I don’t know if you noticed but I snuck a week off from posting.
We had a fun-filled week full of visiting family, friends and a big double birthday party last weekend. It was a wonderful time but when all was said and done – I was exhausted.
Now, I’m back and first things first, I’ve decided to stop calling my boys Thing #1 and Thing #2 here. Not only are they getting older and they might start objecting to the funny nickname, but it’s getting to be a bear to write. My husband and I are still adamant about online anonymity for them though so I’ve decided to introduce them as Mark and Mitch. Those of you who know these two crazy guys, will recognize the names as their middle names. We have implemented their middle names as their nicknames often throughout their lives so it seems natural to extend that here.
So Mark and Mitch asked for a double birthday party again this year . . . . And an SR-71 Blackbird birthday cake. If you don’t know what that is, let me help you out:
As I’ve noted before, my kids have too high of an opinion of what I’m able to create from sugar, butter and flour. I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish this jet cake but decided it was going to have to be kind of low-key to be do-able.
I decided to make a model from Twinkies and just set it on a regular sheet cake. Here’s how I did it:
The main compartment was made from ~3 Twinkies with the ends cut off and stuck together. The sides are just one Twinkie each. Mark and I molded the cones from edible modeling clay.
The Twinkies were sitting on one piece of rolled out black fondant and I rolled a second piece and draped it over the top. I tried it with the engine cones under the fondant originally but it just wasn’t working well. See below:
I used an X-acto knife to trim around the edges to give the plane its shape. As you can see, the sides of the engines were a bit rough-looking but still passable.
Looking better! I cut small circles from the fondant in the front of the engines and inserted the cones. I also added the wing pieces at this point that were made with the edible modeling clay. I made the vertical pieces from modeling clay also and let them sit out to dry for a couple of days before inserting them on top with toothpicks. (See finished cake pics for those.) I used edible pearl dust to accentuate the windows and other details.
Once the signature red detail (also modeling clay) was laid down, I pronounced the plane DONE!
The plane looked pretty good the day before the party and my boys were so excited to see it when they got up the next day. But then, Murphy’s law hit. Storms rolled in and out the day before and the day of the party. The humidity jumped up to about 80-90% and the cake began to sweat. In fact, I made a blue/white fondant to cover the sheet cake with and the humidity was so bad that I couldn’t ever get a good enough consistency to get it on the cake. Although I continually added powdered sugar to help stiffen it up, every time I went to put it on the cake it stretched and sagged and stuck to itself. After the third failed try I scrapped the fondant and went with a delicious buttercream frosting.
Here’s when things got just ridiculous. Our air conditioning stopped working. Our party guests were all troopers and we opened windows and threw on all the fans so the heat wasn’t too bad.
But the cake. The poor cake.
Anything made mostly out of sugar and butter will not do well in a hot humid climate. I’d done all my other cakes in the dry climate of southern California and hadn’t realized how much the humidity would affect it. It did. So here are some pictures of my sweating, melty cake:
But, you know what? I still consider this a resounding success based on the cries of excitement from every single boy in that room.
“Whoa!” “Cool!” “Is that a jet cake?!“
Sparkler candles sticking out from the back of the engines didn’t hurt either.