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Super Smash Bros Ike Cake

Today’s the big day! Jakob is 15!! In honor, here’s the first of 2 cakes he got for his 9th birthday, back in 2016.

He asked for a “Super Smash Bros Brawl”-themed cake, specifically featuring Ike, a character from Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series.

This guy:

The first thing I did was isolate the logo:

Then I recreated it only now saying Happy Birthday Jakob.

This was done using my usual method of preparing the fondant cutouts in advance and then hand painting them with gel colors and vodka once they’d had a few days to harden.

I’m really happy with how he came out, even though his sword broke. The fondant wasn’t quite dry enough and the vodka didn’t evaporate fast enough so it cracked when I went to move it.

I was able to lay it together on the cake, however, so it wasn’t too big of a problem.

I prepared the cake with a really simple vanilla icing layer, in the exact manner I describe in my post on how to bake a cake and prepare it for decorating.

Considering the fondant pieces were done in advance, decorating cakes like this is really quick and easy to do. It was a big hit at his party- poor Ike never stood a chance!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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DIY Checkerboard Minecraft Creeper Cake (NO Special Pan!)

Jakob turned 8 in 2015 and if it wasn’t clear from Henri’s Minecraft party, Minecraft lootbags and Minecraft grass biome cake that same year, 2015 brought in the reign of one particular video game in our household. (They even had DIY Minecraft Halloween costumes that year!)

Jakob was obsessed, in particular, with the Creeper. This unassuming green dude looks real cute until he shows up and blows up.

I decided to take inspiration for the inside of the cake from the Creeper’s multitude of green shades, and to theme the outside on the tshirts the boys would be wearing to the party, with the following image:

While I own a round checkerboard pan kit, I don’t have anything similar for square cakes so I had to get creative. I ended up coming up with a way to get the checkerboard look without requiring ANY special tools, and you can do it too if you follow the steps below.

Step 1 is to bake 4 cake layers, each tinted a different shade of green I used 8″ square cake pans and tinted my batter with gel coloring to get 4 different shades.

These are the colors I went with. You can choose to use more colors and more layers if you like – to copy the actual Creeper would require 8 layers for an 8×8 grid. If you want to match the colors exactly I provide the hex codes for all 8 colors in my Minecraft Steve & Creeper DIY costume head tutorial.

I only own 2 8″ square pans so I baked my cakes 2 at a time.

The cakes will turn golden on top as they bake so my icing swatches came in handy to remember which cakes were which later on.

Unfortunately I don’t have pics of the next steps but they’re very simple to follow-

  • Trim the golden top and sides off each cake
  • Cut each cake into even strips. Be sure to cut each cake into an identical number of strips. If you look at the cut section of my cake below, you can see I cut mine into 7 strips.
  • Place a bit of icing on your serving tray (to anchor the bottom pieces) and place 7 strips of assorted colors side by side to form the first layer. (Replace “7” with the number of strips you have in your cake). Once your color placement is to your liking, add a thin layer of icing between the sides of each strip to secure them to each other
  • Add a thin layer of icing across the entire top surface of layer 1
  • Repeat the last 2 steps 3 more times to add layers 2, 3 and 4. This will have used up all your cake strips
  • TIP: when cut vertically from the end, the cake will have a gridded/pixel look. You can use the same technique to create any pixel art desired
  • The key thing is to remember which direction your strips run. When you cut the cake you will want to cut horizontally ACROSS all the colors, to get the checkerboard look. If you cut horizontally WITH the strips, your cake will look like long rectangles of color.

To finish the cake simply ice and decorate the outside as desired. I covered mine with solid green icing and a fondant Creeper face, then added fondant lettering to match the boys’ shirts and Jakob’s name and age.

I used the placement of the face as my reminder which way to cut the cake later.

As you can see from the cross-section, the inside worked out perfectly! It looks just like the Creeper and Jakob was thrilled.

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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Adventure Time BMO and Gunter Cakes

As mentioned in my last Adventure Time cake post, Jakob’s obsession with the show covered both his 6th and 7th birthdays. For this year he had both Gunter cupcakes for school AND Gunter & BMO cakes for his birthday party.

Both cakes started with doctored box mix and store-bought icing that I adjusted even further by mixing in crushed Oreo cookies to either the cake batter or the icing.

The Gunter cake was Oreo cake with plain vanilla icing, and the BMO cake was plain white cake with Oreo icing.

To make Gunter I carved the cake to give it a rounded top and then covered it with black fondant (the only color I sometimes buy pre-tinted). All the other colors used started as white fondant which was then tinted with gel colors.

