Back in October we celebrated my son's 8th birthday with a Bakugan cake. Shortly after the last piece was sliced and served, my youngest son decided he wanted a Buzz Lightyear cake for his 5th birthday. . . in February. I was glad to oblige and grateful that I had five months to obsess, I mean, plan. Since that time I've created hundreds of Buzz Lightyear cakes in my mind. In fact, I've been to infinity and beyond with Buzz and buttercream. I've browsed Toy Story cakes on flickr, watched the Toy Story videos with my son, and scrutinized all the Toy Story action figures in Target. Some of my mental creation cakes were carved into fondant coated rockets with Buzz perched on the nose, others were in the shape of one of the adorable aliens from pizza planet, and still more included all the Toy Story characters sculpted out of marzipan and posed upon a model of the boy's bedroom in the movie (I think I've watched one too many episodes of Ace of Cakes).
In the end I baked a triple chocolate cake in three pans, whipped up a batch of alien-green buttercream frosting, sorted through a giant bag of M&M's, and purchased a pack of cute Buzz Lightyear action figures. I followed my own advice and baked the cake the night before the party, then frosted and decorated it in the morning. I wish I could say that I didn't have that moment of panic that often arises when I realize that guests will start arriving in a few hours, my kitchen is a mess, and all I have is a few layers of cake and a big bowl of icing to show for my hours of time. Although I did again encounter this brief neurosis, I resisted the urge to have my husband run up to the Kroger to buy a cake. I finished the Buzz Lighyear cake, cleaned up the kitchen, and presented my son and his friends with an adorable and delicious finished product. The Buzz Lightyear cake was a hit!
Now my oldest son has decided he wants a Justice League cake. . . in July. Oh goodie, more mental cakes to create!
Steps for Creating An Amazing and Homemade Buzz Lightyear Cake
- Gather all accessories: a Buzz Lightyear action figure pack that includes aliens, star shaped birthday candles, a cardboard round (I use a piece of cardboard left from a frozen pizza), candy Happy Birthday letters, and tinfoil. A few weeks before the big event keep your eyes peeled for fun and inspirational items for the cake.
- Bake your favorite cake in two 8 or 9 inch pans and one significantly smaller pan, maybe a 3 or 4 inch round (mine is from my daughter's baking set). Don't fret over specifics. The best part of creating birthday cakes for your family is that the way they turn out is always a pleasant surprise.
- Cool the cakes completely then wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in an air tight container until you are ready to decorate.
- Cover the cardboard round with tin foil.
- Make a double batch of Buttercream Frosting. Tint frosting to a pleasing alien green shade using green food coloring paste with a touch of blue and yellow.
- Attach the tin foil covered cake round onto a cake stand using a dab of frosting.
- Trim the cakes with a serrated knife to create a level surface.
- Place 3 strips of wax paper onto the edges of the cake stand overlapping onto the tinfoil covered round and then place one of the large cake rounds on top. Ice the top of that layer with about one cup of frosting using a large offset spatula.
- Place the next layer on top. Ice the top of the cake. Ice the sides of the cake. Using a bench scraper smooth the top and sides of the cake. Ice the small cake using a mini offset spatula. Place it in the center of the top of the cake. Smooth the icing on the small layer.
- Carefully pull out the wax paper from the bottom of the cake. Use a moist paper towel wrapped around your index finger to clean up any icing that has stuck to the cake round.
- Gently press blue M&M's all around the base of the large and small cakes.
- Gently press the Happy Birthday letters around the top of the cake or pipe on the message.
- Place Buzz Lightyear and one alien action figure on top of the small layer.
- Place the other aliens around the edges of the large layer.
- Take lots of pictures and enjoy the party!