Sunday, July 19, 2015

Chess Jawa - Medium

 My younger son combines his love for Star Wars with his true passion, chess, by cosplaying as the Chess Jawa.  (Look for him in front of the Marriott Starbucks during DragonCon!)  For his birthday, I made a Chess Jawa cake!

This cake is pretty easy if you have worked with rolled fondant.  Here are the instructions.

The day before the party, I baked a cake in the Wilton Stand-up Bear cake pan.  I followed the directions, using a regular pudding-in-the mix yellow cake mix and a pound cake mix, together.  The resulting cake was very nice both taste and texture.  One caveat - the directions say bake in the center oven rack, but the cake was too tall.  Use the lowest rack.  Also, the directions say 2/3 cup batter in the core, but only use 1/2 cup.  Mine baked up to the broiler element! 

If you want to include a chess board, make the chess pieces the night before too.  Because our party was close to July 4, I used red and blue fondant to make the pieces.  (Just shape the chess pieces by hand, as it if were play-doh!)

The next morning, I mixed a batch of buttercream icing (see recipe in the side menu), frosted and inserted the cake core, then trimmed the bottom of the cake so that it sat flat on the cake board.   I cut off the bear's ears and feet, then covered the entire cake in a layer of the icing.  Set it aside for an hour or so to really set the icing.  I used this time to make a pan of rice krispy treats for the chess board.

I rolled black and white fondant into sheets and cut out 32 squares of each color, sized to fit my chess pieces.  I turned the rice krispy treat upside down, so that The flat bottom was on top.  Starting with one corner of the rice krispy treat, I layered the chess pieces to make a traditional 64 square board.  I used a large knife to trim the rice krispies from the edges, then cut those into squares for folks to eat. 

Greg prepared 2 small orange LEDs for me, attaching them to button batteries and covering the batterse and wire with tape. The LEDs really make this cake pop!  I rolled a small bit of black fondant into an oval for the face.  Greg pushed the LEDs through the fondant.  The batteries stuck into the fondant on the back side. 

I covered the Jawa with a layer of Satin Ice dark chocolate fondant.  For this cake, use a high quality chocolate fondant - you can order online if you don't have a local source.  I used a little more than 1/2 of a 2 lb. tub.   Knead the fondant quite a bit - you want it smooth, pliant and glossy. 

I rolled about 1 lbs of well-kneaded fondant into a roughly triangular shape.  Using your rolling pin, position the fondant over the cake, so that the top of the triangle is above the head.  The "arms" of the triangle wrap around the cake, to form the robes.  

Greg helped hold the hood part of the fondant open while I got the bottom together.  I smoothed the seam where the edges overlapped and used my fingers to emphasis the arm of the cake bear underneath.   (I made the fondant reflect the shape of the bear.) 

Then, while Greg was holding the hood open, I slid the face (with the LEDs) in place, and arranged the hood piece around.  I tucked a little bit of trimmed rice krispy candy on top of the head to help hold the hood up, then trimmed the fondant on the sides of the hood to remove excess.

The face was a little short, so I rolled a bit of the trimmed chocolate and added this aound the chin.  I also used some of the trimmed bits to create sleeves and the bandolier.  For the arms, I made 2 small balls of rice krispy candy, covered them with black fondant, then inserted them into "sleeves" (really just a ring of chocolate fondant).  I pulled the ends of the rings and used 1/2 a thin bamboo skewer to attach them to the cake. 

I also rolled a long thin strip of chocolate fondant for the bandolier and finished that with little black fondant pockets. 

I finished Jawa by adding some "fraying" texture on the edges of the robes.  If you have a fondant toolset, use the shell tool.  If not, use the tines of a fork.  

Since it was a birthday cake, the Jawa is holding 3 sparkler candles! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Separatist's War Council Meeting - Medium

For my oldest son's birthday, we decided to recreate the scene in Ep. 2 where the Separatist Council meets in the war room on Geonosis.  The scene was not all that hard to create, BUT it's big.  Really big.  This is one for a crowd!

