a whale (shark) of a birthday

There’s a little dude I know who is just plain something else.

He is the sort of kiddlette who prefers aged goat’s milk gouda and kalamata olives in his lunchbox to the regular PB&J. He’ll explain that is favorite colors are orange, red, blue, gray and so on as he arranges a pack of markers then recap reasons why each color may or may not always fall in that ranking order. He loves Freddy Mercury. I mean, he knows who Freddy Mercury *is* and will sing along with Queen.

Oh. And he just turned five.

What would the future Most Interesting Man in the World ask for when it comes to a fifth birthday cake? Well, you’re about to find out.

Last year I had every intention of baking him a recycling truck birthday cake – not garbage, recycling, don’t get it twisted – but the universe had other, less-fun plans. This little trooper found himself in the hospital after a terrible accident and all the healing and recovery meant, sadly, no birthday party.

Naturally, when mama asked if I was interested this year I practically jumped out of my pants. After retrieving them and putting them back on my person, I did the usual questions: how many people, what flavor, any allergies, is there a theme, yadda yadda. Mama indicated that there would be a good number of adults, a slightly smaller number of kids, and a cutting cake paired with cupcakes would do the trick.

Naturally, the little old soul had a grand idea. It didn’t matter that his birthday party theme was to be Olympics. Oh no. He had his mind set on what he wanted: THE cake. And not just any cake.

While initially mama had asked for cupcakes for the adults, I wound up making cupcakes for the kids using a bake-in-a-cake-ice-cream-cone method. This made for half-sized portions (meaning the kids would eat less cake and therefore less frosting) that were perfect for little bellies. After baking off the cake in the cones, I combined red, yellow and orange buttahcreme into one bag. Because the frosting was nice and soft, I was able to pull the piping tip away sharply and create little peaked flames.

If I were five, I’d be totally stoked to run around holding a torch cupcake over my head. Then I would have most likely used it as a sword before eating it. From what I hear, the kids didn’t let me down.

Then came the cake.

Carved cakes are something still fairly new to me, so the science of surveying the pans I own and translating them to a waste-little-cake shape is still a new art. For his whale shark cake, I baked off two regular 6 inch rounds for the bottom. For the whale shark itself, I am proud to say save a couple of toothpicks, it’s all cake!

Er, and mini chocolate chip eyes.


The completed cake.

Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the carving process, but here’s how he came out! The main ‘body’ and head of the whale shark is one piece, carved from one half of a 3D ball cake pan I have.  The fin was a wedge I attached via toothpicks and the whole thing is frosted.  His mouth is a carved out hole.

While I was bummed that I didn’t have time to put all the teeny details on him, such as spots and light stripes, I was pretty pleased with my slightly goofy looking result!  It was a load of fun to make and has me itching to make more cakes in other fun, different shapes.


I’m off to dream up more cakes to bake and reasons to bake them…  Have an idea?  I’d love to hear it.

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