While I’m still in Seattle on vacation visiting my family (yup, my ENTIRE family- parents, sisters and brother- lives in Seattle and I live in New York), my sister, Jessica, asked me if I would help her make her sons 5th birthday cake. It all started when Izzy saw the pictures from Zachy’s superhero birthday party a few months ago. He told his mom that he wanted me to make his cake so we started talking about what he might want as decoration. First he wanted superheros…then Captain American angry birds, then finally he decided on Angry Birds Space. Oh, but it gets better! After “reading” a little cookbook about cake pops, he decided that he also wanted angry birds space cake balls on his cake. 5 year old kids are fickle, aren’t they?!? So Jessica went out and bought all of the supplies that she thought might be fun to work with: edible paper, yellow and white glitter gel, boxed cake mix, vanilla buttercream and lots of colored fondant. She brought everything to my parents house the night before the party and we got to work! Since I forgot to take pictures of the process, I’ll just give it to you in words with the finished product. Let me know if you have any questions…

SUPPLIES

2 boxes cake mix, any flavor (Jessica used white confetti for the sheet cake and German chocolate for the cake balls)
pan for sheet cake (can use same pan for second cake)
buttercream frosting, or whatever type of frosting you like on your cake
offset spatula
large rectangle cake board
decorations for cake: sparkle gel, fondant in all colors, and edible paper
powdered sugar, to roll out fondant
rolling pin
sharp knife
edible candy crowns
mini white chocolate chips

A few days before the party, Jessica made the cake balls by baking the German chocolate cake, mushing it up, adding around 1/2 cup of frosting to the crumbly cake then rolling in to balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Here is a tutorial on making cake balls from the early days of Kitchen Tested. Don’t mind the photos! I like to recommend making the cake balls at least a day before assembly when throwing a party since you are going to be busy the day of. Just place the cake balls in the fridge until you are ready to cover them in either fondant or melted chocolate.

So Jessica came over with all of the supplies and we played with the cake first. Jessica had already dirty iced the sheet cake by spreading on a thin layer of frosting and refrigerating it to set any loose crumbs. I smoothed out the frosting then added a thick layer all around the top and sides. Then we added a sheet of black edible paper on top of the cake to look like space and added some writing and stars with the white and yellow sparkle gel. Next came those awesome craters, the planet and the sling shot! What is an angry birds cake without a sling shot, right?!? Jessica rolled out the black fondant on a counter sprinkled with powdered sugar so the fondant wouldn’t stick. Just like using flour on a surface when working with dough. She made circles with a sharp knife then used the back of the knife to make little indents to look like craters. She then used some brown fondant to make the sling shot and all of that went on the edible paper, glued on with a little sparkle gel.

Then came the fun part…the cake balls! I’ve dipped my share of cake balls and pops in melted chocolate, but I’ve never covered them in fondant before. This was a really fun challenge that was actually really easy to do. First we printed out pictures of the angry birds space since I’d never even seen them before. Then Jessica rolled out circles of colored fondant, again on a counter top sprinkled with powdered sugar, then I place a thin fondant circle on a cake ball and press the ends together at the bottom. When you do this part, just pull off any excess fondant and pinch the ends together. We started cutting out and shaping more fondant to decorate each character and used mini white chocolate chips for the eyes. To get the noses, ears and other parts to stick, just dab a little water on the fondant and hold it in place for 30 seconds. The characters will look like they are crying for a little white, but it will dry eventually. You can also use a little frosting as glue.

We made the pigs first and were so giddy when they actually looked like the angry birds space pigs!

I don’t even know the angry birds space character names (do they have names?) but I know they came out pretty darn great! I am definitely going to be covering cake balls in fondant again soon. Kids LOVE fondant!

Once we finished making the cake ball characters, I stuck a toothpick in to the bottom of each one and placed it on the cake. I know this seems obvious, but please take out the toothpicks before giving the cake balls to the kids!

We then rolled all of the extra red, yellow, green and blue fondant into little balls and surrounded the base of the cake. I know I’ve done this part before but the kids really do attack the fondant balls! And there are so many balls that the kids don’t even feel the need to fight over them.

Izzy was very happy with his birthday cake!

Just have fun with your cake! There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s just one layer of sheet cake, lots of buttercream frosting and lots of fun decorations. And don’t worry about making it perfect! Your kids are going to devour it no matter what. You should have seen the first cake I ever made when my son turned one. Let me go see if I can find it…oh, here it is! And there were no leftovers of that cake!