All I wanted for my birthday this year was to make a cake with my friend Kristie. I actually wanted to sit down with her so I could learn some techniques since she is more advanced than I am. Some skills that I wanted to work on were tiered cakes and fondant covering. As I have mentioned before, I had no idea how to ‘finish’ a round cake that is covered in fondant.
Kristie liked this idea because she also wanted to practice being creative.
We decided the theme should be ME. That is, things I like. It’s hard to believe that this is a cake for a 32 year old but we came up with a 3 teired cake:
Bottom Tier: 8″ round with Muppets on it
Second Tier: 6″ round with Rabbids on it
Top tier: 4.5″ round with my ‘anitabot’ face on it.
There were so many options we went through but decided on these in the end. Lego was a big contender but after looking up pictures of lego cakes we realized how hard it would be to sculpt lego out of anything.
The biggest and most important lesson I learned during this process is that I have a huge disconnect from reality. In fact, we both do. In our heads, this cake was going to be gigantic. In reality, it wasn’t.
The bottom layer was supposed to be an ode to the Muppet Theatre. Specifically, we wanted it to reflect the end of the intro song where all the Muppets are in that weird archway thing.
Seen here from the Muppet Wikia:
We failed to measure the height of the cake, and realized how large our arches were. Then there was the case of the super melty cream cheese frosting that caused the fondant to slip. We had planned on making the columns to support the arches, but there was really no room for that. If we ever make another muppet cake (and I actually hope we do), I think we’ve learned a lot.
We chose to do flat Muppet ‘busts’, because we thought it would be simpler than 3D muppets. I think we did a great job of that. I do realize that Rowl isn’t normally within the arches in the opening of the show since he’s in the orchestra playing the piano, but he’s my favourite muppet. I created Beeker, Rowlf and Fozzie. (Beeker is my other favourite muppet, tied with Rowlf. Fozzie is… fine). We omitted Miss Piggy because she has the most detail of all of them!
We Also thought that there would be room atop the 8″ muppet cake for the wee rabbids I sculped out of fondant to live. But as you can see, not quite. The rabbids were somewhat difficult to make. I tried to make ears, eyes, arms and legs separately, but they were too small to stay together. I ended up sculpting the head and ears out of one piece, and adding the eyes on. The body with legs and arms was another piece. This worked well. If I ever make another Rabbid cake (which I hope I do), I’ll also have many lessons under my belt.
The top layer – the Anitabot face, was the easiest. I did however learn about cutting cake boards. I couldn’t find a 6″ or a 4.5″ cake board, so I had to cut them down. The best way to do this involves a compass and a protractor. It DOES NOT involve free handing it with an exacto knife.
I made the Rabbids and the cakes earlier in the week. I coated them on the Friday… and we had about 6 hours of made decoration, so we were a bit more rushed. This cake was just for me and a chance for us to play, so we weren’t beating ourselves up over our mistakes.
For me, there’s definitely 4 distinct stages to cake making
- 1) The design/planning phase where I figure out what it’s going to entail
- 2) The preparations part where I think this is going to be the best cake ever made
- 3) The actual decorating where I realize my dreams are much higher than my skills, and I realize this cake is going to be the stupidest, ugliest, crappiest thing ever made
4) The subsequent pleasure I feel when it didn’t turn out so bad!
We definitely rushed this cake, but there was a sort of fun with that. It tasted great! I think my next cake project will be no more than 2 layers with one cohesive theme!