Pokemon Charmander for Aiden’s 10th Birthday, my new favourite cake!

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The Charmander cake is definitely my new favourite cake I’ve made!  The kids loved it!  My husband took a pretty great shot of the final cake, but for the progress pics, my camera had broken, so I had to use my phone to take pictures, and it’s not really the best phone for taking pictures.  I still wanted to document the process though!

Finished Charmander Cake

First, I baked two sheet cakes, and then made a two layered cake.  Then, I drew on a piece of paper the basic outline of the head and body that I wanted to cut out.  I cut out the shape on paper first, and put the paper on the cake.  I cut out the outline of the body.  (I missed this pic, but you’ll see me do it again for the tail.  But in the pic below you can see in the background what I carved off when I did just the outline).  Once I had the outline, I started carving.  The aim with the head was to make it look like a teenage mutant ninja turtle head!

Carving the Cake 1

 

Then did the same thing for the tail.  I drew what I thought the outline would be on a piece of paper with a pencil.  I cut it out, and put it on the left over cake, and cut out the outline.Cut the tail outline

See how in the pic above, the body of the Charmander is wider and a tiny bit higher towards that head, than towards his tail?  This is WRONG!  As I was carving the tail, I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the body.  I wasn’t 100% happy, but didn’t know why.  That is, until my husband came to see how I was doing, and said simply, “You need to turn the body around, so it’s wider in the back…”  Yay for husbands!  That totally made it look better!  You can see the difference it makes in the pic below of the carved tail.

Carve the Tail

Next I carved the legs.  The back legs are a little wider, but shorter.  This is because I will add the foot and toes later with fondant.

Carve the Legs

 

Then I covered the cake with buttercream.  I started with a spatula, but the carved cake got a bit crumbly and delicate.  I broke part of the head, and the legs and tail were impossible!  So I switched to piping it on with a flat cake tip, as you can see in the pic below.

Crumb Coating

Next, I coloured and rolled the fondant.  I completely rely on my large Wilton rolling pin when working with fondant!  I used my favourite fondant of all time, Satin Ice!  Bulk Barn used to sell Satin Ice, but now they sell Virgin Ice, though Satin Ice is available online.  I like Virgin Ice fondant too.  Both Satin Ice and Virgin Ice work well, and both taste much better than Wilton’s Fondant.

Roll out the Fondant

Just like when you roll out a pie crust, you know how you kind of roll half of it loosely onto the rolling pin when you go to put the pie crust on top of the filling?  Same thing with fondant!  I called over my hubby and had him ready to bring over the cake.  I rolled the fondant loosely half onto the rolling pin, lifted it up, so only some of it touched the counter, and had him quickly put the cake UNDER my pin, and I slowly lowered the fondant over the cake.

Cover the Cake

I gently moulded the fondant over and around the cake with my hands, and trimmed off the edges as I went around.

Cut away the fondant

 

Then I marked a crease between the hind legs and the body.  Because it really isn’t part of the body there, the hind legs are beside the body, so I couldn’t have the skin smooth between them.  I needed to crease it with the back of a knife.  I also cut little triangles out of the front of the front legs to form claws.  I needed to form them with my fingers after I cut them.

Crease the thigh, cut the claws

Then I got to pinch his nose!  I made two little indent dots either side.  And I scored where I thought the mouth should be with a knife.

Pinch the nose

 

 

Next I made the teeth.  I formed little fondant teeth, just two.

Form the Tooth

I sliced the fondant mouth open a tiny bit, and put the teeth just inside the slit of his mouth.  I also made the mouth look a little better by giving him a small smile.  Just a tiny detail, and it made so much difference!

Mouth Details

 

Next I did the back feet and claws.  I formed them out of fondant. First the claws.

Roll out the claws

Then the foot.  I had to search around the house to find the right sized tool to help form the foot and make holes for the claws to go in!  Turns out it was a two-way radio that was the right tool!

Forming the Toes

I assembled the feet, and put some other creases in his skin between his toes with the back of a knife.

Close up of Toes

I rolled out the fondant for the eyes, and looked for a cutter that would help my cut them out perfectly.  Turns out, it was an mini icecream cookie cutter!

icecream eyes

It had the perfect curve at the top, and then I just cut the sides and bottom straight!  Then I painted them with food colouring.

Painted Eyes

Do you see the creases behind his neck in the pic above?  I added a few more creases to his skin with the back of a knife.  He is a lizard after all!

