For the Filling:
I had a huge carton of very ripe strawberries, which I cut up into slivers. I added about 3/4 cup of sugar, to bring out the strawberries' natural juices. In a small saucepan, I combined 1/2 cup of strawberry jam with a little bit of water and brought the mixture to a simmer. I then added the mixture to the strawberries.
For the Cake:
I made one 9" sponge cake.
Once the cake was cool, I cut it in half. I put the strawberry mixture through a sieve to eliminate any excess liquid. I then put the strawberries onto the first layer of the cake.
The top layer of the cake was then added.
It was at this point that I decided to cut the cake into the shape of Australia. :) I figured I could turn it into a "Bon Voyage" cake. As I am terrible at carving, I recruited my husband. He did a great job! I then iced the cake with a light layer of butter cream frosting.
Now came the fondant. A word of warning: I have never used fondant. I have only aspired to use fondant; which is exactly why I had a package of Wilton pre-made white fondant. I dusted my cutting board with confectioner's sugar and layed out the fondant. It was pretty hard to roll it out to the consistency I wanted, because of my lack of space. But, I was able to roll it out pretty thin.
My husband cut off a piece and started working on a kangaroo for the top of my cake. The poor guy has endured hours of the Food Network with me, and had seen some fondant molding on Ace of Cakes. So, he was pretty sure he could make a kangaroo. A little brown food coloring and it looked really good!
I put the cake onto the base of the cake container. Then I covered it with fondant. Little by little, I smoothed the top and sides of the fondant to fit the form of the cake. I found that cutting little strips at a time helped me form the fondant around the edges. Next time, I will wrap the fondant to the underside of the cake, and then transport it to its final resting place. That will give it better edges.
I added a little red food dye to my leftover butter cream and piped "Bon Voyage!" onto the cake. I secured the kangaroo with a dot of butter cream as well. We were very happy with our results!
Now the hard part: transporting the cake to my parent's house. Since I already had the cake on the base, all I had to do was secure the lid, and go...right? Well...that's where Ollie comes in.
Oliver is my curious little dog:
Taking him and a cake in the same car can be quite difficult. The only way to get around this is to have my husband drive, while I hold the dog, and put the cake on the backseat. I was concerned that my cake would do a lot of sliding around, and ruin the kangaroo. So, we buckled the cake in.
We arrived at my parent's house all in one piece. After a lovely Lebanese meal (thanks mom!) we cut into the Australia cake. It was light and fluffy, but moist and very flavorful. The strawberries were sweet and soft. Overall, a success. Thanks for your help, Joe!