This past weekend was Boy 2's 11th birthday. Hard to believe it's been that long since the day he was born! What you all need to know about Boy 2 is that he's an awesome kid with a big heart, a great belly laugh, he's an AVID reader, a Star Wars & mythology buff and he gives ridiculously awesome hugs. Ya, he's pretty great.
Something else you should know is that one of the things he loves to do is study karate. He's been studying for 3 years now and will soon be testing for his blue belt. That's no small feat! We are a big martial arts family (Boy 1 is in Tae Kwon Do) and I love how martial arts instill a sense of respect, honour and commitment with their students using a firm but fair hand.
Knowing that Boy 2 loves karate I went on the hunt for a cake that would put a smile on his face on his special day. The only problem? My idea of a 'easy to make yet impressive' cake is much different than the cake designs that I was finding on-line. First of all, I give HUGE kudos to all of the professional cake makers out there. You are true artists! There are some professional cakes that I saw that seem to defy nature and look much too good to eat. My cakes? Um, no. They're a simpler kind of cake that you'll have no issue schnorffing down!
It took quite some time on-line but I love m'boy so I kept searching until I found an idea that I could actually make with my limited cake decorating skills. I found the recipe on Parents.com and armed only with my fantastic personality, my stubborn attitude and my basic Wilton cake decorating tools this is what I came up with. A cake in the shape of a Gi (karate training uniform).
Oh ya. Total mom points. It may not be fancy but I think it's pretty cute. :) Plus, I didn't have to use fondant (our family definitely aren't fans of the fondant). It's pretty and all but we just don't love its texture or lack of flavour. For us, flavour has to come first so we use regular old icing and it gets the job done.
So if you have a special someone who is a marital artist or even just a fan of a fat panda named Po you've gotta give this cake a try. If I can do it, so can you!
Karate Gi Cake
Recipe Inspired by: Parenting.com
1 2-layer (515g) white cake mix
ingredients to make cake mix (usually eggs, water and oil)
16oz container of vanilla icing
tube of black decorating icing (I used Wilton)
tube of red decorating icing
green candy fruit leather
Prepare your cake batter according to the package directions. Prep your 9x13-inch baking pan by spraying it well with cooking spray and dust very lightly with flour. We want to ensure that our cake easily comes out of the pan.
Bake the cake according to the package directions. Allow it to cool on a wire rack until it is cool to the touch (about 30 minutes). Run a knife around the edges of the cake and CAREFULLY invert the cake pan over the wire rack. Turn cake right-side up immediately and allow it to continue cooling.
Meanwhile, get your cake board ready. I don't have anything fancy that I use for a cake board. A couple of years ago my sweet hubby cut me a thin fibre board to use for my larger cakes. All I do is wrap it in foil and tape the foil in place from underneath. Presto chango! You have a 'serving tray'.
Carefully lay your cooled cake in the middle of your board ensuring that you line up the cake so that the sleeves of your Gi will fit on the board. Obviously I didn't do that with my cake. Live and learn.
Now we're ready to start cutting! Grab a large bread knife and, if you're a totally anal geek like me, a measuring tape. You'll need to cut off the top three inches of the cake (we'll use this 3x9-inch strip to make the sleeves).
Now, in the middle of that cut edge on the main part of the cake cut a triangle. This will be the neckline of the Gi. Eat the triangle of cake you just cut out. Do it.
Next, take the 3x9-inch strip that you just cut off and cut it in half on a diagonal. Take one of these diagonal pieces and flip it (see picture below) and place it one one side of the 'body'.
Place the second diagonal piece on the other side of the body. If the arms are a little higher than the body of the shirt just slice off a very narrow strip of cake from the back of the sleeve. You can eat that too, if you want. We'll refer to that as 'clean-up'. Now it's looking like a shirt!
Cut thin strips (2-3 inches wide) of parchment paper and lay them under the edges of your cake. This is important for presentation purposes because these strips will catch the excess icing that you invariably get on your board. You don't want to put one large piece under your cake because you'll never get it out from under the cake without damaging your masterpiece! Neva evah!
Brush off any loose crumbs from your work area. Now we can start to decorate the cake. First we're going to cover the entire cake with a thin coat of icing to seal in any loose crumbs. Once that's done carefully put on a thicker coat of icing ensuring that the cake is covered. Try to make this a smooth as you can. I used a large icing spatula (from Pampered Chef) to smooth the icing.
Cut your green fruit leather -- or whatever colour you choose for your obi (belt) -- and place one strip on the right side of the torso and one on the left having them meet in the middle. If your leather isn't long enough to go right around the sides of the cake cut some more and add it onto the side of the cake. Take another fruit leather and cut it in half to form the folded parts of the belt.
Note: the fruit leather that I used was from Dollarama. Yup, the good old dollar store. It was the only candy fruit leather I could find that was in a solid green colour.
Using the black icing (and your Wilton #4 icing tip) draw on the edges of the gi sleeves, collar and emblem. Use the red icing to complete the emblem (I just mimmicked the emblem from Boy 2's karate dojo) using the same icing tip.
Voila! You're done!
I've linked this recipe to the following parties: