Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Wonder Pets Cake

So my now 3 year old was asked a few weeks ago what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. He thought for a minute and said, "Hmmm...maybe a Wonder Pets take."

Wonder Pets cake. I actually was thinking something along the lines of, you know, chocolate. But, he wanted a Wonder Pets cake. So off to Google we go. There are some incredible cakes out there, many of which are much too involved for my skill level. But the Nickelodeon site had a template for the Flyboat. This is only fair since it is their fault that my child knows about the Wonder Pets in the first place. In truth, the cake didn't look all that difficult to make, so I figured it couldn't turn out THAT bad.

Since you are on a decorating quest, use a cake mix. Because, truly, do we need another challenge??

Use a bit of the cake mix to grease and flour your round pan. This is a brilliant cover up when your husband points out that you have just poured the mix into the baking pan instead of the mixing bowl. What can I say? I just drove 3 hours from Kansas City to make a Wonder Pets cake.
While the cake is baking, get started on the wheels. A small package contains six chocolate donuts. Put these onto a cooling rack that is sitting over waxed paper. Do not forget the waxed paper. We are just starting to make the mess here.
Tint 1/2 cup of white frosting (you guessed it, Duncan Hines) so it is a violent blue color. We are now going to microwave this for about 10 seconds. Just long enough to make it pourable.
Spoon the frosting over the donut so it is covered down the sides. The bottom doesn't matter since we are going to stick this on the side of the cake.
Did you know that a small package of M&Ms has THREE yellow ones? Good thing I bought two packages. Put one of those rare yellow M&Ms M-side down in the middle of the donut.
Repeat with the other donuts. If you are good at this kind of thing, you can probably get away with only making four wheels. I am not, so I am making all six into wheels. Notice the poor wheel on the left. That is what happens if your frosting isn't warmed enough to make it pourable.
This is the template the Nick site has for the Flyboat's sail. In the hands of a less ambitious (insane??) person, this would be fine to cut out and put on the cake. For some reason, this was not good enough for me at the time. Don't let it be good enough for you either, because this was probably the easiest part of the whole deal.
So cover it in waxed paper.
Get out three (2-1/2) squares of almond bark. I found The Boy with an entire slab of this underneath the kitchen table. He seemed to think he was eating cheese. Just trim that part off and melt the rest. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir. Microwave again and stir.
You can kind of tell it's getting late here, because I didn't think a flat sail was good enough. Put all the M&Ms back in the package and put it under the template. This sail is going to blow in the wind.
Spread the melted almond bark in a semi-even layer over the shape of the sail. I did this the night before. I highly recommend that so it has time to harden. At this point, I realized that I colored outside of the lines and can no longer see the shape of the sail.
Noooo problem. Once it hardens, just take a pair of scissors and cut it out. Patience is key here. Don't try to make big swipes with your cuts. Little ones keep it from breaking, especially if your sail is blowing in the wind. If it does break, just melt some more almond bark and glue it back together. Can't even see where this one broke, can you??
Find The Boy's Wonder Pets toys. and give them a bath. I have plan to put them into the Flyboat.Now that your cake has cooled, level off the top if it needs it. We want it really flat.
Like so. This step will also tide over any hungry people hanging around asking if the cake is done yet.
Now cut the cake in half.
Tint the rest of the frosting purple. Purple is a really difficult color to make right when it comes to frosting.Frost one half of the cake.
Sandwich the two halves together. The flat edge is going to be the top of our cake, so we want it to be even and flat. I would like to point out here that this is how the edges lined up for me. There was no trimming involved. I am pretty proud of that...
We want the cake to stand on the round part, so trim a tiny bit of cake off the bottom.
Just enough so it doesn't roll one way or another.Then stand the cake up.
This is where I start to get nervous. The cake immediately started to crack in the middle.
So I put it back down on its side to frost it.
This didn't work as well as I thought it might, but probably not any worse than the other way would have been.
Remove about 1/2 cup frosting from a second can of frosting and tint the remainder red. It's pretty tough to get a true red in frosting, so a dark pink will have to do.

I am going to let you in on a little cake decorating secret. It is nearly impossible to smoothly frost the cut side of a cake. I ended up putting on a pretty thin layer and sticking it in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
That's better. Now it is relatively smooth. For the life of me, I could not get the wrinkles out. There is a really cool blog called Cake Wrecks that highlights horrible cake decorating decisions. On Sundays, incredibly beautiful cakes are featured. All with frosting that does not have wrinkles in it. After spending 20 minutes trying to make a smooth side to the Flyboat, all I have to say...Wow.
Use the little bit of untinted frosting to "glue" the wheels onto the side of the Flyboat.Add on the pretty buttons to the side. Besides, at this point, there is no such thing as too much sugar.
Of course, the Wonder Pets have an emblem on the sail of the Flyboat. In my decision to forgo the paper sail, I inadvertently forwent the emblem. Not to be deterred, I searched my kitchen for something, anything, about the same size round. A curly straw works perfect. Look around, there is SOMETHING in your house that will work. So trace that with purple decorating gel.
Not bad as far as my circles go.
I was pleasantly surprised at how the "W" turned out.
Of course, now we have a very thin edged sail on our flyboat. I had a chocolate covered pretzel stick that worked perfectly as a mast.
Just as I feared, this is not a stable configuration. Notice the crack at the base of the sail.
I tried putting the spare tires under the edges, but nothing, I mean NOTHING, was stopping this cake from falling apart. So I frantically searched my kitchen for any bowl that would hold it together. Amazingly, I had a clear one the perfect size...

But doggone it anyway. I was really upset about the whole thing, until...
...The Boy walked in.
"It's perfect, Mom."

So it was totally worth it.

For more complete instructions and the template, go to this page on the Nickelodeon website.

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