This week I made a Star Wars Death Star cake that I have been planning for months! It feels like a cake that was 22 years in the making, since I have loved SW since its 1995 re-release. So, needless to say, I was really excited to make this cake!
This cake is a special surprise for a 40th birthday, from a wife to her husband. And, fun fact, Star Wars turns 40 in March! It’s been 40 years since A New Hope has been released.
She also specified that she wanted a gluten-free cake. After a lot of research, I decided on baking with Cup 4 Cup flour, one of the best gluten-free flours available. I made my usual yellow cake recipe (for the 6″ dome) and Hershey’s perfectly chocolate cake recipe, except with Cup 4 Cup and with almond milk instead of cow’s milk. And they turned out great! For the dome, I used the classic Wilton ball pan.
While making this cake, I came up with a way to make the Death Star that is SO EASY that almost anybody could do it! I’ll also show you how I made the galaxy cake, though I won’t go too much into that. You can learn more about that technique in the Crafty class called The Perfect Birthday Cake.
After letting the cakes soak in a vanilla simple syrup, I crumb coated both of my cakes. For the 8″ cake, I covered it a little bit more than a usual crumb coat. I have been wanting to try this method for a while. It calls for a regular covering of vanilla icing then a thin layer of black.
Something I changed from the tutorial: I let my vanilla coating of buttercream really get firm and cold in the refrigerator so it would be easier to cover it with the black. So here it is chilled and ready to go:
To reduce the amount of black I would have to use, I covered my cake with a number 12 tip. For this, I set aside about 2.5 cups and dyed it black.
Then I smoothed it with my spatula.
And smoothed it some more with my Ateco metal scraper.
To make it look more like a galaxy cake, I decided to add some Americolor electric blue and electric pink to the cake and smooth it out.
Ta-da! What a fun effect to make. Then I smoothed it out with my Viva paper towels and moved onto the Death Star.
To make the Death Star, I decided the best way to make it would be to decorate it as two separate halves. I got a nice, sharp edge by doing it this way, too. I figured that if I did it this way, I would easily get a nice equator like on the actual Death Star.
I dyed the remainder of the gray fondant dark grey for the details. At first, when I was making this, I was going to cut out pieces individually.
After about forty minutes of doing this, and being unsatisfied with my results, a light bulb went off to streamline the process!
I pulled off my work and started over.
I rolled out my fondant and cut out a strip about an inch and a quarter wide (for the middle section). Then I wrapped it around the cake and smoothed it.
Then, after that, I got my clean X-Acto knife and made small vertical cuts for the space in between each section. I repeated this for the bottom part, which I cut to be about a bit more than a half-inch wide. I really just eye balled it. Then I made the cuts to be even with the cuts above it.
To make this even better and neater, use a ribbon cutter for the strips.
Another fun fact: after doing tons of research on the Death Star, I realized that every picture on Google images is different than the others. No two Death Stars are alike!
To do the top, I decided to use a circle cutter and then to cut out the middle. I wasn’t going to put a circle on the middle until after the center dowel rod was in.
Then I made my cuts to be even with the middle section of the space ship.
I forgot to add that to make the tractor beam (below), I used circles of various sizes and added the line details with a flat sided tool. I made the light circles with a number 5 piping tip.
Then I did the same on the bottom.
I added my 8″ cake to my 12″ black fondant-covered cake board. Then I cut a 4″ cake board down to size and added it to the bottom of the Death Star. Then I cut three dowel rods and put them in the middle of my 8″ cake. I flipped over the bottom hemisphere and put it on the cake.
Then I added some icing for a filling and added the top of the Death Star. Then I added a center dowel rod.
After that, I covered the top with a circle. Then I dusted the edges of the sections with black edible dust and started to add little lights (sprinkles) with a dab of water. This took forever! After those were added, I added little stars with a number 3 piping tip. Then added the rest of my words (hand-cut from a Jedi font) and the black ribbon along the bottom.
Here’s how it turned out!
And there you have it, my first and probably only gluten-free Star Wars cake. I hope that Wade loves it!