The Mario Cake (Or, Why I'm the Best Girlfriend. Ever.)

Some people are just naturally born to be amazing gift givers. They can go into a store and walk out with the perfect gift for everyone, every time. They’re the friends and relatives that you look forward to getting gifts from. No ugly Christmas sweaters here. Just pure awesomeness. Too bad I wasn’t born with that kind of skill. I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of bad at gift giving. Holidays and birthdays stress me out. I demand that everyone give me a list of things they want, just so I have a starting point. Otherwise, I will be the one pouring over the gift card display at the grocery store at 6pm on Christmas Eve, as they’re closing, because even though I’ve been to 100 stores agonizing over what to get for the entire holiday shopping season, I’m about to show up empty handed on Christmas morning. (True story.) Birthdays are even worse. You’re lucky if you get anything at all from me for your birthday. Especially if you’re Boyfriend.

If you’re Boyfriend, you’ve gotten your share of some good gifts (in my opinion). You’ve gotten a grill, a digital camera, some video games. But you’ve also gotten more than your fair share of lame gifts, like sheets and pillows. My 2 best friends, The Girls, know about my deficiency in the gift giving department. So every year we make extensive lists of things we’d like to have. We’re not expected to buy everything on the list. We don’t even have to buy anything on the list. It’s merely for reference in case we get completely stumped. But Boyfriend? He refuses to make a list. He refuses to even say one single thing that he wants, usually claiming that I don’t have to get him anything at all. Which makes shopping for him next to impossible. This year for his birthday--no exception.

After letting the opportunity for something huge and awesome on his 30th birthday slip by last year, I was determined to make this year’s birthday special. I knew I wanted to make him a cake, since last year he only got cupcakes (which were actually just test cupcakes for the upcoming Cupcake Camp), but I had no idea what kind of gift to give. After pointlessly begging for suggestions for weeks, Boyfriend was going to end up getting exactly what he wanted. Absolutely nothing. I guess I better make one hell of a cake to distract him from the fact that there was no gift to go with it.

Hence, the Mario Cake.

If you know even a little about me, you know that I. don’t. make. cake. I’m terrible at it. Individual sized portions are my thing. I can handle cupcakes like a champ. But cake? Always ends in disaster. But if I was going to be the best girlfriend ever, despite my lack of gift giving skills, I was going to have to suck it up and bust my butt to create the most awesome cake ever. I was going to have to venture into the terrifying world of both fondant covering AND cake stacking, neither of which I’d ever done before. This could get ugly.

I had this idea for over a year that I was going to make him a cake shaped like Legos, since he loves them, but after looking at ideas online, I wasn’t thrilled. They just didn’t have that “wow” factor. But the pictures of the Nintendo themed cakes I found, now there was some definite awesomeness. It was well beyond my skill level, but hey. I always enjoy a challenge. It’s how you get better, right? So Mario it is.

After 18 full hours of baking, frosting, coloring, rolling, covering, and decorating, I was exhausted. I had food coloring all over my pretty pink chef jacket, flour in my hair, blisters on my hands. I had used practically every dish in my kitchen, and broken out every craft tool I own, including the Exacto knife and the hot glue gun, to finish this beast. My house was a disaster, but it was finished. And the good news? I only screamed, “THIS IS WHY I DON’T MAKE F-ING CAKE!” twice. Well below my estimated 15 times. It wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot, but I knew it was going to be awesome anyway.

I tried to make it a smaller cake, using just an 8 inch square pan for the base, a 6-inch round pan for the middle, and a jumbo cupcake for the top, since I knew it was just the 2 of us sharing it, and probably his coworkers, but it still ended up being enormous! And HEAVY. I’ve always heard them say on those cake decorating shows that the cakes weigh a lot, but I never realized just how much. That thing, even as a junior sized cake, weighed a good 20-30 pounds fully decorated. And I know I definitely need to work on my fondant skills. The perfectionist in me cried a tiny bit each time I looked at all the wrinkles and tears, but, for my first attempt, I’m still pretty freaking proud of it. And Boyfriend? He LOVED it.

He barely even noticed there was no gift! But just so you know, Boyfriend. You’re getting cupcakes next year. And you better start thinking of what you might want as a gift now.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
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Lisa said...

This is the most amazing thing ever. EVER. It is so awesome.

The College Baker said...

Oh my goodness - that is the most fantastic cake I've even seen! Congrats on not just defeating your cake phobia, but completely OBLITERATING it!

sarahe said...

i can't believe this was your first time doing something like this!! you are an AMAZING girlfriend to do this! my husband thinks so too! ;)

oneordinaryday said...

Every kid I know would LOVE this cake. You did such an awesome job!!

Ingrid said...

No words! I bow to your great cakeness! :) You really did a fabulous job.

Emma said...

You did a fantastic job!!

Cathy @ lolfoodie said...

Wow, this is awesome! I would love to try something like this for my husband, but I've never worked with fondant. Maybe I could start out easy, and just make the mushroom topper. :P

Erinsgobragh said...

That is frigging cool! Too funny too cause hubby and I just got the new Super Mario Bros for Wii. Long story as to why we are just getting it now.

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