Cakes for a Spaceman

Or, How to salvage a bad week

Last week was a bad week. Nothing went right. The luck continued, to some extent, into the weekend, but I'm hoping the bad luck is wearing off. I don't know if I can take much more. Anyway, part of the camping trip was a cook-out with lots of friends from our college dorm- those who camped and those who couldn't stay overnight, but just came for the day. Among the friends, one guy was celebrating his birthday that weekend, and this guy also happens to be a physics major, pursuing his doctorate. He has a particular interest in satellites, and his wife calls him her 'spaceman'. I was voted on long ago to make a cake for the occasion, and decided I would be creative.

I found this cake-making idea for a rocket cake, and figured a sheet cake plus a round "planet" cake would feed the 20+ people that would be showing up. Well, as my luck for the week would have it, I made the large rectangular sheet cake (I had never made a rectangular sheet cake before, only the 2-layer small ones.) and, as I flipped it out of the pan, I put my hand under it to steady it, and the cake broke into three pieces. The oh-so-easy directions became much harder, as I had to cut and assemble the remaining, rough pieces to approximately resemble a rocketship. I was pretty happy with the result, even though I had makeshift tools for decorating (a butter knife and a plastic bag with a corner cut off.)

The planet cake did not fall apart. I had little Toy Story alien figures I wanted to use, and I had decided they were Martians, so I needed to make Mars. I was out of store-bought icing, so I made my own (not too difficult.) and then proceeded to try my hardest to get a red-brown color out of white icing (In retrospect, I should have made chocolate icing, and added the Red color. It would have been easier & tasted better.) I added way more coloring than I ever wanted to, but I finally came up with a color I was OK with. I iced the cake then piled the rest of the icing on the top to make a "crater". I wasn't as happy with this final product, but it was what I had, so I had to go with it. I hoped that no one would care, or that the rocket would catch their eye and they'd ignore the ugly bumpy cake. Oh well.

But the story doesn't end there! I was delighted Josh let me but TWO cake carriers so I could transport these to the cookout. The carriers are sorely needed- SO many desserts have spilled all over my cars backseat- anytime I have cookies or brownies to transport, this happens. No more! I'm excited. Anyway, the cakes were happily in their carriers, and survived the trip to the campsite for the most part. The tip of the rocket came dislodged from the vibrations, but I decided not to panic. Saturday morning, Josh & I made a Meijer run to get a few more breakfast supplies, and, while unpacking the backseat to get to the cooler, the Mars cake got set on the top of the trunk of the car and fell off. Upside down. Reddish-brown icing was all over the cake cover- more than was left on the cake. I was upset, to say the least, but it was the way the week had been going, so I accepted I would have to fix this one, too, before lunchtime. Sigh.

Well, I did my best to salvage both cakes in the car on the way to the picnic area. None of the recipients seemed to mind the less-than-perfect icing jobs. They still tasted OK, right? Oh, and the gumdrop 'flames' were the biggest hit of all.

As for a recipe, sorry, don't have one. Both cakes were from Aldi mixes. The rocket cake had icing from Aldi on it, and the Mars cake had powdered-sugar-based homemade icing, with lots of coloring. You can try this too! Hopefully you'll have more luck than I did ;-)


Amy said...

Oh my goodness! These cakes are so darn cute! Great job!

Kristin said...

Hi, loved your photos (took a class at PlanetCake in Sydney a while ago) and have just interviewed the PlanetCake owner…have a read and listen if you like at http://kristinbuesing.blogspot.com/2007/07/interview-with-planetcake-owner-paris

Silvia said...

Beautiful cakes!

Heidi said...

Adorable! I bet my son would love this!

Stephanie said...

Those are fun cakes! Way to stick with it even through some frustrations!

joanie said...

Love those flames - very creative!

Anonymous said...

Nice cakes. I especially liked the Mars one. My son wants a Mars cake for his birthday and I'm looking for ideas.

Joanna said...

Anonymous- Basically, I made a typical, 2-layer round cake and used a WHOLE LOT of frosting and a WHOLE LOT of dye to get the reddish-brown color. Making the frosting rough and crater-like was the goal.