A Tangled Treat

Rapunzel-inspired Cake for Mouse on the Mind
The completed masterpiece

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know that “Tangled” is one of Melissa’s favorite movies. As one of the many (many) recipients of a Melissa Rapunzel DVD Loan, I was certainly aware of this fact when I went about brainstorming a birthday creation befitting a Disney Princess. And honestly, I just wanted an excuse to watch the film again. (Rapunzel having her manic-depressive fit? That is my life.)

Although I am a mere laymen when it comes to the World of Disney, if there is one thing that being friends with Melissa has taught me, it is that WDW is all about the details – something I can appreciate as a baking enthusiast and giant nerd.

Since I had so much fun making Melissa’s Birthday Treat – and because I ardently believe that every person deserves a homemade cake for his or her birthday – I asked Melissa if I could share a “how-to,” so that you can give your prince, princess or favorite horse the cake they deserve.

Grab your frying pan*, tie on that apron and roll up your tunic! (*Frying pan not required, though recommended for warding off wandering fingers.) 

The Cake
The best way to start with this cake is by making one – a cake, that is. If you have a favorite recipe, use it! I chose this gorgeous vanilla cake, but you can choose whatever flavor you’d like – chocolate! red velvet! carrot! broccoli (weirdo)!

Next, lick as much cake batter out of the bowl as you can. Congratulations: we are now best friends, and I will wait patiently for you to finish your noble deed.

The Details
As a person who hates waiting for cake to cool (it’s necessary, friends, if you don’t want a cake that looks like a Dali painting) having fun little crafts to pass the time was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

All you need are:
– Construction paper (though a more delicate papers would be lovely)
– Tape or glue (I used tape: see prior comment about patience)
– Scissors
– A needle and thread (or dental floss if you’re me or a lover of minty-freshness)
– Orange paint (a marker or colored pencil would be dandy, too!)
– Chopsticks (yes, really)

First, the lanterns. I wanted to make sure I had a variety of these. In the film, the night sky is cluttered with round, square, rectangular, cylindrical lights in a beautiful spectrum of warm, fiery tones. I started by cutting long strips of varying widths from orange, white and pink paper; I then took a very fine paint brush and, using orange acrylic paint, made small suns on the center of each strip.

Rapunzel lanterns
Sarah was inspired by the film’s lanterns

When they’d dried (I know, we’re practically becoming Buddhists with all this waiting), I folded some – bending them evenly on either side of the sun, then again to create square and rectangle lanterns – or just curving them around for the cylindrical ones.

After arranging the lanterns in the order I wished for them to “float,” I threaded the dental floss through a larger sewing needle, and carefully poked holes through the middle sides of the lanterns – effectively making a lantern garland. Two chopsticks served as poles to suspend the lanterns in the air, and I simply tied the floss (which actually benefited from the friction and stick of the wax) to the tops of either stick – setting it aside for later cake assembly.

Tangled lanterns scene (Mouse on the Mind)

The lantern scene from Tangled inspired the details

Next, I put myself to work as a shipwright. In the dreamy boat scene between Flynn and Rapunzel during the festival, they take glide on the water amongst lanterns. My boat was an exercise in origami – not overly complicated, but one requiring zen-like calm and a steady hand. And an online tutorial. (For those struggling, I recommend YouTube for step-by-step instructions.)

Incidentally, it is a long boat. So theoretically, it could be used for a viking cake. Or a pirate cake. Pretty much any boat-intensive baked good. It’s a good skill to have in your arsenal.

For the tiny Pascale, I free-handed a chameleon on green paper, cutting him out, and placing him on a green toothpick – this actually keeps him at the bow of the boat and anchors the boat to the cake.

Icing Inspiration for Tangled Cake (Mouse on the Mind)
Mural inspiration and cake in progress

The Frosting
For the ombre effect on the cake – which I felt reflected the impressionistic feel of Rapunzel’s mural – I used three different shades of buttercream frosting – a rich indigo, a soft lavender, and a sea-foamy green (all of which I achieved using Wilton pastel gel icing color set).

Once I stacked the layers (there were three in this cake), filling in between with buttercream and lemon curd, I put a thick layer of indigo around the very bottom of the cake, then a nice stripe of lavender in the middle, and a layer of the turquoise on top, only slightly going over the side. Using a straight edged spatula, I slowly turned the cake, blending the indigo and lavender mildly, and then, after I’d wiped down the spatula, the lavender and turquoise. You can blend more thoroughly than I did, but I chose a more crude ombre to mirror Rapunzel’s painting.

Using Wilton’s 104 icing tip (a flat, squarish deal), I took a butter-yellow frosting and made small squares at random around the cake – and voila! lanterns!

Assembly
After you’ve frosted to your satisfaction, arrange the boat on top and “pin” it in place with your Pascal toothpick. String the lanterns so that they float romantically “in the air,” step back, and admire your hard work! Eat the frosting off the beater – purple icing has no calories – you deserve it!

Oh, and I forgot to mention – don’t ignore the most important part of this cake construction: play “When Will My Life Begin” on repeat!

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