So, if you follow me over on Instagram (hey, you can follow me here) I threw up a couple of photos as our family worked on a birthday cake for my oldest daughter. Over the past couple of years this has turned into a nice little family tradition of creation, innovation, sugar, and frosting. We're probably a little crazy spending so much time creating the cakes, but that's okay.
Here's the pretty cool thing--anyone can make these. Trust me, it doesn't take a crazy amount of artistic talent to make these. Just a little time, a spoonful of sugar, and understanding that you will probably make a mess.
Somehow, my next goal will be to bring this into the classroom. I haven't completely thought it out, but I'd like to try it. It's the perfect blend of project based learning, tying into the real world, and rigorous work. But look at what the end results could be...
Disclaimer: Not every single part of our cakes are edible. Sorry cake purists. Most of the time we're creating designs that will be covered with fondant and decorated. Then we add the cake all around it. I'm sorry of this disappoints anyone, you can stop reading now.
We always start our cakes off with a general design/theme. Most of the time we want something elevated which is why we include boxes. Since this party was a reptile theme I wanted to have something crawling on a branch. So we grabbed an Amazon box from #PrimeFailDay (which I quite enjoyed) and a wrapping paper tube. Next, we taped them down.
When that was complete we made our own fondant. Water and powdered sugar. That's the entire recipe. We don't mess around with the marshmallows because that creates a stickiness from the depths of hell that can be impossible to deal with.
Make it simple; water and powdered sugar. Mix it up, roll in color, roll it out, slap it on. So easy....sometimes. Fondant can suck, but we wanted earth tones and it looks good if it's a little rugged.
Next was the snake. Two bunt cakes baked perfectly! We cut the shapes so it resembles a snake. The hardest part was the shape of the face. After a little plastic surgery it was ready to grow it's skin. We looked and looked for ideas on Pinterest, we thought about doing fondant, but the end result was M&Ms. We made the right choice.
My girls separated the M&Ms by color. They had a good rule too: For every piece of candy you sort, you eat two other pieces. It seemed to work well for them. Penny (our dog) waited for a plethora of items to fall on the floor. Then we placed every......single......M&M..... Finally, we added in all the details and the reptile cake was finished. I'll be honest, that snake is awesome. It turned out so well and my girls were going crazy.
The finished product looked even better than we originally anticipated. The entire snake is edible, probably close to 3 feet long. We used approximately 23,456 M&Ms. Okay, I made that up--we didn't keep track.
And this is how you feel once it's all done.
Below is a cake we made for a Rainforest themed party. Starting top left and moving clockwise: We always start with a base design. We wanted trees, so we used a wrapping paper roll and lots of duct tape. Add fondant to the areas in need. Lay cake around the base. Add icing, but make sure you eat at least half of the icing while putting it on. That way, you just won't eat any of the cake and which euqals zero calories. Right?
The fun part is adding all the details such as animals, grasses, and textures. Icing is great, but it can be a little tricky. I don't try to do anything crazy, because I'd just mess it up--it takes great precision and practice for this stuff (which I don't have). Instead, I make vines and flowers. Simple, effective, colorful, yet very stylish (even for an unrefined cake artist).
Superhero Cake: You'll notice the gorilla is holding Snow White and I added Moe's Tavern to the city, along with the Cheers Bar. It's the little things. I kind of love this photo.
This was our first cake we ever tried. The Tangled castle. This was possibly the hardest one we've made because it was our first. BUT we've learned and grown in this adventure. This is where I honed my vine skills.