Happy 9th Birthday Grayson

The finished product. Thank the lord.

Our baby turned nine! Cannot believe my baby is nearly double digits! We celebrated his birthday at a local madhouse (play centre), and of course I made the cake. As usual I asked what he would like, and this years current obsession is Bendy and the Ink Machine, and its partner game, Bendy in Nightmare Run.

I would like to clarify that he hasn’t ACTUALLY played these games (I’m a HUGE fan of video games, and let my boys play all the time, but I draw the line at crazy garbage), he has however seen the marketing powerhouse that is kids YouTube, and subsequent play throughs and lego inspired by the games, hence, a fondness for Bendy.

The characters of Nightmare Run are all black and white (it has a very 20’s noire feel), so thats nice and easy, no colour matching, and given my limited sculpting skills, I volunteered for the treasure chest lookin’ dude, aptly named Chester.

Why I then SUGGESTED that the top be removable and filled with lollies can only be attributed to temporary psychosis. I panic messaged my Cake Bestie Zoe Byres Sugar Art (Sculpted cake and ganache extraordinaire), and got to work.

Let’s Livestream, what could go wrong??

If you guys managed to catch any of my Facebook Lives (go check them out if not, enjoy my suffering!) I made some Dark Chocolate Modelling Chocolate (for the lid and tentacles), and made ganache for only the second time (nailed it, thanks for the help Zoe!), so I was feeling pretty confident at this point. I said I would livestream the next day if I could.

I didn’t. Here’s why.

Humidity vs Chocolate

It was 28 degrees C (83F) the next day, but most importantly, it was 89% humidity. Thats basically raining in doors, just real slow.

Fun fact, modelling chocolate does ok in heat, but not in humidity. I had planned to take a bunch of photos, maybe post a step by step of how I, a novice in this area, managed to do it, and so can you! Instead I had saggy chocolate, a MacGuyver chocolate former, and a panic attack. For reals.

This is the ONLY progress shot of this cake.

You’ll notice in the photo a small fan, doing its level best to keep the chocolate dry. It was an uphill battle. You may also notice a perpetual calendar with the wrong date, it was the last week of the holidays dude, it was the least of my problems!

I made a prototype tentacle, worked perfectly, then I formed the ‘lid’. Now I should mention, I have made something similar may years ago, in WINTER, so I thought it would work ok. It did not.

Almost immediately, the chocolate started to sag, and I realised that no fan would help, I had to think of something else. I cut up a foam gym roller (sorry Bren!), and put some baking paper over it to make it food safe. It was the PERFECT former. Except the chocolate just could not cope with the humidity. Enter.. the panic attack.

For those of you that haven’t followed me for long, you may not know, but I am very open about the fact that I have PTSD, and have occasional issues with depression, but quite frequently with anxiety. I usually manage to head panic attacks off, but I needed this done, so tried to push through the panic. Not unlike the chocolate, I couldn’t hold up.

Thankfully my husband helped to calm me down, and we work shopped some ideas to make it work. I ended up creating a kinda corset, made with cake box so perfectly food safe, to kind of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ the chocolate. It worked. Thank the lord. Don’t look a gift chocolate in the mouth, moving on.

Paint it Black

Black fondant is the actual devil. I only use it if theres no other choice, and thankfully since Edible Art Paints, theres a choice. I have used the paints stacks of times, and they are AWESOME. They were this time too, only, it took 12 HOURS for the paint to dry, in air conditioning, under a ceiling fan on high. Did I mention the 89% humidity??

Truly, by this stage the panic had worn off, and a kind of ‘this is how it ends’ calm had descended on me, so rather than freak out, I just kind of giggled at the impending horror. There wasn’t much left that could go wrong. Right?

Black on White, aka Dodgeball in HELL

Any Caker knows that using Black on white fondant is the grown ups version of ‘Operation’, but instead of buzzing sounds, its curse words. Add almost complete humidity and its like ‘whack a moll’ for smudges.

FYI alcohol removes marks from fondant without leaving a shiny mark like water does.

I also hear it removes memories of difficult cakes, but I can’t speak from experience.

Its Whats on the Inside that Counts

The only photo of the side of the cake, taken as a screen shot from a video #blurry

After the gold coin surprise inside cake from a few birthdays ago, I can safely say that kids don’t really care what a cake looks like, but if it has lollies inside, its the stuff of legend. Piling lollies on top of the cake was nice and easy, and mess free thanks to the cake box on the underside of the chocolate lid (who knew that would be such a good idea). I also added some dowels for the lid to rest on, because while the cake box was holding up well, I had trust issues at this point.

I placed the lid on carefully, and added the trim, then backed away slowly. It was finished. Put the fan on, lock the door, pour salt around the doorjam so it can’t get out until the party. It was done.

He LOVED IT

Of course he did, and here’s the point of this post. We put SO MUCH stress on ourselves trying to make things perfect for our kids, whether its an amazing experience, a cool thing you always wanted as a kid, or just to make sure your kids never doubt how much they mean to you, we go all out, and we think that it matters, It really doesn’t guys. It REALLY doesn’t.

Grayson would have been happy with an icecream cake, he loved the cake that I made him BECAUSE I made it. And so do your kids. Its not the cake, or the venue, or the presents, its you being there, telling them you love them, giving them ALL your attention. Thats the best gift you can give your kids. YOU.

Its been a hard 12 months, and for some of you, its still hard for the foreseeable future, so while I hope this gave you a giggle, I hope the deeper message stays with you, because family is the glue of the world ❤️

What I learned:

  • Humidity is indoor rain, change my mind
  • Anything can go wrong, don’t tempt fate
  • Kids LOVE lollies more than sense
  • Any party you can walk away from is a good party.

Viva La (less humid) Buttercream xx

 


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2 thoughts on “Happy 9th Birthday Grayson”

  • You, my friend, created an amazing cake (and more importantly amazing memories). Humidity is the killer of joy and to pull this off with all the crazy, it is an insanely good job! You are a caker and mother extraordinaire.. and I (hopefully) see many more sculpted cakes in your future! Nothing you can’t do! 🤘

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