Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Crabzilla Masterclass

I realise many of you may be wondering how you, too, can make a cake shaped like a giant Japanese spider crab. That is precisely what I am here for. That and whining. Read on!

The journey to cake madness starts with some freeform, traybased improvisation. Try and make sure you haven't had more than 5 hours sleep. Any more and you might have sufficient distance/common sense not to get into this kind of lunacy .


At this point, you should expect to be feeling a combination of fear, frustration, self-loathing and a profound desire to go back to bed. Your best friend might chip in helpfully, saying:

"You do realise your children are taking the piss, right? 'What will drive her nuts? Oh yes, that stupid giant crab she's obsessed with'".

Next, it might be fun to go to the supermarket and find out they have run out of yellow food colouring to make the crab shell the requisite orangey colour. Because, otherwise, where's the fun? When you return, this is a good time to experiment with a wider variety of ancient cake toppings to try and get a better shell-like effect. If you have a dog, at this point it will start making a mind-numbing high-pitched whining noise, wishing first to go out, then to come in to the house. How amusing!



You may find, whilst you are bashing miniature orange smarties with a hammer, that thoughts of how many hours this is going to take and how much you could be earning if you were still a lawyer for that many hours work will cross your mind.

Dispel these intrusive thoughts by making some cakes. You might burn one of them. It's ok, no-one actually cares about the cake, remember. Ice one blue, even though blue icing makes you remember a children's birthday party where you were violently sick after eating a blue cake shaped like a rocket. Dispel these further intrusive thoughts by making your own cakeboard with a baking tray and some tinfoil, because that makes you feel like a Proper Mother.



Remember to keep an eye out for the dog at this point, while the cakes are cooling outside. It could all go tits up if you allow yourself a five minute doze at this point, tempting though it is.

Next! Put the small cake on the big cake. Put some burnt outsidey bits on too. Remember: no-one cares about the actual cake. Let this be your mantra. This, and "I used to have a proper job".



We're getting to the shit scary bit where I forgot to take pictures.

- Attempt to make crab coloured icing. This is impossible without yellow food colouring. Your crab will be pink. You can try and make the obvious bits less pink by slicing open a tube of orange writing icing of very dubious provenance and mixing it with the icing. This is also known as 'making a significant tactical error', because there will not be enough of the newly blended, quite good colour, to cover both front legs. Fuck it, never mind.

- Try and stick the shell texture stuff on the crab. It will not stick and will all fall off, sullying the blue icing. You will find yourself picking individual shards of miniature Smartie and caramelised nut off the cake whilst wondering why you went to university.

- The next part is the most fun you can have whilst trying to make a giant spider crab cake. Put his eyes on. These are two slightly fluffy black sweets that have been mysteriously residing in the pocket of your shorts for the last few hours. Next, chop up some bootlaces for his "disgusting frondy mouthparts" (technical term). With your current level of exhaustion, and impending hyperglycaemic coma, due to eating all the cake off cuts, extra icing, and sweets that fall off, around now you can confidently expect the scissors to slip, causing a shallow but extremely bloody cut on the palm of your hand.




- Do his other 'legs'. These are rubbish. Try not to care too much.




You are probably exhausted. There there. Put him in the fridge for a while so you can lie on the sofa with a flannel on your forehead for half an hour.

Your best friend might unhelpfully send you a link to the restaurant where she is going to eat Jumbo Crab tonight.

It's nearly over. He looks so anxious sitting there in the fridge. Poor Crabzilla, with his steroidal forepaws and puny hind legs.




Wake three hours later in a panic. The shops are about to close and you have nothing to make claws with. Go to three shops. None of them have the sweets you were thinking of using. In a moment of GENIUS buy some vampire teeth. They are perfect! Or you have lost your mind! It's definitely one or the other. Throw a shitload of edible glitter and silver balls over the top, because it's not one of your cakes unless it looks like it's been at Studio 54 all night, partying hard (and Bianca Jagger's horse has probably stepped on it).



Indulge in a moment of satisfaction (eat twenty five more sweets. Survey the carnage of the house, ignore it).

On the way to the birthday boy's family birthday dinner, you might have the following conversation.

E: So did you have a good time at the Sea Life Centre?

L: (exhausted, sullen, after 5:45 start and school trip) Hmm. We didn't really see anything. We only did the outside.

E: What? You went to the Sea Life Centre and didn't go inside?

L (bored): Mmmph. We went to the forest bit.

E (with a dangerous edge of lunacy): You saw Crabzilla though???

L (disinterested): Non. Je crois qu'il est mort.

(No, I think he's dead).

E (manic laughter): Are you kidding me??? He can't be DEAD. Not. Dead.

CFO (with a worried glance at me, like a bomb disposal expert surveying a particularly ominous package): I'm SURE he isn't dead, Lashes! We would have heard about it.

E (demented): HE'S THE BIGGEST CRAB IN THE WORLD. Of course we would have heard.

L: En tout cas, we didn't see him.

E (deflated, trying to remember it is L's Special Day): Oh. Well. Nevermind. Did you see any crabs?

L (unenthusiastic): Mouais. Yeah, I suppose.

E: Do you think your class will understand why you have a cake shaped like a giant crab, darling?

L (staring out of the window, melancholy): Je ne sais pas.

E (hissing to CFO): Are we nearly at the motherfucking rabbit island, because I need a massive, massive, massive drink.


It was ok in the end. Lashes got the sparkler in his ice cream, I got a nice lot of wine, the sugar/alcohol perked us both up, respectively. Rabbit Island had nine goslings sitting on the terrace and 7 free range bunnies, and even though they have changed the chips and they are no longer the best in Belgium, we had a lovely time.




