On our trip to London and Italy this winter, Measure was occasionally permitted to play the game Angry Birds, as a means of keeping him entertained during long dinners or train rides. This may have been a mistake; he became rather obsessed with the game, and still is. He actually doesn't play the game itself all that often anymore, but he will spend hours at a stretch building elaborate structures using a wide variety of blocks and Legos. He wrangled me into knitting him some pigs, and he's also got a growing collection of stuffed Angry Birds toys -- all of which play roles in his elaborately constructed "levels," which are regularly knocked down by the birds and rebuilt by the pigs. Naturally, he requested an Angry Birds cake for his birthday, having seen numerous examples of the genre on the internet. I'm not terribly experienced with cake decorating, but I figured it couldn't be too hard to make some birds and pigs out of gumpaste, and so I took on the challenge.
I made a large batch of chocolate cake, based on this recipe, which I'd been introduced to by my sister-in-law, who makes the best Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. I was a little nervous that it wouldn't work as well as a large cake as it does as a cupcake batter, but it turned out fine. I made a full sheet cake, plus a small round cake, plus several cupcakes. I turned out the large sheet cake on a platter and frosted it with light-green, then piped dark-green frosting around the edge and used a fork to make it look like grass. The frosting was a basic cream cheese frosing which isn't very stiff, so I didn't want to do anything too elaborate -- I wanted to keep that simple so that the gumpaste birds and pigs would be the center of attention.
Unfortunatly, I didn't document the bird- and pig- making process; it wasn't terribly difficult per se, but definitely labor intensive. It was hard to get the features, like eyes and feathers, to stick. If I'd had royal icing on hand, that would have worked well as a glue -- I'll use that if I ever make something like this again. In the first levels of the basic Angry Birds game (there are multiple iterations now), the birds and pigs are each set up on a brown mound, so I cut my little round cake in half, frosted each half brown with a combination of dark cocoa powder and brown food dye, and carefully placed the halves at opposite ends of the cake.
I placed the birds and pigs in what seemed like a nice arrangement.
After placing the pigs, though, I realized that we'd neglected to include a structure around the pigs, so I had Measure build a simple structure out of wafer cookies, and we rearranged the pigs.
This setup left room for candles, gold stars, and, of course, the slingshot.
I'd originally planned to put three star-shaped cupcakes, frosted gold, along the bottom edge of the cake (you get three stars if you get an exceptionally high score on a level) but the cream-cheese frosting on the star-shaped cupcakes just looked messy, so I dyed some gumpaste gold, rolled it out, and cut out stars instead.
The slingshot is made out of chocolate. I made a basic y-shaped mold out of heavy-duty aluminum foil -- I figured the crinkles in the foil would give it a wood-like texture -- then poured melted chocolate chips into the mold, and popped the whole thing into the freezer. When I took it out, I gently trimmed it a bit with a sharp kitchen knife to give it a neater appearance, then we used a string of red licorice to make the strap. After shoving it in the cake, I used a little more of the dark-green frosting to add a little "grass" around the base of the slingshot.
Measure was very pleased with his cake, and is already making plans for next year!