One of the things that I love doing on occasion is making creative cakes. I most enjoy thinking of a theme and figuring out how to make the theme into a cake. While I would hate the pressure of making cakes frequently, doing one a month or so lets my creative juices flow! Eric is also great at assisting- he usually does the cutting and helps me with the design.
If you are interested in getting more info on a particular cake, send an email or write a comment which includes your email and I’ll try and get back to you.
Sorry for the different sizes photos – I’ve downloaded them at different times. In general, they are in order of most recent cakes as I update the site as I make them.
My oldest son has resisted reading until he started reading 1) Captain Underpants, and then 2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The second has taken him farther, so I needed that to be his theme cake! I had a hard time with the font for Diary. I don’t have fondant and so needed to do it all in buttercream frosting…
I did learn an awesome trick of putting the different color frosting into plastic wrap and then putting the plastic wrap into the frosting bags – it saves TONS of clean up time. It will change the way you do cakes! (See short easy video tutorial here.)
For the Nozomi Project, the NPO group that we are part of, we were having the second year anniversary celebration. Our staff have recently started making amazing framed pendants – it is a new level of beauty from brokenness. In honor of their beautiful workmanship, I wanted to make cakes for the celebration that reflected this. I don’t have access to lots of the amazing cake supplies in the US, so my silver frosting was made from regular Wilton colors…
Yes, we needed a Frozen cake! I opted for Olaf -he is so much fun. It was my second time to work with fondant – the face was easier than I thought but the black dye was more messy than I expected. The pond was made from blue jello; the trees from ice cream cones. We thought of the line late at night written on the cake, “We Olaf Olivia!” (Get it?)
A Kindle cake for our friend Anika!
Owen’s Angry Birds cake when he turned 10:
Annie wanted a bird cake…
Our friend Beth Johnson (get the initials) turned 31 – so we did cupcakes in the theme of Baskin Robbins, which is popularly called “31” here….
Olivia and her friend Minori share a birthday near each other — and it was celebrated the day we were supposed to go to see the cherry blossoms- but got rained out.
For Eric’s big 50th, he needed a bonsai cake….
This is a wedding shower cake…. a bit R – rated – we bought her a pink thong to match the cake 🙂
Owen’s 11th birthday party- celebrated too with our friend Chad!
Ian’s third birthday.. a Car’s racetrack made out of cupcakes.
Olivia had two birthday parties this year – one before we moved from Sanda so that we could have sort of a goodbye party with her friends…. For this I chose the theme of Ponyo, one of Miyazaki’s wonderful movies that Olivia loves. Eric made a piñata for it, using a round balloon and paper mache. All of Olivia’s friends loved their first piñata experience, though the moms hate seeing it destroyed!
Her second birthday this year she shared with a friend. My sister gave me the idea from the US to make cake pops. Rather than the ultra-sweet recipe, I used a type of sweet, dense breakfast cheese bread that I sort of squished to make the shape of kitty’s head, then dipped it in melted white chocolate (use a double boiler, NOT the microwave!), and then used candies and chocolate jimmies for the faces. We can’t buy lollipop sticks here, so I used individuals chopsticks.
For Ian’s one year old birthday, I made him a truck cake:
Christmas 2011 – I had fun making Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer Cupcakes for several different events. And simple tree ornament crackers, decorated with ranch dressing cream cheese and veggies.
Owen wanted his ninth birthday to be a special “last” one in Sanda with his special friends. So I ordered a photo sheet for the top of the cake with pictures of his friends who would be coming to the party. It is so simple but o one in Japan has seen it before.
So this isn’t a cake, but my favorite part of preparing for the party was working with the girls to make these wiener guys.
Our friend George (real name is Yoji) has loved the character Yoda from Star Wars, and I guess calls himself that at times. We helped his wife pull off a surprise 50th birthday party for him, and had to make a Yoda cake.
