A Robot Birthday Cake

My chubby-cheeked firstborn, my Noah, is seven. Yesterday we bounced balloons, cut cake, passed lemonade, and sang to celebrate another milestone, another year gone by. The signs are everywhere: his front tooth is lose, the cuffs of his favorite blue sweatshirt are creeping up his arm and he’s growing in every direction.

Around the table at his party, he deftly wielded an eight-inch serrated knife and carved up slices of birthday cake for each one of his friends. He served himself last. That, in itself, is a sure sign he is growing up.

I’ve already shared my tips for a simple kids birthday party, so I won’t go into detail on the decorations (none) or games (one enormous neighborhood treasure hunt), but I am excited to tell you about Noah’s cake. A homemade cake is an essential part of the birthday party, and this year’s theme was: Robot!

Noah draws robots all the time, doodling them in his sketchbook, or earnestly coloring elaborate androids with several (or one) eyes and many antennae. I knew his cake had to be a a robot of sorts. A quick search for ‘robot birthday cake’ on Pinterest brought up this cute fellow from Betty Crocker. He was part of my inspiration, but I tried to make my version to be, well, weirder. Danny helped me out a lot in that department, and probably did half the work, adding protruding wires, random buttons, and a few secret codes.

All in all, he turned out to be a cute little fellow.

If you are a rolled fondant ‘newbie’ this cake is excellent project to cut your teeth on because there is no need to worry over lumps, cracks, wrinkles, tears, or dents. In fact, your robot will look all the more authentic if he is somewhat ‘battered’. The back of an old 15 Inch X 21 Inch X 1 Inch Aluminum Sheet Pan made a solid base for ‘Robot’ that also matched his battered tin look.

If you like to occasionally mess around with your child’s play dough, you’ll have fun making this robot cake and its rolled fondant decorations. Also, if you despise the cutting/stacking/frosting of an elaborate layer cake, then again, this project is for you. It is made from just one rectangle sheet cake cake and one round cake and comes together very quickly.

Robot Birthday Cake: a quasi-tutorial

Please forgive the lack of step-by-step photos, but the silver pearl dust that I used too easily transfers to everything, and I wasn’t about to take any risks with my camera gear. I wasn’t planning on sharing this cake, but an especially enthusiastic response from an Instagram image I posted (as well as a certain thrilled 7 year olds reaction) convinced me to sketch out how it came together here on the blog. If you have further questions, hit me up in the comments!

For the robot cake you will need:

Slice the bottom third off of the round cake, and cut it in half for the feet. Remove an inch or two from the 9×13 cake for a shorter torso.

On the baking sheet or a large presenting board, place in position the head, the torso, and two ‘feet’ of the robot. Cover everything with the cream cheese frosting and place in the refrigerator to firm up a little.

Meanwhile, dye the rolled fondant gray, using a toothpick dipped into the black gel to scoop a very little dye. Work the fondant until it is smooth and the color is well distributed.

Divide the fondant into three pieces – head, body, and feet. Working with one section at a time, roll the fondant, dusting the counter with a little icing sugar to prevent it from sticking, and cover the three sections of robot. Press fondant slightly to help it adhere to the frosting, and trim away any extra along the edges.

Working in small sections, dampen the fondant by dipping two fingers into cool water and rubbing them on the cake. Immediately, tip your powder brush in the silver dust and brush onto the damp fondant. Repeat until all the cake is covered. Use a combination of brush strokes and dabbing of the brush to get different textures on the cake.

Your glittering silver robot is ready to decorate! Now is the time to get creative and add buttons, numbers, or candy to the cake. I used a lot of rolled fondant scraps to add trim, a ‘smile’ and different textures. I cut small round circles, pressed a toothpick down the center and brushed them with silver dust to make them look like the heads of screws.

Once your robot is suited up to your liking, refrigerate until about an hour before serving.

