June 12, 2010

Dental School Grad Cake (and Pink Lemonade Cake Recipe)

Dental School Graduation Dentures Cake Tutorial

This was very unique and fun cake to make for a friend’s husband graduating from Dental School.  Below is a brief explanation of how we pulled the cake together by baking a doctored cake mix, carving the dentures from the cake, covering it in marshmallow fondant (MMF), and making anatomically correct teeth with fondant.

Carved dentures cake with fondant dental tools

She wanted to learn how to decorate cakes; this was the second cake we worked on together.  Just a few months ago, we had a group of friends together to make her the Safari Baby Shower Cake and I taught them, how to bake an easy, doctored cake, how to make marshmallow fondant (MMF), and ganache, how to fill, crumb coat and prep a cake to be covered in fondant, how to make fondant cutout decorations...basically, everything from start to finish.  Now, she wanted to make another cake and learn more.  With this cake, there wasn’t much we could do ahead of time aside from baking and making the MMF.  There is a page on this blog dedicated to making MMF including tips and hints on how to work with it.  Find it HERE, Marshmallow Fondant (MMF) Recipes.

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The marshmallow fondant we made used Strawberry Jell-O Mix to get the pinkish base color and flavor that tasted and smelled like bubblegum...it smelled super delicious.  We did a little Americolor Super Red to the MMF to get it to the perfect shade of pink for the gums.

We baked a doctored, Pink Lemonade Cake (see recipe below), filled with chocolate mousse, and covered with semi-sweet chocolate Ganache.

The cake was large and needed to feed 60 servings.  We made a double batch of MMF and doubled the cake recipe for 14 cups of batter to make two, 9x13 sheet cakes.

I have created some neat charts breaking down the number of servings each cake shape and size yields.  It also shows the amount of cake batter needed to fill each cake pan size, and the amount of frosting needed to fill and torte:  It's AWESOME!  I keep a printed copy in my recipe binder to refer to easily.  Get my charts HERE, Serving Sizes and Baking Charts.

Carved cake to look like dentures

After the cakes were baked we kept them in the freezer overnight so that the cake can freeze hard and make it easier to carve.  We first stacked the cakes together with a piece of parchment paper between each layer so that we could carve the basic outline of the mouth.  Once we had the shape done, we separated the layers and then filled them with chocolate mousse.  The extra cake pieces we had carved off the cake were used to build the roof of the pallet.  The whole cake was then crumb-coated in Chocolate Ganache.

Fondant covered denture cake (front)

Fondant covered denture cake (back)

We covered the cake with MMF and then made each tooth individually out of white MMF.  This was the most fun but also difficult step to do.  I had printed out a bunch of teeth photos to use as a guide to sculpting each tooth as realistically and proportionally as possible.  The cake was for a dental grade and the teeth had to be anatomically correct and perfect!  We brushed the back of each tooth with water to act like glue and attached them to the cake.  The teeth were a little heavy and kept sliding down.  We kept shoving them back into place until the water and fondant fused together and gripped the teeth into place.

Fondant covered cake board and denture cake with tools

We also covered the 16”x16” cake board with a grayish-purple MMF to resemble a metal tray.  Sprayed the whole board with a can of the Duff Cake Graffiti in Metallic Silver*: One spray can barely covered the board although the instructions on the can said that it would lightly cover six 8” round cakes. The spray worked perfectly for the effect we wanted and it was so much easier to use than me having to brush silver pearl dust manually all over the board.  An airbrush would have worked too, but I didn’t have one.

*Nov 2022 Update: Duff Cake Graffiti Spray is no longer available.

We made the dental tools with fondant and painted them with silver pearl dust. I heard the cake was a hit and she’s going to try to make a cake on her own next. I loved teaching her and sharing all I knew.

The cake recipe is adapted from MacsMom's Lemon Cake recipe (CakeCentral.com).  I modified the cake to include Pink Lemonade concentrate.  With this recipe, you can easily adapt the liquid and flavoring extract for any cake flavor you need.  You can get creative with it and it's basically foul-proof since it starts with a box mix.  The base recipe can be found online under the name, WASC Cakes (White Almond Sour Cream) and although there are many variations, they all start with a box mix that is doctored up with extra flavorings and ingredients.

