Robot Cake For My Mateo's 2nd Birthday!

September 16, 2011

I can't believe another year has past, and my little baby is now a 2 years old toddler.  He has grown so much, and has developed such a personality.  Last year, I made a Lucha Libre style Dunny cake for his first birthday, and that was because I love Dunnies!  This year, we could tell what he likes and dislikes, and what would be fun for him to have as a cake.  With all his toys and clothing in mind, there was only one option... A retro robot cake!

I have to admit.  I was super excited to do this cake at first, but then I got really nervous once I started planning it out.  I had to figure out how I was going created legs for the cake.  I didn't want the robot to be sitting.  I wanted it to stand upright. Luckily, I was able to pick the brains of a few structural designers I know and came up with a solution.  I used high density styrofoam as my base, and created the legs for the robot cake.  Since I'm not used to working with this stuff, a sweet man named Lou helped along in this process.  I first created a template for all the parts of the cake on the computer, and then cut them out of cardboard.  Lou used the templates to cut out the parts from the high density styrofoam with the help of a hot wire.  The pieces were then glued together and left to dry overnight with 40 lbs of weight sitting on top.  This ensured full contact of the glued surfaces, and also acted as a weight test for me.  I knew this cake was going to be heavy.

The body and head of the robot was much easier compared to the legs.  I baked three half sheets of horchata cake and a batch of cinnamon buttercream.  I stacked 4 layers of the cake, nestled between the spicy buttercream, and carved to even out the sides.  This was then covered in a light gray fondant, smoothing down all sides with a fondant smoother.  The head was 3 layers stacked and covered the same way, but was carved down slightly smaller than the body.  The body was then carefully lifted onto the robot legs. A bit of duct tape secured the top of the base to the cake board beneath the body of cake.  Using a template of the the head, I marked the area on top of the body where the top cake would sit.  This way, I could make sure that my dowel rods would not be seen once inserted.  I measured 4 dowel rods accordingly and cut down to size.  These were then inserted within the area that I had marked.  Piping a small dab of buttercream acted like glue, as I carefully set the head portion of the cake on top.  To add a bit of detail, I rolled out strips of the gray fondant and adhered to all edges.  Small balls of the same fondant were flattened to create rivets.

Once the body and head of the delicious robot were stacked, I had to cover up the legs to make it look like one cohesive cake.  In order to adhere the fondant to the high density styrofoam, I spread a thin layer of piping gel on the base with the help of a small angled spatula.  Covering the base did take some patience.  I had to cut out all the sides of the legs, and carefully blend the seams with my fingertip.  The same treatment with the edges and rivets tied the cake and base part together.  This robot was a bit naked with just the gray fondant, and covering the whole cake in luster dust was going to take forever... therefore, I airbrushed the entire thing with a silver sheen to give it an metallic look.  Based upon an illustration I found online, I decided on simple geometric shapes for the robot's facial and body features.  The different sizing and angles gave this robot the perfect childish expression it needed.  For a personal touch, like this wasn't custom enough, I added a whimsical heart with an "M", and a large number "2" on the back of the robot.  The arms were layered shapes cut out of black foam board glued together, and attached to a dowel rod.  These were then inserted into the sides of the cake with some space in between.  No robot could be complete without any lights, right?  I carefully cut out two small circles from the front of the cake, just big enough to fit the two flashing LED light units.  These units ran on a small watch battery, so they did not require much space or running of any wires.  I wrapped the lighting units in plastic wrap before inserting them to keep it food safe.  I then cut out two slightly larger blue circles and covered up the openings, leaving a small hole for the light to shine through.  The result was perfect!  Seeing my son's reaction was the best reward for this cake, oh! and eating it too! :)

Make sure you check out the lights in action here!  Hope you enjoyed this one!

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