Wednesday, March 26, 2014

E's 8th birthday: Whale Shark Cake!

I enjoy a challenge, so as soon as my children are old enough to speak their minds clearly, I allow them to request what kind of cake they want for their birthdays. This doesn't just involve flavors, but shape or theme. For E's 8th birthday, he was thinking aloud: "I really like sharks. And whales. So my cake should be a whale. Or a shark. Or... I know!" So there was the challenge: could I make a whale shark birthday cake? I checked out books on whale sharks from the library, and tossed ideas around in my head for a while, and finally came up with a solution.

I used 2 loaf pans. The front of the whale shark's head required no shaping, being somewhat square anyway. I tapered the back of the first cake and cut off a lot of the second cake to form the body, which left me with numerous small pieces that I used as tail and fins. I hadn't known how I would make the icing properly grey, but the combination of cocoa powder and blue food color in the icing resulted in a perfect whale shark hue. I had saved some of the plain white icing to use for spots (probably the most time consuming part of the whole project), and then used melted chocolate for eyes and mouth as well as the all-important name and age. As you can see, the birthday boy was quite satisfied.

One of the joys of this sort of project is that, as long as the cake is delicious and looks vaguely like the desired object, the child is usually thrilled - I haven't had a failure yet, from the child's perspective, though I'm not always completely satisfied with the aesthetics of the cake. B and H had their birthdays while we were in Canada (because everyone knows late January and early February are the best time to visit Canada). Our hosts let me take over their kitchen in exchange for a share of the bounty, so I was able to continue the tradition. B had requested a duck cake. When I used Google images to gather ideas, he was incensed at the number of yellow "rubber ducky" cakes - that would NOT do. It had to look like a REAL duck. I'm not sure this one would work well as a decoy, but B was quite pleased with it. I molded the duck out of Rice Krispie treats. B enjoyed eating the head.

For his second birthday, H was not yet able to express an opinion on the form of his cake, which meant I got to pick. I decided that "simple" was the name of the game: a teddy bear, made of 2 circular cakes, with paws, eyes, ears, and nose of Oreo cookies. H thought the candles were the best part; he was able to blow them out with gusto, whereas older brother B had had to try repeatedly to get his to go out.

Now I'm curious: what will P request for her upcoming 10th birthday?

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Glad to hear more about your family and see pics!