Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Death By Chocolate

I'm officially out of my comfort zone.

Normally that might indicate that I'm not wearing sweatpants, but as I'm watching kids and essentially playing Russian roulette with food and/or bodily fluids, sweatpants it is.

I was referring to my latest cake decorating project.  If you've followed the blog for any length of time, you've probably caught a post or two about my adventures in sleeplessness creating cakes that make my kids' eyes light up.  I'm not a professional, of course, so you should take what I say with a grain of salt.

You know what?  Until further notice, take everything I say with a grain of salt.

In the past, I've made cakes featuring Mickey Mouse, trains, The Hunger Games, Toy Story and volcanoes/dinosaurs and more. But when my nephew Keaton's birthday rolled around and he made his thematic request, I nearly turned down the job.  I already had several ideas in mind; a video game cake, a Lost cake (after we'd all watched the show from start to finish on Netflix and Keaton had gotten hooked), and a camouflage/gun cake. 

But Keaton wanted zombies.

Photo credit here.
Now I know as much about zombies as I know about pouring concrete, or maintaining a healthy weight.  So when he mentioned his love for the show "The Walking Dead", all I pictured were greenish-greyish semi-decomposed people walking with their arms out in front of them like I do when I'm trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I was worried that those zombi-fied people just wouldn't look right with fondant.  I could envision Keaton, uncovering his eyes to see the zombie cake I'd been working on and instead finding a cake covered with green and purple creature more closely resembling muppets.  It wasn't going to happen.

I had to come up with a new plan.  I did a little research about the show and found that, for cake decorators, an image from the first episode depicting some locked doors was by far the most popular.  I decided that I would incorporate that as it was something Keaton would probably recognize.

Photo credit here.
From that point on it was trial and error.  Ethan was there to help me with ideas, and to keep me upright and awake.  I sketched out a plan of attack, mixed my fondant colors, crunched up some chocolate cookies for makeshift "dirt", and got to work.

With the doors done, I decided I'd reached a good stopping point.  Because I didn't get started until about 9:00pm due to Cael's t-ball game, the work I'd done took me to 11:45pm.  I took Ethan home and prepared for bed.  Only when I was putting on my pajamas, I thought that I should probably get a few more things done on it before heading to sleep, since I didn't know exactly how much time I would have the next day to get it done.

As it turns out, it didn't matter.  There were no other good stopping points, so I worked through the night and finally packed up my fondant and tools at 3:45am.  It wasn't that I was done, but more that I was nearly hallucinating with exhaustion.  At one point I thought there was a bird in my house.  At another point, I probably would have attempted to pour that concrete with expert precision if asked. 

I needed sleep.

The next day there were just a few finishing touches to be added, including a padlock on the linked chain I'd constructed the night before as well as a skull and bones for effect.  A few strategically placed piles of mashed strawberry designed to look like "guts", and the cake was finally finished.  The end result was even better that I'd anticipated.  The final concept had Keaton, a zombie himself, locked up inside the cake, one hand bursting through his grave marker to escape.

He loved the cake.  And as happy as I was to see him pleased, I was even more proud of myself for making it happen.  I think I might need to expand my cake-related horizons more often.

Maybe after I've slept.  Happy Birthday, Keaton.


  1. Very cool!!! After all that work, wasn't it sad to cut into it & ruin it? I don't think I could do it. Shirley

    1. I made that same remark! It's always hard to eat it after I've put so much time into it. But Keaton was happy and I guess that's all that matters!

  2. Great work!! Amazing! Looks too good to eat! :)

  3. That is amazing! So cool! I am extremely impressed by this!

  4. Oh, go professional already! Who do you think you're kidding?!?! The Cake Boss is stalking your blog for new ideas! Seriously, unbelievable. . . you should be so proud of yourself for making Keaton's birthday extra special! Thank you Sweetie!



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