For the young'uns close to me, I usually bake two birthday cakes – one for the family dinner, and one to feed to the kids who come to the separate party. The family cake is designed to appeal to the adults. I don't take shortcuts for those.
This spring's cake, for example, was a gluten-free bumblebee sponge cake slathered in a rich, dark, whipped bittersweet chocolate ganache and decorated with cheery strawberry cream cheese candies. Granted, the candies aren't exactly no-frills, but Asteroidae enjoyed making them, so they were a "must-use" item on the cake, as well. And they served very nicely to hold the candles.
But when it comes time to make the one for the boys' overnight party, they care less about the substance of the cake, and more about style. For this, I usually throw together a mix, or, in this case, two boxes of Aldi's house-brand chocolate cake mix. After that, it's all about the brown sugar meringue mushrooms, vanilla wafer cookie lichen, gummi worms, bugs, & slugs in a mass of cookie crumb dirt... & a double batch of frosting....
|have a piece!|
|in the garden of eatin'|
I did drag out my little can of green food coloring spray mist to give it that final, slightly mossy effect, and allowed my assistant (the birthday boy's older sister, Asteroidae) to strategically place a couple of candy slugs where they could be seen before cutting into the cake (look for the little green wormy thing near the bottom of the frame, above).
|I didn't realize chocolate was a grain…|
The center 2 layers of the cake had been hollowed out using my largest biscuit cutter to take out all but the 1 1/2 inches around the outside, and those cut-out pieces were used in two ways: first, I set aside 5 crescents of varying sizes, for the exterior – the "root" bumps; second, I had Asteroidae gently crumble the remainder of the cut-outs and mix it, in a very large bowl, into the Oreo crumbs. Into that, we stirred a mess of gummi worms, bugs, and slugs. Dirt, bugs, slugs, & worms...in a cake!
|the cake spills its guts|
And there was plenty of dirt and worms mixture left over to serve up outside the cake, as well, since I used an entire bag of cookies, plus a pound of gummi worms, plus more bugs & slugs. The yard-apes had a blast with it!
|Bugs? Bugs! IS THAT A SPIDER? AWESOME!|