Superhero Birthday Cake
The Story behind this Cake
I get to make lots of cakes for happy occasions but this one tops them all - Harry's "End of Treatment" cake!!
He's an amazing young man who I first got to meet through Baking a Smile when I made birthday cakes for him and for his brother Jack last year whilst he was still battling his cancer.
He has now finally gone into remission and finished his chemotherapy after a very long and hard battle - he has never once complained and his entire family have pulled together in the most amazing show of solidarity and mutual support that I have ever seen.
I am so thrilled for him and his family and I'm totally in awe of the strength they have all shown.
His theme was (aptly!) Superheros and this cake depicts all his favourites:-
Batman, The Green Lantern, Superman, Wonderwoman, The Flash, Deadpool and Aquaman.
I hope you can find them all symbolised on this cake.
Many congratulations to Harry and his family and thank you for allowing me to make such a special cake. XX
The inspiration was easy - The young man in question and his family had seen an earlier super hero cake of mine and loved the symbolism used to portray the characters instead of more conventional models.I like to come up with an easily recognisable item that can be instantly linked to the character. For his own cake he chose all his favourite super heroes and his mum asked me to portray them in a similar fashion.
His favourite superhero is Batman so he clearly had to go on top. I didnt want to do the over used mask or cape designs so decided to go with the Bat phone instead. It is made from RKT and covered in fondant. I applied a high gloss finish using bakers glaze to create the plastic appearance of a telephone.
Here's my recipe for modelling RKT:
160g rice krispie
Melt the butter and marshmallows together then stir in the rice krispies until coated. Leave to cool before handling as they hold their heat for quite some time. If choosing to model directly with them always rub some TREX into your hands otherwise you will end up stuck to the RKT - they are VERY sticky!
I prefer to press it all down firmly into a tray as the more compacted you can make it ,the stronger it will be when modelling. Once cool enough place it in the fridge to go harder then you can turn the block of RKT out and carve the into the shape you require. For smaller or delicate structures I wrap the item in cling film and return it to the fridge or even the freezer for a short while so that it sets hard into shape. The cling film really helps to support it until it has hardened, obviously remove the cling film before covering in fondant or modelling chocolate!
The other superheros depicted and their symbols are:
The Flash - his flash of lightning. This was made from modelling paste. I left it to dry for several days so that it was strong enough to be self supporting then airbrushed it a vivid yellow. It is attached using edible glue and partially inserted into the cake.
The Green Lantern - his green eye mask. It is modelling paste cut to shape then pinched up to create the shape over the nose and supported using a prop of rolled up cling film until dry. (I like to use cling film as supports because you can roll and scrunch it into any shape and it actually can provide a fair amount of support as it tries to self release.) This was also airbrushed to colour.
Superman - his famous logo. This is a plaque carved out of modelling paste with an edible printed image on top. I prefer to mount images on plaques to give them a 2D image rather than appearing flat and uninteresting.
Wonderwoman - her tiara. This is also modelling paste and to ensure it had the correct curve to follow the line of the cake I cut it to shape then left it to dry draped around the cake tin I had used to bake in (cover in cling film first for easy removal). After several days it was dry enough to be airbrushed with a metallic gold colour and then I added the famous red star. It seemed the obvious choice to depict superman and wonderwoman together and with the symbolic american flag linking them.
Deadpool - his belt. To create the belt I made the belt buckle and the small utility pouches using modelling paste. These were left to dry for several days. I placed a black band around the cake tier using fondant with a little Tylo added for support, then gave it some texture using a texture mat. The buckle and pouches were then attached using edible glue.
Aquaman - his golden trident. The trident was a challenge! It is all made using modelling paste reinforced with additional tylo and cocktail sticks for extra support. It was then airbrushed with metallic paint. Despite being made over a week in advance the design of it makes it pretty delicate and I was concerned that it may not survive a car journey to the event. Originally I had planned to have it standing upright and proud from one of the tiers but I decided to err on the side of caution and changed my design to accomodate it laying down on the board. To create interest I created a water effect for it to sit in by placing individual tear drops of blue fondant on the board and creating a "rolling water" effect. I then added sparkling blue piping gel to give it a wet finish.
I mounted lots of cartoon words such as POW, ZAP and BAM onto modelling paste for support and left themovernight to dry. They were then placed around the cake to create the comic book feel.
I like to make my boards interesting and part of the overall design - to achieve this I covered the board in grey fondant and created a brick effect for a sub-urban feel to it. I made small triangles using modelling paste several days earlier using the same colour and technique and when dry I used edible glue to attach them to the corner of the board, suggesting the continuation of walls without the heavy appearance of a full back drop. I also put two small printed images of the DC/ Marvel logos that look like little posters on the "walls".
Although I prefer to make everything from edible materials I chose to add a small battery operated "Bat signal" projecter to the board. This could be turned on and sent a little ray of light with the bat signal up the side of the cake or whichever direction it was pointed in. Unfortunately I didnt get any pictures of it illuminated but it was incredibly effective in the dark which was just perfect for the timing of Harry having his cake in the late evening.
The very final touch was to create just a little interest at the back of the cake. Often the back of a cake gets neglected but I like to do a little work there too as not all guests get to see the cake from the front when it is presented. I chose to apply edible printed images of each character on their allocated tiers and it just added a little touch of colour.
The party was open to all the family and friends who had been a part of Harry's journey and his mum chose to make it an all day event so that people could pop in whenever suited them. Such a lovely relaxed attitude and really welcoming for everyone - it was a cold and wintery day/night and they had a marquee, fire pits, hot food,fireworks, music and buckets of booze! All they wanted to do was celebrate the end of a very long 3 1/2 years.
The final design of the cake was left as as a surprise for Harry and, thankfully, he was over the moon with it.
I make no secret of the fact that I prefer to make pretty,girly cakes but this cake, despite being very far from pretty and girly was an absolute joy to make! I'm not ashamed to say I shed a few tears making this one (happy ones I'm pleased to say!). Having met this family through Baking a Smile over a year ago when I baked birthday cakes for both Harry and his brother whilst his treatment was still very aggressive, it was a joy to be baking an end of treatment cake to celebrate his remission. What an amazing thing to celebrate.
A few months ago I made a cake for a little girl's final party. Despite being only a toddler she was being taken far too early and couldnt win her battle so her family chose to throw her an amazing princess themed party near the end. I pledged to make the cake for her party but when she suddenly took a massive turn for the worse and it was obvious she didnt have long left I had just hours to bake, decorate and deliver her cake. That cake was the hardest and saddest cake I have ever made - I worked all night to get it done and delivered it first thing in the morning. I shed many, many tears over that cake, knowing that the little princess was leaving us soon but I was honoured to have made it for her.
You may think I'm digressing but my point is that cakes can be so much more than just a dessert item on a plate. They symbolise celebration and love and can convey any message that is required. I think people rarely see the care and creativity that a baker will put into a cake but I would love people to know that their cakes are made with so much love and compassion which is why I have chosen to share my story.
Share a cake by The Giant Cupcake Shop