Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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A B+ Halo Birthday Cake: a story in pictures (mostly)

Some of you might remember that I suck at cake decorating, considering I shared my past cake-tastrophes a while back. So why on Earth would you take my cake decorating advice? Especially since my hopes of salvaging Jake's eleventh birthday cake (which he wanted to have a Halo theme) were looking pretty grim?

My mom brought the cake over.
There may have been some lid-related collateral damage.

Well, I think it turned out okay - maybe a solid B+ even, with the help of my mom's candy writing around the edges - and I think you could get an A+++ with five gold stars if you tried this and avoided all the stupid mistakes I made.

  • waxed paper
  • regular icing (not gel) in a tube or some other contraption, like a plastic baggie with the corner cut off, so you can squirt it out with some degree of accuracy
  • Sharpie
  • pattern for lettering (I used the Introwebz on my computer, since I use the Introwebz for everything except maybe as a hood ornament)
  • frosted cake, preferably not smashed (see above)
  • more patience and brains than I have
Okay, so first I pulled up the Halo logo on my computer, but you could use whatever word or picture you want for the pattern. I held the waxed paper up to the screen and LIGHTLY traced the lettering with Sharpie (I said LIGHTLY - please don't send me the bill for any computer screens you scratch/break/impale with your pen).
PRO TIP: If I'd known how I was going to end up doing this, I might've used some kind of non-toxic edible marker for this part. If they make those. And if I'd had one lying around. And if I felt like it. But I didn't, and nobody's been hospitalized with Sharpie poisoning. Yet.
I started to cut the letters out because I was going to use the waxed paper as a stencil, but I quickly realized that was dumb, and I'm only telling you so you'll know why there's tape on the back of my "H".

Instead, I covered my letters with icing, adding layers as the icing firmed up so the letters would be nice and thick. I tried smoothing out the top of each one with my finger, but that was too hard so I gave up and decided that the logo should be, um, textured.

Then I stuck the whole thing in the freezer for a couple hours and turned my tongue blue, eating raw icing straight from the tube.

When I took the letters out of the freezer, I thought they looked pretty great - until I realized my logo was wider than the damn cake. So this is the part where I tell you that, before you start, don't assume that your computer screen is narrower than your cake pan.

My husband fixed the chocolate frosting damage,
because he's awesome like that.

While I was cursing about the size issue, the letters started to warm up and I couldn't get them off the waxed paper, which isn't surprising since it only takes about four seconds at room temperature for them to need another trip to the freezer.

Soon, I'd peeled my letters up, staggered them so they'd fit on the @#*&% cake, and we were ready for candles.

My mom's lettering around the edges is cute, yeah?

Jake didn't seem to mind that the logo was all janky; I think he was just glad none of his friends were there to hear our horrid, off-key rendition of Happy Birthday.

So what about you guys? Are you experts at decorating cakes, or do they end up more like my cake-splosions? Please say cake-splosions - and then send me pictures so I can put them on CraftFail!

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Jean said...

I think your cake turned out great! I have now done 4 birthdays for my kids and my son's latest cake (the number 3 with m&m's covering it) was my proudest moment and also the only time I attempted to make a cake(sorry can't find pictures). My only fail about that one was the fact that I ate all the leftovers within 2 days of the party :(

Cat said...

I think you did a great job. For future ref, royal frosting is really easy to make, color and work with. It gets stiff and stays that way...great for details and lettering. Oh, and it tastes good too!

Cat said...

I think you did a great job. For future ref, royal frosting is really easy to make, color and work with. It gets stiff and stays that way...great for details and lettering. Oh, and it tastes good too!

Unknown said...

If the kidlet liked it, call it a win. A thought ... if you flipped the wax paper over, and traced them backwards, the letters would be backwards. And then they'd be textured on the bottom. And then when you flipped them right side up on the cake no one would notice.
I've never tried icing for this (you're brave) but I've used chocolate melts; they work well and peel off the paper easily. They come in lurid colours. And once they've cooled they're solid at room temperature forever and ever amen.

TNMom said...

CUTE!! Great job mama! I have one coming up in July, come help me...I am sure we will need something princessy or Barbie... I have the number to the bakery on my phone, its ok. :) <3 Devan

RobynHTV said...

M&Ms in the shape of a 3 - it sounds adorable! I might try that on the baby's cake Sunday. And for the record, I always scarf the leftovers, either because it's so good or because it's so terrible I want to eat the evidence. ;)

RobynHTV said...

Good tip! I usually have zero ingredients in my house and decide to do this stuff at the last minute, which is why I end up using whatever I have laying around. But next time I'll plan ahead and try the royal frosting! Well, not *next* time, because the next time I decorate a cake is today - see? Last minute, every time.

RobynHTV said...

I need you to come live with me as my personal adviser, Helana - that's genius! I really didn't expect it to be so hard to smooth, but doing it upside down would take care of that, plus I might be able to set the whole thing on the cake and just peel the wax paper off (if I made it the right size...). Chocolate melts sound delicious, and staying solid would certainly help this whole operation - thank you!

RobynHTV said...

Oh, but it would be so much fun for us to get together and make a huge mess in the kitchen (and then call the bakery anyway)! ;)

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I went ahead and tried this out but I don't think mine turned out very well. The Sharpie tasted horrible.

RobynHTV said...

Did you cook it first? You definitely don't want to try to eat one raw.

Unknown said...

I think the letters look pretty good. My cakes usually look just like the ones Costco sells, probably because I can't/won't try to make mine own. My frosting skills are at the same level as my 4 yo, they consist of eating it and getting it all over the place. :)

RobynHTV said...

Eating and getting it all over the place is my favorite part!

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