I started making birthday cakes for my kids when my firstborn daughter turned one. I wanted to start a tradition of making them a homemade birthday cake - a special cake - every year. My mom always did that for me and I wanted my kids to remember me doing it for them so maybe they'll appreciate it and carry on the tradition some day. From then on I have been hooked!
I love to bake and I love making good food for people! I took just a basic class years ago and from there it's mostly been practice and experimenting. For the last couple of years I have turned to the net to give me ideas for cakes and have used this site many times, but have never submitted a cake.
After this most recent cake turned out so well, I decided to put it online for fun. I used to be big on character pans and I still do that, but now I am not afraid to try new things and experiment with different themes and ideas.
This cake is for my niece, Chloe's, 3rd birthday party tonight. She loves Bruce the Shark from the Finding Nemo movie and that's what she wanted on the cake, but with Nemo and his friends incorporated too. I found some ideas I liked on the web and this is a compilation of what I found...the colors I liked best mixed in with the drawing of Bruce I liked the best and then I made some of my own variations as well.
For this cake, I used my Large Pampered Chef Bar Pan lined with parchment paper - I always use Duncan Hines mixes and if they want chocolate, that's a bonus because I feel chocolate rises better than yellow cake. I used one box mix of the Devil's Food per cake, making two half sheet size cakes and then placing them on top of each other (with chocolate icing in between the layers).
Next, I always crumb coat my cake by mixing powdered sugar with some water to make a thin glaze. I spread this over the cake and let it dry. This seals in the moisture of the cake and gives it a nice smooth coating so I won't get crumbs coming up with my knife when I go to ice it.
I made two batches of frosting next and started mixing my colors. For the main color, I used Wilton's Royal Blue gel. My frosting started out yellow tinged anyways because I use the butter flavored Crisco, so I just added the blue until I got the sea color I wanted.
After icing the top and sides of the Bruce the Shark cake, I sprinkled blue sugar crystals here and there on the blue frosting to create more depth to the cake - like a real ocean. For my own spin on rocks for the bottom of the ocean (or like in an aquarium) I used the Nerd Rope candy and pushed it into the bottom of the cake like a border.
Then I did the sea plants coming up from the bottom (using colors by Wilton - Leaf Green, No Taste Red and Orange).
Next, I took a small sharp paring knife and lightly traced the outline for Bruce the Shark (freehanded). When I got everything where I wanted it, I started outlining in grey using the star tip (#18). For the mouth and eyes, I didn't have any white frosting, so I made a glaze of powdered sugar and piped it in. Then I added more black coloring to the grey and made it dark so I could outline the shark and make the outline of the teeth.
After that I decorated the rest of the cake and tray, with figurines of the movie characters I got on E-Bay, putting a little frosting on the bottom first to help it stay.
This cake was so fun to try and I was really pleased with the way it came out.
Thank you for your site and the concept of sharing ideas. It has helped me with some great ideas the last couple of years and it is fun to see how the cakes turn out!