My 5 year old’s birthday theme this year was black Jeep Wranglers. He just adores Jeep Wranglers and gets so excited every time he sees one. Up until about 6 months ago, he would call them Jeefs, which was just too adorable for words. Anyway, it made sense that he would want to celebrate his love for black Jeeps or “Jeefs” at his birthday party.
He helped me pick out the Jeep design and gave me suggestions on the cake layout, like, “Mom, can I have a cactus on the cake?” We decided to have the Jeep driving away from the sun and the desert….how else could we incorporate a cactus with a Jeep :). It is so much fun involving my kids in their cake designs, and it gives them the opportunity to be super creative and end up with something truly unique. I have only been decorating cakes since my kids came along, so I get pretty intimidated every time I go to decorate one of their cakes. The requests seem to be getting more complicated as they get older. I enjoy rolling up my sleeves and seeing if I can do it. The cake may not be perfect, but it is exactly what Alex wanted, and that just thrills me. What a great experience and I learn a little more about cake decorating each time. I hope they look back on this with fond memories , like I do when I think of all the beautiful cakes my mom made me.
I hope you enjoy the cake and I have included some directions below.
The cake is a homemade yellow butter cake. I doubled the recipe and made a few cupcakes with the leftover batter. The icing is also homemade, and it is a buttercream made with real butter. This type of buttercream is more difficult and temperamental to work with than the vegetable shortening variety, but is so much better. A sheet cake takes a bunch of icing (see the recipe at the bottom of the post).
When frosting a cake, frost the top first and then the sides. Place a large amount of icing on top of the cake (you can remove excess later), to prevent crumbs from mixing with your icing. After icing the top and sides, smooth out with a cake spatula and then place the cake under a stove fan and light for about 20 minutes to slightly harden the icing. Smooth the cake by using parchment paper or a smooth paper towel, and lightly smooth a little at a time. After that, the cake is ready to decorate.
I used a spray color on the cake, in order to give it the appearance of a painting (yellow for the sun, blue for the sky, and gold and black for the desert ground).
The decorations are made out of fondant and gum paste.
- The Jeep and letters are a mixture of gum paste and fondant, which I colored black and left some white. I rolled out the black gum paste/fondant, and used a sharp tool to draw out the Jeep by hand. Then I rolled out a piece of the white mixture, and placed it underneath to provide more of a 3D effect. I used fondant tools to finish cutting out the Jeep, by hand. After that, I used black and silver color dust to finish off the Jeep. I cut out the letters with fondant cutters.
- I made the cactus plants out of green fondant (colored with green food color), by rolling out the fondant and cutting the shapes by hand, and then painted them with green color dust. I made the rocks out of white gum paste and formed them by hand, and then painted them with brown and silver color dust.
- I used a gum paste glue to adhere the decorations to each other and the cake (made with water and gum paste).
I will share more cakes that I have decorated and ideas for your next birthday party soon. I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you have any feedback or questions 🙂
- 6 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
- 8 cups pure cane confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp real vanilla extract