Next, I broke up a couple of candles.  I took two cheap white birthday candles, and broke off the wax.  Then I tied the two wicks in a knot.  I know I could have done this with regular string, but the wicks from the candles had soaked up some wax when they were being made, and so burned slower and better when we light his tail as the candle.

Candle tail

I used a pointed dowel to make a hole at the end of his tail…

Hole for the Candle

I put in the wick, and formed the tail around it.

Tail Wick in

And he was party ready!

Finished Charmander Cake

Hands down my favourite cake so far!  And the kids were super impressed! One boy was sad to eat him.  Even my son was hesitant to blow out his tail.  Apparently, in Pokemon, if the Charmander’s tail goes out, he can die!  But once we cut into the cake, and they saw the cake, not the character, they were quite happy to eat some cake!

Charmander Birthday Cake

I hope I have inspired some other cakers out there!  Not all my cakes work out.  (Check out my Minecraft cake post just the year before, and my Thomas cake at the beginning of my Gordon Cake post… not my most shining cakes!).  That’s why I started out only do cakes for family and close friends who won’t be upset if it doesn’t work out!  They know my heart is in it.  But the more I do worked at it, the higher the success rate!  And the Charmander cake is proof that persistence and practice pay off!

Happy Caking!     >^,,^<

If you’re planning a Pokemon Party, I have another post that may give you some ideas for your celebration!  Aiden’s 8th Birthday Party was Pokemon Themed, and I have some printable party favors on my blog post “Poke-ball Cake… a Poke-Cake! Birthday #8!

 

Pokemon Party Printables

Pokemon Party Printables

 

 

 

Pokemon Charmander Cake

 

 

8 comments

  1. Rachel Thompson says:

    Heyy,
    I’m not sure how often you check this. I want to make one for my son tomorrow. I just wanted to know how many cakes you had to use. Also, my first time making fondant so, any info let me know.

    • nomij says:

      Hi Rachel! I’m away from home and my laptop right now so I can’t check my extra pics from last year to see how many cakes I baked! I know I layered the cake, it was easier to carve being a bit taller. I remember I used at least three sheets of cake. Two were definitely 9×13. Now that I think about it, I think I may have baked two 9×13 and two 9×9, (One of each twice). Sorry, I would check the other pictures I took, but you needed a response sooner than I get home!
      I have only made fondant twice, I find it more convenient to buy Satin Ice or Virgin Ice from bulk barn as it takes a while to make. It also takes a long time to colour, so if they sell pre-coloured orange, it would save you a lot of time. This cake took me about 8 hours over the course of two days, and I didn’t make my own fondant. There are two main types of fondant I have worked with and made. I found marshmallow fondant cheaper and easier (just Google marshmallow fondant). But use shortening or lard on the surface when kneading as it is super sticky (I use icing sugar on the surface when working regular fondant). Marshmallow fondant doesn’t dry out as much as regular fondant, and is more elastic, so doesn’t tear quite as much when working with it.
      I hope your cake and party go well! I love planning and doing my son’s parties and cakes! Thanks for visiting the site and your comment!

  2. Alexa says:

    Specifically how any cakes did you make? And we’re the layered cakes round? Was it four? Sorry was a little confused and I have a little boy who is in love with this cake. It’s amazing.

    • nomij says:

      Hi Alexa!
      I wish I wrote down how many cakes I baked! I know that I used 9 x 13 cake pans. I think I baked four. Two layered for the body, and two layered for the tail and the head. Looking at the third and fourth pictures in the blog, (the second and third instructional pics), you can see the left over cake in the background. I used the left overs for the legs, but they were really fragile and crumbly, so if I did this again, I’d use rice crispy treats for the legs. This cake isn’t my design, I saw it on Pinterest. But I could not find the original site where it was posted, so I can’t find where to link to give credit! It definitely is a great design! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Emily says:

    Oh my gosh! I just made this for my 19year old boyfriend 🙂 YOU GAVE ME INSTRUCTIONS I COULD ACTUALLY FOLLOW! AMAZING CAKE!!

    • The Happy Bookkeeper says:

      Hi Emily! Your comment makes my heart happy! 😀 I hope your boyfriend appreciated how long it takes to make this cake! LOL! But when it works, it’s all worth it! Edible Art for the ones we love!

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Dare I share my cake fail on my blog? Aiden’s 9th birthday, a Minecraft Cake.

