Superhero Birthday Cake
Because we were creating so many of the elements for Jack’s birthday party from scratch, we decided that the cake should be inventive and fun, and made from scratch, too. Maryanne sketched several possibilities for the cake design (all were three-tiered circle cakes, since we had the pans for that.) We played around with frostings, and even though it would be easier to tint and probably faster to frost with butter cream only, we wanted to try making fondant so we could realize some of the amazing design work that Maryanne had done.
We found a simple recipe online for a homemade confetti cake here, and it turned out deliciously! The color theme for the birthday party was primary colors – red, yellow, and blue – and the inside of the cake looked great. We knew primary colors for the fondant were going to be a little trickier (if you’ve ever tried to get a real red frosting, you know what we mean!) So we started with a pretty basic fondant recipe that we found here, and it was easier than we thought it would be to get a great smooth fondant texture. We used gel food coloring that we found here to get true primary colors, and a silicone baking mat like this one, on which to do the kneading and dying and rolling.
One trick we learned was that if we used our carefully colored cake sketch, we had a pretty good idea of how much fondant we would need in each color – and we referred to that sketch constantly during the coloring and cutting process. (In other words, take the time to make a colorful labeled sketch of your cake ahead of time, or use one of ours!)
We made our cakes a day ahead and placed them, unfrosted, in the freezer. Then on the morning of the party we had a firm base for the buttercream layer that would hold the fondant in place. Another trick we used as we finished the cake was hiding the seams between layers with a very simple fondant rope. (It’s just like making a long play dough snake with your kids!) For fondant beginners, like ourselves, it was a fairly simple trick that hid some of our…beginner-ness.
We even had a cool idea to create Jack’s special superhero shield out of fondant (to match the one we put on his cape.) So not only did the cake look uniquely designed, but it was also individualized just for Jack. (You can read more about the superhero symbols in the Party Overview blog, or get the patterns in Knack 2 Superhero Documentsof this issue.)
I won’t lie and say it wasn’t hard work to bake the cake from scratch, whip up a batch of fondant, dye it in three different colors, cover the cake, and cut out the shapes to match our design, but I can say that it was not nearly as tricky as we thought it would be! And we learned a new skill, and it was fun to do, so that was a bonus. And the final look and taste of the cake – and how proud Jack was to have it – made it totally worth the effort!