It seems like such a long time since I did one of these, but since one of my cousins celebrated a birthday, there was no doubt I was going to bake him a geeky fandomy cake of fandomy awesomeness! The subject in this case? Well, no other than Avatar: The Last Airbender!
The first thing I’m obviously going to say is that Avatar: The Last Airbender–and, by association, The Legend of Korra–is one of my favorite animated shows ever. EVER. And this is not saying things lightly, because I used to watch a lot of anime (now, not so much, but I mostly blame time constraints and my inability to pay attention to too much subtitles). I even crack a ‘toon now and then, no shame in that. But yes, Nickelodeon did well airing AtLA. It was good for my soul. And I’m still harboring a girly-crush on Zuko, even when he’s jail-bait (though technically he’s not anymore, considering time jumps and stuff…). Actually, I’ll admit I have a girly-crush on most of the Fire Nation denizens. I include Azula on this list.
But anyway, on to the cake!
Believe it or not, even when I look cakes up online, it still takes quite a bit of time to conceptualize what I wanted to do exactly. There was a question of what cake flavor and coloring would do well with food coloring, the method in separating colors so that the cake itself didn’t mix into one icky glob of color-goo, the question of icing style, whether or not I was using chocolate at all, and how the outside decoration was going to be formed especially considering that I was going to be using chocolate after all. In the end, after talking to my sister (who is the more artistic one), I made a preliminary sketch of what I wanted this AtLA cake to look like.
I knew I wanted to draw the bending elements on the outside of the cake, but I also wanted to show that my inside matched. So I went ahead and did a color code combination. I was a little worried at first that the blue and red colors wouldn’t come out well, only because I used a boxed lemon cake flavor (yes, this was not a cake I made out of scratch…that was too much effort), and the yellowish coloring could very well screw things up. But after a drop or two more of the red and blue, the colors came through and I was back in the clear. Phew to that.
The next problem was figuring out how to keep the colors separate in my cake pan without going the “rainbow cake” route, wherein all I had to do was dump each color down one at a time. I didn’t have any metallic dividers, at least not one that would fit a cake pan, and I was definitely NOT using cardboard to stuff in the middle, when I have to put the pan in the oven. So in light of innovation, I grabbed some aluminum foil, folded them a bit, and formed blockades in order to form four quadrants.
There was a lot of concern of whether or not the batter would seep out and onto another quadrant. And, well, it kind of did, but at that point I was more amused than annoyed, because guess what nation decided to encroach on the other quadrants? Yeah, the Fire Nation. Everything did change when the Fire Nation attacked.
In any case, I managed to pour all of the batter before the Fire Nation overran the Earth Kingdom and destroyed the Air Temples (ahahaha). And by that point it didn’t really matter so much as long as I got everything into the oven.
And look! Isn’t this pretty?
I used a lemon cake mix and even the frosting isn’t from scratch this time, but whatever. My main goal was to design and decorate a cake in the geekiest way I could, and I had my sister to help me on that front. Once I frosted the lemon cake with a ready-made dark chocolate frosting, I cooled it and had my sister help me draw up the design with writing icing. Then, to top it all off–since my cousin is a lover of chocolate–I garnished the cake with dark chocolate pieces and dark chocolate Lindt truffles.
Needless to say it looked scrumptious enough to eat, and my sister did such a GREAT JOB with the elemental symbols! I’m glad she took that on.
Pretty much the only thing we didn’t manage to do was make cake pops of AtLA characters. We kind of ran out of sticks, so maybe next time.
An interesting thing to note is that my cousin’s first cut went into the Earth and Water kingdoms. I personally asked for the border of the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. Here’s hoping I can lightning-bend and metal-bend by the end of the weekend.
Until next time!