Sunday, December 17, 2006

Game Cube "Pikmin" Birthday Cake

This cake is probably the most interesting to date. My son was turning 7 years old. For two months I heard him tell me he wanted a "Pikmin" party. "Pikmin" is a video game for the Nintendo Game Cube. He loves it! If you have ever played the game, you would understand the cake a little better.

My problem was, there isn't a party store that sells "Pikmin" party ware. What is a mother to do? I downloaded a picture of "Pikmin" and made postcard invitations on the computer. I went to Kinko's to make glossy copies of them to mail out. I also used the photo to make name tags for the favor bags.
Since "Pikmin" products are not sold in the US, I went on eBay and found "Pikmin" figurines on sale. They were shipped straight from Japan in record time (2 days). I used these little guys on the cake. I know, some collector is probably going to freak out over it, but they DO look adorable all over this cake.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cinderella Carriage Cake

"I'm having a Princess Cake!"
My daughter, for her 3rd birthday, knew she was going to have a princess cake. She was so deep into the Disney Princess movies. I knew she was going to have a princess cake, but I didn't know how she was going to get it. I had already made the "Princess" Cake for my best friend earlier in the year. I also knew I wanted to make Cinderella's carriage for her. But how was I to do it?
Once again, I pulled out my Betty Crocker Bake 'N Fill dome cake pan. This is another cake where, in hindsight, I should have used a more dense cake batter. I had one Bake 'N Fill dome on top of another to create the "carriage" and the weight of the cake started to make the whole thing "sink". Luckily, we got through the party and ate that cake before it started to LOOK like something was going wrong.
The horses and carriage wheels are made with Rice Krispies treats I cut out into horse and wheel shapes. To make sure they would stand up, I anchored them in melted Wilton green candy wafers. Then I sprinkled the candy with decorating stars while it was still warm. This was to resemble flowers on the path. I did the same thing to anchor the wheels, fence, anything, besides the cake, that was going to be standing up.
To make the writing, I typed out the words in a font I liked on the computer and made them the size I wanted. After printing it out, I placed a sheet of wax paper on top of it and traced the letters with pink melted Wilton candy melts (Place the melted wafers in a Ziploc bag and cut a hole in the corner). After the candy hardens, you can remove the letters gently with a spatula and place wherever you want.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Basketball Cake

This cake went along with my son's present. We took him to see the Harlem Globetrotters for his 13th birthday. It was great and he had a blast. I had even considered making the cake look like an official Globetrotters ball.
Once again, I pulled out my Betty Crocker Bake N' Fill dome cake pan. This time I decided to fill it...with cookies and cream pudding! I colored some icing orange (obviously) and covered the whole thing. Then, I used the tip of a butter knife to make the grooves in the "ball" where the lines would go. That way, If I messed up the placement, I could just smooth out the orange icing and start all over again. The grooves made it easier to keep the "lines" in the right spot.
Once again, I didn't know what to do with the candles, so I made dots of icing all around the cake and placed candles in them. It made blowing out the candles much more interesting.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"Princess" Cake

This “Princess” birthday cake is a fun cake-decorating project that doesn’t take much more than cake mix, some store bought icing and a tiara from the dollar store.

I knew my cake decorating skills had reached some sort of family success when my best friend, a very picky woman, told me all she wanted for her birthday from me this year was a "Princess Cake". I had to oblige. This one turned out looking like a playmobil anime figure.

I received a Betty Crocker Bake 'N Fill dome cake mold the previous Christmas and had been trying to figure out what I could make with it that was a little bit unusual. I didn't fill this one with pudding or cream. I made the layer cake option.

Ingredients:

  • 1 standard box of cake mix (whatever flavor you prefer), baked. You will only need one round layer for this cake so I usually make 12 cupcakes with the extra cake mix.
  • 3 containers of vanilla/white icing – one container colored the desired skin tone, one container colored the desired hair color, and the remaining container will be made into an assortment of colors for the eyes, lips, and any message you may want to write on the cake. Leave about 2 tablespoons of icing white.
  • Gel coloring or liquid food coloring - The gel coloring is more concentrated so you get a deeper hue without using all the coloring. For lighter shades, the regular liquid food coloring is fine

Tools:

  • Betty Crocker Bake N’ Fill Pan with dome pan
  • Flat spatula
  • Sandwich sized zipper sealed bags
  • Scissors
  • Tiara (you can usually find one at your local dollar store – it makes a nice “present” for the birthday girl after the cake is gone)
  • Large plate, cake stand, or cake board for displaying your finished cake

If you have not already done so, bake your dome cake according to the pan directions. The cake shown is made using the layered cake instructions. You can also choose to use the filled cake instructions. Cool your cake completely. If it is not cooled, your icing will start to melt and slide off the cake.



