Ummmm…what’s a Shopkin? Is that even a word? Is it a TV show?
I. was. lost.
A quick Google search led me to some random Shopkins episodes on YouTube, which I watched. It’s…weird. The characters are all these products like toasters and toilet paper rolls, but with faces and personalities. Not my jam. But, I’m also a grown up, and naturally a prude.
Thankfully, the birthday girl picked out a cake design.
I’m not gonna lie–I think this cake is uglier than the baby that got thrown off the cliff in that movie 300. The fondant is all cracked and pleated, but not pleated on purpose. The hearts look like an afterthought, and all the toys make it look like they’re trying to hide the hideous beast underneath. Lo and behold this is not a real cake–it’s a play doh reveal cake. Which I also did not know was a thing.
I know, I know–I’m an old prude.
I found the YouTube video for this ugly “cake” and it was literally 2 people taking off each layer of cake to reveal the packaged up Shopkins toys. Then they unwrapped each toy like people care about this ish. Which apparently people do care about this ish because this video has over 1,000,000 views! Here’s the video if you want to be one more view…
Again–I’m an old prude who is obviously not in touch with kids these days (or adults, like the people who put this video together).
To each their own.
But I was left in a position where I was completely uninspired by the inspiration picture with a very excited soon-to-be 6 year old girl that I could not disappoint. The artist in me couldn’t simply replicate the play doh cake; I had to find a way to put my own spin on it. So instead of looking at the picture with my 28 year old eyes, I tried to look at it as a 5 year old. This was made simpler by the fact that I had a 5 year old of my own at my disposal.
Together, my daughter and I decided that this cake was actually awesome because:
- The colors
- All the toys
- The hearts
- The tiers
When I broke it down like that, it was easy to come up with my own design. Based on the number of guests they were expecting, mom and I decided to go with a 2 tier, because 3 tiers would have been overkill. Instead of doing blue, turquoise, and pink, I focused on the 2 best colors out of those 3: turquoise and pink. The Shopkins toys were supplied by the birthday girl herself from her existing collection, which saved me a ton of time because I didn’t have to sculpt anything. And since my daughter kept going on and on about the ‘cute little hearts’, I thought –why not cover the whole damn thing in hearts?
I had remembered seeing this simple but impressive piping technique for hearts on I Am Baker and knew that it was going to be perfect on this cake. I mean, what little girl wouldn’t love a cake covered in pink and turquoise hearts? None that I found. All you do for the hearts is use an open shell tip to pipe two shells whose tails meet, creating a basic heart shape. Then you keep doing that. Over and over and over and over and over……
As you can see, I decided to be risky and make the background icing color white. I did this because I really wanted to make the hearts pop. Which they did…along with my mistakes…
You really have to be good about wiping the icing tip every time, or else the color catches where you don’t want it. But from a distance, no one could tell.
My second mistake with the execution of this cake was my decision to ice the top of the cakes before the sides. This is what happened when I was smoothing the sides…
Note to self: when doing a cake with a different color on the top, ALWAYS ice and smooth the sides FIRST.
It turned out not to be the biggest deal in the world because of all the Shopkins toys that I placed on top. Whatever the toys didn’t cover, my two toned dollop detail did.
Just to take the girly factor to the maximum, I broke out the silver disco dust and dusted that over my dollops, by tapping it off of a clean paint brush (which is obviously devoted to cake decorating). That little detail ended up being my favorite part!
To transport it, I tried out something that I had just discovered on Pinterest: using an upside down plastic storage container. I used packing tape to attach the cake board to the lid, and it worked like a charm! The only thing I will say is you must make sure that you give the cake a lot of support directly underneath it when carrying it, because those lids are not terribly strong.
The absolute best part of this whole experience was watching all of the kids exclaim over how much they loved this cake. The birthday girl was squealing with delight!
My favorite reaction, however, came from a little boy at the party. He has a peanut allergy, which I was told about beforehand. So I made sure there was no cross contamination with any of the ingredients and kept my kitchen completely peanut free while I worked on it. When he was told that he could eat the cake, he didn’t believe it.
“Really?! I can eat that? Are you sure?”
I watched this little boy’s expression go from longing over a cake that he was sure he was not going to be able to touch, to pure happiness as he got served his own, peanut free slice.
That right there is why I do what I do. Because I was that kid at the birthday party who could never eat anything because of my dairy allergy. So now I am on a mission to make sure that every kid gets to have a slice of cake.
So it was that the cake that had me completely uninspired at the beginning turned out to be one of my favorites that I’ve done so far. Art is so funny that way.