Look what my husband and I made on the weekend – a Minecraft Grass Block cake!
We threw a kid’s party for my 8 year old son… and his favourite thing in the world (at the moment) is Minecraft, so the whole party was in a Minecraft theme.
If you’re not too sure what Minecraft is… it’s the latest game craze for children between 6 – 12 years old (or bigger kids headed more towards 35 years old). It’s a computer game that lets you build things out of blocks. You have to mine for resources (wood, metals, rock or animal skins) and you can build structures and things, unlimited by your own imagination. It’s quite cool.
My boys have discovered things like… how obsidian is formed, that glass is made by adding heat to sand, you have to melt metal ore in order to shape it into things.
Anyway, it has inspired a plethora of children’s cake designs, which is highly fascinating in itself, check it out on Google Images. So I decided to have a go at my own design.
When I announced to my husband that I was going to make a Minecraft cake…he instantly became way too interested in the design and implementation plan. Soon he wanted to be a part of it too and I was not happy, because I ALREADY HAD A PLAN.
We locked our creative horns again, like when we made a Lego Head Mask for my son.
After a few days of brain clashes and artistic skirmishes, the fact that we were running out of time forced us to reluctantly work as a team.
He was in charge of the construction of the cake. I was in charge of decorating it.
I had planned to bake only 2 cakes, to join together, so the grass slab would be rectangular, rather than a cube.
But my husband wanted to make 4 cakes, so it would BE a cube. Which is a closer representation of the actual grass block in the game. Whatever!
4 FREAKING MUDCAKES? GAH I was very opposed to the sheer wastage of ingredients.
But of course, part of our “working together deal” was that I would ZIP MY MOUTH SHUT on these matters :P
12 free ranged eggs were used in the making of these cakes, 1L of sunflower oil and omg don’t even ask me how much dark chocolate we used.
We made them one by one. Over 2 days and 2 nights.
My husband glued the 4 cakes together with jam, then he trimmed the sides of the block to make them straight.
Unfortunately the sheer density and weight of the cakes compressed the whole block down, so in the end the dimensions were not exactly a square cube.
I was going to mention that he could just trim more off the sides to make the dimensions correct, but you know, I was MOUTH-ZIPPED-SHUT. Anyway, that would have thrown my decorating dimensions out.
He mixed the cake off-cuts with chocolate frosting and “cement rendered” the sides to make them nicely flat.
My husband is superb at handyman stuff like carpentry, tiling, brick laying, using grout, plastering, rendering… so is was very entertaining to watch him solve “baking” problems with “handyman” solutions.
On the other hand, I have very poor handyman building skills, but I make up for it with my wicked art, craft, design and cooking skillz yo (I like to think).
Suffice to say, we had a lot of hilarious banter going back and forth late at night.
For the decoration, I bought a 1L tub of premixed, ready to roll fondant ($24) in a pale green.
Prior to this, I had already tried and tested a tiling technique, where I would mix 5 different shades of green fondant, roll them out, cut them into squares, arrange them in a random pattern, then lay them on the cake like bathroom tiles. But that was sooooo fiddly, as the fondant was too soft to work with, so the squares were too wonky and the result looked awful.
After a lot of careful measurements, I rolled out the fondant and drew up a grid using a cutting knife.
I cut the edges off in a random cube pattern.
And cut a faint grid pattern over the top.
My husband frosted the cake with chocolate frosting, and I lay my fondant carefully over the top.
I was not particularly happy with the fondant. It was too soft and elastic for what I wanted. If I tried to add more icing sugar, it just got too crumbly and brittle. So I just had to go with it. The biggest problem was that the sheer weight of the fondant crushed down the sharp edges of the cake, so instead of the fondant folding neatly over the edge, it all just smooshed down in an unsightly sag. CRAPP!
I also wasn’t happy with the way my cuts in the fondant had stretched at the edges of the cake, leaving big gapping grooves. But whatever, it still looked ok.
I bought some green and yellow food colouring and mixed a palette of 5 shades of green.
And yes, I hand painted all the green squares!
When I was halfway through the painting, I looked up at the clock and saw that it was 11:57pm. I burst out laughing – I WAS NOW ONE OF THOSE CRAZY PARENTS, who stay up till midnight making birthday cakes for my children haha!!
The painting bit was quite easy. It only took me 30 minutes to do. And it was the fun part.
When it was completed, thought it looked great. I was really proud of our work. My husband was right about making it a cube shape. And yes, I told him so.
However, if I were to be really picky, I think the variations of the shades of green were too different, and I could have made them look a lot closer to the computer game. If I had more time!
Behold! This was the result!
We decorated the bottom with crumbled chocolate biscuits and broken kitkats.
It looked awesome! My children LOVED IT!
Everyone oooh and ahhhed over it.
And it tasted delicious too.
We had 12 boys at the party. We set up a huge bouncy castle and slide in our backyard, we turned on the sprinklers, set up a paddle pool at the bottom of the slide, we gave the boys water balloons to throw at each other. It was a great party!
However, 12 boys only ate ONE QUARTER of the cake! What were we going to do with the rest of it?!
Thankfully, my husband cut the remaining cake into huge slabs and gave them away to the parents who came to pick up their kids. Phew!
Minecraft Jelly Cups
In addition to the cake and a table full of party food, I also made Minecraft Jelly Cups – yes my own creation!
Instead of a plain old jelly cup, I put chocolate “dirt” under the green jelly and buried chocolate blocks in the dirt, so the person eating could kind of “mine” for their treat.
Anyway, I have always wanted to make CHOCOLATE BISCUIT DIRT… and this seemed like a good opportunity as any!
I whizzed up a packet of chocolate biscuits and chocolate Oreos in my food processor.
Then I threw in some chocolate chips and mixed away.
I filled up some jelly cups with my chocolate dirt.
I made 2 packets of lime green jelly. Popped it into the fridge over night. Then I cut them into rough cube shapes.
I worked out that if the jelly sat on the biscuit dirt base for too long, it would soften dirt and make it go soggy and slushy.
So I had to wait until I was just about to serve it, spoon all the jelly on top, decorate it with a mini flake chocolate, then serve.
The kids thought it was so cool to eat dirt and find bits of chocolate buried in the dirt.
So it was another success!
ANYWAY. The result of all this… is that my other big biggest boy turns 10 years old tomorrow. We are going to have a party for him and his friends in a few weeks time, and HE WANTS EXACTLY THE SAME MINECRAFT THEME FOR HIS PARTY.
Another Minecraft cake? For real? My husband and I looked at each other and shared an quiet chuckle. Because we both *actually* want to do it again, correct our mistakes, fine tune our technique, and do it better next time.
Bring it on :)