It’s really hard not to play favorites in the office. I try to make every party and every birthday special, but you know, I just like some people a lot more than others. I mean, I can be really biased. And obvious about it. As the old saying goes, or would go if it was an old saying, “The proof is in the birthday cake.”
So when Bill’s birthday comes around we all go embarrassingly overboard for him, because he’s the guy that pretty much everyone likes most. He’s weird and fun and easy to work with and he really likes Legos, which is why I made my first Lego cake a couple of years ago:
Well I’m still getting my money’s worth out of that Lego mold, and not just for Bill. There are other Lego aficionados in the office, so last week I made a couple of Lego serving trays for another birthday and topped them with Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (at the request of the birthday girl) and Passionfruit Macarons.
They’re a month too late to be the Valentine’s Zacarons I wanted to make, but I finally found a passion fruit jam at a specialty store in San Francisco and just had to do them. (You can get the jam on Amazon if you want to pay the $7.50 in shipping. It’s incredibly delicious though, if you feel like splurging.)
But back to our buddy, Bill. At least a year ago I picked up a whole bag of vintage G.I. Joe party supplies at a garage sale.
I tried not to think about the sad circumstances in which a G.I. Joe party was planned for but never had (maybe it was canceled due to bad behavior? or the birthday kid suddenly decided that Joe was lame and Power Rangers were the must-have birthday theme of the year?) and scooped up the invites, treat bags, paratrooper centerpiece, place mats, 3D glasses and napkins for just a few dollars.
Since then they’ve been taking up room in a closet, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make some kid happy. And because Bill went to West Point, we all decided that he would be that kid.
For the cake I decided to go camouflage. I mixed up two boxes of white cake mix then divided them into four bowls. I added a little green food color to one, a lot of green food color to another, and some unsweetened cocoa powder to another.
Next it was a simple matter of dropping spoonfuls of different colors next to each other, and trying to make sure each pan had an equal amount. I made one 9×11 sheet cake and two 8-inch round cakes. Normally I would take a spatula and smooth the tops before making to make sure it’s all even, but to keep the camo look going I tapped them on the counter instead. That seemed to help them settle and even out just fine.
Once the cakes were baked and cooled I made my buttercream frosting and split that into colors as well. I wanted a blue river, a white, sandy beach, and some brown mud. Crushed graham crackers added texture to the beach, and I made sure not to mix the blue up too well, so it looks like it has streaks of foam in it.
And then I added a few Twix for barriers, some Whoppers for cannonballs, and my little candy Lego men in camo colors. I’m not sure if the two on the beach are sunbathing or dead. I’ll let you interpret the scene in your own way.
I also stopped by the dollar store and picked up a couple of little Army toys and a helmet, which Bill was only too happy to wear.
Be all that you can be,