Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Deacon's 9th Birthday Cake (2011)

August is my busiest month for making cakes. I have 3 out of 4 boys with birthdays between August 12 and September 1st, a nephew whose birthday falls on the 22nd, a grandaughter on the 29th (same as one of my boys!), and two friends at work. Needless to say, by the time I'm done, I don't want to look at, eat, or even think about cake. I suppose part of the problem is that I'm so OCD that I spend hours on each one, which inevitably leads to me being up until midnight several nights and then having to get up for work at 5 am. I don't know about you, but if I don't get close to 8 hours, I'm like a zombie. My ass get left in the parking lot at work and my attitude can be a little snippy.

All that being said, I think I'm addicted to cake decorating. Is there treatment for that? I get online (YouTube again, someone needs to ban that website, for my own good) and find way too many neat ideas that I want to try. With my cake orders piling up, I begin the task of design. I think figuring out what I'm going to do is worse than actually doing it! My grandaughter wants a Cinderella Princess cake, one with the doll stuck in a triangle shaped cake made to look like her dress. Okay, I have the Wonder Pan, I can do that. So I get my plan laid out, find some great tutorials on You Tube, and I'm ready to go.

Wait! Now she wants a Strawberry Shortcake princess cake. Gasp! My Wonder Pan is way too big for a little Strawberry Shortcake doll. So I rush to the dollar store, find a glass bowl small enough to make a rounded dome for the top of her dress, then get on Amazon--another website that should be banned. I find way too many neat things to order from there. And they deliver right to my door! How convenient is that?--I get on Amazon and find a mini-tiered cake set with small enough pans to make her dress. Whew, I think I got this one covered.

Next, I go to my youngest son and I say, "Son, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday this year?" He looks at me with those big, innocent, ice blue eyes and says, "Call of Duty Black Ops." I blink a few times, my brain going numb as panic sets in. What ever happened to Mickey Mouse? or Pirates? or Cowboys? What the heck am I supposed to do for a video game? A plethoria of ideas race through my head--helicoptors, guns, tanks--all of which seem frighteningly difficult.

I had a similar experience last year when he wanted something Army-ish. I must confess that I really pooped out on him and his cake left a lot to be desired. Oh, he loved it, none-the-less, but considering what I'm capable of, it really sucked. So much so that I won't even bother posting it. So this year, I really wanted to do something cool to make up for my lack of enthusiasm last year. I get online (do you see a pattern here? What would I do without the internet?) and I research Call of Duty cakes. Needless to say, there weren't too many ideas to be found. Aside from the basic military stuff, I couldn't find anything that really fit the request.

And then...hold the press, what's this? A cool guy decked out in neat weapons with the words Call of Duty Black Ops boldly displayed across a yummy expanse of cake. I couldn't believe my eyes. Someone else in the world had actually wanted the same cake as my son! With my creative juices flowing, I set out to make the coolest cake any 9-year-old ever had. I "borrowed" the basic ideas from Sweet Perfection's Blog, then added my own flair. I'm happy to say my son loved his cake and his friends and he had a blast devouring all the grenades and stuff. The only inedible item was the barbed wire (made from covered wire). Everything else you see was made from fondant or tootsie rolls. I did go back and add a little grass around the tootsie roll fence posts after I took these pics. While I think I need to work on my character sculpting skills a bit (this was my first person), I am pleased with how it turned out. I've made all kinds of fondant and gumpaste flowers, sculpting people is a whole new ballgame. I won't even get in to how I made the machine gun in his hands.

One cake down. Now I've got to design a Cars cake with Lightning McQueen and make the Strawberry Shortcake Princess. My oldest son's request isn't too difficult, a strawberry cake with white buttercream icing and chocolate covered strawberries. Son number 3 has yet to place his order. Good lord, I hope he doesn't want something outlandish like a skateboard!

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