When we got home, I showed him Crabzilla. Awww.



Happy birthday Lashes!

27 comments:

Alexandra said...

AMAZING! *wild applause*

Eireann said...

yes, what she said. also, your son is adorbz.

London City Mum said...

Wow. Impressive.

LCM x

Anonymous said...

A really impressive crab, despite looking a bit unpromising midway, he came right in the end! Especially interested in how effective the crushed sweets look as shell-encrustations - well done!

d said...

That crab rocks. And serves to reinforce my determination never to go down the decorative cake route. My daughter is 7 tomorrow. I am a fairly confident cook and spend 70% of my time concocting stuff in the kitchen but I would never, ever attempt a novelty cake. I just could not cope with the stress, the anticipation, the planning, the frustration, the disappointment. Normally I order a personalised cake topping from ebay but we have had so many bank holidays here I have failed to get one in time so I have a shitload of gaudy sprinkles that I will fling over some coloured buttercream and be done with it. Oh, and a sparkly number '7' candle.

blackbird said...

Well, yes.
You could have done it that way too.

Happy Day to Lashes and congrats to you.

soleils said...

Oh man, that was EPIC! I laughed, I worried, I nearly shed a tear... What a roller-coaster. That last photo deffo says it was all worth it in the end. Well done you, you are amazing, and well done to Lashes for making you love him so much. Joyeux anniversaire à ton grand bonhomme (avec un jour de retard).

Alison Cross said...

Marvellous!!! *stands on chair, applauds, makes that wolfwhistle noise by sticking fingers in mouth*

Ali x

Persephone said...

I look back at my garish history of theme birthday cakes: the mushy blue-green crocodile for a Peter Pan party, the sagging Green Gables house, the strangely featureless Hogwarts castle with the ice-cream cone turrets I accidentally set ablaze when the candles were lit...

I look at these and then at your really nifty crab cake and I weep in the face of my own inadequacy, Emma, I really do. (I used cake mix, too. I'm a ba-a-a-ad mother...)

Miss Underscore said...

Genius!

It's your York heritage. You have Betty's (tearoom blend) blood running through your veins.

That's Not My Age said...

I think Cakey Crabzilla is ace. There's a bakers round the corner from work that I call the Blackpool Shop because everything in the front window looks like Crabzilla - and I'm from Blackpool. Sadly, we don't have Betty's in Lancashire.

WrathofDawn said...

*applause! whistles! foot stamping!*

Very Impressive crabzilla cake! Well done, you!

Happy Birthday to Lashes.

Laurel said...

Aw, happy birthday, Lashes! And your Crabzilla is really spectacular, I am truly impressed. The shell texture is just perfect.

I run in the "shit mother" vein and pay someone else to make a cake. This year was the first birthday (my son's 4th) where someone was old enough to make a request for a theme. So I paid someone else to make a space cake. She made a sun and planets out of fondant. Then ... then! without even telling me! she made comets out of sugar rock crystals, which she had made herself!

There is no way I could ever compete, so I won't even try.

vw = miculpe ... Latin for I am guilty of not making awesome cakes for my children.

momosyllabic said...

magnifique! (and the crab really does look anxious in the fridge, doesn't it?)

Johnners said...

Oooh! Crabzilla looked amazing (and yes, also slightly worried) I was practically holding my breath all the way through, it was a triumph!

I am also not going to win any model parent awards any time soon - all our cakes come from a supermarket not unrelated to John Lewis. I am ashamed... J x

daisydot said...

Well done, Crabzilla the Cake is brilliant!

I don't make birthday cakes preferring to order them from a local bakery. My excuse is that I have twins and each gets a cake of their own choice. When they were five, Bob the Builder and Barbie were the requests. Bob was fine but the girl's one was tricked out as Hooker Barbie. We have the photos to prove it!

neuroticnotes said...

Crabzilla cake is truly awesome. My favourite photo is anxious crabzilla in the fridge though.

Brilliant!

Kate said...

I love crabzilla in the fridge! He looks like he has slipped down the back of the shelf and is desperately trying to claw his way out.
I can't believe you made that, btw, it's incredible. And happy birthday lucky Lashes!

Em said...

I'm exhausted! Was with you every step of the way. Thank goodness everything turned out well in the end.

Cake looked fab and a very Happy Birthday to your gorgeous boy.

Connie said...

Absolutely hilarious. Honestly, I was laughing out loud.

Rhia said...

The crabby cake is FAB! Bravo!

I agree with Connie, i was actually lol-ing at your commentary!! :) that takes some doing to raise a smile at 3am when ive just finished the dreaded invoices!

(blue icing makes me nauseous too.)

Dara said...

Brava! That cake rocks! You are the best mum, ever!

My "baby" turned 9 yesterday. She's suddenly looking all grows up. And me, still with the baby weight to lose!!

I am taking her and her sister to NYC this weekend. American Girl Doll Store. Four stories of dolls and doll accessories. Pray for me.

Dara said...

Oh, happy birthday, L!

Patience_Crabstick said...

It's a gorgeous cake! I love it.

sara said...

This reminds me of a shark cake I made in October:
http://sharkfood.tumblr.com/post/1342322217/the-process

Your post is much funnier than mine, but my cake was for me, not a child, so that's an extra bit of insanity. I think your previous shows of cake skillz were part of the reason I even attempted it.

Marie said...

Wow,that Crabzilla's fab ! Am really impressed with this, congrats to you and a very happy b-day to Lashes !
I really like the pics and the terrific claws :)

servicii contabile said...

Very very nice, you did it very well:) I think i will try to do this for my husband birthday.