A Typewriter Cake Escapade (plus Vanilla Buttercream)

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the slew of in-progress photos I posted of the epic typewriter cake my friend C and I created last weekend. This was my first cake construction project, and it was a huge success. Worthy of a feature on Chip Chip Hooray? You know it!

What occasion warrants a lifesize (or larger) typewriter cake, you might ask? Well, C and I were both tutors at our campus writing center during undergrad. In those days, our center was located in a small, dusty room in one of the oldest buildings on campus. This year, though, the center expanded to a gorgeous new space that takes up most of one floor of our library. It’s got new equipment and a chic new layout, and I think it finally reflects the fantastic work our tutors do there.

The director, our former boss, exudes passion for and excitement about what she does–and she was kind enough to invite all of the alumni tutors back for a (belated) ribbon-cutting celebration of sorts. So, of course, C and I volunteered to bring dessert!

Our model! C’s Remington typewriter. Obviously we chose to go with a prettier pastel color. πŸ˜‰ Check out the assembly process…

We chose to use boxed cake mixes for this project (one 13×9, two 9-inch, and two 8-inch) because we didn’t want to take any chances on the cake’s stability. Say what you will about box mix, but you can rely on them to come out the same every time! C baked these up and froze them the night before I arrived so they were ready for stacking and carving.

After the crumb coat was applied. We froze the cake again for an hour or so after this to harden up the base layer of icing.

In the meantime, I created the typewriter keys using Rolos and white chocolate!

One blue typewriter, ready for decorating!

We used Reese’s peanut butter cups for the rotary wheels on the side, a Twix bar for the space bar (and another for the carriage return!), Fruit Roll-Up for the type ribbon, pretzel sticks for the hammers, and piped dark chocolate to make the Remington logo (that was all C’s steady hand).

I am in love with this cross-section photo.

Care for some keyboard, anyone? πŸ™‚

Now, you’d better believe we used a ton of buttercream for this cake. Try four pounds of powdered sugar’s worth. Haha! That brings a smile to my baker’s face. I did quite a lot of quality control while I was mixing up this icing (I had to make sure I was serving my colleagues an A+ product!), and I can say with confidence that this recipe is fab.

Classic Vanilla Buttercream
Source: Wilton


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups (about 1 lb) powdered confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening until smooth and fluffy.
2. Begin to add sugar gradually (I used roughly half-cup increments), mixing between each addition.
3. After about 2 cups of the sugar has been added, beat in the vanilla. Continue to mix until vanilla is incorporated, then add a few more increments of sugar.
4. Beat in the milk. At this point, icing should begin to resemble desired consistency. When all of the powdered sugar has been added, feel free to add more milk at your discretion if you’d like your icing a bit more liquidy. We kept ours on the thicker side since we needed to use it as cake glue!

(We doubled this recipe, and then made two batches of it. The blue color came from a couple of [small!] dabs of gel food coloring.)

Anybody got a spoon?

9 thoughts on “A Typewriter Cake Escapade (plus Vanilla Buttercream)

  1. i loved seeing the pics on instagram – i didn’t realize at first that you + your friend had made it because it looked like something from a fancy bakery. for real! i’m soooo impressed with how it turned out. wonderful, awesome, superb job! =)

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