Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day: A little love for the Villains

Well I had to post something on Leap Day - I won't get another chance for four years!  Who knows what kind of crazy cakes I'll be doing then.

I was going to label this post "superhero cakes" or something like that, when I remembered I wasn't making a superhero cake.  More like a super villain.

A few weeks ago, Corissa asked me to make a cake for her son Evan's birthday.  He was at Noah's birthday party (dino cake) and he told her that he wanted that cake.  Not the dinosaur per se - but the chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.  The kid cares more about taste than how it looks!  That is good news for me - my cakes always taste good, no matter what they end up looking like.

Most kids around Evan's age love the heroes.  Not Evan.  He likes the villains.  His first choice for his cake was Split-Face.  I had never even heard of Split-Face and I had no idea who or what he was.  Turns out he is a villain in a new Lego thing called Hero Factory. (Not sure how new it is, but new since I was playing with legos).  Split-Face is one of the guys the Heroes take down.  And this is what he looks like:

Yeah, way beyond my skill level.  Fortunately I know a web and logo design specialist who could help me out.
Future Wolf converted this:

into this:

Quite an intimidating face.

When you are doing a picture in frosting, you want it to be simple with just a few colors and as few tiny spaces as possible.  Future Wolf did exactly what I needed and created an image that was much easier to do in frosting.

This new image would go on the top of the cake - with a dark color and light color behind it.

Have to have a split cake for Split Face.
I was really excited about using this Lego block candy mold that I had ordered.  I was going to make a bunch of blocks and put them on as a border around the bottom of the cake.  Unfortunately, the mold did not arrive in time.  I was very disappointed.  So instead, I decided to try to make the sides of the cake look like Lego blocks put together.  I think it turned out well.

So remember a few posts ago when nothing went wrong with my cake?  Total fluke.  This cake seemed to cause one problem after another.  The biggest problem was when I transferred the design onto the cake.  I used the piping gel method - so I piped the gel onto parchment paper using a backwards copy of the face.  After waiting a little bit, I flipped th eparchment paper over and gently massaged it onto the cake.  The first time I waited too long.  The gel simply stuck to the paper and would not come off on the cake.  I was so frustrated! It was not an easy task to pipe the gel on.  But I had to do it again.

The second time I didn't wait as long, but this time the gel kind of smeared onto the cake and didn't stay in the design.  So I eyeballed it and tried to repair the design on the cake as best I could.  Then I began building the face with the colored frosting.

Starting to build the face.
It's like his face is slowly emerging from the cake.
 I started with the eyes and the white spots.  Next I did the black color, outlining and filling.  Finally I started adding the large amounts of color, gray first and then red.
Adding the colors of the face.

It's really really hard to make red frosting.  Most of the time it turns out pink.  No matter how much color gel you put in.  They do make no-taste red food coloring, but you have to use practically the entire container.  Usually when I need red frosting, especially if it isn't a large amount, I just buy it.  That's what I did for this cake.

(Almost) Finished face.
I also buy my black frosting because it has the same problem.  It's just easier and less frustrating to buy it.  It comes in tubes that are made so you can just screw the piping tips right onto them.  But the tubes are hard to squeeze, especially once there isn't a lot of frosting in them.  So I squeeze the frosting into a piping bag.  If I have leftover frosting, I just pipe it right back into the tube.  So much easier to use.

Finally, I added the shell border and the words.  I am not a huge fan of the shell border, probably because I'm not very good at the technique.  Hopefully that will get better with practice.  I did use my practice board before putting it on the cake.

This is actually a Reverse Shell Border.
Reverse Shell Border on the top.

"Happy Birthday Evan!"

Finally I was done.  It was extremely late and it took over an hour to clean up the huge mess.  I checked the cake again before I went up to bed - and to my dismay, I realized I had missed a spot.  I needed some darker red frosting to finish up.  But I was so tired that I just decided to fix it in the morning.

Day 2: I mixed a little black frosting with the red to make it slightly darker and added it to the missing spot.  Now I was done.

Side by side comparison:

Well, it looks pretty similar to me.  Future Wolf and I make a good team!
Happy Birthday Evan!


Corissa said...

The cake was amazing, and I had no idea it caused you so much trouble! As I showed you, it was a million times better than anything I could have done. :) Thank you!

The Joys of Caking said...

Thanks! It was just because I used the piping gel. I usually use rice paper for this sort of thing, but I need food writers to do it and I couldn't find mine. But it still turned out really well! (And I have to keep it dramatic for the readers, right?)