Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lego Cake Adventure and Recipe- Tatted Mom Style

Today is my son's 6th birthday. As seen in previous posts, he is obsessed with Legos (found in every corner of my house, under every piece of furniture, in the laundry, everywhere). So, at 8 last night when the kiddos went to bed, Z and I began our Lego Cake Adventure, which we documented (well, after having been baking for about an hour- I kinda forgot until then), to share with you all.

Assigning the Pans to Lego Bricks
Z and I have been addicted to cake shows lately, so we decided, instead of making a simple 13"x9" sheet cake and just decorating it with Lego-esque things, we'd attempt a three dimensional Lego brick cake. We started by putting all of the pans in the house that I could possibly bake a cake in, out on the kitchen counter. We assigned pan shapes to certain Legos (a 13"x9" dish, for example, was the equivalent to a rectangle Lego brick with 6 round pieces on top; a 9"x9" square pan was a square Lego piece with 4 round pieces on top), and began building the cake with our Legos. Once we came up with a design we were happy with, the baking began.
Our Cake Model, and yes, the cake
ended up being backwards from this

Now, the title of this post  is 'Lego Cake Adventure and Recipe- Tatted Mom Style'. And, for the recipe portion of the post, that's exactly what you will get- step by step how I bake...

Our Lego model called for 2 standard loaf pans, a 9"x9" square pan, and a few cupcakes for the round parts of the Legos. So, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, opened up 2 boxes of yellow cake mix, followed the directions on the boxes, poured them into the pans, and voila- cake portion done. Now, because the cupcakes only take 18-21 minutes, the 9"x9" 28-31 minutes and there is no direction whatsoever for a loaf pan (who makes a cake out of a loaf pan, anyway?), I put the cakes in, set the timer for 15 minutes, checked them, took the cupcakes out. Set the timer for 10 more minutes, checked them- still liquid in the middle. Set the timer for 10 more minutes, checked, more like pudding in the middle. I honestly have no idea how long the other cakes took to bake; I just kept setting the timer for 10 minutes, and checking them. Eventually, they were done.

So, out of the oven came the cakes, and we set them out to cool for about 45 minutes.

A moment of pause is needed here to fully explain to you all the Tatted Mom style of baking. The entire time the baking is occurring in the kitchen, you are to be sitting on the couch watching your favorite TV shows. When the timer goes off to check things, hit pause on your DVR, get up, check the oven, sit back down and continue watching TV. So, the cooling of the cakes for 45 minutes isn't for the reason that it took the cakes 45 minutes to cool. It probably only took them 30, but Z and I were wrapped up in the new show 'Downsized', and just waited for it to be done before we got up and headed back into the kitchen....

Now came the *fun* part ('fun' being questionable- it took me 2 hours to decorate this cake, until well after midnight; I was exhausted by the time I was done, but it was for a good cause, so I was happy). We wanted to try our first attempt at fondant, but I had no corn syrup or marshmallows (depending on the recipe you google). So, my son requested chocolate icing, and, since I had the ingredients to make chocolate buttercream icing, that was a green light to go.

Tatted Mom's Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe
  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Baking Powder
  • Milk
  • Butter and Nut Flavoring (or Vanilla, but I didn't have any in the house)
No Tatted Mom baking experience is complete without
getting covered in whatever it is you are baking. The
powdered sugar attacked me....
How much of each, you ask? Beats the hell outta me. I started with a stick of butter, softened for 10 seconds in the microwave, in a bowl. Added about 1/3 of the bag of powdered sugar, threw in some chocolate powder, started mixing with the mixer. It seemed a little thick, so I added a little milk and flavoring. Sh*t, now it's too runny. Add more powdered sugar and chocolate powder. Hmm, not quite enough icing. Add another stick of butter, more powdered sugar. Taste test. Not chocolatey enough. More chocolate powder. Now it's kinda dry. Add more milk...

Repeat above process (making sure to take as many taste tests as needed) until it all works out, and you have the perfect consistency and taste of chocolate buttercream icing you desire. If you are going to venture into the world of Tatted Mom baking, make sure you have plenty of extra ingredients on hand- we ended up going through about 3 sticks of butter and a package and a half of powdered sugar last night...

I split the icing up into 3 bowls to add the food coloring. Yes, on the difficult side, considering my son wanted chocolate icing, so, the different Lego colors didn't come out as vibrant as normal Legos because they were in a chocolate brown base. But, we made it work as best we could (I'm about out of blue food coloring), and at least you could tell a difference in the Lego brick colors (the large one is blue, the two smaller ones are green and red).

Then I set out icing each layer of the cake. I started with the 2x2 piece, and iced it completely (don't worry, the cupcake tops have not come into play yet). Then, per our model, I placed one of the 1x2 pieces next to the 2x2 piece, and iced it completely. Next, I placed the second 1x2 piece on top of the 2x2 piece and the 1x2 piece, per our model, and iced it completely. The easy icing part was done...

Now for the cupcake toppers. I actually just used the base of the cupcakes, cutting off the tops, and placed them upside down according to what would be visible per our Lego cake model. Placed and iced each one individually, and then took a look at the whole cake, smoothed out icing and made repairs where needed. 

The detail of the white icing was just one of those cans of already made buttercream icing with the tips included. I went around the base of the Legos with it, to cover up any inconsistencies of how they set on the pan, and wrote my son's name on the side of one of the Lego bricks. The platform the little boat guy is sitting on is two of the cupcake tops covered with the blue icing, and white icing to made look like waves under the boat. The large Lego Minifigure is actually a flashlight stocking stuffer I purchased from Target (which my son loves, by the way), and, through our many trials and errors with the Lego models before the baking began, we made sure to have 6 round tops showing in the final cake, for 6 candles, since it's my son's 6th birthday. 

So now you have taken a journey into Tatted Mom's kitchen and my baking routine. The end result, I was quite pleased with, taking into account that it was my first attempt at a 3D cake. Maybe next time I'll attempt the fondant, and a multi-layered, 4 foot high, topsy-turvy cake.

Or I'll just stick to watching the experts on all the cake shows do it...

PS. Z thought it would be hilarious to take a picture of my Happy Bunny tattoo peaking out while I was baking. This humored her so much, I included here for you all...

...and yes, Happy Bunny is tattooed on my ass..... =)

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