Time for my semi-annual birthday cake update, right? This year's cake for my son was LEGO themed!
I guess I never posted last years cake -my son was super-into his Mad Magazine Spy-vs.-Spy comics and asked for this theme on his cake. I was really busy with planning the event which was at a roller skating rink, so the only thing I really did was to buy a plain undecorated sheet cake and decorate it to make it match.
This was the result. (The wick of the bomb was a curly candle - the best part was when my son went to blow it out, dad (Floyd) popped a paper bag behind them all. You should have seen the kids jump!)
This year, the boy has become a Lego-maniac. Naturally, a Lego cake seemed to be in order.
I started off with marzipan, because I'd seen the professionals make stuff out of fondant and I can't stand the taste of that stuff - to me, it's like someone mixed marshmallows with wax candles. The little potato shaped marzipan balls are particularly tasty, so I went ahead and got a bunch of those and did some smashing until they became claylike, and then put them in little plastic sandwich bags and added various food coloring gels to mash in. Then it was just a question of painstakingly playing with the resulting clay, and wishing I had some sort of Lego mold which I'd seen some folks mention but which I couldnt find around here (though I dont know that it would have worked with the sticky marzipan anyway!)
If I were to do this again, I'd make one Lego minifigure for each invited guest, because that would have saved a lot of arguing at the time when cake cutting came! Every single kid really wanted one of the little guys. ;)
For the cake, I made a very very basic chocolate cake which always comes out really tasty when I use the good chocolate cocoa.
Basic Chocolate Cake
(This is for a 1 layer, 9 inch round pan - for the cake I made, I used this recipe x3, 2 for the larger 9x13 pan, x1 for the 3 mini-loafs)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Drost - it makes a difference to splurge on better cocoa)
- 1/4 tspn salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 egg
To make, combine all the dry ingredients, mix till well blended. Then add the milk, vanilla, butter and mix on low until combined, then beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat 2 more minutes. Pour into pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 min (for 9 inch round pan) or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove right away and let cool before icing.
I made one large sheetcake in a 9x13 pan and then split a single-layer recipe into 3 small sized loaf pans, giving me some extra cake to work with. The third loaf got destroyed when I tried to get it out of the pan - oops! But it gave me bits to work with and some extra to eat when I was done!)
Then I just split the cake up into a tiered tower, using little bits of cut cake to make them into stacked "lego blocks".
Then it was just a matter of frosting, which probably would have worked better with a less fluffy icing than the cream cheese/whipped cream frosting which I used (though that was non-negotiable because the family definitely loves that frosting best) and arranging the little guys and blocks on top.
That frosting recipe, by the way, is simple:
Take 8 oz cream cheese and 1 cup confectioners' powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater until smooth.
Then add about 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency.
I doubled that for the amount of cake used here.
The only non-edible bits were the candles, including a figure-8 one I found at the last minute.
Add candles, and voila!