I then layered on a white piece for the face/body, a faux-parchment birthday message, black wings and black and white eyes, with a yellow beak.

It was a similar process to make BMO. I started with a thicker, rectangular cake and covered it with a pale teal layer of fondant.

Small bits of blue, green, yellow, black and an even paler teal were used for the details, and then I rolled snakes of the body color to create BMO’s arms and legs.

I decorated the base cover of each cake separately then transferred them to the serving tray before applying the finishing details.

Neither one made it home from the party!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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Adventure Time Cake

Jakob was obsessed with Adventure Time when his 6th birthday rolled around* so of course I HAD to make him an Adventure Time-themed birthday cake. (The obsession lasted so long that he had 2 Adventure Time cakes AND Gunter-themed cupcakes for his birthday the following year as well!)

Step 1 was to make a fondant BMO. Luckily I’d already made myself a plastic canvas BMO that I could use for easy reference.

BMO was made out of white fondant tinted with gel colors, and had long toothpick inserted underneath while the fondant cube was still soft. After letting the pieces harden for a few days I drew on them with edible markers for the finer details.

I made the fondant toppers by tinting small amounts of fondant into the appropriate colors then cutting out scaled paper templates of each character. I used a fondant knife to trace and cut the appropriate sections of each color then adhered them with water and a clean food-only paintbrush. The last step was to draw on any fine details with the food markers. I then repeated the same process for the logo/sword, substituting Jakob’s name for the word “TIME” in the title.

I baked, stacked and decorated a cake to look like a lovely day in the land of Ooo then applied all the toppers (except BMO) to the sides of the cake, using the moisture of the fresh icing to adhere them. The pieces were juuuust soft enough to form slightly to the cake’s curves so they wouldn’t pop off.

Because of the weight factor, I waited until just before serving to add BMO on top and insert the number candle.

The cake was a hit, and totally mathematical!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

*There was no homemade cake for Jakob’s 5th birthday as it was included with the party experience.

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Pixar CARS Cake

In 2011 Jakob was all about Pixar’s CARS. CARS toys, CARS books, even CARS bedsheets. So when he turned 4 that year, of course I had to make a CARS-themed cake.

Like most of my cakes, this one started with a sketch.

It was box-mix vanilla cake with pudding and egg add-ins, and vanilla icing between the layers. Except for the LEGO Piston Cup and candle, all toppers were handmade with white fondant that I tinted with gel colors.

The silver logo around Jakob’s name was made from black-tinted fondant and painted with silver luster dust mixed with a bit of vodka.

The top and back have a black & white checkered race flag, and the base of the cake is trimmed with icing. I was still learning how to properly prep a cake for fondant and you can see how lumpy the cake is, especially where it is starting to sag in the back. There are also a few cracks in the fondant in places.

The side decors were fun to make! Sally was the easiest- mostly blue fondant with black wheels, a white windshield/eyes and handpainted details. Lightning McQueen and Mater were a bit more involved, having more details to copy. To fill in the sides I also added Lightning’s number and the Rust-eze logo. All painting was done with gel colors mixed with Wilton White-White to be more opaque.

It was one of the first “figure” cakes I’d made and a different challenge than others I’d done at that point. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and the birthday boy loved it.

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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Dinosaur Cake

Today’s quick post is a lesson in always tinting more icing than you think you’ll need!

For Jakob’s second 3rd birthday cake (the first being the Smarties one) I baked box mixes and cut them into shapes to stack and create this dinosaur cake. I believe this is the tutorial I’d followed in order to get the template pieces.

I’d been curious about decorating a cake with little icing stars like the ones you see at grocery stores, so decided to try it out using a star-shaped icing tip and store-bought icing that I tinted with gel colors.

As you can see from the image above, I ran out of the pale blue shade and mixed up a bit more to finish the back left leg… except I didn’t realize that I didn’t match it quite right!

The final touch was to make some spines out of blue fondant and insert them into the cake once they’d had a chance to harden.

Personally I feel he looks a bit more like a dragon than a dinosaur, but he was tasty and the birthday boy was happy so that’s all that matters!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes

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Number 3 Smarties Cake

Jakob’s 15th(!!!) birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so just as I’ve been doing for Henri, I’m going to countdown Jakob’s past birthday cakes.

Jakob’s first birthday cake was a simple homemade banana cake with an edible printed sheet.

I’ve never owned a food ink printer so I designed the image on my computer then brought it to a local restaurant supply store who offered the edible print service.

(I don’t have an image of the complete cake for some reason).

