Baking the Pokemon. 

‘Grown ups drink their coffee, do their grown up things.. But kids?! Kids listen!’
– Phoebe Buffay

This was my first cake for an actual kid.. to be cut for a kiddie birthday party.. and it was a fairly intimidating task! On the upside though – it gives me some license to be sinfully decadent.. 🙂

The road to completion for this cake was especially exhausting. It was just one of those times when it takes a long time for all things to work out.. The overall demand for the cake was fairly simple – a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. So my base cake and icing choices were  cut out for me.

For decorations, on checking with the mom, I was told the kid is a fan of ‘Doremon’.. Before I could proceed further, thankfully, the mom thought back to check with her kid and turned out – we wanted ‘Pokemons’ on our cake instead!

Consistent with my recent efforts of trying things with a fresh slate first, I didn’t want to look at Pokemon cakes on google as a reference. Now, I am old enough to have completely missed the Pokemon wagon..So zero-Googling wasn’t an option. So I looked for pokemon sketches only to realize there are many more of them with names other than Pikachu.

Here go the trials and learnings (both of which were plenty) for this cake.

Recipes Referred:
Chocolate cake  – 2 portions of this recipe
Chocolate butter cream icing – exactly 1 portion of this recipe
Rolled Marshmallow Fondant  -exactly 1 portion (4 cups of white marshmallows)
For my Pokemons – I tried ready made rolled fondant for the first time and it was great!

Cake Toppers and Pokemon Faces: 
For my pokemons, I tried a 3D Pikachu. But with my awesome clay modelling skills, it turned out looking like a yellow horned devil.. so I landed on the simpler 2-D faces using the 2D fondant design method posted earlier.

Method & Assembly:

  1. The birthday party though pre-planned, was still on a weekday. So my buttercream and the pokemons had to be made earlier on the weekend.img_20170220_030656
  2. The cakes were baked on the Wednesday night with minimum fuss. I had to make them twice to ensure I have 4 layers – 2 9-inch layers at the base and 2 4-inch layers on top with some muffins to spare 🙂
  3. The cakes turned out decent in 1 go and were frosted well within the allotted timeimg_20170223_003204

    img_20170223_0059201 fun thing I got to try this time:
    Home made turntable: I have as yet restrained from buying myself a turntable since I am never sure if I can do it justice just yet. But all the ‘frost-correctly’ videos make it look so easy with the cake turning round and round! So I tried a hand at my very own turntable with an upturned plate on top of an upturned vessel (katori). You need to hold the plate from topping, but it is workable and fun!

  4. Once my cakes were frosted and in the fridge, the fun really began. To cover my cakes:
    • My original plan was a white chocolate ganache: I have some good memories from a dark chocolate recipe in the past – SO much better than fondant and so deliciously chocolatey! Post some googling, I was going to use the same recipe with a 3:1 ratio of white chocolate to chips
    • Thankfully, I doubted myself enough to test this on 2 of my extra cupcakes. And the result was NOT good. Especially for the one with color. With the stakes and time constraint, white chocolate was out.
    • img_20170223_031835
      The pretty failed effort – I am going to try this again.

      I did have some ready made fondant left after my pokemon faces (and some colored) & thought about creating some design mosaics. So cutting thick circular rings of red and black fondant, I kept them over my slightly rolled out white fondant and really rolled it out. I loved the effect!

    • However, turns out, trying to be economical with my fondant, I rolled it out too thin and while wrapping my tiny 4-inch cake, the fondant tore and I had no more to work with. 😥
    • Then came my good old marshmallow fondant to the rescue. Seriously running out of time, I wanted something known & dependable. Thankfully, I had 2 bags of marshmallow bought for this very emergency!
      marshmallow-fondant-pic
    • The very mess above that I was trying to avoid was for once rewarding and the fondant rolled out smoothly. Soon I had my very first covered layer.
      img_20170223_145212
  5. The rest of the cake assembly was quick. Covering both cakes similarly, sliding the small one on top of the other, it was time to bring out the pokemons.
  6. Already war-worn, I was wary of my beautiful pokemon faces sliding off my cake. Or worse, leave colors trails. Then there was this beautiful marshmallow glue suggestion which worked like a charm! Like proper glue.

img_20170223_161752
All in all, it was a marshmallow victory throughout

Final touches included:

  • White ribbon around the 2 bases. Quick internet tutorial for this taught me to moisten the cake before sticking the ribbon (DO NOT make the ribbon wet).
  • Tall barbecue sticks were inserted from the top cake to go all the way through and provide stability to the entire cake structure. These sticks were topped by left over colored fondant balls and a caramel sugar star (by melting granular sugar till golden, pouring it into my star shaped cookie cutter on a plastic and letting it cool off)

And its a wrap. Phew!

img_20170223_175702

Reflection:
So – what do I know, and what have I learnt:

  1. If I ever said anything bad about marshmallow fondant, I take it ALL BACK! Each technique is there for a reason. Hail Mogambo! Hail Marshmallow!
  2. Considering this was in February, it was possibly Mumbai’s drier days. And so – NO FONDANT sweating! Which possibly means I need to revisit what I can use for cake decorations during which part of the year
  3. It is possibly better to keep the thinly frosted cake in the fridge for at least 8 hours before you cover it with fondant. Gives you much more room for error in fondant covering.
  4. Practice white chocolate ganache when you have more time. This is NOT OVER!
  5. For the simplest of things, just crosschecking your method against 1-2 internet tutorials is a sound practice. Don’t rely on the internet for ideas, but learn from other’s mistakes (And most blogs/discussion groups are generous in sharing it)
  6. And finally, bake more for kids and demanding audience! Its intimidating but exteeemely satisfying! 🙂

Signing off with a big thank-you to all the grown-ups before this who allowed me (or were obligated) to make my cakes part of your birthday celebrations in the past years and giving me some practice room! Wishing all of us many more cakes and desserts and hopefully some savory items in the days to come. 

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