My son loves Handy Manny so for his 2nd birthday I thought I would tackle making a Handy Manny birthday cake for him. The first thing I did was look online for ideas. Once I had an idea of what I wanted I searched around and found clipart images of all of the characters that I could use for a reference.
I knew that the actual cake part would be easy so I focused a lot of time creating the characters. Weeks before his party, I started in on sculpting each character. I used a mixture of approximately 75% gum paste and 25% fondant to allow the tools to remain soft long enough to get the detail I wanted but also harden strong enough to stand up on the cake. I used long lollipop sticks for supports to insert the tools into the cake. I didn’t have to make the entire tool since I was going for the affect that they were in the toolbox. Mixing the colors was the most time consuming part and sometimes working with a big piece of dough was challenging.
I purchased pre-colored red fondant to use for the toolbox itself as I knew it would take a LOT of red to color what I needed. I had a rough idea of how big the cake was going to be so I rolled out pieces for all four sides of the toolbox at least a week before his party so that they had plenty of time to harden. I used a pointed fondant tool to make light marks horizontally on each piece to make the sides look like wood. I also purchased a thin wooden dowel to use for the handle which was then wrapped in red fondant.
The night before the party, I baked 3 9×13 cakes. The morning of his party I frosted the cake part layering the 3 cakes on top of each other. I made sure to use a little extra frosting on the outside knowing no one would eat the fondant. I then slightly wet the back of each side piece and assembled the toolbox. With the toolbox assembled, I put the tools into the cake being careful to leave room for the dowel/handle to go across.
With the cake fully assembled, I rolled out a thin piece of fondant to use for a wooden “sign” and used a black edible marker to write out the birthday message. I added the nut, screws and nail head to the sign and that was it. The cake was a huge hit, however, it was a shame to see the tools be wasted as there really was nothing I could do with them once it was time to cut the cake and no one could eat them. Overall, it took a lot more time than I anticipated, but it was well worth it to see the look on my son’s face when he saw his cake and all the tools.