The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I learned the art of cake decorating and began putting together the very first pieces of my cake business in Kansas City.
Originally posted June 2008
My Grandpa turned 80 this year, and the whole family gathered in Illinois for his birthday party. It was a blast to see everyone. I figured we needed cake. It all started with three 13×9 vanilla butter cakes and a plywood board wrapped with clear plastic.
I cut the shape of the rolling hills,
and covered it with ganache.
Then I covered the cake and the board with icing, adding a rough texture with the edge of a piece of broken styro…
…and started in on some of the final decorations.
Then it was time to make the Jeep. I carved the body of the Jeep out of styro and made the wheel covers and front windshield base from balsa wood.
The wheels had aluminum foil as their support, and were later iced, glued to the end of a skewer, and inserted into the styro.
My Grandpa worked for ALCOA for years, and had seat cushions in the back of the Jeep for all of us to sit on, so I painted the logo onto the cushions. A penny is there for size reference on (the penny is a bit bigger than a 5 cent piece in Australia, but smaller than the 10 cent piece). I had to use my version of Margie’s ninja brush!
Then I covered the Jeep, which was quite tricky (especially since the styro I used was different, lumpy, and gross to work with), added seats, steering wheel, cushions, and gear shift, and got ready to put the top on.
I made a “cage” out of skewers and then glued acetate onto them so there would be clear windows, leaving the doors open as they were on the Jeep, and painting the insides of the skewers black so they couldn’t be seen when you looked in the windows from the outside.
Then I put the black top on and cut out the windows. This is the back of the reference Jeep image I used.
And the view from the back. My Grandpa’s Jeep was box-ier, a different color, and had a different seating arrangement than the reference Jeep, so I had to work from memory a little bit.
Reference Jeep from the front…
…and the miniature version:
Here is the Jeep once it was placed on the cake. Watch out for those cow pies in the prairie! My Dad used to pretend to fall off the back of the Jeep and nearly landed in one…
The finished cake…
My Grandpa used to take me, my sister, and my two cousins for rides in the Jeep whenever we visited. He took us out on the prairie, and every time we went over the hills, he called them “whoop-de-dos.” Then he would turn around, go over them the other way, and call them “do-de-whoops.” Hence the message on the board…
Sometimes we also got “stuck” in the creek and my Grandpa would tease that we would all have to get out and push. The creek was important enough to make an appearance on the cake too.
The cake and Jeep made it to Illinois on a 3.5-hour car ride with no problems whatsoever. Presenting Grandpa with his 80th birthday cake…
Then it was time to light the candles and blow them out!