This is Alice, my youngest daughter. Alice just turned four years old (!!!) and all she wanted for her birthday was “a-banana-guy-drinking-a-strawberry-smoothie cake”. Over the years I’ve discovered that it’s best not to question the details of her creativity. So, I had my mission, and like most great things, it began with cake.
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup of salted butter
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla
- 4 cups of icing sugar
- dash of milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and add a square of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan as well as a border of parchment paper around the sides.
- In a small bowl, combine the flours; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
- Turn mixer speed down to low and add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. *mix only until all is incorporated, the batter can become chewy and tough if over-mixed.
- Fill cake pans about 3/4 full. (see note)
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean from centre of the cake. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Cream butter in an electric mixer set to a medium speed. Stop mixer; add sugar, vanilla and dash of milk. Mix until smooth and slightly shiny, about 3 minutes. If too wet: add more icing sugar, one tablespoon at a time. If too dry: add more milk, one teaspoon at a time.
- With the heaviness of sugar, milk and butter, and no baking powder added, this batter won't rise too much. Fill your cake pans 3/4 full, add a tray on the bottom shelf of the oven in case of batter spillage. If you have some batter left over, toss it in a lined cupcake tray and make yourself a well deserved 'taste-testing treat'. Cakes can be prepared ahead of time, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to two months.
As I glued the minion details on to the cake (using a little water, frosting and a fine paint brush), I began to wonder if the original illustrators of the Despicable Me minion were moms, or at least cake decorators. Although loaded with personality, this is a very simple and considerate character design for folks like me to recreate. When you break these adorable yellow dudes down it’s really just a body (which just happens to be shaped like five 6″ cakes stacked on top of one another), an eye or two, a few strands of hair, smile, two arms and some overalls. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
For the strawberry milkshake I simply molded some white fondant and painted it with red food colouring. In hindsight, I probably could have simply dipped a marshmallow in beet juice and created the same effect – except more edible. Kinda.
And there you have it, folks, a few days of preparation baking and a Saturday night date with some hardened sugar and you have the makings of one very happy birthday girl.
Cake Ingredients: About $20
Fondant: I purchased 1 pound of pre-coloured yellow fondant (Bulk Barn), 1 pound of pre-coloured blue fondant, 1 pound of white fondant + black gel food colouring (not liquid!) = about $50
Daughter’s expression when she meets her minion cake: totally priceless
That is until you need to remind her that her minion drinking a strawberry smoothie is actually still a birthday cake and the plan is to EAT said birthday cake and feed it to our friends and family. Cue the death stare…
I recommend cutting the cake from the back and working your way around as to avoid looking directly into the minion’s eye as you slice into it. The goal here is to mentally scar as few children as possible.
One February birthday down, her soon-to-be six year old sister’s birthday still to come. I hear whispers of “The Lego Movie Unikitty riding a cloud” requests. **sigh** Can someone please remind my kids that there is beauty in simplicity? Oh, and while you’re at it, tell them to please stop growing up so quickly. Seriously. Sloooooow down!
Happy birthday, darlings!! I am so proud of everything you are. xo
— xxxxx —
What I’m Drinking:
Coffee. Much coffee. Our friends at Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters in Whitehorse, Canada have been shipping us their amazing dark roasts all the way from the Yukon. Exactly what I need to stay creative during a polar vortex.
What I’m Listening to:
That tall drink of talent we all know and love as Pharrell Williams. I just can’t figure out what it is to feel like a room without a roof. Why would I want to feel like a room? He really couldn’t think of a more relatable metaphor for feeling over joyed? Really?? Oh well, still a great song and the video has me really missing LA and sunshine this morning.Add to favorites