First, I rounded up Hasbro figures of all the war council members.  A few extra Geonosians are good.  (I found most of the figures used on eBay and only paid a couple of dollars for them. The figures were a birthday gift for my son too - added to his collection.) 

To get the needed height, we started with Styrofoam rings from the craft store.  We stacked 2 rings then covered with red duct tape.  The Styrofoam also serves as a base upon which we built the walls.   We added dowels to give the walls extra support.  These also held up a wire ring (also from the craft store) that is used for finishing.  Note that we did cut a "door" in the ring.  There is a door way in the scene, and we used that little bit of Styrofoam to hold up the Geonosian in the air.

The walls are my favorite large-scale building material: Rice Krispy Treats.  I made 4 large (10x14") pans of treats - each containing a double batch of mix.  (Use the recipe on the back of the Rice Krispy cereal box.)  Let these set overnight to get completely firm, then run bamboo skewers through them and mount them upright on the Styrofoam base as shown.  Curve them carefully to create the room.   To be safe, I added a backing of heavy paper, and we looped some string around the dowels. 

The war room is covered in a rich reddish tapestry.  I used Froot-by-the-Foot, the red/blue tie dye flavor.  I believe 1 had 12 boxes.  (This comes in boxes with other colors - I used a few of the yellow/orange ones for the wall hangings, but honestly we had a lot left over that we didn't use.  I gave them to kids at the party.)  To make these, cut lengths of the ribbon that fit the height of your walls. Lay them slightly overlapping on a cutting board, then dipping a finger in a bit of water, moisten the edges. Use a rolling pin to press and seal them into a sheet.  Affix the sheet to the walls with toothpicks.  This is hard at first, but you pretty quickly get the hang of it! 

We added some LED lights around the base for fun.  

The holographic war table was the "cake" part of this scene.  My son likes snickerdoodles best of all, so I made 3 giant cookie-cakes using the Wilton 9" cookie cake pan.  (You can use my recipe or else 2 tubes of refrigerated cookie dough.  Sugar cookie and chocolate chip doughs work well.)  The table top was one of the cookies.  I trimmed the other 2 cookies into 6" rounds and used those for the base of the table.  (Use a 6" cake round as a template for trimming.  We just ate the leftover bits.)


The whole cookie cake served as the table top.  I turned it upside down, so the flat surface was on the top and placed an 8" cake round under the it so it could sit on top of the stacked 6" cookie bases.  You can see it here, after I pulled it off the base to serve.  

With the 9" cookie upside down on the base, I rolled white fondant and cut a circle using the cookie plan as a template.  I let this harden for a couple of minutes, then placed it on top of the cookie.  I then rolled red fondant and cut a 6" circle to go on top, as pictured.  I added the holographic details by gently warming and trimming gummy bears.  The large elements are 3 Swedish Fish, warmed and smushed together, with a toothpick to hold them up.  I had some pearl luster dust that I rubbed around the white edge to give it some shimmer. 

I finished the scene by positioning the Hasbro figures.  I hot glued one of the Geonosians to a clear plastic floral pick so he could fly over the scene.  The pick is inserted into a pit of leftover Styrofoam that we taped to the bottom of the scene to support him. 

Lastly, I covered the back of the scene with a bit of red fabric that I had left over.  It gave the war room a finished look from behind! 

Holly Jolly Sarlac - Easy

Several people shared Yummy Crumble's AMAZING Star Wars Sarlac Bundt Cake with me last fall. 

Such a great idea!  I decided to do a holiday version for some of our friends - hence the Holly Jolly Sarlac!

I just made a standard bundt cake using a box mix.  I also made a batch of snickerdoodles (see my recipes) and shaped the sarlac bits our of dough.  (I made the "tentacles" kind of big, so that they would be good to eat as cookies.)  

Ymmy Crumble has teeth in the sarlac's mouth, but that's not canon.  To be more accurate, I used almond slivers around the cake's center hole.  I covered the whole cake in crushed Biscoff cookies, then added a little fondant santa hat, red nose and candy cane!  Happy Holiday!