His second birthday pirate cake and pirate cupcakes were actually the first food tutorials I’ve posted on this blog. Which brings us to his third birthday. He had 2 cakes when he turned three, as he had both family and friends/daycare parties. For his family party I made this easy “number 3-shaped” cake.

All you need to do to create this cake is bake 2 round cakes. Mine were both 8″. One layer each will work, though if you want a higher cake you can tort and fill each cake so you have 2 layers.

Follow the instructions on the downloadable template above to create your shape. First cut and remove the center of each cake, leaving a ring-shape. Cut away a quarter of each ring, and then position the rings as a “3” to make it easier to see where to cut away the remining bit of cake. So that the cakes sit nicely together, remove a slice off the edge of each ring where the two cakes will touch, so the surfaces that touch are flat, not rounded. (Section 3 in the template).

Then all you need to do is ice and decorate your cake! I decided to keep the small inner cake sections and decorate them as well.

To make decorating super quick and easy, I used Smarties to cover each cake. The longest part of this was sorting the candy packages by color! Once I had them in individual bowls, the placement of each was pretty fast.

First I iced the cake (in my case, vanilla icing on a chocolate cake base), then covered it in the Smarties. I chose to place them in a gradient from darkest on the bottom to lightest on top, for an almost “sunrise”-looking effect.

One of the cake centers was iced and given candles for Jakob to blow out. He got to have this one for himself (and no one else got his germs from trying to blow on the candles!).

The other center was iced in a similar fashion to the main cake, using up the remaining Smarties. I believe we’d sent it home to a family member who’d been unable to attend.

Shaped cakes can be tricky but this one is really easy and looks great, and all it takes is 2 round cake layers, some icing and a bulk bag of candy.

It didn’t only look good- the birthday boy found it tasted finger-licking good too!

Jakob’s other birthday cakes


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World Creativity and Innovation Day

It’s World Creativity and Innovation Day so today’s post is a round-up of previous posts that I feel incorporated some outside-of-the-box thinking!

Ever need to transfer live stitches to waste yarn but can’t find your tapestry needle? No problem! Here’s an easy way to “knit” the live stitches over so you can keep working on your project.

If you find standard provisional cast-ons too difficult, here’s a super easy way to get your knitting started. No extra tools required!

Here’s a neat trick for making thin vines/ropes for use in decorating your cakes or cupcakes. They’re flexible, stretchable, and edible!

Here’s a hands-free way to hold your coloring books open!

Not getting the look you want with colored pencils in your adult coloring books? Here’s a great way to add more tooth to the paper.

Are your fondant balls/pearls coming out all different sizes? Here’s a super easy hack to get identical ones, every time!

Here’s a simple way to give a plain toy new life and make it work with your LEGO pieces.

Finally, for when you want to provide homemade, individual snacks, here’s a free & easy way to transport mini cupcakes by repurposing something you’ve probably already got on hand.


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Scrabble Cake for National Scrabble Day

Today is National Scrabble Day! Occurring annually on April 13, Scrabble Day celebrates the birthday of Scrabble’s inventor Alfred Mosher Butts.

I’m still working through my backlog of cakes and projects I’d never posted, and today is the perfect day to share this Scrabble-themed cake I made all the way back in 2012.

Unfortunately I hadn’t taken progress pics so this isn’t an actual tutorial, though I can talk through the basics. The bottom tier was a chocolate round, with an 8″ vanilla (I think) on top. Both layers were covered with icing then white fondant I’d tinted with gel colors.

The Scrabble board and pieces were made from fondant a few days in advance so they’d have time to harden before application on the cake.

Once set, the tiles were lettered with a black edible marker. Larger tiles around the base spelled out DAUGHTER, SISTER, MOTHER and FRIEND, each with the applicable letter score.

The smaller tiles on the board write out the message for the birthday girl: HAPPY SIXTIETH BIRTHDAY ESTHER.

For the board itself, I’d lightly etched guidelines for the grid and then filled in the colored multiplier squares with more edible markers, before lining the whole grid with royal icing. I’m not thrilled with the lines themselves – I wish they were straighter, but I remember being too afraid to try and remove wonky areas to redo them and risk messing up the colors underneath.

For more Scrabble history, click here!

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How to make a Fortnite Loot Lake cube cake

Today’s Henri’s 13th birthday and we’ve made it to his big, first “double-digits” birthday cake. Not only was Fortnite massive at the end of 2018/early 2019, but the Loot Lake cube event had just taken place and when asked what theme he wanted for his cake that year, there was zero hesitation. Easy for him to decide, but I’ll admit it took me a moment to figure out how to put it into action!

