You will need:
-round cake pan simliar in size
-2 batches of your favourite cake batter
- a small ball of fondant
- rolling pin
-fondant or pizza cutter
-cake filling (optional)
-royal icing (optional)
-vodka & colour paste (*If you'll be painting your turtle)
Bake 2 cakes (1 in the round pan and 1 in the metal bowl) and allow to cool. Spread your cake filling or frosting on the bottom round layer.
Stack the cake you baked in the metal bowl and use one of the cupcakes to make your turtle's head. If the round "bowl cake" or bottom layer is lightly larger, trim the cakes to fit so you have a smooth seemless join.
Cover the entire cake in buttercream or desired frosting.
Tint your fondant to the colour you'd like your turtle shell to be (I chose a beige-ish colour as my base as I will be painting it darker in later steps). Roll out your fondant and make sure you have it slightly larger than the cake so you have enough excess around the edges to pull and smooth out any wrinkles.
Using a fondant smoothing tool, work from the centre downward to remove any bubbles and smooth out the fondant and buttercream underneath. If you have any air bubbles under your fondant you can use a small pin (holding it at a slight angle) to release any trapped air.
Use a fondant or pizza cutter to trim all the excess fonant around the edges, keeping it as close to your cake as possible.
Next you'll need to make your turtle fins using the cupcakes. Using a circle cutter (or knife) trim off one of the sides on each of the remaining 4 cupcakes so they fit snuggly to the cake.
*Note:You can also use rice crispie treats to make the fins & head but I like to use all cake as much as possible.
Arrange the cupcakes around the turtle to locate the ideal placement of your fins.
Next add a light green (or whatever colour you'd like) peice of fondant over the turtle's head.
*Note: I used a straw to lightly poke the fondant and make tiny "scales" all over it, but you can also paint scales or leave it smooth.
Next cover all the turtle fins in fodant matching the colour of your turtle's head. Add a small tail & a band of fondant to make an "edge" for your shell.
*Optional decorating step:
Using a large circle cutter, cut enough round peices of fondant to cover the turtles shell and lightly pressed the circle cutter every centimeter up the circle to give the circles a bit of depth. Attach circles with royal icing or a little vodka mixed with water.
If you'd rather hand paint the shell, use small circles, flower cutters, etc, all will work well on this cake! You're only limited by your imagination :-)
I added little black fondant eyes and punched nostrils with a small straw. Then I used a mixture of vodka and colour paste to make a dark brown colour which I used to paint around the outline of my circles. I also decided to paint the head and fins with different brown and grey colours to give a bit more realistic look to the skin.
*Note: NEVER use water mixed with your colour!! It eats fondant and at best will stay sticky for a long time. Also if you mix lustre dust with your colour and water it will not be as shiny as it is suppose to be. There is no set amount of colour and vodka to mix, I just work it until the colour is as dark/light as I need it to be.
After the colour on my shell dried a bit I diluted my remaining colour with vodka and did a slight wash over the turtle shell to blend everything.
The final finishing touch was to use a black food colour marker to add details over some different areas. I also covered my cake board in blue buttercream & brown sugar to look like water and sand.
**On a final note: You can play around with the pattern on the turtle shell to make it really fun, like cut out letters of the child's name if your making it for a birthday and arrange the letters within the shell pattern. Use different cutters and cover the shell in flowers, hearts, mini-circles, etc. Use different bold coloured fondants, use some lustre dust, etc... the possibilities to customize the cake are endless.
Good luck and happy cake decorating!