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Ah, the Minecraft cake.  It didn’t really turn out as I imagined it would.  I’m grateful my friend took pictures at the party, as I didn’t have a chance to take any final pictures of it when I finished because it took so long!  I’m pleased with my Royal Icing flooded words, and my Royal Icing Steve holding a cake.  And I got the colours right.  But… then it just gets wonky!  Part of me wants to try again.  And part of me thinks “are you *crazy*?  That took FOREVER!”  But, my son loved it.  And really, it was created for him, so by those standards, it was a success!

Minecraft cake

It was success for the party.  But… was it web worthy?  I see a lot of awesome cakes online.  But this blog is about my cake journey, and how to not be dissuaded when mistakes happen, and to be encouraged to continue to practice and learn.  And so I’ll proudly show my learning curve!  My Royal Icing Flooding technique is improving!  Check out the Steve on the side!  (Sorry for the blurry picture!)

Blurry Minecraft Cake

I did two Steves.  And THAT took forever too!  Each Steve had two different browns, three different skin tones, five different blues, three different greys, and the red and the white.  PHEW!  Always do two though.  Even if it’s a lot… do two!  Because they are so delicate when you take them off the parchment, and if one breaks, you always have a back up!

I was quite proud of making Steve hold a cake!  Here’s the picture I used to base the royal icing on…

steve holding cake

And I used an online generator to create the Happy Birthday Aiden to copy with royal icing.

Happy Birthday Minecraft

I coloured my favourite fondant, Satin Ice, three different browns, three different greens, and a grey.  I measured how big I wanted my cake to be, and divided it by 8, and that was the dimensions of the squares I would cut out, as the pattern I came up with was 8 x 8.  I used the patterns below to put the squares on my cake.

Sides:

Minecraft block pattern side

Top:

Minecraft Block Pattern Top

I put a lot of work into this birthday!  For the food, we actually had a “build your own Minecraft Scape” with cubes of grey rice crispy squares (rock), blue jello jiggler cubes (water), red jello jiggler cubes (lava), and brownie cubes with green buttercream icing on top (ground/grass blocks).  I was cutting it close on time with how long things were taking me, so I conscripted my 9 year old to pipe the grass on the blocks before the guests arrived!  The “build your own edible Minecraft Scape” was a HUGE hit with the kids!  We did it at the end of the party, so they took it home to eat and share with their family.  It was such a busy party, with so much going on, that I have very few action pics.  You can imagine a 9 year old boy’s birthday party is quite a loud/busy/crazy time!  But after the guests left, I took a few pics of Aiden’s created scene for posterity!  The square green paper plates from the party store were the best choice!

Edible Minecraft Scene

 

So, despite having to make two types of jello jigglers, grey rice crispie squares, and cutting up brownies, I still had a few other DIY projects I did for the party.

I’m a huge fan of making my own loot bag goodies.  Loot bag goodies are quite expensive for what they are, little toys that will likely be lost or tossed.  First, I made the bags themselves.  The bags were the economical coloured paper bags from Michaels in green.  Not the ones with handles, the ones that are cheaper than that!  I created a creeper face stencil from cardstock, and conscripted my 9 year old son to colour in the creeper face on all the bags to with a black permanent marker.

One of the loot bag goodies I made were rice crispy creepers.  I made green rice crispy squares (rectangles), and used black royal icing to put on a creeper face!  I wrapped each one in saran wrap.

Three of the goodies in the bag were just 4″ x 4″ ziplocks (from the craft section of Dollarama) with snacks inside and minecraft related labels.  I had some pretzel sticks and labelled them “Sticks”.  I cut up some twizzlers and labelled them “TNT”.  And I had wanted to get some gold wrapped chocolates for the baggie labelled “Gold” but couldn’t find them.  So I went with gold wrapped butterscotch candies.  But I still think the gold wrapped chocolates would have been better.

Minecraft Loot Bag

Here are the printables I used for the tags. (right click and save image to your hard drive).  I printed them 6 to a page I think.

sticks

Gold

one-tnt-block

 

 

This cake was a lot of work!  And then it turned out WONKY!  But, my son really loved it, and so did the kids!  For added fun, I purchased coloured flame candles from the party store!  They were pretty neat!

Minecraft cake with candles

Overall, a successful birthday party!  My favourite is when they blow out the candles!

Aiden blowing out candles

 

Notice the foods all square!  There was a bit of a theme!

I hope I’ve inspired some Minecraft Creativity out there!  Happy Caking!

