Saturday, March 3, 2012

May the Force be with You (especially if you want to make a R2D2 cake)

17! My oldest daughter is 17! Can you believe it? I guess it's not hard if you don't know her but I'm telling you she was just 5, I promise.

Since she is 17 and I am admittedly starting to stress about her leaving home soon I really wanted to have a party. Not an all out over the top party but at least something with a little bit of a theme and some recognition that it was her big day. The problem with that was what kind of party do you have for a 17 year old? I really had no idea so I turned to pinterest looking for some easy ideas and happened upon some Star Wars themed ideas. The beauty in that is her and her closest friends spent several long nights earlier this school year watching all of the movies. The series continues to come up whenever they are together so what better theme than Star Wars. Now, what to do? I was originally looking for easy ideas and I did find a few but the big one was the cake. It wasn't difficult but let me tell you, I have got some serious hours invested in that thing.

I looked at many R2D2 cakes online and finally settled on this one. There was only one obstacle ... it was a little too big for us. Since we weren't planning a big party I had to find a way to scale it down. And this dear friends is the purpose of this post ... a smaller R2D2 cake!

I used 3 box cake mixes and made 2 9x13 sheet cakes and 1 6 inch round. The rest of the batter was used to make cupcakes that I froze for a later date otherwise known as "whenever I want a cupcake day".

I leveled the tops of each of the prepared cakes using my handy cake leveler and saved the crown of the 6 inch round. I cut 1 of the 9x13 sheets in half so that I had 2 9x6.5 rectangles and stacked those on top of one another. Then I cut the 6 inch round in half and stacked it up. The semi circles became the head of R2D2 and the stacked rectangles became the main body. I cut the crown of the 6 inch round in half and stacked it for the lower body section and then shaped it to be angular. This was great because it wasn't quite as high as the body and created a bit of depth. If you don't have a high enough crown to work with it's okay. There is enough left from the second 9x13 to make the lower body as well.  

After this I still had a 9x13 sheet left to work with. I cut the longs sides and used those to make the arms and feet. The entire center section of this sheet was not used. If you don't have a crown to work with for the lower body section you can use this remaining section to create it. For the arms and feet I placed the cut sides beside my torso section and then cut the bottom 2 inches or so on each one. I turned the cut sections up so they were taller than the arms and now looked like feet. 

After this I was finished for the day. Since this was a surprise there was a lot of evidence that I had to take care of before track practice was over so the entire cake went in my carrier and into the deep freezer. 

The next day I made 2 batches of Indy Deb's icing. Who is Indy Deb? I have no idea. This is a recipe that is everywhere on the internet that I found last summer while looking for a recipe that could handle high temps and high humidity. It is wonderful to work with for decorating and freezes really well. 

1 1/3 cups crisco
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
3T powdered dream whip
2 to 3T clear vanilla
2lbs sifted powdered sugar

Using a stand mixer mix crisco, milk, dream whip and vanilla then slowly add powdered sugar. I start with 1/3 cup milk and use 2T of vanilla. I tried it with more vanilla once because I really like vanilla but it was a little too much for me. Once it is mixed I add a splash or two of milk and mix a little more until it is super smooth. 

When it was time to decorate I put a thin layer of icing on to lock in any crumbs then used a toothpick to mark where the different elements of R2 would go. After that I used a Wilton #17 star tip and started piping stars on. All total I spent about 5 hours decorating the cake including mixing my icing colors and clean up. You don't have to do it all at once so don't worry if you don't have 5 hours to devote. Just do what you can then put it back in the freezer until you can work on it more. If you have any icing left (you should) freeze it in a bowl with a tight lid and save it for the next cake you make. 

Even though it wasn't the easy idea I was looking for I was very proud of the cake and she loved it. Besides, your oldest daughter only turns 17 once.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing! Happy Birthday to Heather!!! We all love that cake and wish we could have been there to eat some too. But can you really have too much cake? Keep in mind I have boys. That eat. Lots.