I usually offer to make a birthday cake for my other half because I love baking and I also love using it as test runs for practicing new decorating methods. In the last few years the event has not been too grand due to travel restrictions and the like, and so I only baked simple cakes to celebrate the occasion. This time I knew we would be having guests and I was determined to impress. Last year I made a chocolate cake, so this year the request was for a fruity flavour.
I made this cake a long time ago which was a lemon sponge/frosting and raspberry jam cake, and I used it as the base for my Frosty the Cat cake (another link to the Home Sweet Home book). Back then I couldn’t figure out how to get the cream cheese frosting to set and I rolled up fondant to cover the mess, but with seven years’ extra experience behind my belt, could I do better this time?
I searched up a lot of Mario-themed cakes to get decorating ideas. My main goal was no fondant of any sort (sorry, I have since decided that the flavour is just bad…) so I wanted to see if I could replicate any ideas. I came across this blog post by Recipes Inspired by Mom – do click the link, it is a beautiful cake that uses blue buttercream frosting and fantastic decorations to really bring it all together.
The blue gave me a great idea actually, see this image from a game:
I could decorate my cake blue, and then pipe vines and clouds to really sell it! I also got help from this Etsy site called ThemedGamingCoins who provided me with chocolate coins that look like Mario coins!
In practice, the cake I envisioned and the cake I came up with were vastly different…
So it turns out I still can’t use cream cheese frosting very well, as evidenced by the uneven frosting and gaps. It was still too runny for me to smooth over, even though I chilled the frosting for hours. The swirls on the top were rather flat due to the frosting melting as well! I originally wanted to pipe on the sides, but my cake layers came out in different sizes. Instead I piped decorations on the top and covered the sides with coloured sprinkles.
One thing I did do is that my other half prefers Luigi of the two brothers, which is why he is in the middle! I bought this five-pack set of toys from Smyths Toys both to serve as decorations and as a present. I also coloured the cake layers green and red. It could have been more vibrant but the batter colour doesn’t always translate to cake colour after baking.
When I was frosting the cake and not doing a very good job of it, I really thought it was going to end up bad, but I worked really hard on the piping to make it look better. I used fine leaf and plain nozzles to pipe vines and clouds. In the end, I think everyone was rather visually impressed with what I made! On the taste front, there was a lot of sweet frosting to get through, so that and the decorating makes me think I’ll definitely go back to a classic buttercream next time…
– cake ingredients (lemon and raspberry cream cheese cake)
– colourful candy balls and toppings
– Mario-themed chocolate coins
– Mario figurines
– piping bag and nozzles
– buttercream scraper