Spread some happy

My son turned 5 this week and wanted a Skylander Birthday Cake. This sounds simple enough right? 

I don’t know when you will be reading this article. But at the time, we are in the midst of social distancing and self isolation for Covid-19. This means no last minute grocery store trips, no stores to pick up party supplies and nothing can be ordered online that will arrive in a short time frame. 

So up until two nights before his birthday, his request was to help me make a simple cake. Done! I thought I was in the clear. On our most recent grocery online order, I made sure to have a cake mix (because extra baking supplies are impossible to get), some frosting and a few decorations. I figured he would crack some eggs, scoop some icing, place some decorations and presto! Instant Happy Birthday Kid!

Then a couple nights before his big day he had some reality set in that he was not going to have a very big birthday. Because of the current situation, there would be no friends, no family, no special party destination. Just another day of home time with his immediate family. A flood of tears streamed out of that adorable little face that broke my heart. He then looked up at me with his huge blue eyes and said “Mom, can I please have a skyander cake”? Uh-oh. I really do feel like I held a good poker face and said “yes! absolutely”, but on the inside I was panicking a bit. 

Alright, I got this. My poor little middle child getting the short end of the stick for his birthday. But the situation is what it is and we just have to make the best of it. A lesson that I want my kids to always understand. Right now there is so much sadness and tragedy happening all over the world and if a small birthday is your biggest problem than you have a lot to be grateful for. Regardless I don’t expect a 5 year old to understand the greater picture so I want him to have an amazing birthday.

After he went to bed that night I did an inventory of my baking and decorating supplies.  Luckily he also has a ton of little skylander figurines. They were his older brothers that were used for a Wii game that is long gone and they don’t use them for that purpose anymore. They just play with them as action figures, so I wasn’t too worried about getting them dirty. 

After doing a quick Audit of my pantry I came up with the idea to use my Fluted cake pan to build a battle ground and some jello to make a lake in the middle. What does a 5 year old love more than a good old fashion fight scene?
Then I added some marshmallows and Chocolate chips to the inventory to use in the landscape.

Ok so this is my vision at this point in time with the supplies I have. I feel pretty good about it

1. I will use the cake mix to bake the cake in the fluted pan. 

2. I will use a tray and cut the cake in half to create two separate battle sides.

3. I picked out a variety of skylanders for a theme to have a fire based “evil” side and an ice based “hero” side. This stemmed from me coming up with the idea to freeze one of the characters in a block of ice.

3. In the middle I will set some green jello in a bowl to look like a lake

4. I will use the Pocky sticks, chocolate chips and frosting to create texture and landscape

5. I have the sugar letters to place somewhere to spell out happy birthday. Not sure where yet

6. I’ll freeze the character in the cup to create a fun little element to the cake

7. Hope for the best that it looks half decent. So here we go!

 

I got a little excited and flipped the cake pan before it was completely cooled. The result is that the top broke a bit. Good news is now I have some “landscape” cake rocks to spread around the plate. 

I put my jello in the fridge first thing in the morning and started to make the cake around dinner time. Its mostly set but will have overnight to fully cool. This is the layout of the battle scene. 

As I start to place the character I realize there is a bit of a dimensions problem. Mainly that half the skylanders are a simliar size to the landscape and the lake itself. Well not much I can do about that! But the image in my head is not quite translating onto the plate.

I’ll just keep on working and see what I come up with. 

I start in on the cake frosting. Its working great for keeping the characters in place. Good thing I bought two cans because it tastes amazing

After I have the one side frosted I start to add in a little texture. I put some pocky sticks for height and sprinkle chocolate chips on the cake and into the lake and plate. I also took a giant marshmallow and covered it with frosting to create a platform for one of the characters

Things are almost done. I have covered the other side with frosting and placed all the characters where I want them. You can see the little chunk of jello missing because I tried to put one of the little guys in the lake and it did not go great. 

I”m still a little sad that the skylander characters are so big in reference to the landscape but there’s only so much I can do. 

Here is the final product the night before. I don’t have the ice character on it yet but its all finished. Or so I thought. We had a bit of a mishap that caused me to have to pivot and fix part of it right before we sang happy birthday. Look below to see what happened to the lake in the fridge. 

Some of you could probably see it coming but I did not.

 

I was so excited to get it all laid out that it didn’t even occur to me that the letters were made of complete dissolvable sugar. Dumb move on my part. When I pulled it out of the fridge the next day it looked like Alphabet soup. Oops!

So I pulled out the ice block character. I ran it under hot water for a couple seconds to get rid of the cup shape and pushed him into the middle of the jello to create a new center focus

This is the final version of my last minute, work with what you got, skylander birthday cake. Is it the most beautiful thing I’ve ever created. Nope! But it was so much fun to make and my son loved it. He thought it was the coolest thing ever which was my hope. It made him smile and feel special on his birthday.