>^,,^<

 

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Poke-ball cake… a Poke-cake! Birthday #8

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Birthday number 8 was all about Pokemon!

Pokemon Pokeball Cake

I was planning on mounting my pokeball cake (aka ‘pokecake’) on a 6″ round.  But that was way too small and just looked silly!  So, I did what the best cakers do, and improvised!  I cut one of the rounds in half and created a cake “background” and mounted the candles on there!  Wasn’t what I had originally planned, but, it worked!  I covered them with buttercream using the star tip.  I used the Wilton Sports Ball Cake Pan Set for the pokeball cake.  I found that the weight of the fondant made the cake ‘sink’.  That is, the bottom was not perfectly round and got a bit compressed.  I have since learned that if I want a perfect sphere covered in fondant, I need to use rice crispy treats as the bottom half.  If I want a perfect sphere that is all cake, I need to cover it in buttercream or use a preformed melted chocolate shell, as I did in my spaghetti and meatballs cake!

For the fondant, I used Satin Ice, my favourite, that I purchased from Bulk Barn.  Now, Bulk Barn sells Virgin Ice, which I like also, but Satin Ice is still available for purchase online! Also, I use Americolor for the red and black colouring.  If you’ve ever tried to colour fondant with the little pots of food colouring, you know you burn through that pot pretty quickly, and I always feel I’m seeing pink!  But Americolor was a discovery at a professional cake decorating store, and I have never looked back!

I wanted to add some texture to the cake board, and so I took some rolled fondant and then rolled it onto a textured embossing rolling mat, the star one from Wilton is what I used for this cake.  (It was a Christmas gift from my mom!)

I used the royal icing flooding technique, (I will be posting a tutorial soon!), for the Pikachu and the lettering.  I found the Pokemon font online (comment if you need to know how to download and install a font!).  It didn’t look like the Pokemon font when I spread out the letters, but it still turned out well!

I used the image below to create my royal icing Pokemons.

pikachu

I also made some sweet loot bags with some great economical goodies!  I always find that the loot bag goodies that you can buy are so expensive! Or, just throw aways.  So I like to make my own when I can!  For the bag itself I used just plain red paper bags from Michaels (not the more expensive ones with handles, the cheaper ones).  I put some white card stock on and cut and glued on the detail.

Three of the goodies in the bag were made by me!  First, I made Pokeball Cookies!  Pokecookies!  I found the perfect sized ziplock baggies from the dollar store Dollarama, (4″ by 4″ I think, or close to that).  And the cookies fit in perfectly!  One for each loot bag!  They were sugar cookies with royal icing flood work!  (I do like using royal icing flood work!)

Pokeball cookies

 

I also purchased candy covered chocolate balls from the party store in yellow and orange.  They were for wedding favours, but sold in a bulk bag.  Yellow and Orange were actually cheaper than the rest!  I guess not many people have yellow or orange weddings!  I put some into those same mini ziplock bags from the dollar store, and put a Raichu tag on them!

Raichu Energy Pellet Goodies

I’ve included the tag below for you to download and print if you want to do something similar!

Raichu2

I printed 6 to a page, and they fit just right folded in half over the bags!

Then, using last year’s template, I printed Pokemon cootie catchers!  Here’s the birthday boy showcasing them all folded before he put one each into the loot bags…

Pokemon Cootie Catchers

And here’s the pic for you to save and print yourself!  Right click on the image below, and select “open image in a new tab”.  Then right click and save!  You’ll have to cut it to a square before folding.  Do you need a reminder on how to fold a cootie catcher?  Comment if you do!

Pokemon Cootie Catcher

And here’s the cake in action!  I got that sweet Eight Sparkler from the party store!  It was pretty cool!

Cake with candles

 

What a great party!  I hope my ideas have helped your creative juices!

If you’re looking for other pokemon party ideas, check out my favorite cake ever, my Charmander Birthday Cake Post!  Happy Caking! >^,,^<

Pokemon Charmander cake with Step by Step Photos

Pokemon Charmander cake with Step by Step Photos

And the splash pic to help people find me…

Pokemon Party Printables

2 comments

  1. Donna Sommers says:

    I love your Cootie Catcher. Can you tell me how to fold it please? My grandson’s 9th birthday is Pokemon and I think the kids will love this surprise in their party bag! Thanks so much!

