A Gear Cake for Nicolas

Yesterday we had Nicolas’s 5th birthday party at a local indoor playground called One Stop Fun.  It was great because the facility has a lot of fun physical activities for the kids to do, and there was no heavy lifting for Bob and me.  Yay!  The one thing that I did need to make for the party was Nic’s cake.  You may recall from a previous post that Nic is totally into machines – gears, levers, pulleys, compressors, etc.  When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he told me that he wanted a car engine.  I asked him to elaborate a bit and he started talking about pistons and a V8 engine and spark plugs, and I started to panic a bit.  I did a little research online to see what kind of car engine cakes people had made and this pretty much confirmed to me that it was WAY BEYOND my abilities. 

So, I started to talk about “gear cakes” and “machine cakes” to try to focus his attentions toward a design I thought was doable  🙂  I felt kind of bad manipulating him this way, but he really does love gears!  We talked about it some more and drew up a rough sketch of how a “Happy Birthday Nicolas” machine might look.  Here is what we came up with:

I thought it was my best cake yet.  Frosting the cake is always the toughest part for me.  I never seem to be able to do it without getting a ton of crumbs mixed into the frosting.  This time around, though, I added what seemed like a lot of light corn syrup to Wilton’s Chocolate Buttercream recipe, and that did the trick.  The original recipe does say to thin the frosting with some corn syrup or milk (and I have always done this), but this time I just kept adding the corn syrup until it seemed like it would spread without tearing up the cake.  I was so relieved after I got the frosting applied :)

Close up of the fondant gears

 The gears and gauge were made from Wilton’s premade fondant.  So easy!  I just used circular cookie cutters in several different sizes and then cut out notches or made strips for the spoked wheels.

Close up of the gauge and buttons

 The letters and number five were made from Wilton’s candy melts.  (Can you tell that I trust Wilton?)  They have a mold with “Happy Birthday” and numbers one through 10, which makes the process go much faster than if you only had an alphabet mold.  I love these molds because my handwriting is pretty bad!

I knew that the cake was a hit with Nic when he started pushing some of the buttons while saying “I am starting the machine..  See this wheel and gear are connected to the motor.”

The cake was a lot of fun to make, and it tasted good too!  

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