Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monster's Inc.

And finally, we come to the last cake of 2013.  I have known Catrina and Mark for a few years now.  Catrina and I were roommates on a missions trip to Brazil and Mark plays on the worship team at church. 

I also had the privilege of surprising them with an engagement cake a few years ago.

Yes, I made the figures are made out of modeling chocolate.
I am always excited for repeat customers because I know they really like what I do.  So I was very happy to work on the cake for their son Jacob's Monster's Inc.-themed first birthday party.

It was pretty easy to pick the concept for this cake.  I would do a round cake that looked like Sully's fur.  Then a fondant covered Mike would sit on top of the round cake.

Picture from Pixar Wiki
I started with Mike.  I used the round sports ball pan, which makes two halves of a ball - like this:

I frosted one and flipped it over.

I frosted the second one and put it on top of the first.  Then I frosted them together.

So far everything was going great!  Next I started on Sully.  It took awhile to get the frosting the colors that I wanted, but I think they turned out really well.

I used the grass tip to make it look like fur.

It looks like you could reach out and pet it!

Things were still going really great.  Famous last words.

My plan was to cover the ball with green fondant.  Then I would make the arms and legs out of fondant as well.  But I was worried about the fondant itself.  It felt really hard through the box and I was afraid that it would be too hard to use.  I was so worried about it that I actually went out and bought a second package of green fondant.  I felt every box at the store, but they all felt the same way.

Okay, I thought.  If they are all like this, then it must be okay, right?  Wrong.

I rolled out the fondant, but it was extremely dry.  I tried adding some shortening to help it, but it wasn't enough to save it.

I bravely plowed on.  I covered the ball with the fondant and began to smooth it down the sides.  This is when the horror began.  (Ok, it's not really that bad, but at the time, I was really freaking out).

The fondant began to crack and then literally fall apart.  No!!!!!!!  I had to quickly wrap up the ball so it wouldn't fall off completely, which resulted in these lovely folds.

Not what I was going for.  What should have been a smooth, round ball of green was now a lumpy, not so round anymore, lump wrapped in ripped fondant.

Maybe I could cover the ripped parts with the face . . . .  But then all those ridiculous folds would be there and it would just look really bad.

This is what disaster looks like.
I didn't know what to do.  I was so frustrated because it wasn't my fault!  The stupid fondant was messed up and I knew the second package would be the same.  I'm not going to lie, there were tears at this point.  I felt like I was letting Catrina and Mark down.  How could I bring a cake like this to them?  This was complete and utter failure.

I took a moment (or two, or three, or ten) and pulled myself together.  Finally I decided to make some green buttercream frosting and just cover the whole mess.  It wouldn't be smooth, it wouldn't look like fondant, and I'd have to make the legs and arms out of frosting as well, but it would be better than the alternative.  It was really the only option I had.

Plan B.
So that's what I did.  Then I started to add the face.  I made the eye, the teeth, and the horns out of fondant.  I used buttercream for the pupil and iris and the inside of the teeth.

The ball looks a little different because I refrigerated it and then added more frosting to try to make it look a little smoother.

I brought the two cakes to the party separately, driving through a snowstorm to get there.  Then I plonked Mike on top of the round Sully cake.

Ok, so it didn't look as horrible as I thought it would.  But I still had to add the arms and legs.  Tense moment . . . . .

Will it look okay?

On to the second leg . . .

And then the arms . . .

Hey there, how YOU doing?
And it was done.

Well the legs and arms were a little skinnier than I had planned, but they looked alright.

I think the feet and hands are my favorite part of the cake.  The toenails and fingernails are made from fondant.

It does look like he's actually sitting there.

In the end, everyone loved the cake.  I guess it was fitting that I had a scare while making it . . . . .

Crisis averted.  Happy birthday Jacob!