Growing up in a family of artists has instilled a creative drive in me that cannot be ignored. I enjoy opportunities to be creative and make things, and baking is no exception. Growing up it was always fun to have my mom's creative cakes at our birthday parties, and now that I'm a parent I want to do the same for our children. Besides, it gives me a chance to be creative and have more fun than I would have going to buy a cake at the store.
For our son's first birthday party we had to feed 12 adults and 9 kids, so we would need a big cake, or maybe two, and one small cake for the birthday boy would be fun. At one year old, there's not necessarily much that a baby is "in to," but I can say for sure he likes spinning things. Mostly the wheels on his toys. So why not cake(s) shaped like wheels? Seems simple enough. Not quite as complex as his Baptism Cake, but that's OK by me. I'll save more complex designs for the future.
I made two boxes of cake mix, but divided up the batter evenly by weight so I could make three round cakes. Our only round pan had angled sides, so I used a springform pan instead, which worked very well. Bake-Even strips made a big difference too, keeping the cakes fairly level, and not too rounded on top. The cakes are much easier to work with, cut & sculpt, and frost when they've been frozen. So I made my three cakes ahead of time, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and froze them overnight.
Why three cakes? Two would be the base of each wheel. The third would have the center removed, which would become the birthday boy's personal cake. The remaining "donut" shape would be cut in half, and placed on the first two cakes as the raised shape of the tire. The picture at the right shows this in better detail.
Decorating was fairly straightforward. I used white frosting from the store and used black coloring to make different shades of gray. The base cake got a coating of light gray which would separate the layers and give color to the "hubcap" area. The outside of the cake got a dark gray frosting, and at my wife's suggestion I added some blue to the hubcap for a splash of color. A Monochromatic gray cake wouldn't be as fun, right?
With the help of a ziploc bag and cake decorating tip I put lettering on the cakes and we were done! I would have enjoyed adding more details, but my time and energy were limited, as being a parent can sometimes do to you. Still, it was fun and I think it turned out well.
Everyone thought the cake was wheelie good.