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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!