Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Kai's Angry Birds Birthday Party: Creating the cake

Lovely white fondant (or pettinice) from Bakels. Though they (ready-to-use fondants) were a life-saver, I don't want to see, touch, smell, or mould fondant for a long time to come!

As mentioned in my previous post, Kai's obsession with an Angry Birds birthday cake started with a YouTube video. But that was months ago. I had forgotten about it until three weeks before his birthday, while watching an episode of "Cake Boss", I sat up with a jolt. Horror of horrors. I didn't know if there are local bakers who could bake a 3D Angry Birds cake, playable or non-playable. Or should I *drum roll* attempt to make my own?

Option #1: Outsource the entire cake
A quick search online led me to this lovely lady, Veronica, who makes gorgeous looking cakes. She has a playable Angry Birds cake, but the cost of commissioning a cake for my party of 25 people was more than what I was prepared to pay. I can understand why she charges that much though; a lot of work goes into making and decorating the cake. Since I've made Angry Birds figurines before using clay, I thought: "OK, why don't we bake the cake and make the Angry Birds toppers ourselves? It should be easy. Right?"

I spent many sleepless nights over the cake as a result.

Option #2: Make it myself, 100%


and bags of instant fondants. I am so grateful for ready-to-use fondants.

Veronica and many other bakers use fondant, which is a thick yet pliable sugar paste, to decorate cakes and sculpt pastries. Lucky for this dum-dum of a baker, there are ready-to-use, colored fondants. I bought them in all the colors^ that I would need for the birds, pigs, and concrete/wooden blocks.

I roped in Kai to kick-start the project, and he helped me roll two red balls and three blue balls of fondant. (They formed the bodies of the red and blue Angry Birds). Then I gave him some fondant to play with while I made the actual cake toppers.

My favorite pigs were the one with the eyes closed and the injured pig with a black eye and red tongue sticking out. (Photo was taken with the iPhone 4 at 3am by zombie mummy. I wish I had taken out my DSLR!)

Subsequently, I worked on the toppers at night. It took me two nights to make nine Angry Birds, one night to make eight pigs, and one night to make some blocks to put the pigs on.

I even made my own catapult^ for the Angry Birds. It's very rudimentary, but Kai was thrilled when he saw it.

Then I couldn't muster enough courage to bake a cake (I'm an artist, not a baker!). Furthermore, I was running out of time. That's when I turned to Option #3.

Option #3: Make it myself, or just 50% of it
My initial plan was to get a baker friend to bake the cake, and I would put a layer of green fondant over the cake. Then, as I tossed and turned at 3am, the solution came to me: I'd buy an ice cream from Swensen's and place my toppers on it.

I only placed the toppers on top of the cake a few hours before the party. Terence made the tall tower for kingpin pig with three Kit Kat bars, held together by white fondant.

I nearly danced and whopped with joy at Swensen's Parkway Parade outlet when I found out that they could remove their toppers from their Soccer Mania cake, and kept it plain. That way, I had a green surface -- to represent grass -- to place my toppers on. It was perfect. A lot of people don't like the taste of fondant anyway so covering the cake with a layer of fondant might not be such a good idea. And who doesn't love ice cream? (I chose strawberry and sticky chewy chocolate.) I bought a tube of sparkly red decorating icing to write "Happy Birthday", and I helped Kai write his name on the cake.

It was a quite an experience. I can't believe I was so stressed out over the cake, but I wanted to give Kai the best. And I am glad he had a small part to play in the process. (I promise, I made him wash his hands with soap and water before touching the fondant.) My only regret is that I didn't have a chance to take proper pictures of my toppers and cake! Fondant starts to sweat whenever there is moisture. So every time I took the cake out of the freezer, my toppers would sweat due to condensation, giving it a shiny, runny gleam to it. As a result, I didn't dare to take out the cake unless necessary.

Oh well, as Terence would say: It doesn't matter if I have no photographs to capture 'the moment'. My memories are all that matter.

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