My eldest son had his birthday the other day and he’s at that awkward “tween” stage. Not quite a young child, not quite a teen. He wanted a low-key birthday, but was adamant he still wanted a decorated birthday cake in the design of a game he loves. Dark Souls.
I know absolutely nothing about Dark Souls. I can’t even work out how to describe it as I don’t really know what it’s about. As a mum, all I see is a medieval-type game with knights, dragons, mythical creatures and some magic/sorcery thrown in. Apparently, you die a lot – thankfully it’s not gory. It’s something he and his dad share a love of, and as I’m not a fan of gaming, I leave that side of the parenting to him. I’m just the time/fun police.
Back to the birthday cake. Not knowing exactly how to decorate a cake in a theme I’m not familiar with, hubby came to the rescue and suggested a bonfire. A dagger/sword is supposed be at the centre of the flame which represents something important.
I was stumped as to how I was supposed to make a cake look like a bonfire. It’s just logs and fire – that’s it. So translating that into a cake topping using nothing but lollies and icing was going to present a challenge. I was also very aware that his birthday was mid-week so I had to decorate the cake after dinner, after a full day at work, kids school run and after all the usual after-school bits.
So, I cheated. A bit.
For the first time ever, I bought a vanilla cake from the supermarket. As someone who has always made their kids birthday cakes from scratch, this did hurt a bit. But I had to be realistic with the time I had. It turned out to be a huge time saver as I didn’t have to worry about baking, or letting it cool down before icing, and the kids didn’t mind the taste at all. Let’s be honest, most kids don’t care about the cake as it’s all about the icing anyway. The cake was a twin vanilla sponge found in the packaged cakes section in the bread aisle. For the decorations, I bought some red liquorice, red sour straps, fruchocs and choc biscuit twirls.
This cake turned out incredibly easy to pull together. I made one batch of red buttercream icing to go between the two vanilla cakes, and one-and-a-half batches of chocolate buttercream icing to go around the entire outside of the cake.
I used the chocolate twirls to represent logs in the fire, placing them in a star shape. Then cut the fruchocs in half and placed them towards the centre of the logs to represent burning coals.
I then placed the dagger/sword (a letter opener from home) in the centre of the fire and then piled it up high with the red liquorice. The cake looked okay at this point, but the fire was looking a bit flat. To add height, I cut the ends of a few red sour straps (thank you Kmart) into a point and threaded them onto a bamboo skewer, placing a few amongst the liquorice. This effect looked much better.
To finish, hubby added an onion-like warrior squishy to the cake board and that completed the look. I was pretty happy with how this cake turned out. I kept it fairly simple, but it could definitely be made more elaborate if you want to. Still, this pared-back version was a hit with the kids, and best of all my ‘tween knew exactly what it supposed to be.
This cake was incredibly easy to make and can be easily adapted to suit any outdoor lover’s birthday. Just ditch the dagger and toy squishy, and add some bamboo skewers with mini marshmallows on the end to make a perfect camping bonfire.
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