Tuesday, January 24, 2012

R2 D2 Cake: My first cake carving

My husband Trae loves Star Wars. That's okay, because I am a huge fan as well. With the special edition blu-ray boxed set of all six Star Wars movies, or also the perfect birthday present ever, this year my husband got a Star Wars themed birthday party.

Our awesome neighbors carried their 50 inch flat screen down to the hall to our apartment. We set up a Mos Eisley Catina up in the kitchen with Star Wars glasses I purchased at TJ Max as well as a Java the Hut station to help guests stay awake during the movie marathon. We also had a snack table with Star Wars themed (or fun named) food, such as Alderaan Ash, Lando Lays, Leia buns with Han burgers, X-wings (chicken wings), and Vader Tots.

Yet, the star of the show was the R2-D2 cake. I started with a standard 9x13 cake pan and two nine inch rounds. I used my trusty Better Crocker recipe and doubled it; the kitchen-aid did wonderfully well mixing a doubled batter. (I feel a little more in love with the kitchen-aid after that.) I cooked the cakes according to the directions and let them cool thoroughly. Normally I will fudge on cooling time and ice cakes when the cake is still warmish, but I didn't want to screw up the cake so I waited. After the cakes were completely cooled, I used a R2 D2 popcorn bucket from Disney as my model and nervously cut the cakes. 

The hubby devouring R2's popcorn entrails while at Disney MGM. 

I ended up cutting the rectangular cake in half; a round cake was cut in half to make the head portion of R2 D2. To make the legs, I cut three rectangular pieces about two inches wide. Two pieces laid up against the cake and the third piece was used to cut two isosceles trapezoid, or a small top with slanted sides and bigger bottom. (I had to google the proper name of that shape!) The little quarter moon was made from the a portion of the left over circle that made his head.

I used one of my circle cookie cutters and placed only half of it on the cake to make a half-moon. I realize now I could have just made one half moon circle shape with my cookie cutter and cut it in half to get the curved top portion of the leg, but yeah, you live and learn. After cutting all the pieces, I colored the fondant pieces: gray/silver, blue, red, and brown. I did this all the night before the party.

The day of the party, I ended up running out of time and had to rush through decorating, but over all, I am still happy with the droid. I covered the whole thing in white canned icing. (Any flavor will do as long as it
is white.) 

I then used my popcorn bucket as my model to free hand the fondant pieces. I would suggest having a print out or reference when making an R2 cake; it really helps get the proportions right. As a time saver, I covered the whole top portion of the head in the gray fondant, which was a scary because I had never covered a large amount of cake before. I did find having a food scraper with a flat edge helped keep the fondant smooth, even though the flat side of a knife would have done the same thing. 

I added a thin strip of gray fondant to the bottom of the head to give R2 more depth, but also to hide my uneven fondant work. Since this was my first time covering a large portion of a cake, the edges were not exactly Charm City Cakes quality. I focused on one section of the body at a time, which was time consuming, but allowed me to have the most accurate proportions. 

The round dot is the bottom of a Hersey's kiss.
 A lot of the detail was also traced into the icing with a knife. A good portion of R2's body is white, and by adding the line detail into the white icing, the cake really did pop.  

The last close up shows the time crunch I felt because some of the fondant pieces were cut a little slanted. If you work with fondant, make sure you have time to let it stiffen back up. Since I was running out of time, the fondant ended up getting warm and super stretchy. The line would be straight, but then by the time I placed it on the cake, it would magically be off. Yet, the birthday boy nor the guests minded the few messed up lines.  Overall, I was very surprised at how easy craving a cake was. I have made a golden snitch before, but that didn't seem like a challenge. I think as long as you have a game plan devised, shaping and carving cakes should not be intimidating. I promise that this is not "a trap" and you "shouldn't have a bad feeling about this!" I hope this post helps to inspire you to make your own R2 D2 cake. May the force be with you and your cake decorating!

The birthday boy
The cake maker. Note the Star Wars inspired hair
Happy movie watchers!


  1. Thanks so much for your photos, especially the one before all the cake pieces got cut! Just made an r2d2 for my 8 year olds birthday.

    1. Thank you!! Happy birthday to your son!!