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19 September 2007 @ 10:57 pm
Cakes I Have Known... (PicSpam)  
For deirdre_c and anyone else who's interested, here's a look at the evolution of my fantasy cake hobby for the kids' birthdays. It starts out verrrrry basically...

It began with Lauren's first birthday, where I made a Bear cake. Toothpicks were involved, to get some of the various limbs to stick together. Sketched on paper, and then free-handed with a knife. One rectangular pan and a circular pan. The cake *cough* suffered a little in transit, as the bear's arm shows:

The next year was a Bunny cake, photographed in our new house's living room. This was before I realized that room was like a cave, so the color is terrible. Frosting this particular cake nearly drove me nuts. A friend suggested freezing first to keep the crumbs from rising into the frosting. My cakes are too big for the freezer, but refigerating them helps. So does an actual frosting spreader instead of a table knife:

Two cakes in 2000, for Lauren's 3rd birthday and Christopher's first. Hers was an Ocean cake, where the big orange fish (and its eyeball!) were in high demand:

Christopher's was a Bear cake that year, decorated to parallel a sketch that I made. All cakes are sketched in the planning stages. As they get fancier later on, you'll see that this is partly to figure out where to put all the "stuff":

2001 had the first incarnation of the Beach cake for Lauren (which I improved greatly this year from the first version here):

And for Christopher, the beginnings of the 3-D concept in cakeage. The volcano was made with various-sized cupcake pieces (we have 3 sizes of muffin tins). I've improved on this technique, but more later. Here is the Lost Dinosaur Valley cake:

Their 3rd and 5th birthdays were in 2002. Lauren had a Butterfly cake, where I went nuts on the props. The "mushrooms" are pastel non-pareils with taffy stumps, and the bridge over the river is made with Twix:

Christopher's cake was a Circus Train cake. I made the circus tent and ticket booth and banner out of paper. The bleachers were Kit-Kat sticks, and the circus was in Gummy Bear town. Across the valley were the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs and trains made lots of appearances in Christopher's cakes-- he loves them both:

In 2003, Lauren wanted a "Neverland" birthday cake. She wanted a Tinkerbell-themed party, but the cake was supposed to be Neverland , whatever that meant. I didn't think I could pull it off, but then I got inspired. The extra batter (the large pan holds about 2 1/2 boxes of mix) went into a round cake pan. This was used to make the "mainland." Teepees (mine) and mermaids (Lauren) were made out of paper. I couldn't find a Tinkerbell (even on ebay!), but a set of parallel stickers on a pipe-cleaner actually worked better, as she could fly over the cake then. The ship was from a set, which included the very out-of-scale Peter Pan and Captain Hook. During the actual party, one of the cats swiped the green plastic Peter Pan off of Christopher's plate and went under the deck with it for awhile. We really don't know why:

Christopher picked a Thomas The Tank Engine cake. The engines were from a set (the bridge was separate, from a cake store). I made the barn (which Christopher would not part with afterward-- it was part of his train set for two years!). The train tracks were licorice, because I used black tube frosting the year before and that did not work well. Notice that Percy's track has derailed him right into the barn fence...

In 2004, Christopher chose a Dinosaur cake, which had vast quantities of lava. There were candy rocks and you might glimpse the doomed dinosaur caught in the lava flow. This cake featured new and improved Volcanoes! The secret to good volcanoes is to use waffle ice cream cones and break off the tips:

Lauren had a Hello Kitty theme. Her cake used several of her Hello Kitty playsets-- I made separate "worlds" in the corners of the cake for the various sets. One was the Flower Kitty, one was the LadyBug Kitty, then the Strawberry Kitty and the Mermaid Kitty. Fruit rollups ("fruit leather" in other parts of the world) made up the bases for the toys to stand on, so they didn't get frostinged too much:

In 2005, Christopher and Lauren shared a party at Pump It Up (a jump-house place), and also a theme cake: Shark Boy and Lava Girl (from the movie that was out that year). I found a Lava Girl at Goodwill, but after several trips I still couldn't find a Shark Boy. I had to use Laffy Taffy and a Polly Pocket boy to make him, with the taffy forming his hair and his pointy shark vest. This cake also included a treasure island, a secret hideout, and because it was Lava Girl after all, there were once again volcanoes! Maybe I'm the one that likes volcanoes:

