Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rescue Pack....Coming to the Rescue!! The Tale of a Diego Birthday Cake

For Isaac's third birthday party, originally he wanted Chicken Little.  I racked my brain trying to think of a cake I could make.  After watching Season 1 of Cake Boss on Netflix, I decided, what the heck?  I can make a Chicken Little figure out of rice krispy treats and cover it in fondant.  Beneath that confident exterior though, I was sweating bullets... "Chicken Little???  Really?  Could *I* possibly pull that off???"  I tried to convince him several times to switch to a different theme....something more Unprofessional-Cake-Decorator-Mommy-Friendly.  When we went out to get his partyware, wonder of wonders, he changed his mind to Diego...which he LOVES to watch, and I kinda like as well.. I mean, it has nature and animals...what's not to love??
Anyway, he changed his mind to Diego.  I was psyched!!!  I could see the rescue pack coming alive in my mind's eye!   Since watching Cake Boss, I was secretly harboring the desire to play with some fondant...they make it look soooo easy.  So, I purchased all my supplies and headed home.
This morning I got started.  I began by making two 9x13 inch white cakes.  I had purchased both Decorator's icing AND regular Betty Crocker cake icing...just in case...  I like to have my bases covered.  I had read and seen on the show that you first cover the cake with a smooth layer of icing and then lay the fondant out over top of that.
Both cakes came out of the oven smelling tasty.  I cooled them in the pan for 10 minutes and then on a rack till they weren't hot to the touch....then I stuck them in the fridge for a quick cool down.  In the meantime, I drew a picture of what I wanted the cake to look like:

I cut the first cake in the shape of the main part of the backpack and drew on paper the exact size I wanted the "pocket" portion to be and used it as a template on the second cake.  Easy, peasy....

Now the part that always gets me....icing a crumbly cake.  On Cake Boss, they make it look sooo routine.. just squeeze out perfect lines of icing all over the cake and smooth it down.  Yeah..okay...this ain't Cake Boss.  I gotta tell you... those crumbs were sticking to my icing like candy to a sugar-toothed Clepto ...  it was insane.  It took lots and lots of smoothing and maybe a few choice words under my breath before I finally got it smooth enough for my satisfaction.  AS SOON as I got it all level and pretty looking, my sweet little Isaac stuck his fingers in it.  It's a pity my windows were open...  the neighbors I have not yet had a chance to meet down the road, now know my voice.

So, after the icing was FINALLY on (oh, and I did find that putting a little water on the spatula helped in smoothing down the icing) I began mixing the color in the fondant.  Now, on Cake Boss, they have this nice little roller thing that presses the fondant out all nice and smooth and thin...  that's on Cake Boss...that's not in my kitchen. After I rolled the fondant out and was all excited to put it on the cake, I found that it was stuck to my bar.  Not cool...not at all.  I had to pull it off, put a little confectioner's sugar on, and try again.  I won't bore you by telling you how many times I did this during the course of the cake decorating process...  I finally got a piece on the main backpack portion and moved along to the top pocket.

I laid it out over the piece, cut off some of the excess, folded the rest underneath, and laid it on top of the other cake.  Whew...  on to the fun stuff...finally.  I love the detail part...  the additions that make it come alive.  I colored fondant for the face pieces and used an oval cookie cutter for the eyes and a circle shape for the pupils...  the rest was free hand with a knife.  I made a flap to come over the top of the backpack.  When I lifted the edge of the cake to put the flap under it {{{shiver}}} a piece of the fondant tore and the icing was coming through.  This particular area had come to my attention before.  It just didn't look good and it was driving me NUTS.  I tried to patch it.  I tried to spit on it...  just kidding.  Finally, I cut the strap for the back and managed to "finangle" it over the ugly area and make it look like I meant to do that...LOL.  I added a blue zipper on the side, letters for his name on top, and VOILA!  A Diego Rescue Pack Birthday Cake!!! (Just to give credit where it's due, my 11 year old son was the only one who could get the letter "A" out of the cutter...)

Okay...a confession for you...  I had purchased a number "3" candle for Isaac's cake.  I didn't want to stick it in the cake so I was just going to set it beside it and light it.  I sat it out:

And I thought, Oh my gosh!!!  They made the three BACKWARDS!!!  Why didn't I notice that when I bought it????  I took it off the board and was congratulating myself for the fact that I had some extra candles on hand for just such an emergency.  Later on, the kids were in the kitchen and I showed them the candle...."Look, y'all ..the 3 is backwards!"... and as I'm saying this, I flip the three around and OH MY GOSH!!!!  It's NOT backwards...  so, there I am the middle of an epiphany...  my kids are looking at me like I've completely lost my husband is looking at me with an incredulous look on his face and shaking his head...and I'm dying laughing...  it was an authentic moment for me... I truly thought they had made the three backwards and I just could NOT believe the kids and I bought it and didn't notice...

It's not backwards after all.....  :D


  1. You did a great job!! I had a good chuckle over the 3...sounds like something I'd do. Let me know how y'all like the cake when you try it. My kids have never cared for fondant so I've never tried using it on their cakes.

  2. I really don't care for fondant, but I've read you can add flavor to it, so I may try that next time. :D