Back in the day (circa 2010) I used to work with a great team of people on a website/iphone app, Golflink.com. We have stayed close friends, and for one of our most recent reunions, my daughter and I baked & decorated a golf course cake.
For this project, the flavor of the cake is not important, just pick your favorite box or homemade recipe for a 9″ x 13″ – it sheet cake. This base becomes the palette, so bigger or smaller can work, too. (or round, for that matter).
I used a Trader Joe’s vanilla cake mix, and added some lemon zest and extract to punch it up a bit. Since the pan was a little larger than what the recipes suggests, I just watched the baking time, and tested it with a toothpick at various stages, pulling it out quite a bit earlier than what was indicated on the box. You could also double the recipe, but as long as you have a cake surface, it really doesn’t matter.
Next, since I didn’t feel like going to the store for frosting, I used a simple frosting recipe from items that were in my cupboards/fridge.
- 1 bar room temp cream cheese (mine was not quite an entire bar, but who cares)
- 1 stick room temp unsalted butter (added 1 tbsp extra to make up for the lack of cream cheese)
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- juice from 1 lemon
- sifted powdered sugar (2-4 cups, add gradually until you have a nice spreadable consistency)
Combine cream cheese, butter and lemon juice/zest in stand mixer or bowl with hand mixer. Beat until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar until the mixture is thick and not runny.
Separate a couple of tablespoons of the frosting out for the water hazard and the sand traps. Add some food coloring to those, blue for the water, yellow for the sand. set aside.
Now, add some green food coloring to the rest of the icing, slowly, to make the color you desire. Once the color is completely mixed in, pour as much as you need over the cooled cake and spread to cover completely. I used metal spatula (flipper) to smooth it out, no need for perfection.
Cool about 1/2 hour in the fridge.
While the frosting layer is cooling, I cut a piece of paper the size of the cake, and drew a quick, very loose sketch of how I wanted to lay out the decorations. For inspiration, I did google image search for golf course cakes, which was really helpful.
Then I assembled all the decorating sprinkles and pieces I might need. I tend to save things over the years, so I had a bunch to pick from. You can also plan ahead an order a couple of things online, or from the grocery store.
Here is what I used:
- Green sugar (leftover from Christmas) – for the putting green
- Green coconut, had in the freezer from Easter. Simply throw in a few drop of green food coloring into a zip lock of shredded coconut. – for the grass
- Flags (left over from July 4th) cut into triangle, painted with acrylic. You also just use paper and toothpicks.
- Chocolate rocks (something I just have)
- Blue sugar (from July 4th $1 bin at Target)
- Beige sugar (sand) mix of coconut sugar and white, but you could also use brown sugar.
- Misc plastic trees, shrubs, animals
- Pearl sugar for golf balls (realized after-the-fact that a white jelly bean would have also worked nicely.
Now for the fun part! Pulled the frosted, cooled cake out of the fridge, and used a toothpick to lightly draw an outline of my layout, and started to fill in the different areas.
And, before we knew it, the cake was finished! Looked great, and tasted yummy. The lemony cake with the coconut grass was perfect.