WAKA WAKA

Greg’s birthday was at the end of July and I obviously tasked myself with making his birthday cake. I’d never been able to make him a birthday cake, so I wanted to do something special. He didn’t really know what kind of cake is his favorite because, I think, cake in general is his favorite. I kept pressing him to make a decision (since that makes my ‘job’ a lot easier) until he finally broke. I can be way harsh, Tai. He vacillated between funfetti and ‘lemon zest/citrus/fruity’, so I settled upon funfetti. I like funfetti for birthday cakes because they’re just so colorful and happy-looking, and I had made a funfetti birthday cake earlier in the summer (which I still must blog about because it was quite the undertaking), so I was ready for it. The hard part was deciding what theme to go with and how to actually execute it.

I had an idea for making a Pac-Man cake because it’s well-suited for a round cake and he’s just two colors. Also, Greg’s a big fan — he’s good at drawing Pac-Man (lol), he owns the best Pac-Man game (Pac-Man Vs.), and the game in general is invigorating (his word) to him:

“’cause it feels like (even though there are set patterns to follow) you have to make all of the right moves at the right time. There are narrow escapes! And calculated attacks! Like when you try to eat as many ghosts as you can in the small amount of time you have the power pellet power; it’s fast-paced. I like that you’re weaving through a maze of sorts, like, you have to plan ahead and make the right moves at the right time. It feels really good to play it for a long time because it gets more challenging and the more you play on one quarter the better it feels (and the more cost-effective the game is!) I like trying to beat the high score, some random score of some random person – I love that about arcades, anyone can just come from anywhere and beat your score–you just have to come back and beat it.”

There is some insight to that brain of his (edited for punctuation, since he told me this via gchat)! So obviously I knew all of that and went with the Pac-Man theme. I started collecting more fondant, and I ended up getting a set of fondant in bold colors (red, yellow, green, and blue) — thought it might help me with coloring later on, for Pac-Man and possible ghosts (I thought about making ghost-shaped cookies that could be displayed with the cake). I put together the cake and frosted with a vanilla buttercream and pondered how to make the Pac-Man. I wanted to drape the whole cake in yellow and making a wedge black for his mouth, but started getting nervous about how much fondant I might need and how to get it smooth and everything. My apartment-mate ended up suggesting just making the top Pac-Man, and then I thought, yeah, I could then decorate the sides with stuff. This is why you should surround yourself with smart people! (And, if you read my last post, I would clearly be another dollar richer.)

I kneaded my various colors, using the bold colors and white fondant, food coloring, and candy clay. The Pac-Man itself was pretty easy – just rolled out a large yellow piece of fondant, cut out a circle using my cake pan and the wedge mouth using a ruler. Then I made ghosts and pellets for the side of the cake. [Note: my camera was broken by this point, so some of these are poor-quality photos from my phone.]

Ghosts, pellets, cherries. The ghosts were traced, then cut with a knife, from a cardboard cut-out I made based on the height of the cake. I used various tools to cut out circles for the pellets and such. There was much consulting with pictures on the internet for this part.

Here’s how Pac-Man himself turned out. About to grab a pellet already!

A portion of the final product. I alternated pellets with ghosts around the edge, and the cherries are there somewhere too.

And here’s a close-up of the funfetti. I used a whole lot of sprinkles…

This cake was very very sweet, but I knew I could err on that side because Greg isn’t afraid of sweetness/frosting/fondant. Our friends helped keep it a surprise until the big reveal at Greg’s birthday get-together, where, by the way, we happened to play Pac-Man Vs. And I think he was pretty surprised and enjoyed it. Which is good, because I spent a lot of time on my feet putting it together. Decorating with fondant is no joke! Now what’s he going to make for my birthday… ;)

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