I think it’s safe to say that Steven Universe is mine and my husband’s favorite show on TV right now. The show has an incredible mix of backstory, emotional moments, and comedy… plus incredible art and music to boot. It’s something I know I would have loved as a kid, but I think I can appreciate it even more as an adult.
One of the earliest foods we see on the show is Together Breakfast, a creation of waffles, syrup, whipped cream and popcorn put together by Steven in an effort to unite the Gems for a family morning meal. It’s truly a meal that makes up for its lack of refined taste with plenty of love, and it was really memorable for that reason. Rather than making actual waffles, I wanted to see if I could turn this into a birthday cake design! If you’ve got a Steven Universe fan in your life, this would definitely be a good birthday gift for them!
Oh, but before I move on… the FIRST food we’re introduced to on the show is a Cookie Cat ice cream sandwich, which Diana from Food Adventures in Fiction made here! If you love fiction-inspired recipes, you’ve got to check out her blog!
Now on to the cake!
Steven Universe Together Breakfast Cake
3 6″ diameter rounds of your favorite vanilla cake (A pound cake or high fat ratio yellow cake is best)
About 6 cups (1440ml) of your favorite buttercream icing (Suggested recipe)
About 1 1/2 cups (360ml) of your favorite ganache recipe (If you don’t have one just do 2:1 cream to chocolate, by weight, melted and stirred together)
1/2 lb (500g) of your favorite fondant
2 cups (480ml) sliced fresh strawberries
Gel food colorings in ivory, brown, red, yellow and green
1. Split 2 of your cake rounds in half to create four layers. Each one of these layers will be a “waffle.” Now, using a 3″ and 1 1/2″ cutters, cut 2 small rounds out of the third cake. This will be your whipped cream heap.
2. You’ll be preparing 3 of the 4 cake rounds in the same way. Begin by piping a dam around the edges of the cake with icing, and then arrange strawberries in the center. Cover the strawberries with a bit more icing and smooth it off, to fill in the gaps between the berries. Now prepare 3 of your 4 cake layers in this fashion, setting whichever one you aren’t working on at the time aside.
3. Once you’ve filled all the cake layers, set aside roughly 1 1/2 cups of your icing; we’ll be keeping this white for the cream dollop on top. Using ivory and brown food colorings, color remaining buttercream until you feel like it’s a nice cartoon waffle color. I ended up using a ratio of about 2:1 ivory to brown coloring, but just add a few drops at a time and go by eye until you like the color. Now we’ll be icing our layers in this color, first adding a lot of icing roughly around the sides, and then smoothing it off with a spatula or scraper. It’s okay to ice one of the rounds on the cake plate you’ll be using, just make sure to wipe excess icing off the plate once you’re done. I iced the others on an upturned 8″ cake pan so they would be easy to move later. Once you’ve iced them, pop all of them in the fridge for 30 minutes or until the icing has firmed up.
4. Time to stack three of the layers! Pull out your base layer and one other layer. Don’t pull out layers you aren’t working with at the time, just to prevent them from getting soft again. Using a very large, broad kitchen knife (careful!), lift the cake. You can use a large spatula too, the knife just makes it easier to keep the bottom edge of the cake clean as you lift. Set it on the base layer slightly off center. This is one time we don’t want things to look perfect. Now do the same with the third layer, and return the whole cake to the fridge. If you stuck your finger in it somewhere, don’t worry about it! You can cover it with popcorn later.
5. It’s time to ice your fourth layer. This one won’t be filled with strawberries, so it’ll be significantly shorter than the others. That’s okay, though, because you’ll make up for it with a very thick layer of icing on top. Heap the icing on high, matching the height of the other 3 layers, and ice it as smoothly as you can. Set this one in the fridge as well. Once it’s cool, you want to make it look a bit more like a waffle. I achieved this by folding a little square out of acetate (you can use cardstock if you want) and using it to put gentle imprints on top of the cake, as shown below. Then I used a small knife to cut/dig out the inside of these imprints. Thankful for that thick layer of icing now, huh? Return the cake to the fridge for another 30 minutes before pulling it out and smoothing out the insides of the holes with a knife and/or clean fingers. Voila, waffle! Return it to the fridge for a few minutes again if you have to, then stack it on top of the other 3 layers.
6. Arrange your small cake rounds on the top of the waffle layer and, using the white icing you reserved and a large piping bag with a coupler to pipe around it. Don’t try to do one big swirl; it looks a bit messy on the show, so just have fun. You should have a little white left over, so fill it into a bowl and mix it 1:1 with the brown icing to make a lighter tan color. Fill this into another piping bag with a round tip (#4 is good) and use it to pipe a line onto the sides of each waffle. Once again, it’s not a perfectly straight line on the show, so don’t sweat it! You can mark the line with a toothpick before you pipe if it will help. I also outlined the top edges of the waffle holes, but this is optional.
7. Time for finishing touches! First, drizzle the ganache (not warm, but just warmed enough to be fluid) over the top. Sadly I forgot to snap a photo of this, but basically I just drizzled icing on top of the cake with a piping bag and allowed it to drip over the edges, leaving some of the waffle layer exposed. Put it back in the fridge to firm up completely once you’ve done this.
8. Now we sculpt out fondant items! Start by coloring most of the fondant a very light popcorn color, using yellow and ivory colorings. Now roll dozens of balls, about 1/3 of them 1/4-1/2″ wide or so and the rest significantly smaller. Don’t worry about getting them uniform, you want the sizing to be random! Now, using a chopstick with the end dipped in brown color, push the small balls onto the big ones. Voila, popcorn!
9. Dye some fondant a deep red and roll it between your hands into a spherical shape, before pressing it carefully into a more tapered strawberry shape. Poke holes in it with a toothpick. Finally, dye some fondant green and make the leaves. I used a flower cutter, but you can try to shape the leaves by hand if you don’t have one. I also rolled a small nub out of green fondant. Place the leaves onto the berry, gluing it down with just a few drops of water.
10. Arrange your popcorn and strawberry on your cake and YOU’RE DONE! YEAHHH!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and maybe it’ll bring your family together for Together Cake! I won’t tell you to eat it for breakfast, but you know… who am I to judge?