I posted pictures of Lauren's Harry Potter cake last year (2006). The props involved a pipe-cleaner for the Quidditch field, and parts of an Imaginext dragon set for the tree, gate and dungeon. Plus, the Goblet of Fire!:

Christopher had a Pirate Cake, which re-used the Peter Pan pirate ship props (I lost the ship and had to buy a new one, for crying out loud) and a bunch of Imaginext Skull Island props:

For this year, we had the Football Cake for Christopher. This mostly involved a kit, though I used mini-Candy Kisses to make the "fans." The football was a chocolate-covered peanut. In the endzone were dolphins and bears, because those are actual teams (as opposed to Worms or Frogs, and the Sharks are hockey and not football). The lines on the football field were the worst-- if they made white licorice I'd have used it, because the squeeze tubes of this stuff are impossible. Even with microwaving, it would not come out. Argh!

Lauren wanted another Beach Cake, and this one was much better than the first time. I re-used the people from the original kit, but the props were key. The sandcastle stuff is from Littlest Pet Shop, and the deck chairs are part of a Polly Pocket set:

This one's the only non-birthday cake in the bunch: Halloween Fantasy Cake, created for a cake-decorating contest at Lauren's school carnival and auctioned off afterwards:

The "before-and-after" poisoned apples are probably my favorite parts of this one. I could not find the figurines I wanted, and had to make them out of Pez dispensers, cloth, and a glue gun. That's dedication, I tell you!

Lessons learned: mini-playsets rule, candy props rule, and save a little extra of the main frosting colors in case of last-minute surface damage. :0

And there you have it! The portfolio is bigger than I thought.

Steffi: Supernatural - Sam Faithlegoline on September 20th, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)
Oh ... wow.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
It's not your usual hobby, that's for sure.

I have to say, "misusing" candy, etc. to look like something else really appeals to the engineer in me. It reminds me of why I liked the "Borrowers" books so much as a child. :)
(no subject) - legoline on September 20th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 06:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on September 20th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)

I want you to make MY birthday cake now.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
If only I could! Long distance stinks!

Although I could design one for your mother to make. Hmmmm. ;)
miss_mandy on September 20th, 2007 06:43 am (UTC)
Aw, this reminds me of my birthdays as a kid!

We had themes too and my mom would make the appropriate cakes. She used to order those cartoon character shaped pans and spend a bajillion hours doing the frosting.

I want an Oz themed birthday next year! ;P
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
I want an Oz themed birthday next year! ;P

I'll bet there are figurines for it-- playsets help the whole thing out fantastically!
Jas Massonjasmasson on September 20th, 2007 06:52 am (UTC)
Wow, you're so creative! (And now I'm hungry ;-)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
:D That's the deadly side of making these too-- you just want to eat them. They're always chocolate, under that frosting...
she said mysteriously: artisticresounding_echo on September 20th, 2007 06:59 am (UTC)
Cake! \o/

You are one talented lady, lady. I think my favorites are the first beach cake and Neverland (Neverland!).

Thank you for sharing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
The Neverland turned out really well, especially considering how stymied I was over whether it was possible. :0

I really like the Dinosaur cake too, with the volcanoes and the dooooomed dinosaurs. And lava-- lots of really scary-colored lava. :D
Gretagretazreta on September 20th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
Oh goodness. These are SO FANTASTIC. And delightful.

I think my favourite is the dinosaurs (complete with Dinosaur caught in lava flow). That's probably a content thing as much as anything.

I seriously can't believe how great these are. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
I think my favourite is the dinosaurs (complete with Dinosaur caught in lava flow).
:D And when you're making a cake for an audience of 5/6-year-old boys, that doomed dinosaur really strikes a chord. They're such bloodthirsty little creatures.