Pink Lemonade Cake Recipe
Yield: 14 Cups

2 Boxes of White Cake Mix
2 Cups Cake Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar - minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/3 Cups Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1 1/3 Cups Water
2 Cups Sour Cream
6 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C).  In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients by hand using a whisk.  In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients just until combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on low speed for 2 minutes.  Fill cake pans and bake as per below or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with very few crumbs.

Baking Times:
Cupcakes bake for about 18-20 minutes
Cake Pans bake for about 25-30 minutes


  1. Your cake looks amazing. You're truly an artist! I am thinking about taking on this project, but want to know how much time does it involve, including prep, baking and decorating? Can you recommend what sites to find real life size teeth that you used on your cake? And how did you get them to adhere and stick without sliding off? Any suggestions? Also, would this cake survive in a long 5 hr drive?

  2. Thank you! We spent 9 hours on this cake not counting the baking part which would add another 2-3 hours. Day 1 we made the MMF and Ganache. Day 2 was baking (you could combine day 1 with day 2). Day 3 was carving, stacking, filling, covering it over in ganache, covered up the cake board with MMF and making the tools. Day 4 we covered the cake in MMF, made the teeth, sprayed the cake board and painted the tools silver. Use a little bit of piping gel to help the teeth stick and you may need to hold the teeth in place for it to set. They were heavy and kept sliding down and we would just move then back into place. Once the piping gel dried, they stayed put. I would assemble the cake the night before the drive to give it plenty of time for the decorations to dry and set. Not sure on how it would survive the 5 hour drive. Ganache makes it pretty sturdy, be sure to have the AC on and keep the cake in a box and out of direct heat or sunlight. I did have an IMBC cake in the car for a couple hours and I just chilled it overnight and put it into a box with a small 5" square opening on the side (so I can see through it to be sure it was ok and to give it some ventilation). The cold cake kept the inside of the box well chilled and the cake did pretty well but it will depend on the heat and what the condensation will do to the fondant you use. Good luck!

  3. Can you recommend the website/program and any helpful techniques you used in creating your life-sized teeth cutouts. How many teeth are on top and bottom total? You've done such a great job in making them look so real and any suggestions on scaling it so they fit on the cake base would be such a great help. Thanks so much!!

  4. If you search the online images there are a ton of teeth/dentures you can use for reference as well as models showing the shape and quantity of teeth. We sketched out the teeth on paper and used them for a guide to cut them out proportioned to the cake and shaped them with our hands. Our cake wasn't that deep and we're short 2 teeth on each side but it still looks great. To get the fondant to look smooth, polish the teeth with you fingers and a little bit of shortening.

  5. Thank you so much for this, it is great!!! I have a couple questions for you if you don't mind.
    How many batches of MMF did it take you to cover the cake in the pink 1???
    and in the middle on top of the cake it looks like you got a nice round finish after fondant was put on, but in the before pic showing the carved cake the top looks flat did you build it up with anything before putting the fondant on??

    Thank you

  6. Hi Holly - I used 1 batch of MMF (1 lb marshmallows) to make the pink tier. I forgot to take the photo with the roof of the pallet done. I used the cake scraps trimmed off from the sides of the cake to build the top pallet then covered it all in chocolate ganache.

  7. Thank you for the answers, I am going to try to attempt this today/tomorrow. I made the mmf already, my second time making it, the first time I swore that would be the last but decided to try it again, as it is sooo much cheaper then buying fondant and tastes better. seems to have turned out, I will see when it is time to unroll!!! I hope I will have enough cake scraps to build up the top. This is my first "sell" cake as I usaully only just bake for frinds and family. Thank you again, for the pictures it really helps when you can see a refrence. :)

  8. Hi, I have just found this recipe and would love to have a go at it. Only thing is that I live in the uk and so am not sure of products and quantities etc. Any help would be much appreciated

    1. sorry, but I don't even know where to start in helping you with the products and conversion since I'm not familiar with UK products. I also haven't baked box mixes in over 2 years too. Here is a link with numerous doctored cake mix recipes and they all have the same amount of product in them just different flavorings and liquids - maybe you can find one that will look familiar and experiment from there? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wBMz4wGYM-f4XKECyQEodFVwB0QHjQ2xQCeMG20bmws/edit

  9. When you stated the cake was covered in Ganache- What texture was that in? Firm like buttercreme icing or runnier? And how did you get the MMF so red/pinkish?.

    1. Ganache can be in a peanut butter consistency or softer for spreading on a cake. The MMF is made with Jello - recipe can be found under the MMF Recipes tab across the top of the page.