***Our son Ian – 2 – LOVES Thomas. Any kind of transportation, actually, but in particular – Thomas. I decided to learn how to make fondant, and to try working with it for the first time- to make a real Thomas cake for him. I found some good helps online – managed to scrape together the ingredients to make fondant here in Japan, and gave it a shot. When I went to bed the night before the party – around 2:30 am – I was fairly happy with my first fondant cake…
It was a very hot Japan September day, and by the time of the party the next afternoon, when i went to retrieve the cake – we had a train wreck. Eric helped me try and repair it, but still… The great thing was – Ian didn’t care about the melted parts that pulled the train apart – he thought it was the greatest thing. Now whenever he hears “Happy Birthday” he starts talking about his Thomas cake.
This was a fun cake that I made for our friend Rhonda’s baby shower…Baby Isaac came just three days after the shower!
Here is another simple baby shower idea for cupcakes that I did a year or so ago:
Annie decided six months ago that she wanted a “Mitsu-Bachi-Hacchi” theme birthday party. It is an anime movie that came out a few years ago or so here in Japan, but based on a tv cartoon series that used to run thirty five years ago. Annie’s class had done it as a school play- she was the queen bee! I find character cakes can often be the hardest to make. The key is finding a really good picture from the internet, copying it to be the size of the cake, and then cutting it up and tracing pieces of it, when necessary, onto the cake. For this cake, the eyes were the most complicated and took over an hour…
We took the kids to see “Tangled” during spring break when it came out in Japan. Olivia loved it – it was a fun theme for her fifth birthday party. We couldn’t figure out how to make the round tower out of cake… and then I found smallish round cardboard bundt molds at our local hyaku yen (dollar) store. Three of them were perfect for stacking for the tower. Eric made Rapunzel’s face out of buttercream icing (we can’t get fondant here, so we have to make due)…Sliced almonds worked for the roof.
This year Owen wanted a soccer theme based on a popular Japanese soccer anime show on television called Inazuma Eleven. Making a sports field is an easy theme cake to pull off with a 13 x 9 pan. I made a double thick cake to add height, and ordered the soccer characters online. Each of the boys who came got to choose their favorite character to take home with them. The green grass trim is the plastic separators they use on sushi trays; my husband had the great idea of using goldfish nets for the soccer nets.
Last year we were in L.A. and I didn’t have a lot of supplies so went simple with her cake. I took advantage of being there and ordered an edible cake topper that I had designed on the computer… a graphic of the Chipmunks and the Chipettes, and then I changed the wording to put Annie’s name on the cake. I sent it off and got it back two days later and the rest of it was very easy.
Olivia’s four year old birthday was another movie theme. She has loved the Pixar”balloon” movie — Up! — so we went with that as a theme.
To make Carl’s house, I used 4 large loaf pans that Eric helped me cut to make the roof lines, chimney, and mailbox. It was fun to go through the grocery store here and find small cookies for the roof, and pretzel sticks for the porch, columns, and mailbox. Coconut dyed green made the grass. I broke one of my rules and used something on the cake that wasn’t edible — the balloons. (yeah Ebay!). The challenging part was sticking the balloons into the chimney — Eric taped them onto chopsticks and stuck it through the chimney and cake, but they made the chimney bulge and almost fall apart. This was one of my latest cake nights ever – making 3-D cakes where you need to decorate all sides takes a long time –but I loved making it for Olivia!
Our friend Mary just celebrated her 50th birthday party. I had a hard idea thinking of a theme for her, and decided she needed an “uplifting” cake for this one. It is one of those cakes that works better in a ladies-only setting perhaps. It was fun because I learned (online) how to create the lacey-look with icing. Our wedding cake had that (in cream-color, not purple!) and I always loved it but didn’t know – until I made this cake- how to do it. One of the funnest things about this birthday party was the reaction of our Japanese friends to this cake… All sixteen or so ladies immediately pulled out their cell phones, gathered around Mary and the cake, and started snapping photos of the bra cake. It was hilarious.
