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Ace of Cakes & Cake Boss Watch Out!

Actually, I kid. A lot. Charm City Cakes, Buddy from Cake Boss and any other bakers, with or without tv shows, have absolutely NOTHING to worry about. However, I am in need of their creative thinking right now. I’ve sort of built up a reputation of making fun and exciting cakes for the two big kids birthday parties and now that I’ve sent out invitations for my baby’s 11th birthday party (I still remember MY 11th birthday like it was yesterday…how can I have an 11 year-old son?!), I am drawing a blank as to how to compete with prior years’ creations. I took a year off for C’s last party because I was still adjusting to having a baby around and the place we had the party offered ice cream cakes, so it seemed to work. However with S’s last party, I upped the ante with the famous Spaghetti & Meatballs Cake for her Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movie party, so I feel it’s only fair I get back on track for C’s party in 2 weeks.

I thought I’d share how this all started. I’ve always loved baking but have never taken a cake decorating class and have gone through many hit or miss experiments along the way. (I’m still looking for a fool-proof white cake and cupcake recipe!!) I guess it first started when I made a Lego cake for C’s 6th birthday. I wish I had pictures of that but they are stuck on a non-working hard drive. It looked like a rectangular Lego brick with a square one on top, achieved by putting cupcake bottoms on top of the cake and then frosting the two bricks in different colors. It was a little more stressful than enjoyable at that time because I was in a tiny apartment kitchen trying to make a masterpiece, so I relied on store-bought cakes for a few years after that.

A few years later, S. wanted a puppy theme for her 7th birthday. I checked every grocery store in our area and could not find a puppy-themed cake. So I thought, why not, I’ll make one. She picked the colors of green and orange. She was on a green and orange kick that year. I used Scooby Snacks graham crackers for decorating (which everyone avoided thinking they were actual dog biscuits!). I also used a pound cake with almond flavoring like I’d had from a bakery once, which was good, but resulted in the cake weighing about 25lbs. Everyone loved it though and then it seemed that I’d started a trend.

Sophia's 7th Cake

Next up was C’s 9th birthday. He was really into Guitar Hero
that year. I had the vision for a perfect cake. Of course getting what was in my mind to translate into cake was another task altogether, but I tried. He loved it and all the kids (and moms) at the party were impressed, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. I had a LOT of fun making that one and though I’m sure my skills could’ve used polishing, I worked with what I had and thought it was a hit.

C's 9th Birthday Cake

Two years ago S. decided on a luau theme for her 8th birthday. We had the party at the house and thanks to years of visiting Disney’s Polynesian Resort, I had free party favors in the form of silk flower leis. It was a fun party full of silly games, limbo contests and a Pinata. Don’t ask. We aren’t strict adherers to party theme rules around these parts. 😉

Anyway, I had a vision to have a volcano themed cake. After not wanting to press my luck with lava cakes like you find in restaurants, I decided on a mini volcano with candied ‘lava’ set on top of a beach/ocean themed cake. I got a bit Martha Stewart-ish about it and spent way too much time using a hot glue gun and tons of toothpicks and popsicle sticks to make a tiki hut, but I think it was worth it. It was another really fun cake to do. I had a white layer and a chocolate layer, and the sand was crushed Nilla Wafers with a couple of Oreos mixed in for color. The lava was candy I made and colored myself, and splashed out on tin foil to dry in splattered-looking shapes.

And more cake

As I said, I took a bit of time off while caring for baby G during C’s last party, but got back on track with S’s 9th party, which I’ve blogged about already – the Spaghetti and Meatballs cake. No matter what the reaction, this cake got the most response of any I’ve done. People either loved it or were grossed out thinking we were eating spaghetti and meatballs on top of cake. I loved trying something different and succeeding in making it look like dinner rather than dessert!

Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake

So that leaves me with my problem today. What to do for C’s 11th birthday this year?! With his extreme interest in video games, I might have to go that route, but I’m really not relishing the thought of making zombie hands or army men. Anyone seen any good cakes lately? Is it time for me to venture into layers? Fondant? Actually I did try my hand at fondant about a year ago, just for fun (on top of a pink cake!). My friend helped out, but I discovered it was easier than I thought to actually make marshmallow fondant. She came up with the decorating idea in theme with my love for all things black and white.

Project 365 - 01.24.09 downsized_0124092138.jpg

What are your thoughts, suggestions or crazy ideas for his cake this year? I’m all ears!! And Duff, Mary Alice, Geoff & gang, if you’re reading this, I’ll happily accept any help you have to offer! 😉

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  • djdrew

    do you know about

  • Zanna

    I do, yes – I follow them on twitter. Why, did one of these remind of you that site?! ;P

  • dgcampagna

    Cute cakes! I really like the Guitar Hero one. I'll have to keep that in mind for future birthdays. Does he like Star Wars – I've done some fun cakes with the Anakin vs. Obi Wan battle. The lava flow thing is pretty cool. I've also made a bike park cake with ramps & such. Patriot's & Red Sox are always popular around here – does he have a favorite team? That always makes for a fun, easy cake.

    If you want pictures, let me know – be happy to send some your way for ideas. Just don't critique :)

  • Luis Hernandez

    well, couple of thoughts. First, I thing I told myself is that you should talk to the girl since she can help with the baking ideas. Secondly, I keyed off of the gaming comment that you said and I think you should keep it simple and make an Xbox 360 cake. I think that you could even use fondant for most of it, if you'd like.

  • Zanna

    Ooh! That's actually a great idea!! I could make an xbox 360 controller
    maybe! I'll check in with Mandy too though, thanks! 😀

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  • Zanna

    Thanks, Diane! I've heard you are pretty famous for your cake decorating,
    I'd love to see pictures! Of course his favorite teams are the same – Pats
    and Red Sox! 😉 He does love Star Wars but hasn't really been 'into' it for
    a while…I might have to explore the Xbox themed cake mentioned below.

    I'd still love to see your pics, and trust me, I'd never critique, look at
    mine! LOL

  • Noel

    -A giant ice cream sandwich? (Like 9X13)

    -A video game controller (wii or one of the others) would be waaay easier than a character, but still really awersome.

    – Netflix/game stop envelope? (I'm trying to stay in the square/rectangular family).

    Your previous cakes are beautiful, so no matter what you do I know it'll turn out wonderful.

    I'm still amazed by the spaghetti cake.

  • Noel

    Oops, should have read the other comments first!

  • sillyeaglebooks

    You cloudy with a chance of meatball cake is AMAZING!! I really love it. Great job.

  • Zanna

    Thank you! 😀 I love your blog btw, I was just ogling your amazing crafts