Where the Wild Things Are Cake
I am a huge fan of children’s literature and so for my middle son’s first birthday I chose a cake based on Maurice Sendak’s, Where The Wild Things Are. A classic favourite of mine in the first place, in this case the protagonist of the book, Max, reminded me of my own little wild man…also named Max!
This cake has been my most time consuming cake to date (about 10 hours, I think?). Not because it was overly complicated (it wasn’t), but because it required so many different colours of icing (11 to be exact!). Maurice Sendak’s art is deep and rich with many mixtures of colour. I wanted this to translate to the cake, but had to limit myself to choosing just 11 colours. This was the process that took so long; mixing all of the colours was time consuming. Each of these colours was custom made by mixing Wilton’s gel food colouring until I was happy that the results were, at least somewhat similar, to Sendak’s artwork. I needed two peach tones for the face, black for the hair, white for the horns, two colours of yellow for the moon and eyes, blue for the sky, brown for the tree trunks, green and mauve for the trees, and finally, red for my son’s name.
The bottom of the cake was a 2-layer round cake (9″ x 1.5″). The top was a smaller round cake, 6″ x 2″. As always, I first sketched the design I wanted on paper first. Sometimes the ideas in my head don’t translate well to paper, and then it would even be more difficult to translate to icing, so this is a good time to work out any problems that I may have. I also made the ‘horns’ in advance out of salt dough, formed around long wooden skewers, and baked in the oven until hard. I inserted the hardened salt dough into the top cake on a downward angle to secure them into the bottom layers. I decorated the horns with icing, just as I did the rest of the cake.
I did a (somewhat) smooth layer of icing for the peach face and blue sky – I admit, smooth icing is not my area of expertise! Very small star tips were used for the eyes, nose and trees (#13, 14, 16, 24). Round tips were used for the hair. Larger star tips for the moon and stars.