So glad you liked these! Right now, the comments on my cakeage are trumping the comments on my big Wincest story, and who knew? *boggles*
(no subject) - gretazreta on September 20th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on September 21st, 2007 12:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Deutschtard: Deutschtard ;; Dero ~ OOMPH!deutschtard on September 20th, 2007 07:32 am (UTC)
Woot!! Awesome cakes! My mom made me a bear cake when I was little and a ninja turtles one when i was like...6 i think. There were more, i can't remember though. I'll see if I can find pictures.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
My mother used to make the shaped cakes, which is where this whole started, I'm sure. I liked dinosaur cakes-- mine would be a brontosaurus. My sister liked rabbits, but then my mother would put cocoanut all over the cake for "fur." !

She loves cocoanut so much that she has seriously never realized that little kids think it's evohl. :0
Recycledfaery: Amelie - Girl rasberriesrecycledfaery on September 20th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I want kids too now. *g* This looks like fun. Although I think there must have been a few stressed out moments.

Especially the one where you had to perform first aid on the bear. LOL

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
Although I think there must have been a few stressed out moments.
There was definitely more stress in the beginning, when all the effects were done with frosting. But over time, I've discovered that good props are key-- especially candy ones, or playsets.

That poor bear... no amount of coaxing the arm over on the board could get it to join up again, and I couldn't smooth the frosting over it.

I don't think Lauren cared, though. At her first birthday, she shocked us all by deciding that the cake was poison and she couldn't believe we were feeding it to her. Never expected that in a million years! But as a baby, she really hated sweets with a passion. Not that THAT lasted, LOL!
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Tanya!

The homemade cakes always taste better to me, and out of all of them (and there are some good ones), I think the dinosaur one is my masterpiece. Lava! Death! Rrrrrawrrrr!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on September 21st, 2007 12:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on September 21st, 2007 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: gleedeirdre_c on September 20th, 2007 10:34 am (UTC)
Oh, man, we really are seekrit twins. I've made both the Thomas cake AND the football cake. And they look so similar! :D:D:D

You (and your cakes) are brilliant! Thanks for sharing these. ♥
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
Christopher SO loved Thomas, and I think the barn and the barnyard accident adds a special touch there. It's an adventure cake! The football cake is one of my most boring ones to date, I think, but Christopher wanted it.

The stuff I read in magazines is SO often weird. Things like "Make a buried treasure cake! You'll use ground-up graham crackers for the dirt..." and I'll be going, "What? But then my cake will taste like graham crackers-- who the hell wants that!"

I've decided that playsets are the answer to everything, cake-wise. If only I could have found a Harry Potter playset for Lauren's cake last year, but nooooo.... Seems they weren't licensed for any miniature version, even at McDonald's (Happy Meal toys are another good source).

Ooh, did you notice? New Wincest piece in following post! A long one...
jeyhawk: legolas: cheekyjeyhawk on September 20th, 2007 10:36 am (UTC)
I want to come to your kids birthday parties. Those cakes are awesome. :0)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thank you, Jey. They taste good, too-- there's Devil's Food or Fudge Supreme cake under that frosting. ;)
sauvageonne on September 20th, 2007 11:19 am (UTC)
Wowza !!!
You are the Master of Cake-making !!!
* Bows in front of your Ladyship *
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Thank you!

I'd say it's one of my more unusual hobbies, but then I remember that I also write brothercest fanfic, so the cake-making kind of pales. :0

Although, dinosaurs! You don't find those around every corner. :)
Skywalker-Winchester: Texas Boys Iconaddictanakin415 on September 20th, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)
yah why cant I live next door to you so you can bake me a cake for my birthday LOL

these are wondeful
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you! I can design from afar, but somebody else would still have to make them. :D
never trust a big butt and a smileobeetaybee on September 20th, 2007 12:23 pm (UTC)
Dude! You're super talented! I want you to make MY kids' cakes!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on September 20th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Thank you! :D
Pix: [Etc] Balloons up so highpixel_0 on September 20th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
Wow! Boy, do I envy your kids now. ;) I think the beach cakes are my favorites, but they're all so creative. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on September 21st, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
Apparently my brain is better at generating cracked-out cakes than cracked-out fiction. PirateWincest and GodzillaAttacksPrisonBreak stories not withstanding. ;)

Volcanoes! Whoo!