Sometimes cakes go wrong! Sometimes they go REALLY wrong and other times, if you’re lucky, you can get away with it. Like when it’s a cake for your 6 year old nephew!
Asher is mad on Lego and wanted a Lego Policeman birthday cake this year. “No problem” I said. Anything for the other man in my life. I thought. And then he gave me his little Lego policeman and I had to make it! What was I thinking? I was completely stumped. How was I going to get the proportions right? How would I make him stand up without falling over? There were endless questions and not all of them were answered.
How I made a Lego man birthday cake and where I went wrong
1. The arms were too heavy
I started off with four Madeira cakes made using almond rather than vanilla essence (try it. You won’t go back) One square 6″ cake was for the legs and feet, one 5″ square cake for the body. One small 4″ pie tin for the head and one loaf tin (half filled) for the arms. This was mistake number one! The arms didn’t need to be made from cake covered in buttercream and sugarpaste. They should have been thinner and made just of sugarpaste. That way they would have stuck to the side of the cake better.
Each cake was cut to size and shaped.
And was then covered in a buttercream crumb coating and then a top coating of buttercream which was smoothed as much as possible.
I thought that covering a square cake in sugarpaste when it was turned up onto one side was going to be impossible but it wasn’t too difficult. I made sure that the sugarpaste was really thick when it was rolled out so that when I picked it up to smooth it over the cake it moulded perfectly without cracking or tearing.
Next the legs were covered in blue sugarpaste. I made a neat line in the cake for the crease in the trousers.
2. Where’s the support?
I used one plastic dowel to support the top half of the cake and keep him upright – which didn’t actually work! I thought that if the dowel went from the cake board right up to his head then that would be enough to keep him sitting – not slouching. It didn’t work!
What I should have done was placed a thin cake board underneath the body part of the cake and supported him from underneath in the legs. Then had another small cakeboard under the head cake and supported through the body. Cake is heavy, especially when there’s a ton of sugarpaste on top.
The head was cut to size and shaped then the face was added.
PC Legoman is a cheeky chappy complete with stublble.
Now I wanted to make the little Lego figure’s face as close to the one Asher had given to me to copy. I made the eyes out of black and white sugarpaste and then used black food colour gel on a dry paint brush to create the stubble. In hindsight a 6 year old doesn’t really need stubble on his birthday cake and it just made the cake look a bit dirty.
4. Too much hair makes your cake top heavy!
I used a ton of black sugarpaste to make the hair and although it looked good when I finished it was so heavy that it weighed down the rest of the cake making it impossible for the Lego man to stay upright. What I should have done was to leave as much cake on the top of the head and add as little black sugarpaste as possible. This is the one time you want the cake to dome!
After I attached the arms and head I had the cake resting against a food box. It was supposed to support the cake just while the arms were ‘sticking’. I turned my back for literally a minute and when I turned back again he had fallen backwards, leaning right on the box causing a massive crease all the way across the back of the cake. To make matters worse the arms just wouldn’t stay on. I gently rubbed the back sugarpaste to blend the crease in but it was just too deep. I had to leave it.
5. The hands weren’t quite right.
I wished I had made the hands well in advance so they were hardened and stayed in shape but I didn’t have the time with this cake so, I had to make them on the day. In future when I make a Lego man cake (because I am not beaten yet!) I will make the arms and hands in advance when I cover the cake board so that they are really firm and I can place cocktail sticks in them to attach them to the cake with sugarpaste.
All I can say is that Asher liked the cake and at the end of the day (when PC Lego man did literally topple over!) that’s all that matters.
Happy Birthday Asher. I love you. xx
Thanks for this post. It’s very comforting to know other people have problem cakes too, I’ve also had cakes which have gone wrong right from the begining. The problems you encountered are very similar to the ones I’ve been thinking through for a house cake which will be tall and thin with a large roof and your experience has helped to clarify the problems. Hopefully I’ll find the solution soon!
All I can say is Cake boards and cake posts. You can’t have enough!!!!
Just checked on my ” dinosaur body ” which I’m cooking in my hemisphere tin to find the tin has tipped to one side meaning a very lopsided cake 🙁 will probably need to start again !! Nice to know I’m not alone in cake disasters though !
Oh no! I hope it turned out all right in the end. I made muffins again tonight and they didn’t rise. AGAIN! They say it happens in 3’s. I just hope my third flop isn’t the 40th birthday cake I am making tomorrow!!
Mine don’t ever rise like they should – what’s that about? Cxx
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