    • nomij says:

      Hi Donna! Thanks for your comment! I’m excited someone else can use the cootie catcher! Here’s a video from youtube I found on how to fold them:



      For the pre-printed pokemon cootie catcher, make sure to it is a square to start, and start with the printed side down. Let me know if you have any questions!
      Nomi >^,,^<

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Frozen Buttercream Transfer – First Attempt! Mario Cake for Aiden’s 7th Bday.

For my son Aiden’s 7th birtday, I attempted frozen buttercream transfer.  The cake was a hit!  It definitely had great visual impact! (I think the stars helped!).  There were mistakes, and I’ve learned a lot since!  But each cake is an opportunity to learn and improve!  If you haven’t heard of frozen buttercream transfer, it’s when you pipe the top of the cake before the cake is even baked!  You use parchment paper or wax paper, and trace an inverted image with buttercream.  You colour it all in by piping with buttercream, not leaving any spaces.  Then you freeze it, and when you’re ready, flip it on to the cake!  Here’s a link to my step by step progress pics for a Led Zeppelin cake that I did with Frozen Buttercream Transfer!

Below is the picture of my first ever FBT Cake! Aiden’s FBT Mario Cake!

Mario Cake with FBT

There are no progress pics on this cake.  It took quite a long time to colour each batch of buttercream before colouring in the next part of the picture.  But I’d say the best part of this technique is that you can do it ahead of time!  Once you’ve done your colouring, you need to freeze it, and you can freeze it a week ahead of time!  And the stars!  They’re done by the royal icing flooding technique, (tutorial to come soon!).  And they need 48 hours to dry, so again, they can be done ahead of time!

I ended up using the piping swirl technique on the side of the cake.  I put both blue and white icing in the bag at the same time.  This was to try and create a “cloud like” effect.  It was a warm day, and the buttercream got a bit too soft.  but overall I think the effect was success!  I especially like the tiny star accents I created.  It’s in the little details!

Since this cake, I have learned how to “mush” together the colouring lines.  I use papertowel!  There are some brands out there that do not have much of a pattern!  Such as Viva Towels.  I lay it lightly on the buttercream and use a smoother on the papertowel to smooth the buttercream below.  But it does leave a slight doppled effect.

I also have learned since… make sure the top of your cake is *completely flat*!!!!  I thought my cake was flat, until the frozen buttercream transfer cracked down the middle as it settled!  Ah well!  The kids still love the cake, and practice makes perfect!  Fail stands for… First Attempt In Learning, right?  🙂

You may be wondering… I posted Aiden’s first, second, third, and fourth birthday cakes, where are five and six?  I had no great pictures of his fifth and sixth birthday cakes, but because his cake for his sixth birthday was also Mario themed, I thought I’d tag some of the birthday party pictures to help share ideas, in case you found my post because you were looking for Mario Party ideas!

There was no good picture taken of the cake.  It was one giant mushroom cake, with a beautiful large royal icing “6 up” star perched on top.  (I’ve just been corrected by my son over my shoulder… it is not just a mushroom… it is a Mega Mushroom!)   I also made up individual mushroom cupcakes and I displayed them on a cupcake stand.   In the picture below you can see the candle lit, and the “six up star” in Aiden’s hand, already with a bite out of it!  Also are the mushroom cupcakes on the bottom left… with a couple of cupcakes taken already!

Mario Party Picture

 

That sparkler candle doesn’t blow out!  It burns out on its own.  That didn’t stop the kids from trying though!

Mario Party Cake

I had some great ideas for economical party favours to go in the Party Loot bags!

One was marshmallows dipped in chocolate to create mini mushrooms!  They looked so cute as a pair in a little plastic bag!  I used regular sized marshmallows to dip, and mini marshmallows sliced for the dots!  In the pic below was a trayful, with a few pairs started on the left of the tray.  Each loot bag had a pair.  Kids LOVE chocolate dipped marshmallows!

Marshmallow Mushrooms

One was a special ‘cootie catcher’ Mario game!  So I thought to share it on my blog in case someone else can use it for their party favour bags!  Simply click on the picture below to open it in a new window (at a larger size, 8 1/2 by 11), and then right click and save the larger image from that window!  We printed it on card stock.  You’ll need to cut it to a square before folding.  Do you remember how to fold a cootie catcher!  Comment if you need a reminder!

Mario Cootie Catcher

 

You’ll note that #8 tells you to “Pull your ears, open your eyes wide, and stick out your tongue!”  Below is a shot of my 6 year old doing as he’s told!

Goofy Face

And below is a pic of my now 10 year old son showing the cootie catcher in action for my blog post!

