Every year I do it to myself. I make an awesome cake that goes way beyond anyone's hopes and dreams and the following year I have to top it.
Last year my son wanted a Lightning McQueen cake for his 4th birthday. I used one of his toys as my model and I stayed up all night long (missing our neighborhood block party) to complete the cake in time for the party the next day. A huge hit, I even surprised myself. So my son has talked about wanting a Mater cake for his next birthday ever since then. I kept thinking how am I going to make that? I am a self taught cake decorator with no formal instruction what so ever. It has become quite the novelty here in town to have a one of a kind custom cake so every time a new creation goes out the door my son says, "my next birthday I want xxxxx cake" (fill in the blank with most current cake to date). I thought there was still a chance for something simple.
So August rolls around and here I am still wondering what cake I will be making and the verdict rolls in, Mater. OK, Tow Mater cake it is.
I baked a box mix (altered to my own liking of course) in a 9x13 pan earlier in the day. My favorite time to work on cake is when my three kids are all in bed and I am all alone with the silence. I waited until after putting my little man to bed then I started on his cake. Once again I swiped one of my son's toys as a model for the details and I found one just the right size so I could put it on top of a 1/2 sheet cake which would make the sculpted part much smaller (read: easier).
I stacked the cakes in the general shape and then gave it a quick butter cream coat. I used ready made fondant, rolled out to cover the entire cake and then with various other colors of fondant I cut and affixed all the detail pieces.
I usually like my cakes to be 100% edible but I was having some issues with the designing of the tow rig so I ended up using bamboo skewers covered with fondant to make the rigging. Last I used vodka, food color and pearl dust to paint the finishing touches on the cake.
The best part is the presentation of the cake. I love all the OOH's and AHHH's and the disbelief that it is really cake. It turned out well, looked like a toy on top of the cake.