It all began with a picture on Facebook. A well known kids celebrity in these parts has three children, and his son recently celebrated a birthday. His wife was stricken with a bug, so he made the cake. A batman cake. A pretty darn good cake if you ask me, with yellow frosting and black icing for the bat symbol. He posted the finished results on Facebook, and my son spied the picture.
“That’s what I want, a batman cake for my birthday, ” he announced.
The Professor has never asked for any kind of character cake before. Every year he wants the same thing-a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. So this was a bit of a surprise. He even continued to talk about the cake long after he saw it. I figured he would have forgotten about it by now. So I was on the hook for a batman cake and two dozen batman cupcakes for school. Easy feat you say? Perhaps for you, but not for me, the ADD Chef. Let me introduce you to the last cake I made:
It’s supposed to be a princess castle cake, but it really looks like Madonna with her cone boobs lying down. I always thought it but never said it. When I posted it for the blogging world to see on Facebook and Twitter, people said what I was thinking. Oh thank goodness it’s not just me. However, I must point out that my daughter thought it was absolutely wonderful. And I did take away a valuable lesson from this: don’t use storebought frosting if you want to do anything remotely fancy!
SO back to the whole batman thing: I spent quite some time on Pinterest and online ahead of time, trying to find some inspiration to proceed. All I wanted was a cake with REGULAR FROSTING. I don’t do fondant, and I don’t do fancy cakes, because I can’t. As I kept searching, I really started to feel pretty lousy about myself, because, well, have you BEEN on Pinterest??? My past cakes consist of the above cake and a bunch of cakes with storebought frosting tinted with food coloring and covered with sprinkles.
It was a comedy of errors, only I wasn’t laughing much. Mainly because I have been kicked in the kadoomus by some mysterious ailment (bronchitis) and was ready to cry at the drop of a hat because I felt so crappy. I had several people tell me to just give in and go buy a cake at the HyVee bakery. I would rather drag my body into the kitchen and make cupcakes while lying on the floor than go to the bakery for those sugary things.
I found a great template online ahead of time. My plan was to make the cupcakes and cake, make the frosting, and then print out the template to make little bitty batman symbols and a big one. When it was time to retrieve the template, the printer quit working. I mean, the printer works, but my computer forgot it had a program. Stupid HP. My Kodak is still without a working anything, since they think I need to buy a brand new printer to replace one that isn’t even two years old. Talk about planned obsolescence! The other printer is an HP, and HP printers are the Dorys of the printer world. Then I couldn’t find the cd-rom for that printer, of course, because it’s the ADD person’s law. If I knew where the ADD handbook was, I’d happily show you the page with the rules.
Meanwhile back at the batcave: I made the cupcakes and froze them so they would be easier to frost. I being the wonderfully organized (and sick) person I am I screwed around with the computer so much trying to get the printer to work that I started making the frosting at 10:30 at night. I had found the Wilton food coloring paste at Hobby Lobby on clearance to tint the stuff, which was the only thing that actually worked out for me. Surprisingly the homemade buttercream frosting turned out pretty yummy-not wonderful looking (other than the color), but good enough to use to frost. I still didn’t have bat symbols, however, and I was running out of time. The 11th hour desperate attempt involved me putting a piece of paper up to the screen and tracing the symbol with a dry-erase marker. I figured I could just bypass the missing program and resize the image on the scanner. Apparently you can’t do that. At that point I marched back into the kitchen and started drawing on bat symbols with the sparkly black writing icing. This was going to have to be good enough.
As someone who doesn’t really like cake, but is a big fan of Ace of Cakes purely for the geek factor going on there, I’m sad. Yes I know the show was cancelled a while ago, but I know the bakery is still going.
And I still hadn’t made the other cake yet… Actually I had, but I used the wrong kind of pan, and it literally sunk in the middle. I even tried to flip it over to frost it, and the middle FELL OUT! I was out of cake mix and had to go get more. Since I bought it at the local grocery store instead of driving to town, it was like an $8 box of cake mix. I ended up making the cake at 8:30 the next morning, but then had to leave again to go get powdered sugar for frosting, because I was out. It takes a lot of powdered sugar to make frosting, but in the end it’s not only cheaper, but also better tasting and easier to use!
I ended up decorating the cake in the afternoon. My batman symbol that I had hastily drawn became the visual inspiration for the big cake. As I’ve said before, I’m not real good at free hand. I drew the symbol on with the black icing, and then filled it in with *gasp* chocolate sprinkles. Due to my aversion to them, we had quite a few. While a bit crooked and not symmetrical, given my past attempts at just normal cake, this was definitely passable.
In the end, it all worked out. My son came home from school and was absolutely thrilled with it. We had a nice visit with grandma, and he got to open presents and all that fun stuff. His sister even refrained from blowing out the candles for him this year…
I may not be able to get a job at a cake place (or anywhere else for that matter), but at least I have made the little people on the homefront happy!