I love any kind of decorating challenge but my eyes glaze over with excitement when I’m asked to make a Star Wars cake or a Bubble Bobble cake. So imagine my face when I was asked to make a Batman cake with full reign on design. Choosing the design was the real challenge because, as you can imagine after over 75 years, Batman has gone through so many makeovers, shifts in tones, different forms of media, all contributing to its iconic status in our popular culture.
I went with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s Batman + Adam West’s “POW!” and “BAM!”
He also has no arms because I suck at molding appendages.
Happy birthday, Dad!
(This is not his cake but I’d feel like a dick if I didn’t say that)
Hola, cariño. ¿Quieres un poco de torta Tres leche?
I really am lucky to have such amazing friends who will invite me over for a taco night dinner. And I gladly pay that favour back by providing an apt dessert. While there are more appropriate Mexican-themed desserts to make such as flan, empanadas, or churros, the light tres leches cake (or milk cake) was the perfect end to a favourful fiesta.
And super easy to make as you’ll soon find out!
I was recently asked to do a Star Wars themed birthday cake for a young padawan named Maggie. Excited, I was! And while my ambitions and creativity expanded to a galaxy far, far away, timing and — let’s get real — my abilities would hold me back. But, you can do a lot with a little bit of fondant and a catalogue of Star Wars characters.
Lucky for me, someone gifted me with a set of Star Wars cookie cutters and with some extra fondant to give dimension to his eyes and nose, a confectionery Yoda was born!
The others, however, required a little more fun and attention to detail.
The setting along the side of the cake was of Tatooine (not pictured is the planet’s dual suns over the horizon). I was going to go with a non-figurative representations of jawas but then I remembered this is for a kid’s birthday… and without sleeves they were essentially erect penises on the side of the cake.
And now you can’t unsee it. Moving on…
C-3P0 was enormous fun to build! His detailing was very simple and translated well into fondant. But what’s a 3P0 without his R2?
With a dome coloured with silver pearl dust, some strategically placed blue fondant, and a few indented lines, R2-D2 came alive to accompany C-3P0. If I had more time and room, I would’ve loved to create all the characters!
The surface of the cake might not be anything to write home about, but I know one little girl who was very happy with her cake. One day, I’ll make a cake depicting the trench run scene, or a 3D ewok cake, or maybe a detailed Millennium Falcon cake; but until then, I’ll just keep training practicing.
I try not to get too personal on this blog even though I take baking very personally. Sure, the things I bake for my friends and family are personal but when I blog about them on here, it’s to show my growing technique or share an exciting recipe. But when my dear friends Brandon and Marisa broke the news that they were expecting a baby and wanted me to make a gender reveal cake for the celebration, I didn’t fully grasp how personal it would mean to me to be asked and trusted with this information. To blog about the experience, about the cake, I have no choice but to get personal and perhaps a little uncomfortably emotional about it.
Simply put: I’ve made many cakes before but this was hands down the best cake experience of which I’ve had the honour of being a part.
With the parents-to-be in gender-neutral clothing.
Being the only person with a naughty little secret sporting a grin of Cheshire Cat proportions as party-goers made their guesses by donning pink or blue, I felt a little smug… maybe even a little powerful. And while everyone’s eyes were on the cake as it was being sliced, my eyes were on the parents-to-be, and their parents, and everyone else’s reaction. I teared up before the cake revealed to the room what a piece of paper revealed to me a week before – IT’S A BOY!
Big smile for a baby boy!
Let’s be honest, their reactions would have been the same whether that cake revealed pink or blue. And though you don’t know Brandon and Marisa personally, I will tell you this: that they will be amazing parents and I look forward to spoiling that kid with many baked goods!
Some chocolate cupcakes to accompany The Great Gender Reveal!
Eager cousin Oliver was hoping for a little girl cousin. Maybe next time, buddy!
Photos by Dianna Reis Martin (soon-to-be auntie to a beautiful baby boy)
Father-to-be Brandon included this statement on the event invite that I wanted to make clear as well:
And for the record, please don’t think we agree with gender colours… this is just for a party! Our girl would be decked out in blue, and our boy would be proud to love pink!
“She will lose her shit,” said the doting father of a two-year old daughter named Cecilia, who loves bathing her TY Beanie Boo Muffin cat (aka “Meow-Meows”).
If ever there was a review for my cakes that I would wear with pride, it’s that I made a toddler lose her shit.
So here was the criteria:
1. Make it chocolate.
2. Include this cat:
TY Beanie Boo Muffin Cat
3. She loves bathing Meow-Meows.
Rubber ducky was a bonus:
If your dessert vice happens to be chocolate and marshmallows, you have two main options: rocky road or s’mores. If you are particularly about your marshmallows, say for example, you prefer them toasted, well then there’s only one option for you.
So this is kinda out of season (however, given the horrendous snowfall we received yesterday, perhaps it is just giving the white Christmas we should’ve had instead of that ice storm back in December). I decided to dig up some old photos of some of my earlier attempts at holiday cake decorating. I would never say I’m a pro now but it is quite humbling to see how I started and how much I’ve learned through the years. So if you’re attempting to make a cake and it just cannot hold itself together, don’t get discouraged. We’ve all been there; pre-crumbcoat. Practice makes
more practice perfect.
Pictured above is the cake from Christmas 2013. The tree is made from an ice cream cone and presents are shaped using rice krispie treats and wrapped in fondant.
Now brace yourselves for this blast from the confectionery past (2006 to be exact). I believe this was my first multi-tier cake, and believe me, there were multi-tears alright:
Well, you gotta start somewhere!
Next up is 2007’s holiday cake where I learned to dial back the crazy a bit using cones for trees for the first time, and a gingerbread house that was actually made with graham crackers:
Then in 2008, I went back to the
lab kitchen to experiment with decorating again. This time using wafer paper for designs. Looking back on this, I think I can execute this better… and by “better” I mean do it completely different:
2009 was a trying year – due to an accident, I was out of commission for a while but I was determined to have an epic cake comeback with multi-tier cake with a spinning snowman! Suffice to say, I’ve had all evidence of its existence destroyed.
There were many other cakes since then that have helped me hone in my skills. Perhaps they’ll eventually find their way to this blog but until then, Merry Cakemas!
The cake is the Magnolia Bakery vanilla recipe (yes, this Gingy Cake is not a ginger cake). I also used my usual pudding filling with a splash of bourbon for between the layers.
Now let me explain this cake design: a friend at work has expressed his hatred for the Shrek movie franchise on a number of occasions… so naturally, his birthday cake was going to be Shrek-themed. Shrek’s face was too hard and hideous to construct so I took the easy route and fashioned Gingy out of actual gingerbread cookie. This would have been great if my friend had actually seen a Shrek movie and got the reference…
This skateboarding turtle cake is pieced together using rice krispie treats, wafer sheets, and fondant. Oh yeah, there’s some cake in there too…