I have been making birthday cakes for many years now and the challenge never gets any easier. I have made Rockets, Hamburgers, Treasure Chests (complete with chocolate seafood), Trainers (the shoes) and many more were made over the years for my three sons. Now I’m making them for a new generation and my grandsons are even more adventurous in their choice of birthday cakes than their father and uncles were. And this year was no exception.
This year Sam was FIVE. Oh nooo! How can he be five already? What’s even worse is that his big brother is NINE this year! Where do the years go? Sam is a big Ben 10 fan. He love all things Ben 10 and of course this meant that his birthday party had to be a Ben 10 party complete with cake. My husband, who really likes to help with the cake decorating (yes, honestly, he does) decided that this would be an easy year because we could just make Ben 10′s magic watch or Omnitrix (I think that’s what it is called). I started doing a bit of research and agreed that it would be easy to do but it was so boring! No, no that would never do!
I went on a mission to find a Ben Ten cake idea! I scoured the Internet and looked at dozens of pictures of Ben 10 until I found the solution to my problem! Well, actually, a lady who had already made a Ben 10 cake gave me the solution, so I can’t take the full credit. She had made a really great cake and explained that she had found a picture, printed it off and cut it out. She had then used it as a template to build her Ben Ten character. Armed with this information I set to and found a picture of my own to use as a template and proceeded to build my own little character to go on top of the cake.
I baked a square dark chocolate fudge cake as the base. I then used green and yellow food colouring (the paste is best) to make the green fondant icing base. Here’s a little tip for you. Before you put the icing on, cover the cake with fudge icing (I used chocolate) and make sure that you make the edges nice and sharp. Put the cake in the fridge to allow the icing to firm up. Once it is firm spread it liberally with warmed apricot jam and then put your fondant icing over the top. I smooth the surface with a special fondant icing smoother (you can get these quite easily and are very useful).
Once I had the cake surface prepared it was my husbands turn to become artistic. He painted the magic rays onto the cake (in just the right place for them to be coming from Ben’s omnitrix) and did the Ben Ten lettering etc. Finally we very carefully place Ben Ten on top and hey Presto! the cake was done. We were both really pleased with the end result but, of course, it had to pass the Sam test and, thank goodness, it did.
Unfortunately I chose this time to come down with really awful bug and was not able to go to the party. (Play violins). But, my ever resourceful husband videoed it on his phone and sent it to me. There was a slight problem with this though. I had to watch it with my head tilted to one side because I couldn’t flip it up the right way. But, I got the gist of what was going on in between sneezing and coughing (bring out the violins again) and it looked as though everyone was having a great time, apart from me. I think you may have realized by now that I was feeling very sorry for myself.
Sam’s cake is the latest in a long line of Birthday Cake masterpieces. Unfortunately I don’t have pics of them all to show you but I do have a few. The cake we made last year for Sam was a Super Hero’s Cake. This presented quite a challenge because he wanted them all. Not only was decorating the cake a challenge, making it was too. Normally the cake part is the quick bit, but this one? Oh no! For some reason I developed a case of dropsy! It took three attempts before I finally managed to get the cake onto the board without dropping it! But, here’s what we came up with in the end and yet again we had one happy little birthday boy.
I think it fair to say that the best cake we ever collaborated on was Olly’s (Sam’s big brother). Olly wanted an Indiana Jones Birthday Party and of course this meant a cake as well. My husband, the hero, made Aztec type moulds that we pressed into fondant icing to create a lost temple effect. I made a HUGE oblong cake (chocolate, of course) and did my trick with the fudge icing. I needed to make the icing a sludgy, goldy, brown colour and I achieved this by mixing various coloured pastes together. We then covered it with vines and strange coloured flowers. The final touch was provided by my husband who copied the Indiana Jones lettering for the top. We then sprayed it with edible gold spray and Voila! One Indiana Jones cake!
There is a sad story to this cake. What I haven’t told you is that my son and his family live in London and I live a 4 hour car drive from there. Well, we set off with the cake and all the other party food that I made. The cake was carefully wedged in the boot so that it wouldn’t move on the journey. All was well and off we went! It was a gloriously sunny day and we had a good journey down.
On our arrival we were greeted by two very excited little boys. Of course the cake had to remain hidden. We put the boys to bed and read stories. Once the boys were settled My husband snuck out to the car to bring the cake in. We carefully removed the cover and SHOCK, HORROR!!!! the sides of the cake had melted and fallen apart! Our masterpiece was a pile of what looked molten lava. Thank goodness we’d taken a photo of it before it melted! Luckily we were able to sort of save it and everyone thought it was brilliant and couldn’t work out on earth we had been able to create that great effect with the icing.
We do enjoy making and decorating the cakes and many people have suggested that we should do it professionally. They really cannot understand our askance reaction to this suggestion. If they only knew all the dramas that went into creating the masterpieces that are consumed in a matter of minutes, I think they would understand. But I’m not telling anyone else but you. And I am trusting you not to let anyone else know either. It will be our secret.