Sunday, December 4, 2011


If you could build a man, what would he be like? At first that seems like an easy question to answer, but if you sit and really think about it, what qualities do you really want in a man? Oh there's the easy things--gorgeous bod, sexy voice, dreamy eyes... Anyone remember the movie Weird Science where two teenage, super smart, nerds created the perfect woman out of a barbie doll, a computer, and a little bit of magic which amounted to wearing a bra on their head. It's a pretty funny movie.

Recently, I was charged with coming up with a gag cake after my sister and I decided that our mom needed a man for her birthday. Mom was turning 60 and we were going to throw her a surprise party. Since neither my sister nor I have a supply of extra men lying around to give mom, we figured we'd have to come up with something creative. We’d considered a stripper, but expected having a buff dude in a speedo shaking his stuff in mom’s face would probably give her a heart attack—that and she’d probably kill us afterward.

Being the creative cake decorator that I am, my sister came up with the bright idea to make a man for mom. Needless to say, when you google man-cakes, you get a variety of very inappropriate pictures of the male anatomy depicted in cake. Okay, so when someone says birthday cake, I think about three layers; chocolate, yellow, or white; covered in fondant or buttercream. Maybe a few flowers to pretty it up. Boobs and penises don’t typically come to mind. But hey, I’m up for a challenge.
My husband had a creative suggestion. He thought I should make a male torso with a large penis, stick a candle in the end of the cake-man’s rod, then make mom grab it to blow out the candle. Um, yeah. Mom would NOT do that, and I’m sure some of her church friends wouldn’t appreciate it. Since I had no idea who was coming to this party, I figured I’d have to tone it down a bit. I liked the torso idea, but how to make it sexy and not raunchy was a whole other matter.

After quite a bit of Googling, You-Tubing (I'm a tube-a-holic, I need help), Amazoning, and Flickring, I finally found what I was looking for. Well, at least I had an idea to start with, anyway. Combining mom’s love for yellow roses and chest hair (not that the two have anything to do with each other, mind you), I think I came up with a super hot alternative to X-rated. My sister loved the 80’s chest hair. Hey, making all them little curls took some time!
Mom was embarrassed, but I think she like it. We made her cut the cake and everyone got to eat a piece of mom’s man. She said she was saving the part under the fondant shroud for later, when she was by herself! Imagine that, my mom with a naughty sense of humor.

So how did I get those ripped abs and bulging pecs? I suppose most people would try to carve them out of the cake, but I just haven't attempted enough carving to risk ruining my cake. Plus, I didn't have time to bake more if I screwed them up!

How I built mom's man was I baked 2 rectangle cakes (11 x 14, I think), leveled one (left the other kinda rounded on top for a more realistic torse. I wanted flat abs but not SpongeBob flat!) and stacked them together. I froze them for a bit to stiffen the cake and make it easier to carve. I know, I said no carving of the abs, but I didn't say anything about the body shape. Ha! So I carved out his neck area, shoulders, waist, and hips. When I say carve, I'm talking simple carving away the edges of the cake. I did not touch the surface.

Next, I took the cake I'd just carved off, smashed it up with a little icing to make it the consistency of playdough, then used it to build up the pecs and abs. Pretty clever if I do say so myself. *snicker* Then I stuck the cake back in the freezer for a bit before putting the buttercream on. Covering with fondant was pretty easy. I just used my fingertip to indent to fondant along the pecs and abs, following where I'd already built it up beforehand. Viola! A man-cake is born.

I think in writing, we all do a little bit of man (and woman) building. After all, aren't our characters a little bit of what we think are the qualities we want in a oerson, good and bad? Those are the characters our readers can love or hate, depending on their purpose.

Shannon Leigh


Marguerite Arotin said...

Cake looks awesome & sounds yummy too. Your Mom's got a great daughter who was thoughtful enough to bake her up a man :)

Shannon Leigh said...

Thanks! The party was at a restaurant. There were quite a few people who had a take a second look when they walked past our table. Haha

mnjcarter said...

I loved that movie!! My girlfriends and I actually used to sit around think about all the magazines and calendar pics we could to build our perfect man. We thought we would jock straps on our heads instead of the bras.LOL

Debby said...

I saw this post and loved it. What a neat idea!
debby236 at gmail dot ocm

Lacey Wolfe said...

that is so neat!!! It looks way to good to eat though!
laceywolfe (at) live (dot) com

Lexxx said...

awesome... building a man... hmmmm

Celtic Chick said...

That's an awesome cake. You are very talented at man-building. LOL

shadow_kohler said...

I love that cake! Its awesome!

Maria D. said...

Great looking cake!