I was definitely on the Dark Side this week.
I just couldn't shake it. I think I had a kind of a "baker's block".....sort of like having writer's "block" I guess. This post was much easier to write than it was to come up with a birthday cake idea for my 8-year old nephew. I mean, I had NOTHING. No ideas. Zip. Zilch. Nada. My only consolation was that he is the type of kid that takes pleasure in just about anything, so it made me really want to put a little extra effort into making him something special.
But I couldn't think of anything.
Of course when I made the mistake of asking him what type of birthday cake he wanted, he thought for a few seconds and hesitantly said, "I don't know..........maybe a Scooby-Doo cake?" I immediately focused on the fact that he hesitated before answering me. It gave me the necessary reason to believe that he really didn't care WHAT type of cake he had. Also, I needed a reason to justify my decision not to bake a Scooby-Doo cake. Call me crazy, but I have never been a fan.
I still didn't have a clue of what I was going to do. I had almost decided to just bake him a baseball cake when my friend Michele gave my baker's "block" a little shove. When I told her that I couldn't come up with any good ideas for an 8-year old's birthday cake, she stared at me disbelievingly, then slowly and distinctly started spewing the names of Star Wars characters. Chewbacca, Luke, The Death Star, The Millenium Falcon, Darth Vader, C3PO and R2-D2. Wait...R2-D2??.........................R2-d2!!!!!!!
R2-D2, of course! My nephew's bedroom has a Star Wars theme and if he is knee-deep into Star Wars play mode he will almost always answer to the name Luke. What was I thinking? It was the perfect solution except I wasted so much time trying to make a decision, now I didn't know how I was going to pull it off. I only had about 2 hours that night to start it and 2 hours the next morning to finish so I threw some cold water on my face, took 800 mgs. of Motrin, donned my Wonder Woman apron and quickly downshifted into "vortex mode". The clock in the hallway had just struck 11 p.m. when I was whipping up the Devil's Food cake batter. I poured it into four 4-inch baby spring form pans and popped them into the oven.
After baking and cooling them, I leveled off all but one of the cakes. Since the cake needed some additional stability, I used plastic straws as a means of support through the center of all the cakes. Then I stacked and crumbcoated it with vanilla buttercream and put it into the refrigerator for an hour or so to "chill out".
Now I needed to design R2-D2's "legs", but I knew it couldn't be done with cake......too crummy. Having worked with Rice Krispies and marshmallow before, I knew that the mixture would hold up to sculpting, so I made enough to fill a 9 x13" pan and let it cool completely. I measured the length I would need on each side, then carved it out.
After I shaped R2's "legs", I covered everything in white fondant and attached the legs to the body with lollipop sticks. Then I lightly covered R2 with Saran Wrap, patted his little round head and left him tucked away in a corner of the counter until the next morning.
(Note: Remember, fondant does not like to be refrigerated.)
The next morning (after several cups of coffee), I used a beautiful royal blue colored fondant to cut out various shapes for the frame. Then I
sipped mixed vodka, a dab of black food coloring, a dab of blue food coloring and edible silver dust to get a very glossy silver-gray color that I used to paint on R2's "head". Then I finished R2's body with a touch of red, blue and black fondant pieces.
And the little guy started to come to life....
As I've said before, riding by on a fast horse, you would miss the little imperfections (that I see) in some areas of R2's little body...........at least I hope you would.
Just a random musing here...
If Darth Vader went to grade school,
Cue the Stars Wars music...
Ah-h-h-h. That smile means a sweet success!
Happy Birthday Cody!
Love you buddy,
May the Force be with you!