Showing the Mario Cootie Catcher

And the splash to get the word out 😉

Free Mario Cootie Catcher pic

 

I have to say, creating a blog 5 to 10 years after the cakes, has given me the need to go through old photos to find what I need.  And it’s been so much fun remembering the great times with my son, my family, and my friends!  I’m not just making cakes… I’m making MEMORIES!  <3

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If at first you don’t succeed… try again next birthday! My Thomas the Tank Engine cake story.

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In my cake decorating journey, I felt that my son’s first birthday and second birthday cakes turned out pretty good, with a few lessons learned the hard way.  So I attempted a feat many have tried and failed… a 3-D train cake!  I’ve seen great successes online.  I’ve seen great *attempts* online.  So I want to show you my first attempt, and how I have learned what Fail stands for… First Attempt At Learning! And I want to share how perseverance prevailed!

Step by Step Pictures of Train Cake

For Aiden’s third birthday, I attempted Thomas the Tank Engine.  I had read online that freezing the cake made it much easier to decorate!  So taking this advice I baked the train cake using the 3-D train cake pan by Wilton.  I froze the cake overnight before decorating it the next day.  And… I learned that if you want to take that route in the summer, make sure you live in an air-conditioned home!  So, you know how you take a can of pop out of the fridge on a hot and humid summer’s day and condensation forms on the outside?  Oh. My. Gosh!  Take a frozen cake out of a freezer on a hot and humid summers day and cover it with fondant… and watch a cake disaster!!!  No amount of fans or paper towels could save my soggy melting fondant!

First try

Not quite what I had envisioned… but my royal icing flood work for the Thomas trains for the sides and my lettering turned out pretty darn awesome.  So, still learning!  And that’s shoestring licorice for the tracks!  And the main thing is… my three year old loved it!

As his fourth birthday approached, he informed me that technically he should have had *Henry* not Thomas for his third birthday, as Henry is train #3. And for his fourth birthday, could he please have Gordon, who is train #4.  So, not being defeated by a cake disappointment,  rather, using it as a learning experience, I gave it a go.  I was so pleased with the result!

Added detail to the board

I must have been confident, because this time, I took progress pictures!

Carving the trains

I used the same 3D train pan by Wilton.  I remembered that the last cake, and my ducky cake, were both a bit lopsided when they baked.  So I baked three cakes, and for the front and back, used the two best looking halves so it was not lopsided as it had baked.  As you can see, there was a lot of carving going on!  This was my first carved cake.  A resourceful mama would have make cake pops with the left over cake, but just the cake was was enough for me this year!

The carved train

Crumb coated Train Cake

I measured the length of the cake and cut out a piece of cardboard just the right size (I had a plan!).  I covered it with foil and built Gordon on it.  I stuck all the cake pieces together with icing.  I coloured the fondant and rolled it out, and covered it with Saran Wrap to stop it from drying.  Then I crumb coated just the part I was covering with blue fondant.  Icing can “crust” and I thought it may loose it gluey-ness before I had coloured and rolled out the black for the front.  I prefer Satin Ice Fondant.  It tastes so much better than Wilton’s!  I found it at the bulk barn, but now the fondant that they sell is Virgin Ice.  I like Virgin Ice Fondant too.   Both Satin Ice and Virgin Ice work well, and they taste so much better than a lot of other brands out there.

First section of fondant

In the picture above I’ve put on the first section of blue fondant.

 

Second section of fondant

And then I added the second section of blue fondant.

 

Black section of fondant

Here’s the black fondant on.  Man, that smokestack gave me trouble!  It broke off, and I had to rebuild it from some of the left over cake!  But resourcefulness prevailed!

 

Red Strip of fondant

Then I added the red fondant detail.

 

Royal Icng Peices

A few days before I had used royal icing to do some flood work.  I will have my full tutorial posted soon!  But in the picture above you can see the wheels I made, (big and little).  I made much more than I needed, as dried royal icing is brittle and delicate, and can break easily.  And takes 24 to 48 hours to dry, so there’s no making another if what you need breaks!  I also make the fours (much better detail than piping freehand on the side).  I also experimented with different “smokes”.  Thick and puffy.  Scribbly and thin.  And lastly, the big blue scribble was a practice challenge with my left over icing.  Because practice makes perfect!  And one day I may need some skills in creating large royal icing lace and taking off of the parchment without breaking it!

