the cakes at one time or another. My traditional birthday cake was always the elephant, whereas my dad preferred the ones that required two cakes--the Mickey and Minnie faces I remember in particular.

{Swanee Cake, © 1959 by un-named, unsung Baker's Coconut employee from home economics division}

At a birthday party it's pure delight
To bring out this cake, cut up right.
Swanee's beak is gumdrop yellow--
Wouldn't it please a little fellow?

(It was more of a hit with the blue hair crowd and bridge-party and bridal-shower and baby-shower types, if I recall correctly. The Little Fellows prefer a large monster of some type or a Transformers-style machine. I remember making this once for a bridal shower and putting a second cake that was cut in half using a scalloped edge as an "umbrella" way over her head--I made vertical lines with black thin licorice whips so it looked like the staves on the umbrella, if you can envision that, and used jelly beans as raindrops on the platter; it was SUCH a hit! I didn't put the coconut on that version, though, so don't tell Baker's Coconut.)

1. Measure down 4 inches from each corner, 1-3/4 inches at center, of cooled 13x9x2 cake. Cut on a curve at points of long side. Cut corners off to be used for tail and head.

2. From a corner on remaining piece, measure 3-1/2 inches along short side, 5-1/2 inches across long side. Cut through points on curve to form swan's wing.

3. Place pieces as shown. Spread fluffy white frosting over cake. Shake quantities of snowy white Baker's Angel Flake Coconut for Swanee's feathers. Swanee's eye is a gumdrop; her beak, gumdrop strips. (Editor's note: You can use a small jelly bean for an eye and make an eyebrow, as well as those little lines at the bottom of her wing, out of skinny licorice whips. I imagine you could even make the beak out of a large GummySomething that could be carved.)

*I reproduced the text here (for those who can't read that tiny scan) because I'm sure this is out of print and unobtainable unless you have a grandmother/mom/aunt who kept the book. (Ours came through a house fire! But that's because the box with Mama's old recipe books was in the back of a lower cabinet in the kitchen, where the fire didn't "get" everything. The book does still stink of firebox, though. Gives us allergies to handle it even now, twenty years post-flame.) It was a promotional item, so if you make the swan, be sure to buy Baker's coconut!*

If you don't want a white swan, it's easy to dye the coconut with food coloring. Place coconut in large Ziploc freezer bag (1 gallon is better than 1 quart size) and drip in a couple of drops of the color you want. Shake! You can, of course, dye your icing. The old-old-OLD-fashioned cooked icing works best here, but if you like you can get a can of icing from the bakery aisle, or you can even use Cool Whip if you're going to feed 'em immediately. I've never done the Cool Whip thing, so if you try that, let me know how it works.

Heck, if you make it, take a picture and let me know how yours works out!
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