A farmer’s market inspired fruit cake is great fun to serve at brunch this season. Nothing says spring treats like the bright reds and oranges of my favorite fruits made into a cake. Fruits made even better than the normal market stash… Because they are birthday cakes!
I love an individual fruit cake for serving at brunches and showers. Really for any reason to celebrate this season. Such a sweet way to say – happy anything and welcome in a season of fruit picking, sun drenched parties. I can’t wait to serve this fun collection of fruit cake and watch the kid’s faces as they realize what looks like a watermelon is actually their favorite cake flavor! A birthday party surprise that will not be soon forgotten.
To make a fruit cake you will need:
- 1 box cake mix (we used french vanilla) or your favorite cake recipe
- 2 cans of white frosting (14-16oz)
- food coloring (standard box of food coloring — red, orange, green, blue, as well as black, and pastel yellow if making lemon)
- a 12×17 sheet pan
- parchment paper
- wax paper for templates (parchment paper is ok too)
- small ziploc bags
- ramekins/small bowls and plastic spoons to mix food coloring and frosting
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (follow these genius instructions for fitting parchment into a pan). Grease and lightly flour the pan. Make cake batter according to recipe instructions and pour the batter into pan, evenly distributing it. Bake in oven for 17-20 minutes, keeping an eye on the cake. Remove and let cool.
Prepare your fruit cake templates by printing out the fruit cake template sheet to create these simple fruit shapes. Cut out the fruit shapes. Also cut pieces of wax (or parchment) paper slightly bigger than each fruit cake shape. Lay a template over wax paper and cut out the shape of the fruit. Repeat with other fruit cake shapes.
Start in a corner of the cooled fruit cake. Lay the wax paper template over the cake and use it as a guide. Take a knife and gently slice around the outline to create the fruit shape. Remove wax paper template and use again, or discard. Repeat with the other shapes. On a 12×17 pan we fit 2 strawberries, 3 lemons, 2 watermelon slices, and 3 orange slices. With an offset spatula, gently lift each mini cake from the pan and place on another piece of parchment to frost.
How to color frosting
Follow the guideline below to make the colors of the frosting for each fruit. The number in parentheses indicates the drops of each color needed per 1/2 cup white frosting. Mix the food coloring well with the frosting.
- B = blue
- R = red
- G= green
- Y= yellow
If making the lemon, feel free to use yellow from a standard box of food coloring. It will turn out to be more like a royal gold. If you want a softer shade, use pastel yellow food coloring.
Watermelon: red (55R), green (23B + 39G)
Strawberry: red (65R)
Orange: orange (6Y + 2R)
Lemon: pastel yellow (10-15 drops pastel yellow)
You can use about 1/4 cup of white frosting for the following: Seeds in watermelon and strawberry: mix in 10-15 drops black coloring. Outline for orange slice: white frosting (no food coloring).
Remove as many loose crumbs from each fruit cake, using your fingers or a small brush. Apply a crumb coat to each mini cake, frosting the top and sides. After this initial frosting, place cakes in fridge to chill for 30 minutes. It’s easiest to have each cake on a separate piece of parchment paper. Take cakes out of fridge and apply final coat of frosting.
For the watermelon fruit cake: first frost with red, leaving a sliver of cake at the bottom for the “rind.” Then frost the rind with the green frosting.
For the seeds in the watermelon and strawberry: spoon black frosting into a small ziploc bag. Seal and snip a corner of the bag. Press the frosting towards the opening and twist the end of the baggie. Squeeze a drop of frosting to make “seeds”.
For the outline on orange slice fruit cake: spoon white frosting into a small ziploc bag. Seal and snip a corner of the bag. Press the frosting towards the opening and twist the end of the baggie. Continuously squeeze frosting to outline the orange slice, then make the lines inside the slice.
Photography and recipe by Athena Plichta for A Subtle Revelry.