As I mentioned in my last post, it was my friend’s 21st birthday a few days ago and my other friend and I decided to make him a cake. But not just any cake. Oh, no. We decided to make him a minion cake. If you’ve not come across minions before, they are basically the stars of the Universal Pictures film, ‘Despicable Me’. Yes, it’s a children’s film. Yes, my friend was turning 21. No, it doesn’t matter because Despicable Me is amazing and I still find it hilarious.
This is one of the cute little minions from the film:
We decided we wanted to attempt to make a minion cake a LONG time before his birthday, which is probably a good thing because it gave us lots of time to think over how we were going to do it, how much icing we’d need and whether it was actually possible! Thankfully, my mum was also on hand to point us in the right direction and rescue us when things got a bit interesting (which surprisingly wasn’t actually that often). We thought the best way to do it was to bake several round sponges (out of chocolate cake with nutella mixed in – refer to the last post about the nutella situation!) and one baked in a bowl in order to get the head shape. This went relatively well actually and didn’t cause too many problems. Well, other than lining the tin but I think that’s just our lack of skill with baking paper!
We stacked all the cakes on top of one another and sandwiched them with chocolate (and more nutella!) icing. My mum made the good point of not putting too much icing in between the layers to prevent them from sliding too much. We managed to remember to put the cakes on the lid of the tin we were using before assembling, saving us that awkward situation when you have a huge cake and have to transfer it onto another plate/tin lid/cake stand. As you can see in the photo below, we had to saw off some of the cake just to make sure all the cakes were the right shape and lined up properly. Somehow, although the bottom three cakes were baked in the same tin, they all ended up different widths!
The next step was a very daunting one – icing all the sides of the cake. A palette knife was out weapon of choice and it didn’t go too badly. I had to make myself stop because towards the end if I tried to smooth the icing any more, it just made huge chunks of it fall off.I was definitely glad when this stage was over!
We relieved all the stress and nerves of making a huge minion cake by squidging all of the fondant icing in our hands to make it malliable, which is surprisingly therapeutic! It does make your hands very sticky though! Not soon after we’d relieved all the stress did it come flooding back when we had to roll out the yellow icing and then transfer it in one quick movement onto the cake. It was kind of like moving a very sweet smelling, bright yellow pizza base that hasn’t been cooked yet, and was absolutely terrifying! Trying not to stick your fingers through the thin icing, trying not to drop it on the floor and trying not to knock the whole cake over is a lot to concentrate on! We managed it without too much hassle though.
It was only at this point that we realised how much our little incomplete minion friend was leaning, but there was nothing we could do about it so we just cracked on. Just after we put the icing on, it did look a lot more like a pacman ghost than a minion, but after we’d trimmed the excess icing off it started to get its shape a bit more. I was also under the illusion that by smoothing over the creases with water, the creases would magically disappear. Shall I tell you what actually happens when you do that? The icing turns to mush and starts to disintegrate so that the chocolate icing underneath starts to leak through. Then every time you touch it to make it better, it just gets worse and the minion starts bleeding chocolatey blood… To counteract this, we quickly rolled out the blue icing and whacked a pair of dungarees on him, which fitted surprisingly well and seemed to mop up the chocolate-blood quite well!
Next, we had the crucial decision of whether to make a one-eyed or two-eyed minion. We decided to go with a one-eyed minion as his head was a bit on the small side, so we used cookie cutters to make a white circle and then a black rim using the same cookie cutter and the one the next size up. The addition of a slightly trimmed large (Yorkie!) chocolate button and a small piece of white icing later, and we had an eye!
And then our little minion could see!
This is the point where I thought it looked like a ‘real life’ minion and all of a sudden our cake started to look identifiable! The next features we added were hair and a mouth. These were just thin strips of black icing stuck on with water (like all the other components were stuck on).
After this, we gave him arms of rolled-into-sausages yellow icing, and hands and feet of modelled black icing. We also decided to make him a little pocket with the number 21 on it. This is when he definitely looked like a minion and we high-fived our good work.
We added a few more little details in the form of buttons on his dungarees, treads on his shoes and stitching on his denim (done by poking him with a fork quite a lot). AND THEN HE WAS FINISHED!!!!
We were SO pleased with the result. Ok, the back looked like he’d recovered from some brain surgery, but we didn’t think that was so bad. (Apologies for the blurry photo).
He even managed to survive a road trip from my house to my uni house, although he was leaning considerably more by the time he reached his final destination. He didn’t look like he minded too much, he just looked a little dazed.
Our friend was suitably speechless with our surprise minion cake attempt (which, to be fair, so were we!). I felt like crying when he cut into him though. I’m sure I heard a little minion scream! He did taste very nice though, although not nutella-y enough which was disappointing considering the amount we put in there.
And so we have set the bar for 21st birthday cakes in our little group. We’re all expecting a cake with as much effort put into it for our 21st birthdays now – it will be a tough job considering this took us eight and a half hours! It was definitely worth it though. I’m still amazed we managed it without any disasters resulting in us driving down to Tesco to pick up the first cake we saw and a packet of candles. If you fancy making a minion cake like this, go for it! Just make sure you set aside a whole day and have plenty of ingredients for making cake (this took two lots of 4 egg cake mixture!). And don’t get too attached, because at some point someone is going to have to decapitate your new friend you’ve spent the entire day making. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point…