The ‘You-CAN-Make-This’ Cake

You-CAN-Make-This Flower Cake |

Good or bad, my children’s birthdays are within 10 days of each other.  Fellow moms will already have begun to translate this information through the project management function of birthday planning; gift ideas, gift procurement, additional gift ideas to provide desperate relatives without inspiration, birthday activities, and birthday food.  This is heightened for me since both my children are gluten free therefore historically providing I bake their cakes, whatever they wish them to be.

This year we were fortunate as a new beautiful bakery has opened in our neighborhood also offering a selection of gluten-free cake options which are much more exotic than I could muster.  I suggested that maybe they’d like that option; equally celebrating the novelty of a purchased cake after all the years of their lives of me making them, and secretly coveting the recouping of that time for the rest of the hurry-scurry I knew would be happening on their special days.  They both declared firmly, they wanted me to bake their cake.  I was flattered and happy to do it.

My son’s 10th birthday came first.  I wondered what type of layer cake he’d want (my thinking).  When I asked what kind of cake he’d like; he responded he had an idea but felt I’d say no, that it probably could not be done (note: those are the surest words to make positive I’ll execute; ‘I don’t think you can do it’).  I prodded my sullen lad a bit and he revealed he’d hoped for a Lumpy Space Princess cake.

If you are not in college you most likely have no idea what that even means.  I shudder to admit she is a character from a highly questionable cartoon (Adventure Time), set in a post-apocalyptic environment with a bevy of bizarre and suspect characters.  Lumpy Space Princess (and I know this after watching an 8 minute YouTube video for cake research; I highly recommend you not do the same) is a surly, mouthy teen, voiced by the show’s creator.  Questionable adult themes and lots of behaviors to caution young viewers about never doing the same.  I find whenever my son is wearing a t-shirt from the show, it’s the young 20-somethings that stop him on the street with ‘I LOVE that show!  Who is your favorite character?’  I become quickly invisible and they bond as tweaked-cartoon watching peers (future post coming on ‘planning for your child’s therapy needs resulting from not applying appropriate censorship to their TV watching choices’).

To my sheer luck, Lumpy Space Princess is an amorphous purple, lumpy blob of a chicklette who was not hard to manifest in cake form.  That being said I ran into issues with the thickness of the initial frosting tearing off the gluten free cake edges, engraining chocolate crumbs into her lumps making it appear she had some sorted chocolate ‘road rash’.  I feverishly made up a second whipped cream frosting, coated her over (making her all the more floaty); applying the old ‘if you can’t fix it feature it’ motto and no one was the wiser.

{iPad photo} Adventure Time's 'Lumpy Space Princess' Birthday Cake.  The charming quote atop the cake is one of her mouthy catch phrases.
{iPad photo} Adventure Time’s ‘Lumpy Space Princess’ Birthday Cake. The charming quote atop the cake is one of her mouthy catch phrases.

With this as a visual backdrop, you’ll appreciate the horror when my (nice) teen daughter requested a ‘vanilla cake with flowers on the side’.  Still traumatized from the purple cake fiasco I turned to the internet for aid.  I was terrified I’d need to learn how to make flowers from fondant or something equally beyond my capability.  The first article I landed on was from a fellow blogging colleague, Amanda Rettke who writes the enchanting blog i am baker’.  I’ve crossed paths with Amanda in social media circles on Google + and Facebook and have grown to greatly admire her jaw-dropping baked confections over the past few months.  I felt confident though that there was nothing Amanda would make that I could touch without my family suggesting my next vacation be to an institution for the baking insane.

You-CAN-Make-This Cake #glutenfree |

The post I landed on from my search was for an extraordinary cake.  A fancy cake.  A floral cake for someone with years of experience and no notes about pre-requisite skills being met by fashioning creatures from Adventure Time on Cartoon Network.  I read on, mesmerized, watching a video of Amanda’s lovely hand swirling away to produce perfection.  Her calm demeanor assured, ANYONE could make this cake, and it would take less than 10 minutes to frost.

I set aside a full day; just in case.

I don’t know what else to say other than Amanda-don’t-lie.  I made this cake.