 

Wheels and Black Fondant Details

I added the wheels, and also cut out and added some black fondant detail.  I glued the red and black fondant on with a paintbrush dipped in water.  (I have a special “for cakes only” paintbrush in my cake toolbox.)  I glued the wheels on with royal icing.

the Four and the red piped detail

I added the red piping detail with royal icing, and glued on the fours.  Buttercream is more easily smudged, so I sill like to use royal icing for piping fine details.

Coal box yellow piped detail blue disk and smoke

In the picture above, you can see that I added coal to the coal car.  Some chocolate icing topped with crushed up chocolate cookie!  And I added yellow royal icing detail to the window, a blue disk thing that Gordon has, and I decided on the scribbly thin smoke!

 

fondant covered board

I had coloured some fondant green, and covered a cake board.  Onto the cake board goes Gordon!  It was much easier to build him not on the cake board, that’s why the board he’s on is so small… I still have a plan!

 

Added detail to the board

And I finished the board off with the pre-made fours, and also some piping detail.  My plan for covering Gordon’s board worked great!  I squeezed on some chocolate icing, and covered it with chocolate rocks!  The chocolate rocks are always a huge hit with the kids!  I always let them pick them off after the candles are blown out and before I start cutting!  I get my chocolate rocks also at the bulk barn, but they are available online too.  As you can see I added Gordon’s face.  There are no progress pics of the face creation though.

That Face and the chocolate rocks

I did the face in steps too, letting the fondant dry out a bit before gluing it on.  I painted the eyes with white food colouring (yes, white!  It helps to whiten when you’ve added a tad too much food colouring!  And worked great for Gordon’s eyes!  It’s also wonderful for whitening buttercream when you use real butter instead of shortening!).  And then I painted more detail on with black food colouring. (Almost any brand of black food colouring works when painting, but AmeriColor Super Black is my favourite for colouring fondant and icing.)  I had tried to make Thomas’s face the year before, and it really didn’t work.  So I was so happy that my second attempt worked out!  I also at some point added the buffer detail in the front of Gordon below his face.  I just cut out a black strip of fondant, and made circle marks in it with the back of an icing tip!  And when I stuck it on, it covered up an ugly seam I couldn’t get right!  Resourcefulness wins again!

Gordon cake from thomas the tank engine

I was so happy with how this cake turned out!  It took a few cake fails before reaching this point!  AND I’ve had cake fails since!  But I just keep going, keep learning, and keep trying!  And my son loves his cake even if it doesn’t quite turn out how I pictured in my head!

Definitely a labour of love.  Because I haven’t figured out how to make cakes quickly yet!  And I have such a mess to clean up after!  This cake took HOURS!  But it was so worth it!  How long does it take for you to do your 3D cakes?

 

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Round two! A bright ball themed cake for a bright ball loving two year old!

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I had so much fun creating my son’s first birthday cake (How it all began…) that I felt I could do it again for birthday number two!  He loved playing with balls, and it seemed the perfect theme for his second birthday party.  And since I was new at making themed cakes, cutting out circles seemed the right level of challenge for my second cake!

I planned for bright primary colour balls to be cut out of rolled fondant, and also rolled up and “bouncing” from the top on wires.  I had seen wires used in other cakes, and I loved the visual impact it gave, without a lot of work!

 

Ball themed toddler cake

As I mentioned in my previous post, I generally don’t like the main brand of fondant out there.  It has given fondant a reputation of tasting quite bad, but, it does hold up lovely in cool or warm weather, so it really is a good choice for wedding cakes that have to always look perfect!  But at weddings, this fondant is usually peeled of the slice of cake by the guests, as it really does not taste as good as it looks!  So Satin Ice, is currently my favourite fondant.  It tastes as good as it looks, and now they are coming in pre-coloured options!  At the time I purchased it from Bulkbarn.  But now Bulkbarn sells Virgin Ice Fondant.  I like this fondant to, it works just as well.  But Satin Ice Fondant can still be purchased online.

At the time though, (ten  years ago) they did not come pre-coloured.  Have you ever tried to colour fondant a bright red?  I have, using the small pots of colour, and it is not a fun experience.  I have since discovered Gel colour, and it is amazing stuff!  My favourite is by AmeriColor.  It’s the best Black Food Colouring on the market!  But I hadn’t discovered this when I started caking!  Though I had figured out that colouring fondant bright colours, especially red, took a lot of time, effort, and stained hands.  So I took the easy route, and purchased Wilton’s pre-coloured fondant; red, blue, and yellow.  I still used my favourite fondant, satin ice, for covering the cake though!

