I used to be a cake decorating show addict (Food Network Challenge, Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, etc.).  My husband used to make fun of me because I don’t cook and I don’t bake, but I would watch these shows incessantly.  Those who can’t do, watch others do on TV!  Then I had kids and #1 stopped having time to watch cake decorating shows, but #2 wanted to make awesome cakes for my kids.  I remember when I was little my mom had a stand up bear mold and she made that bear in to so many different things for my sister and I.  It was always the best part of my birthday, and I wanted my kids to have the same kind of memories.  First let me say I have no training of any kind.  My mom knows how to do a few different piping techniques of butter cream and has shown me a few of those, but other than that I am a complete novice.

The Background

Every year I have my kids tell me what type of cake they want, and then I head to the internet for inspiration (and directions!!).  My youngest son had been obsessed with Nemo for months and months, so I knew that was the cake I had to do.

Nemo\'s World
Nemo\’s World

The Pre-Cake Preparation

The key to having time to make this cake was to do all of the fondant work the week before.  Normally I make all of my fondant from scratch, but with the sheer number of colors I wanted to use and the very small amount of each color I needed, I cheated this time and bought one of the four pack of colors from Michaels and then just made the light blue fondant myself (marshmallow fondant from a recipe I found on the internet).  Using cakes I found on this website and scenes from the movie as a reference point, I made lots of coral, sea cucumbers, seaweed, etc. and supplemented more coral with rock candy.  Most of it was just hand molded, because the beauty of them is they don’t need to be perfect, but I did get a fondant mold from Michael’s for the starfish.  I let them all dry and put them in airtight containers for the week.

The Cake Assembly

The night of assembly, my mom brought over 8 cakes, and 24 cupcakes and white and blue butter cream icing (I mentioned I don’t cook, right….).   I dirty iced each layer and covered with blue fondant.  I then stacked the two cakes.  I had an extra top layer that I hoped to use for the family party the next day, but after the hours and hours it took to place all of the coral and figures and sand, I said “no way am I doing that again” and made little squirt the turtles (that I used on my cupcakes – the instructions are on the Disney website Spoonful) and used that as the cake I cut at the first party.  After stacking the cakes, I cut out a random wave pattern of the dark blue fondant.  I then used graham crackers crushed with a mallet for the sand and created the top scene and other little scenes 360 degrees around the cake.

Squirt the Turtle Cupcakes
Squirt the Turtle Cupcakes

The Second Cake Top
The Second Cake Top

Looking Top Down
Looking Top Down

Side of Cake
Side of Cake

Side of Cake
Side of Cake

Back of Cake
Back of Cake

Scene on Top
Scene on Top

Details
Details

Details
Details

The Party

My son didn’t see it until the party and he just kept saying over and over “Come see my Nemo cake!  Come see my Nemo cake!”  He was so excited!  His favorite part actually ended up being all of the little coral and seaweed – he loved munching on it!   Between Squirt the turtle and the coral pieces, the kids all had a blast!