Crazy Easy Rose cake |

There are a few slip ups and I’m not going to challenge you to look for them.  But I MADE this cake!

My daughter’s birthday was long and full of friends, movies, gifts, dinner and by the time it was time for cake we were all full.  The cake was in a refrigerator in a different part of our house so I pulled out my iPad to show her an interim photo.  Her eyes became as wide as saucers (as my grandmother would have said) and she declared ‘YOU made that?’  ‘I did’.  ‘By yourself?’  ‘Yes’.   ‘Wait…..YOU made that cake?  Yourself?’  ‘YES!  And would you believe it if I told you it was easy?’  ‘No.  I would not’.

The 'You-CAN-Make-This' Cake 275-2

We went through the same stunned admiration when it was revealed live, decked with 6 inch rainbow candles, serenaded and cut into.  It was the most beautiful cake any of us had ever seen.  And I made it.

You can too.

The You-CAN-Make-This Cake

My Recipe notes:  I used Pamela’s Classic Vanilla gluten-free cake mix and frosting to put in between the layers.  After reading the extensive debate in the comments section on Amanda’s post, I opt’d for her half shortening/half butter buttercream frosting recipe which held up beautifully.  I will echo her description that it is very sweet; and completely gorgeous too!

{iPad photo} This cake made me a 'Birthday Cake Hero' and my daughter's cake dreams come true!  Thank you Amanda Rettke!
{iPad photo} This cake made me a ‘Birthday Cake Hero’ and my daughter’s cake dreams come true! Thank you Amanda Rettke!


    • says

      Amanda….I’m humbled. You are such an artist! The fact that I could produce something vaguely resembling your cake is remarkable and the credit for that lies soley in your teaching!

  1. says

    Dudette’s not allowed to watch Adventure Time simply because of the way the characters talk and treat each other (the same went for Victorious and iCarly). I’d have had to look up the blobby princess as well. The second cake is gorgeous. Absolutely breathtakingly so. I wish you had posted this yesterday though, because I made a birthday cake for a friend’s party last night and decorating it this way would have been perfect!

    • says

      Only the second cake Christiane? You don’t think Lumpy Space Princess is ‘beautiful’?! So the Adventure Time viewing is not often and supervsed by my husband who appreciates the wit of it. I don’t get it. I’m just not that cool.

  2. says

    Ugh I hate Adventure Time, lol! I won’t hold it against your son, though, he’s young 😛

    And omg I am in awe of you. This cake is beautiful and I am somehow sure I’ll end up being the only person in the world who can’t do it…but I’d like to try and see 😀

    • says

      I feel the need to clarify my husband supervises the Adventure Time watching (sadly he’s sucked in too) and that it happens infrequently. With no signs of social regression or vandalism we still allow it in between lots of sports and homework. And you CAN make this cake Kayle! I would have described myself as you did before making it!

  3. says

    Toni, I’m so very proud of you! Amanda’s approach to beautiful cakery is not only accessible, but doable. You’ve demonstrated that getting over the intimidation hurdle opens the gateway to confidence―a confidence that will carry you to a new level of accomplishment.

    • says

      Brooks I’ve feel anointed with culinary Holy Water in receiving your comment; thank you! I have always discounted my abilities to produce anything nearing this level of fanciness (witness cake #1) so this realization was life changing. I’m waiting for my family to warn ‘put down the pastry bag and back away from the baked goods’; I’m giddy with my own sense of personal success!

  4. says

    You are a Rock Star in my eyes now, Toni. Amanda really does make it look easy, but still… I will be setting aside an entire day when I finally decide to tackle this one! Your cake is PERFECT!

  5. says

    It came out BEAUTIFUL!!!! I just love Amanda- she inspired my 12 year old to ask for this cake for her birthday. So fortunately my mom (the professional cake decorator) made it for her. But you know- I will tackle it one of these days myself.

    • says

      Really Gina, look at ‘Cake #1’ and you’ll build your confidence instantly that you too could make this gorgeous creation! Thank you for your kind comment!

    • says

      Alice I’m embarrassed to say your comment, though left in September just popped up under the blog post. Ug! There are links in the post that take you to the tutorial on how to create the cake. And it is, truly, very easy.


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