So, when we were getting ready to celebrate Little Dude's sixth birthday, I asked him what sort of cake he wanted.
"Star Wars", said he. "All Star Wars. With frosting."
Proof that he is my child, for a vat of frosting combined with Star Wars is pretty much my idea of heaven too. Especially if Han Solo is involved. But I digress.
We started at my mainstay, the local bakery near our house that has been in business for decades. I love this place. You timewarp into the 1950s the moment you step in the door. But they do NOT make Star Wars cake. That's the problem with timewarps to a time before George Lucas could lift a camera. Strikeout.
So we went to Safeway, where they keep the cake book (you know, the big shiny binder with the pictures of all the cakes they make) behind the deli counter. They kept one eye on me at all times while we flipped through it, as if I was going to tuck it under my arm and sprint for the exit. And look! There's a Star Wars cake in there, but... "we don't make THAT one," they said to me. Their tone suggested I'd asked them to lace the cake with LSD and hand out glowsticks at the party entrance.
I looked at the Giant supermarket cake book online. They DO make a Star Wars cake, the same one that Safeway decided was just too crazy to offer. But the toys... well. They'd snap after a few good light saber volleys. And the bright-red frosting gave me flashbacks to the fourth birthday cake--firetrucks. Good luck washing that red frosting dye from your fingers. Ew. I felt like the goody bag should have included an apology note.
And let's face it. Little Dude wanted a Star Wars cake for one reason: THE TOYS that would be on top. That is the same reason he chose McDonalds for his birthday dinner. I doubt he even tasted his stone-cold fries because he had a cool Tonka Glacier Basher Thingie in front of him.
So I did something else.
I went back to my beloved neighborhood bakery and ordered a half-sheet cake. "In desert colors--like Star Wars? Tatooine?" I said. To their credit, I saw the baker actually write down "Tatooine". "Leave room for toys," I told her.
Then I went to the Toy Exchange in Wheaton, Maryland, just north of DC. This place is Star Wars collector heaven, but they've got toys at decent prices too, so you don't feel guilty handing the toys to your six year-old. I picked up two different Luke figures (Little Dude's favorite) and an original landspeeder. "I had one just like this when I was little!" I exclaimed. The owner's patient look told me that I wasn't the first to say that... or the hundredth.
On the day of the party, I cleaned off the landspeeder and pulled the Luke figures out of their packaging (no doubt incurring bad Collector Karma). Then I set them on the cake (the landspeeder got a layer of wax paper between it and the frosting). The cake came out great: a light-tan frosting with dark brown and white decorations and a few little blobs that I think were desert scrub. Very fine rendition of Tatooine.
Result? A gang of little dudes grouped around the cake saying "Whoa. Wow."
And a huge smile on my Little Dude's face.
And a landspeeder I can play with when he's in bed.
All around, winner!
Even if the cake was nowhere these Star Wars cake masterpieces over at Cake Wrecks...