In the end I went with a cake that represented Loot Lake with the cube starting to submerge, and one of the wooden panels with Henri’s name on it. If curious about the cubes, you can read up on them here. You can actually watch the cube hit and go under here.

At this point this should be really familiar reading, but once again a few days before his party I baked cakes and prepared them as per my usual method. I also prepared my fondant pieces so they would have time to harden.

For the wooden panel I printed out his name in the Fortnite font and cut a rectangle around it with my dull blade cutter, freehanding the perpendicular planks.

I also cut out 6 1-inch squares to use for the cube. The grid on my measuring mat was perfect for this!

…except that it was too annoying to assemble the panels into a cube so instead I squished them all back together with some extra fondant and cut a 1″ cube out of the larger chunk.

I used my adjustable circle cutter to cut out a disk of fondant the same diameter as the top of my cake. I’d link it but can’t find it for sale any longer. I wonder if that’s because it isn’t that great – and tends to leave unsightly divots in the center of your fondant (like in the above image). You can either freehand cut a circle using a mat with markings like mine, or trace around your cake pan or same-sized bowl and cut that out instead.

At this point I set aside all the fondant pieces to air-dry, turning a few times daily so all sides could dry well.

The night before the party I levelled, torted and crumb-coated the cake as per my tutorial linked above.

While the cake was chilling in the fridge I painted the nameplate with gel colors diluted in vodka, using a quick version of my painting fondant to look like wood tutorial (another version of the wood also found here). I also cut an angled slice off of the cube so it could sit flush against the top of the cake and still look submerged, and inserted a bamboo skewer to help it anchor to the cake later.

The cake got a clean layer of white icing and then the fondant disk was placed on top so it would adhere well.

I used the back of a food-only paintbrush to lightly score demarcation lines for where the cube’s magical effect would spread to, using the game screenshots as color and placement references. (Oh yeah- the cube is magical. It turned the lake bouncy). I also gathered my supplies for food painting: more gel colors in my required colors, white icing tint, sparkle gel, water with a syringe, my gel paint palette, toothpicks, food-only paintbrushes and icing sugar to be the base of my “paint”.

To create the lake I added blue gel colors to some icing sugar and used a syringe to add water until I got a consistency similar to paint. The syringe helps avoid adding too much water at a time, but if it does get too watery you can thicken it back up with more icing sugar. Once it looked right I painted the lake blue, stopping at the demarcation line and feathering slightly over the edge so it wouldn’t be sharp or precise.

I mixed up more of the same color but runnier (similar to flood consistency, if you decorate cakes) and applied it all over the same sections, allowing it to self-level. Then I left the cake to set for 15 minutes.

Next I mixed up more icing paint in white and light blue and put dabs of each in an alternating pattern around the inner circle’s edge before using a toothpick to swirl them together. It’s ok if the darker blue bleeds into them a bit, as this was meant to be the edge where the lake water meets the rubberized water and has the magic glow effect.

To add more magical “oomph” I added sparkle gel around the edge, overlapping into the darker blue. Then I set it aside for another 15 minutes.

For the center where the lake has already transformed, first I mixed up a medium purple shade with a lot of the sparkle gel mixed in, as well as a lighter purple and white with sparkle. I filled the center circle with the medium purple and while it was still wet I dripped in the two lighter colors and swirled them gently. Once I was happy with how it looked I set it aside for another 15 minutes.

I tinted some vanilla icing green for the grassy land around the lake and covered the sides of the cake, slightly overlapping the disk on top to hide the fondant edges. I then textured the top bit to look more like grass. You can pipe around the base of the cake if desired (I’d run out of icing, oops).

I mixed up a darker purple for the cube and a brighter pink to be the glowing light where the cube touched the water, and painted the cube itself. Allow to dry for 15 minutes by either holding it (and enjoying a little break!) or you can push the skewer into a scrap chunk of fondant or styrofoam.

Tip: Save a bit of the dark purple in case you need to touch up the cube after you stick it on the cake.

Even though my fondant was white to start, I decided to paint over Henri’s name with the Wilton White-White. It doesn’t show much in the pic, but in person it made it much brighter.

The last step is to push the skewer into the cake and then the Fortnite Loot Lake cube cake is done!

I’d used a bit too much water in one of my purples, so the next day you can see that it cratered a bit when it dried down. But I’m still super pleased with how it turned out! I love the glowy swirl where the lake meets the “magic” and it really does look like the cube is sinking into the water.

Plus Henri was really happy with it, which was the most important part! ❤

I’ve had questions before about whether fondant topper painting adds extra thickness to the top of a cake, and as you can see from the cross-section, it really doesn’t.

Henri’s other birthday cakes

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