COOKING CRAFTS: Warriors Cat Territories Birthday Cake
Years ago, when my husband and I found out we were expecting, we secretly wished that two creative people would cancel each other out so that we would get some crazy rocket scientist kid or brain surgeon Well, it seems we just ended up getting double the creative helping in one child. This poses many joys, as well as many challenges for us-especially when my daughter's creative requests for birthdays and holidays like Halloween come to fruition. That creative mind is always thinking-which makes ours work overtime, too.
So part of my daughter's birthday this year was decorating a cake of her request. At first it was going to be a Roblox cake, which I gleefully thought, "That's easy, the characters are just squares!" Well, one night she seemed distressed and "needed to talk." She then admitted she changed her mind and was worried I would be upset. She then told me she REALLY wanted a Warrior Cats cake, preferably of their territories with their symbols for each clan included.
Now for some of my loyal readers, you may know by now that I accept any challenge. I saw this as a huge opportunity to flex some "cake boss" muscle. I of course roped my sister in to help because I helped her with her Skylander portal cake for her son-so she owed me! Plus it would be "sister-fun" to play with icing and stuff while the kids were at the Cubs game all afternoon (my daughter's main birthday request/present).
For those of you who don't know, Warrior Cats is a great book series for kids. The stories are about cat clans, each with their own territories and adventures. They have real life dramas like most tribes would who share an area of land, usually around territory fighting, resource fighting, clan leadership, family relationships, etc. My daughter has become obsessed with these stories, and I know having a cake made about these cats would be very special. But once I looked at the map of territories, I started hyperventilating at it's complexity. However, once I made a sketch and figured out what materials I could make with what, it was just a matter of going to the store for candy and such, and just getting into it.
Also to give you some "logistic notes", I made two batches of homemade funfetti cake in two 12 x 18 Pyrex pans lined with parchment. Once baked and cooled, I laid them on top of each other, filling the middle with a white chocolate filling in between. Then I made a delicious chocolate frosting as a base for the decorating.
Here's how we did it, in case your child wants a Warrior Cats cake, too.
First of all, build your sheet cakes on a large piece of cardboard or flat baking sheet. Once the cake is filled, take a serrated knife and cut the edges so they are crisp and you have a nice, even rectangle.
With the extra cut off cake edges, crumble them up by hand and put in a bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of chocolate frosting and mush up until you can form the crumbs into shapes. (This is similar to how to make cake pops.) Shape a mound for the plateau in "Windclan" and begin building up the bottom mountain ridge for "Highstones."
Next, create "Highstone" mountains by shaping little mountains out of the crumbled, mushy cake/frosting crumbs. Place them on a paper plate and freeze them for about 20-30 minutes.
Meantime get some other materials prepped. Add green food coloring to a cup or more of shredded coconut. This will be grass. Crumble Oreo cookies as well a Butterfingers. This will be rocky dirt and gravel. Finally, melt some grey-black candy melts according to package directions, adding a dash of canola oil to keep it workable. Dip the mountains into the candy melt to coat and place back on the paper plate to set.
Now frost your cake with the frosting, keeping "Windclan" plateau open for green gel frosting and sugar. Build up the frosting around the area you built up to start your mountain range. Use the frosting to "glue" down your mountain range.
Now create "Thunder Path" which is cat speak for a road. I used edible paper I bought from the craft shop (in the cake decorating aisle) and cut it into strips. I originally sprayed it with grey food coloring spray, but found it to be too light. So I used my finger and a knife to brush on grey candy melt to the paper to create the road.
Next, we need the rivers for "River Clan." I used blue Fruit Roll-Up strips as a base and blue sparkly gel on top to create the water ways, according to the map.
Now fill the grassy areas with green coconut, green sugar and green frosting for the flatter plateau areas. Build up the base of the mountains with crumbled Oreos and Butterfingers to enhance the rockiness of the mountains. Add Oreos and Butterfingers around the rocky areas on the map. You can also use chocolate candy rocks if you can get your hands on some! Sprinkle the mountain tops with powdered sugar for snow.
We carved a bridge out of the middle piece of a Butterfinger, and made the houses out of flat pretzel chips.
Then we dressed up the cake with a few cheap purchases of plastic figures we found at the craft store where you can buy materials for school dioramas. We bought a plastic tube of cats and a plastic tube of trees, and placed them around the territories, trying to match the map as best as possible.
Finally, we bought 5 Ghiradelli chocolate squares, and cut red Fruit Roll-Ups to match the size, then with kitchen shears cut them into the shapes of the different cat clan symbols. We laid the cut shapes onto the squares, and they stuck pretty quickly. Using a dab of chocolate frosting, we glued the whole thing down around the cake on the sheet.
The aftermath-it looked like the craft aisle, baking aisle and candy aisle threw up all over my kitchen. It was great fun!