***

One of Noah’s school friend’s mother asked me for the address of the bakery where I ordered the cake. I took her request as a complement! I had such fun making Noah’s robot, and I have a feeling he’s going to remember this fellow for many years to come.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been AimΓ©e's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. This is awesome! I would never think to make a robot cake, even though it is something my kids would love. Great job!
    Heather’s last post: moving chickens

  2. I LOOOOOVE this, Aimee! I have a feeling he’s going to ALWAYS remember this robot cake. Just awesome!
    bridget {bake at 350}’s last post: I am the Walrus

  3. Its amazing Aimee!!! I am so impressed!!
    Amanda’s last post: I Believe in Him

  4. What a FUN cake that I’m sure Noah just loved! I know my son would love a cake like this, and that’s really awesome that it was mistaken as a bakery-bought cake! And I completely agree with that. It doesn’t look homemade at all, so definitely a complement :) Good job Mama!
    Holly W’s last post: Sea Life Birthday Party

  5. I adore it! And I especially love his wonky little face.

  6. “He served himself last. That, in itself, is a sure sign he is growing up.” – I personally think that’s a sure sign of his wonderful upbringing. Good job, Mom & Dad! On the cake too – it’s pretty darn spectacular!
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Peanut Butter S’Mores Cookies

  7. That cake is amazing! I’m pinning it for future reference.
    Also, could you tell me where you get your cake-decorating material (fondant, gel icing, pearl dust, etc.)? I’m also in the Montreal area. Thank you!

    • Sure, Deborah!
      I buy rolled fondant at Bulk Barn. There are a couple on the West Island. The rest of the specialty ingredients I find at Ares.
      Thanks for the Pin!

  8. This is one of the cutest cakes I have seen in a long time, Aimee… So creative! You have one very lucky birthday boy :)
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction’s last post: Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup

  9. That is one awesome looking cake!
    Steph’s last post: On Mundane Bravery

  10. Love this adorable cake… what an awesome mom-skill you have!!!
    se7en’s last post: Se7en’s Save the Rhino’s Campaign…

  11. I am in love with this cake, Aimee! It’s incredibly perfect in every single way. Happy Birthday to Noah!
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Candy Corn Oreo Truffles

  12. OH my goodness, that is one cute cake!
    Emily’s last post: Top 5 Reasons Why I Dig My Reuseable Shopping Bags

  13. Darling! I love the robot!
    Cori’s last post: Dear Me

  14. Aimee this cake is absolutely the coolest ever!!

    I have no doubt he’ll remember it for always.

    Happy birthday to your sweet 7 year old!!
    Cookbook Queen’s last post: Arkansas Razorback Dessert Table

  15. found your cake idea on Sweetopia’s facebook post. Love this. My older son has discussed a robot birthday in the future so I pinned this! CUTE! love the little details of nut and bolts and wires! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Aimee this is FANTASTIC!!! you did a fabulous job! A big happy birthday to your little guy!
    TidyMom’s last post: Creamy Chicken Pot Pie: Easy Weeknight Dinner

  17. Simply adorable!! Love that you used pumpkin spice cake mix, too. Yum!
    Tracy’s last post: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts with Green Mountain Coffee Hot Apple Cider and Salted Caramel Glaze

  18. I love this, Aimee! So creative, fun, and doable.

    Thanks for sharing your method as well as your sweet son’s heart in serving himself last. My oldest is only 2 years old, but I hope that we are able to raise our kids well so that they will similarly seek to think of others before themselves.
    Christie {Pepper Lynn}’s last post: Take Action Against Hunger

  19. That’s the best little boy’s cake ever, Noah is one lucky birthday boy!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen’s last post: How to Infuse Vodka and Spirits | Cocktail Time

  20. Oh wow! This turned out so well – it looks incredible! Happy Birthday to your sweet boy. I haven’t ever used fondant, but I’m working up to it ;)
    Allison’s last post: Pumpkin Pie Bars

  21. Love it!

  22. Precious!!!
    Amy’s last post: Poached Eggs with Gouda on Toast

  23. Happy Belated Birthday to your sweet Noah. And boy, do I just love your robot cake, brilliant!
    Tickled Red’s last post: Tradewinds ~ Dark Rum & Ginger Beer Cocktail

  24. WOW! Jaime, that is AMAZING! I just love all your recipes. What a fun cake this is! I’m totally blown away by everything you create!

    I’m a Montrealer too (but now live in Ontario). Love finding Montreal blogs…especially food blogs from Montreal!
    Christine (@chancesmommy)’s last post: Zucchini Fritters Two Ways

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