Ice the layers together or fill the cake as directed on the pan instructions. Place your cake right side up (dome side up) on the plate you will display it on. If you prefer, you can place your cake on a cake board and move it to it’s permanent home once it is completed. However, most of us don’t have cake boards handy. The cake pictured here is resting directly on a large glass serving plate.


To decorate, first ice the entire dome with the skin colored icing. I made the skin tone shown in the picture using yellow coloring with just a touch of red. Try to smooth the icing out as best you can.


I used an hors d’oeuvre maker to pump out the hair. It made "spaghetti" looking curls all over the head. You could use a sandwich bag to make continuous single curls everywhere. To do this, fill a Ziploc sandwich bag (or similar brand) 1/3 full with some icing. Push the icing toward one of the bottom corners of the bag. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag with your scissors. Twist the excess bag to create a decorating “piping bag”. Place the “twist” in the joint between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Close your hand over the rest of the bag. To decorate your cake, you will squeeze the bag. Try it a little on some wax paper to get used to it.


To make the task of piping the “hair” onto the cake easier, I just went with plain yellow hair. I thought about putting some chocolate icing in the bag, to give the hair a more "highlighted" look. Get creative with it. If you are making your princess a brunette, add a little yellow or red to the icing to create highlights.


To outline the eyes and make the nose and beauty mark, use a sandwich bag with a small hole cut in one bottom corner. Fill it with brown or some other color slightly darker than the skin tone color. If you have some of the skin toned icing left over, add some coloring to it to achieve the shade you want.


For the lips, color a small amount (about a tablespoon) of icing a shade of red or pink. Outline the lips first and remember to start small. It is easier to add fullness to the lips rather than to make them less full. You can also you’re the same color to add a ruffled collar at the base of the cake on the plate, however, you will need to have additional icing colored for it.


When filling in the eyes, start with the iris color. Blue seemed like a nice color that would brighten up the cake. Green or violet would have worked, too. Outline the area you want colored first. Then fill it in. Once you have the iris made, you can fill in the pupil with black. For my black color, I started adding some of my leftover colors together until a dark gray, almost black shade was made. Fill in the remainder of the eyes with white.

Because this cake does not have a lot of room for messages, I wrote the message with extra icing around the cake on the plate.


The tiara is the final addition to your princess cake. Be sure to wash it well in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before placing it on the cake.

If you are making this for a pre-teen or someone else older than a few years, you could use a crown of candles instead of a tiara. Another possibility is to make dollops of icing going around the cake and put candles in them. Place the candles in the icing before it hardens.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Castle Cake

After making this cake, I decided if I ever made another castle cake, I would probably use a denser cake. I love Pillsbury cake, but it's so moist that it doesn't perform well for taller cakes.

For this castle cake, I made a standard 13"x9" cake. After cooling it completely, I cut the cake into thirds crosswise creating three 4.3" x 9" pieces. I iced one of the pieces and stacked another on top, forming the main section of the castle. I cut a 1"x4" slice off the end of the remaining section and set it aside. The rest of the remaining section was cut into thirds crosswise making three 2"x4" pieces. Each of those were cut in half to create a total of six 2"x2" pieces. These were used to make the two towers. Here is the basic order for assembly:

  • Ice the sides of the main section
  • stack three tower pieces together (with icing between layers) and place it on one side of the cake.
  • repeat with the remaining three tower pieces and place on the other side of the cake.
  • Ice completely with white icing.
  • The remaining 1"x4" cake piece goes on top of the main section (in the middle). Ice it over.
The turrets, trees, drawbridge, windows, etc were all made with peanut butter cookies. I cut castle pieces out of the dough and baked as directed. The I assembled using the icing as "glue". I would recommend finding something easier to use for the turrets. Maybe a couple of ice cream sugar cones or something.
The base border of the cake is a series of "rose bushes" made with large blobs of green icing (squeezed out of a ziplock bag with a large hole cut in the corner) and candy decorating hearts

.
The doorway is outlined with silver decorating balls and above the doorway are more hearts.


The drawbridge "rope" is simply 2 chocolate covered candy sticks anchored to the "floor" with icing.


I piped some "vines" onto the towers and added more candy hearts as "flowers".


Blue decorating gel finishes it off as the water in the moat.



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