Saturday, March 7, 2009

Come over to the Dark Side........We have Cake.

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!!!!!!!

That's it!

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 least I hope you would.

Just a random musing here...
If Darth Vader went to grade school,
this could be his eighth grade photo.

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!


Anonymous said...

Awesome!!! By the looks of that smile he loved it!!

One of many cuzzins! said...

Good God! I knew that today was the "Code Man's" B-day, and I knew that Coo-Koo would arrive with something spectacular, but Lordy, when I check your blog tonight hoping to see your latest creation, I didn't expect to see an honest to goodness edible R2d2. That is UNBELIEVABLE! It looks like it's a real plastic toy. Its an amazing likeness. You are so freakin creative!

I'm a big fan of that little bugger (Cody) and I'm sure his enthusiastic reaction was worth every ounce of energy, all your aches & pains, and your lack of sleep. He is a funny kid and I can't wait to talk to him about his cake.

You are doing such amazing stuff. Very imaginative and artistic. So impressive. I think you've found your calling.

Happy birthday Cody and save me a piece of cake!

Minka said...

Wow! It's amazing how much effort you put into suh smiles! But yes, they are rewarding, I bet!

Anonymous said...

Just showed my boys this blog!! Brian said "OH WOW! That's Genuis!" Alexander said "Can she make one for my Birthday!" (It's in November) Then Brian said "Mine is before his...It's July 4th! Can she do something for me?"

They are so in awe of Cody! and IN LOVE WITH YOU!

We have plenty of land if your ready to move "back HOME to SC!" You can stay with me until your house (right next door) is finished!! ;-) AND we have BIRTHDAY'S Galore here!!

Great Job! Love, Marg.

Anonymous said...

Love the cake..... Everyone says you missed your calling....but I believe you just excel at everything you do. Looking forward to reading the next chapter in Annie's life... Keep them coming...

EDNurseasauras said...

You just continue to amaze me! SO creative!

Susan said...

Striker! Love ALL of your stuff. Next year I am having you do birthday cakes for the boys. I'll even drive all the way to your house to get them.

Noni said...

Congratulations AM. What a great job! I know your Mom would have made an army guy if it was Wally's birthday---but how do you make a cake with a little boy pulling up his pants.
Best wishes to Cody from Florida.
Aunt ML

Noni said...

Great Job AM. Love your designs. Happy Birthday to Cody.
Aunt ML