Thursday, October 23, 2014

"It'sa me, Mario!"

The challenge: Three cakes in three weeks.

I went for months without making a single cake.  Then suddenly, I realized that I had committed to three cakes in three weeks.  I would need to be Super Mario himself in order to pull this one off.  Would I rescue the princess?  Or would I succumb to the mushrooms, flying ducks, spitting fireballs or worse?

Only time would tell.

Week One: Mario

My nephew, like many young boys his age, is obsessed with video games.  He LOVES Super Mario.  And he is very good at it.  He was quite shocked to discover that I hadn't passed the first world yet (he's beaten the game and is now trying to go back and collect all of the star coins).  I have since made it to World 2.  Where I am stuck on level 5.

So we decided to make a Mario cake for his birthday.  Now, I may not be the best at playing Mario, but I was determined to be the best at caking Mario.  You know what that means.

A Super Mario fondant figure.

I've been getting better at my people/figures/fondant sculptures, so I wanted to try this out.  The idea was to make a sort of simple cake, just one tier, with a lot of the Mario elements.  Then on top, I'd put a pipe and Mario going into the pipe.  Piece of cake.

The cake itself wasn't too bad.  I made a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge filling, as requested, and covered it with light blue fondant.  I freehanded some green fondant to look like trees and hills.

That's what it looks like right?  Trees and hills?

Then I did some clouds.  I looked everywhere for a cloud cookie cutter, but I couldn't find one, so they are free-handed too.  Who knew making clouds would be so difficult?

I made some yellow fondant and cut out a bunch of stars, squares and circles to use as elements on the cake.  I also cut out red circles and ivory circles to make little mushrooms.

They are all covered so they don't dry out before I need them.
Then I started adding elements.  I decided which section I wanted to be the front and added the brown door.  I also added some piranha plants in pipes.

Awww, it looks so cute and innocent right now.
Then I began adding stars, coins, mushrooms, and question blocks.

Then one of my favorite elements - the vine.

Then I did some piping to finish off the elements.

Then I started to work on Mario.  I used two tutorials that I found on Pinterest.  Mainly this one from  by Cesare Corsini on Cake Decor but also this one which I have no idea where it came from.  I started with the body.  Cesare's tutorial is for a Mario that is standing, but I wanted it to look like mine was going into the pipe.  So I omitted the legs, but I put two little stumps there so it would like he had legs that were in the pipe and also to help balance the body.  Sometimes I think we make the mistake of trying to make the body and then add the clothes.  You have to think of it a little differently so it is easier to make.  So here we see the blue pants and the red shirt.

I add the arms in red (all of this is using gum glue to stick it on tight) and then the suspender straps.

For the head, I made a ball out of ivory fondant and made eye impressions with one of the green fondant tools.  I tried to follow the tutorial as best I could.

He used paint for the eyes, I went with mostly fondant, except for the pupils.

It took forever for me to figure out if Mario had brown or black hair.  In some pictures, he had brown hair but a black mustache!  I just decided to go all brown because it was easier and I didn't want to buy a whole thing of black fondant.  This was white fondant that I colored brown.

I made the back of his head kind of flat because I knew I would be adding the hair.  I'm still not very good at the whole weight balancing thing.  This little guy got real heavy, really fast.  I did have to adjust the head later on.  Another problem was that I had already painted the pupils onto Mario's eyes using black food coloring.  Then when I was squeezing the hair on, I realized my fingers were touching his eyes!  So it got a little bit smeared.  Probably should have painted the eyes on last.

The hands were pretty fun to make.  I just used a knife to cut the fingers and then shaped them a little and folded them over into fists.  They look pretty good!

If I ever do this cake again, I will not make the pipe the same way.  I thought that I had this brilliant idea - I would use the cake that I cut off the round cakes to make them flat.  Then I would mix them with frosting, like a cake pop, cover that with fondant, and have a great pipe!

The first problem was that I used my new baking strips.  My old ones were kind of dying so I replaced them with these purple cloth ones.  The thing I love most about these is that they have built in straps to hold them in place against the cake pan.  No more pinning the baking strips!!!! Yay!

You can get a six piece set at JoAnn's for $25 and if you use a 40 or 50% off coupon,
that's pretty close to what Wilton charges for 2 pieces.

However, they worked so great, that at first I thought I wasn't going to level them at all.  And then there would be no cake to make the pipe.

However, I did end up leveling them and using that to make a pipe shape.  I tried to freeze it after I mixed it with the frosting, but it did not stay firm.  (I know now that I used waaaaay too much frosting).

So it took awhile, but I finally got some fondant over it and it sort of looked like a pipe.  Sort of.

I brought Mario separately to my parents house, planning to put him on the cake after arriving.  Unfortunately, since he was so heavy, the foot stubs I had on the bottom had flattened in front, causing him to lean forward.  So I just added a little more blue fondant on the bottom to balance him out.

Here is the finished product, right before we cut it:

It kind of looks like he is standing on top of the pipe with really, really short legs, but oh well.

I tried to get a picture from all angles, so you can see all of the details.

You can see here how Mario's eyes got a little messed up.

And here is the birthday boy with his cake!

Happy birthday Peter!  

One down, two to go.