Owen wanted a Super Mario birthday party… This cake was my earliest-morning-cake to date before the Up cake (4 am!). Eric made a stencil outline that I cut into pieces to put the face and body together. The mushrooms were fun– chocolate cupcakes with red frosting and cut-up marshmallows. Doing a number of different-colored icings took longer than some other cakes, and making character cakes NOT look like a cheap knock-off is always the most time consuming for me…
Last year Annie wanted another princess themed cake, so I made the castle:
I self-taught myself on YouTube how to do basket-weaving one night last September in order to make a stroller cake for our little friend Joshua’s baby shower:
For Eric’s last birthday, we had a “backwards birthday party.” In addition to everyone coming dressed backwards, we had dessert first, and then dinner. Dessert turned out to be a meatloaf cake with mashed potato topping:
Then, dinner was — spaghetti and meatball cupcakes. (The meatballs are frerer rocher chocolates; the tomato sauce is strawberry jam). Both of these “cakes” were great fun to make- they would also be fun as an April Fool’s surprise.
Olivia loves dogs – big ones, small ones, mean ones, nice ones. So for her 3rd birthday I made doggie cupcakes. None of the pictures came out really well, but you can get the general idea…
This was some cupcakes I made for four birthdays in our church community group in November. The group is called “Vineyard” so I made different shades of a cluster of grapes.
We celebrated Eric’s brother Mark’s birthday while he was visiting us over Thanksgiving when we were back in New Jersey several years ago. Although he uses pcs at work, we think he didn’t mind us making it an Apple computer cake:
This was a sepia photo cake that I made (with help from my sister Allison) for our friend Lyn.
The first cake I could make for my niece Isabella at her dedication:
Here is Annie’s 4 year old Cinderella cake:
A going-away cake for our friend Laura leaving for Rwanda for a year. (We miss you!)
The rest of these cakes I’ve made the last few years in Japan:
This was for Olivia’s 2nd birthday (see party photos). Her favorite character these days is Scrat from Ice Age, so we had to make a Scrat cake. I made 2 oblong cakes and put them together…Eric trimmed down the height of the blue part between the white ice mountains to make it a bit 3-dimensional. A truffle helped create the acorn.
Here are the latest Christmas cupcakes I’ve made for children’s events:
a Christmas tree cake (you can make these into individual cupcakes). See blog entry for details on making these)
A few from other recent celebrations:
Our pastor and his wife were celebrating their 20th anniversary, as well as our senior pastor and wife, when we were all going away overnight for a retreat. So, I made an anniversary-type cake:
The youngest member of the team that we just hosted from Cerritos, CA, last summer is Rachel Kohara. She turned one at English camp. Because her parents are HUGE Disney fans, we thought it only right to make her first birthday a Minnie one…
This was one of the funnest cakes I’ve ever made. I cut my own icing tip to make the tip….A Macaroni and Cheese Cake (see entry What they Have in Common)
Olivia’s first birthday with an “Olivia the piglet” cake (we figured we can’t do a pig when she gets a little older so we better do it now when she doesn’t know better~)
We had an Asian theme 40th birthday party for our friend Wendi. She got a sushi cake!
A swimming pool birthday cake for a combined birthday party for Annie’s first birthday and our friend Peter (except Annie was sick and couldn’t attend her own birthday party). I used Japanese chicklets for the pool tiles, and blue jello filled the inside of the cake.
Here’s Peter’s family celebrating:
A swan cake for one of our Asian Access leaders, Kawasaki Sensei. Several years ago he dressed up as a swan for a skit night that we had at a retreat, so we had to help him remember it at a recent birthday when he was visiting:
Eric’s Birthday cakes:
Eric’s most creative birthday cake — a cat litter cake — and the one that caused the biggest “stink” among guests: (it’s not really cat poo-poo, I promise!)