I love looking at fancy cake pictures, but I admit they're a little intimidating sometimes. I secretly suspect they're not that hard once you know how to make that weird, doughy fondant stuff, but they're not at all what I think of when I'm about to make a cake for my 2-year-old! And besides, how do you cut into those fancy things anyway? Whatever. Someday, I'll probably try a fancy cake and become completely converted to the intimidating side.
Here's all I did for the Carousel Cake:
Two 9" round cakes (one box cake mix)
A TON of homemade frosting (just to be sure there was enough)
Snow Cone straws (ordinary straws work too, don't worry)
Paper circle colored like pinwheel
Jet Puff stuff (marshmallow cream)
To make the pinwheel, cut a large circle. Draw a straight line from the center to the edge. This is what you will cut (after coloring) along to overlap sides and make into cone shape. For the pinwheel design, I snuck an old, ugly plate from the cupboards and traced along the edge. And...I was using permanent markers, so it didn't wash off. But nobody cares.
It all looks pretty self-explanatory to me, but here are some more details:
I taped the tips of the straws on the underside of the pinwheel first. Then I gathered them up in my hands (they stuck straight out) and carefully positioned them so they'd puncture the cake at the right spots. Gently push in, all at once if you can.
The marshmallow cream was kind of droopy. If you wanted your Carousel Cake to last several hours for showing off, I guess you could hot glue the animal crackers onto the straws! This cake here lasted only long enough for its photo opp. And that's okay with me! It took a long time to decorate, but I don't really care because it tasted really good and we have pictures. And for once, I didn't mind people around while I carried out my artwork because their company made the work less tedious. And it was flattering.
Another idea for the animal crackers is to do them paired up on the straw, one in front and one behind. I just didn't think it needed that.