For the letters, I pre-made these using a flooding technique with royal icing.  I make my own royal icing using *this recipe*.  I’ll be uploading my flooding technique soon!

For the edging, I did not pipe, I used fondant.  I was planning on using balls for both the top and the bottom edging, but my letters were a little big!  So when I rolled the white fondant into a “snake” to line the base, and as it was white, it helped the letters look a lot more centered, and not over crowded.

And the circle cut outs… well… I *thought* that was the easy bit!  But my son’s birthday is in the summer, and I did not have air conditioning, and with the weather so hot and humid, the fondant stretched and slid down 🙁   So, definitely not a perfect final result that I was aiming for!  BUT… my son loved it, and I was learning to do by doing!  The best way to learn!

 

Aiden taking a ball

And I also made sugar cookies and decorated them with the royal icing flooding technique too!

Ball Cookies

But my favorite part of birthdays now, is when they blow out the candles on the cake I made with love!

Blowing out the candles

 

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How It All Began… a Ducky Cake Tale of Shortcuts

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My first foray into “Cooler Than Your Average Cakes”, was my son’s first birthday.  I set a bar for myself to try new ideas and cake decorating techniques each year my son got older!  This cake was no great feat, as it used as many shortcuts as possible!  But, it was stress free, and I cannot say that about most of the cakes that followed!

Easy Duckie Cake

So cute! But an easy cake to start with!

As a single mom trying to plan a fun filled party with lots of toddlers and adults, as much as I wanted a cool cake, I did not have the time to learn-to-do-by-doing!  So, every part of it was store bought!

The Square Cake Base – I did not have a square cake pan, so I purchased this cake from the grocery store.  I requested an un-decorated cake.  Can you believe they charged me the same as a decorated cake!  I didn’t even want icing!   That was a waste of money!  But the cake was perfectly square and flat, so I was satisfied.

Ducky Cake – I purchased this ducky pan, and just used boxed cake mix.

The FondantSatin Ice from the Bulk Barn… to this day my favourite store bought fondant.  Now Bulk Barn sells Virgin Ice, which I also like, but I can order Satin Ice online still.  I find that the Wilton Brand fondant looks beautiful on wedding cakes and holds up to all weather, but tastes like sugar coated cardboard!  Virgin Ice and Satin Ice both perform AND taste great!

The Icing – Vanilla Betty Crocker Tub icing.  WAY too soft for the stars on the ducky!  But it still worked out.  This was before the Bulk Barn sold Buttercream Icing, which I have used since.  Though it can get expensive, and doesn’t taste quite as lovely as my new favourite Buttercream Icing Recipe.

The Lettering and Little Duckies – Bulk Barn pre-created decorations!


 

 

I knew that if I didn’t mix the colouring with the fondant all the way, it gave a cool marble affect, so I thought it would look a bit like water.  I liked the visual texture it gave, as it is a very simple cake.  This low square cake was such a great cake to learn how to cover a cake with fondant.  I used an extra long rolling pin, an icing spatula, and icing sugar to roll it out.  I did not colour all of the fondant blue… I saved some for the “bubbles” around the base!  Before I rolled out the fondant I prepped the cake by “crumb coating” it with Vanilla Betty Crocker Tub Icing.

I used this ducky cake pan for the ducky, and using the star tip, covered him with yellow stars.  I smoothed on the orange duck bill, and the eyes are fondant with black gel food colouring painted on.

I really wanted to have it be a two part cake; the top for my Son to touch, taste, and devour, as is the new tradition of first birthdays.  And a base to cut up for everyone else.  It worked out wonderfully!  Here is my son touching, tasting, and sharing his very first birthday cake!

The first instinct of a Toddler is to touch!

The first instinct of a Toddler is to touch!

The second instinct of a toddler is to put it in his mouth!

The second instinct of a toddler is to put it in his mouth!

Nom Nom Nom!

Nom Nom Nom!

"Want some Mom?"

“Want some Mom?”

And so began my journey to learn and do cakes for the ones I love 🙂  And as I grew as a baker, I had a couple awesome ups, and some disastrous downs, and little bit of stress, and a lot of fun!  I can’t wait to share my adventures, what I’ve learned, and some of my first hand reviews of what’s out there for us “Cakers”.  I haven’t learned it all yet though!  So I’ll be inviting some amazing cakers to interview here on caketips.ca and see what’s going on behind the scenes of their amazing Cake Creations!

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