My son recently turned five, and is totally in awe of all things outer space: planets, comets, stars, rocket ships, astronauts, etc. For Christmas I made him an astronaut costume- which he loved, and wore the day of his birthday party- and as far as his 5th birthday party was concerned, I knew I would have to do something ‘out of this world.’  After looking at several different cakes online, I came up with my idea for his cake: the solar system with a Nasa Spaceship, flying across the sky.

As far as my experience in making cakes- it has basically just been for his birthday each year, except for one time when I made my niece a cake. I’ve never taken classes, but it’s something that I really enjoy doing.

Completed spaceship cake
Completed spaceship cake

Baking the cake, setting it up.

I decided to make the cake half white, half chocolate… and of course, at the last minute, realized I was missing ingredients for the chocolate cake. I was able to improvise a bit, though, and it turned out well in the end!!

I’m not sure what was going on that day, but my beater broke AND my icing dispenser broke as well!  But I couldn’t let that get in the way!

I cut the edges of the cake, at the two long ends, and put them together so they would fit on my makeshift cake board  an upside down tray with aluminum foil.  As I said, I don’t make cakes too often, so this tray has worked pretty well up until now!

I saved one edge of the cake for the spaceship, and the rest I gave to my husband- he can never wait!

I also placed a few slivers in the middle so it would be flat. (Not sure how the pros manage- but it seems to work fine for me!)

 

 

1/2 vanilla, 1/2 chocolate, cut off the edges and place side by side
1/2 vanilla, 1/2 chocolate, cut off the edges and place side by side

Butter cream Icing: The Rocket ship

I made the butter cream icing, and covered the body of the spaceship first, so that I could use the rest of the icing for the sky.

 

Spaceship body, covered in buttercream
Spaceship body, covered in butter-cream

Decorating the sky: Starry Night!

I paint on the side- when I can- and one of my favorite paintings is Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”- what better inspiration for the backdrop to my cake?

I made a few different shades of blue and applied them in swirling, circular lines, filling one spiral in with another color spiral.

 

Starry Night!

Starry Night!

Now for the Spaceship

I made fondant and covered the spaceship’s body. Then I made the wings.  I used toothpicks to attach the vertical wing above the space ship, and did a double layer of fondant, smaller in size, to each of the wings, to add to the design and to help support the vertical wing.

Spaceship is in the sky
Spaceship is in the sky

Decoration of the Spaceship

OK- here is when the challenge begins. I have four colors of food coloring: red, blue, yellow and green-  the typical drops you find at the grocery store.  So- once I was finished with the spaceship, I started separating the fondant into what would be used for planets, stars, asteroids, comets, and the detailing on the spaceship.

I made a bit of black and used it for the lines on the spaceship, the letters (NASA), the window and the engines.

 

Spaceship, detailed
Spaceship, detailed

Finishing Touches

It’s been a while since I last studied the solar system, so I used a diagram I found online to see the order, the sizes and the colors of the different planets.  I tried my best to color them as close to the disgram as I could. I added the asteroid belt and a comet as well…  the more objects in space the better!  I even added a black hole, and a little alien in a UFO for fun! The final step was adding the stars.  I used an icing tip for decorating as a ‘cookie cutter’ and placed them all over.  The end result was amazing!

My son’s reaction was a HUGE smile and WIDE OPEN eyes- and that was the best.  When I do make him his birthday cakes each year, I can’t wait for his reaction when he finally gets to see it- it makes everything worth it!  The mess, the time, the broken kitchen tools… I’m already wondering what next year’s cake will be!

As far as the birthday party and the reactions of friends- they all loved it!  …and I’ve been hired to do two birthday cakes, for some friends of mine, and a 1st Communion cake as well.  I hope you enjoyed my cake that turned out to be ‘Out of the World!’  I certainly did!

 

Planets, asteroid belt and a comet
Planets, asteroid belt and a comet

Starry Night- in Outer Space!
Starry Night- in Outer Space!