April 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm , by Sue Erneta
My daughter Sophia recently turned 5 and we celebrated with a fashion show birthday party. We decided that that cake didn’t need to fit the theme of the party so we made a cake with her favorite princess, Ariel. Sophia loves to bake with me. In fact, she says she wants to be a chef when she grows up. My baking skills lean more toward the decorating part than the baking part, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Whenever we get out her princess spatula and our coordinating aprons, we know we’re going to have fun together.
She loved the finished product but what I really loved was doing it with her. Here are my tips to making a great Ariel cake with your kid(s). (I need to give credit to all the bakers who post pics of their creations on coolest-birthday-cakes.com. We didn’t copy any one cake but we did get a lot of inspiration from this fun site.)
Part A – Prep and Bake
1. Bake: Make at least 3 round cakes in different sizes. Make sure when stacking them to add the proper supports! Our friends at Wilton can teach you how here. We used these cake and frosting recipes.
2. The sand is made by chopping graham crackers in a food processor. Sophia loved pushing the button and watching the crackers turn to “sand.”
3. To make the seaweed, lay a Fruit Rollup on a cutting board and cut seaweed shapes with a pizza cutter. If they keep sticking, throw them in the fridge for a few minutes. This was one part I did by myself.
Part B – Decorate
4. The underwater layers: Frost the bottom two layers with aqua blue frosting. Gel food coloring works best. But heed the warning I got from our assistant food editor, Khalil: The color will deepen over time so don’t go overboard. (I forgot this and that’s I ended up with bright turquoise instead of aqua. Oops!) Another tip from LHJ’s food deptartment: Tara, our food editor taught me how to frost using the back of the spatula. Learn how here. I can be quite the perfectionist when I do things like this but I tried to relax and let Sophia do some of the frosting. It was more important to make it fun then make it perfect.
5. The Rocky Beach: The make the rock that Ariel is sitting on, carve your last cake into a rounded shape and frost with grey icing. My grey looked sort of purplish so I decided to cover it with “sand.”
4. Add the decorations: Sophia helped me press the seaweed onto each layer and then we “glued” Goldfish crackers on with frosting. We put some sand on each layer and added candy “rocks” that I bought at a local baking store. You can get them here. And of course, we added Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian. If you’ve got a girl that wants an Ariel cake, I’m guessing you’ve got these guys lying around the house!
So, tell me…what great cakes have you made for (and with!) your kids?
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