Friday, August 29, 2008

Prehistoric Party

I bookmarked a pattern for 3-D dinosaur cake that I found online a while ago, wondering if I'd ever find an appropriate occasion to make it for. I came upon an inappropriate occasion and decided to go with it anyway.

A coworker friend had a landmark birthday this week, so instead of a lame over the hill birthday cake, I decided to rock the dinosaur cake sculpture instead. It sounds mean, but we frequently pick on each other about our ages. She teases me about not being familiar with musicians, actors, television shows, and movies from before my time, and likewise, I tease her for being around for all of those things.

My department threw her a dinosaur themed party with dollar store dinosaur decorations and party hats. She, of course, knew right away why the dinosaur theme - because she's "old like a dinosaur."

*Dodging items being thrown at me through cyberspace*


Anyway, this is how I did it:

The pattern calls for two 9" cakes. Since I was serving a crowd, and was concerned about the space in my cake caddy, I made a full cake in an 8" round pan, and split a second cake between two 9" rounds. I used the 8" cake as the body of the dinosaur, cutting it into two semicircles and sandwiching them together with filling. I cut a little piece from the front to make a flat spot to rest the head against, which also helped to shorten the length.

I traced a 9" round pan onto thick scrapbook paper, and used this as a template for the cake shape carving. I folded the circle paper in half, and cut it down the center to work on one half at a time. I folded the first semicircle into two symmetrical halves, and used the center line as a starting point. The pattern did not provide exact measurements for the cuts, so I decided to make the square pieces 3" on each side. By cutting out the two 3" squares, this left the four rounded triangle pieces slightly unmatched so I trimmed a little off the base of the longer triangles. The triangle from each side of the semicircle will eventually get paired with the triangle from the top of the semicircle from the same side to make the hind legs.

One of the 3" squares was cut in half, the other in quarters. The half square pieces are used as the foot of the front legs, and the quarters are used as the front legs, and as the toes of the hind legs.

The second semicircle was basically sketched free-hand, following the pattern. Without exact measurements, I decided to start by finding the center line of the semicircle, and began to draw the front of the neck there. I made the base of the neck and the base of the tail about the same width. The rounded triangle piece from this semicircle is used to bulk up the base of the tail. There is an extra piece left over that you can cut up and put under the head.

Before cutting up the second 9" round, make sure your paper cutouts will look right on the body of the dinosaur. If they work, place your papers on top of the second 9" round and make the cuts. I "glued" the rounded triangles for hind legs together with icing, and used icing to glue the rectangle and square pieces for front legs as well. I recommend cutting the cake in half, and making the cuts one side at a time.

Making two batches of cake, I still had an extra 9" round to play with since I made a double wide dinosaur body with an entire cake in an 8" round pan. I used some of the extra cake to trace an second head, making the head and neck double wide and more proportioned to the body. Remember, if you split one cake between two 9" rounds for the entire sculpture, there won't be extra cake other than the funny shaped piece that you can cut up and put under his head (which I forgot to do).

I frosted the cake using green colored icing. The pattern says to use a thin layer of icing, and then to use the star tip to make stars over the body. I just put a regular amount of frosting on the cake, scrapped the star tip, and used green sprinkles for a scaly effect instead.

The plates on the back and tail can be made using stiff gum paste frosting cut into diamond shapes, or even candy corn. I used red sour gummy dinosaurs as the back plates, and cut some gummies into tiny triangles for the tail plates. I cut orange gummies for finger and toe nails, and blue ones for the eyes.

Be sure to check out the original pattern from wikihow.com.

Find this, and other cakes, on my Cakes Flickr set.

6 comments:

storybeader said...

very cute!
sounds like you have a lot of fun at work - the only way to go!

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Ha! I try to :)

woolies said...

he is so cute!!!

Mama Z said...

I'm impressed! That's a really cute cake! I would have never thought about making it for someone that's "Over the hill"!!! Good idea...hmmm, maybe for my mom! :D

Athena said...

Cute cake! That's a really good idea, too (hmm, thinks about goofing on hubby's 40th birthday next year with a dinosaur cake... ;)).

TNT2008 said...

The cake is so cute! I think little boys will love this, too.