Monday, 9 January 2012

All a-Buzz

It so happens I have another cake story. Not all that funny this time just a lot of pain. I didn't know piping was equivalent to lifting weights. When I set out to do this I thought to myself, "how hard can it be to squeeze some sugar and butter out of a plastic bag on to a cake?". Apparently a tad more difficult than I thought.

This was a Buzz Lightyear cake for my Offspring's third birthday. He explicitly said he wanted A "Buzz cake". He told half his little world he was having a Buzz cake. I was nervous about making it so I searched the internet for a cake maker. I am not too good at finding things on the internet but I did find a bakery that makes fancy Buzz cakes. The catch - it was in the United States (shipping might be an issue) and it cost no less than a few hundred dollars. I couldn't justify spending that much money on something he doesn't even particularly like to eat. So I embarked on a cake making adventure.

My friends have all been very kind and generous with their praises for my efforts to the point of me feeling a bit embarrassed because it was not that big a deal. Anyone can do it. Really, seriously!

I bought a shaped pan and then followed instructions and if you compare the picture on the website/pan cover to what I have done you can tell it was the work of someone just learning the ropes. The colors aren't a great match, the grey and green are a bit dark and the outlines very shaky. Here is a series of pictures on how I went about it.

I baked two cakes because I needed one for school and one for the party at home. One had more batter and the crust got a bit crunchy before it was cooked through, which is preferred by the boys. So I let that be. The second one was perfect.

The day after I baked the cakes I started work. I was very impatient with the sides, I have never been able to smooth the sides. I figured I could fix that later and got started on the face because I was on a timeline. This is not work that you can do with a three-year-old around. I had to get it done before he came home from school.
Setting out...
The eyes and mouth took me nearly half an hour, I was trying to be really perfect which is one of my pitfalls. I can be really hard on myself. But then I reminded myself that this cake was for the Offspring and even if the cake remotely looked like his hero he would be thrilled, so I moved on. I got the outlines done, but as I started to fill in the colors I had to keep patching the outlines.

The real challenge was working from a mirror image, which I had not given much thought to before I bought the pan. However, I did read the reviews on the website by other cake makers attempts which gave me a heads up on the issue and I went slow with the outlining and was careful before I started to fill in the colors.

Line and all the finicky bits are in.
Once I got all that done I was rather excited to start piping. I had never done any piping before so I practiced on a plate. I couldn't get it as pretty as in the picture, and again reminded myself that this was for my baby boy. I forged ahead.
Making progress
I made good progress. The upside to icing two cakes at one time is that the quantity called for in the instructions is adequate for two cakes. You can't pipe with a tiny bit of icing, so when you have a quarter or half a cup of icing you might as well do two cakes. Its just the muscles of your hand, forearm, arm and neck that might not appreciate it. That's a lot of muscles!
And we're done
After five hours and a very sore arm the cakes were done. I was pleased with it, but as I said, it was not that hard and it is far from perfect. This is not the work of a genius, but a mother desperate to make her baby boy's birthday as special as she could. I think it was a hit.

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