Monday, May 4, 2015

Calvin & Hobbes Cake

My kids were killing me with their desired birthday cakes this year! Brooks wanted Calvin & Hobbes, and honestly, it took me awhile to think of anything I could do that would actually *look* like Calvin, or Hobbes. The idea struck me, that I could do a large, edible comic strip.

It took a long time and tons of google searches and even a facebook poll of friends, and good suggestions were made. I wanted both Calvin and Hobbes in the strip, and there are no birthday related strips containing those two, only Calvin and Susie. I finally decided on the perfect strip the old fashioned way - by reading a Calvin & Hobbes book:-) Brooks is TERRIFIED of bugs and especially bees, and this strip seemed to encapsulate his fears, over reactions, and our nonchalant "oh my, must have been terrible" responses.

My original idea was to have the strip printed on edible paper at the cake store. I enlarged the strip to my desired size, and went into the store - and found out to print this how they do, on edible paper was going to cost $52. GULP! I will forever be grateful for an employee who was more concerned with the happiness of a customer, than the bottom line - because I didn't know you could buy blank edible paper. She told me that because the design was easy to trace, and the paper is see-thru, I should just copy it myself with edible markers. I was excited, because I already own edible markers for my cookie business, and the blank edible paper...was $1.75 for FIVE sheets!!! I literally saved $50 and it only took a few minutes to trace out the cartoon on the flavourless potato starch paper!
All traced and ready to go! This is edible paper.

I made the cake "marble" with vanilla and chocolate - the vanilla dyed orange, obviously. Because tiger stripes just seemed most appropriate:-)

I made a few "critical errors" with this cake - #1 I should have just marbled it the regular way, instead of layering it in the zebra stripe method. As it turns out, the zebra stripe pattern is only visible if you are cutting a circle cake, into pie shaped pieces. Cutting a square cake into square pieces - you see orange and brown, but no defined stripe pattern. Marbling it would have been fine in this cake, and taken less time.
#2 I didn't account for the size of the cake - this cake is three 9x9's end on end, and then stacked, so a total of six 9x9 cakes were baked (this took 4 cake mixes). I had planned to fill the cake with a whipped cream/pudding type filling - but that needs to be refrigerated, and this cake was too long to fit in my fridge! So I changed up the plan and did a marshmallow creme buttercream (dyed orange) instead - which was nice, but I was really in the mood for that pudding filling!

I iced the cake in vanilla buttercream, and tried to make it as smooth as possible! The paper towel method I use couldn't be done here, since I couldn't get the cake in a fridge, so I just had to use a knife

Applying the edible paper. The lady at the cake store told me to wet the cake just a little, and stick it down, so I followed that advice, and used a off set knife and hot water to smooth and wet the icing just prior to application. Error #3 - I don't think it needed the wet, the icing would have been just fine. I'm using paper towel to smooth and press the paper onto the cake - touching it with any amount of moisture on your hands causes it to stick and pull up.

I did this Friday night, with the party being on Saturday night. The paper went on like a dream, and it was all too easy! I looked perfect Fri night...come Sat morning though, the ink had bled, just a touch. Not enough to make anything hard to see or read, but just enough to muddy some of the lines and that was frustrating, I think that was maybe just because of the liquid, though it wasn't much at all - unsure if it would have happened with just buttercream underneath.
All done! It bled a bit, but still looked good

Birthday boy and his cake

Reading his edible comic strip

And it's a tiger cake!!
All in all, it was a pretty easy cake to make - it hardly took any time at all. And thanks to the cheap edible paper, was affordable too. A great idea to make a themed birthday cake and have it look professional! I'm tucking this idea away for the future!

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