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Too Nice To Slice, #003 -- Fantastic Cake Ideas For Dads & Grads!
June 17, 2008

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I think way outside the Cake Decorating box so you don't have to! Every month I hunt down the best tricks and tips for you to add instant 'wow' factor to any cake you create.

May 29th, 2008 Issue #003

Table Of Contents


  • Welcome to the new look and feel of
  • The fans go wild – it’s the shot that brought the house down!
  • Is High School Musical “Grease” for a new generation?
  • ”Bring me Spiderman’s head on a plate!” and no that wasn’t the villain…
  • Rare Purple Monkey Seen In The Tree Tops!
  • Articles

  • Cupcakes gone mad! Mojito madness that is!
  • Re-thinking the Dollar Store – a treasure trove of great cake ideas.
  • Your questions answered.

  • Breaking News!

    There are exciting site-wide renovations happening at The new look for the newsletter is a small taste of what’s baking at the website. So, come on over and take a look and, please, let me know what you think. Just reply to this e-mail.


    New Cakes This Month

    The Fans Go Wild – It’s The Shot That Brought The House Down!

    That’s the idea behind this unique rendition of a very popular sports cake theme. If you’re looking for a Basketball Cake for a birthday party or end of season team party and you want something to stand out from the sheet cake crowd, you’ve found it!

    I want to be in the Basketball Cake hall of fame too!


    Is High School Musical “Grease” for a new generation?

    You bet it is! The mania that is “High School Musical” brings back fond memories of “Grease” for me (hmm. Showing my age now!). And trust me, any fan of the new mega-hit musicals will LOVE this cake!

    Yes! I want to make that cake.


    ”Bring me Spiderman’s head on a plate!” and no that wasn’t the villain.

    That’s the sound of the kids debating who gets the giant chocolate-covered Rice Krispie treat that is Spiderman’s head. This great technique is so versatile for so many cake ideas. So even if you’re not in need of this super popular super-hero cake right now, do yourself a favor and head on over and see out how easy it is to do.

    I want to see Spiderman’s head!


    Rare Purple Monkey Seen In The Tree Tops!

    Holy smokes! Is that really a jungle full of chocolate trees I see? And perched high in the cocoa canopy do I spy a purple chocolate monkey? You’ll never know unless you go to…

    see the monkey!


    Articles To Inspire You

    Cupcakes gone mad! Mojito madness that is.

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, or you’re Australian (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!), you’re undoubtedly familiar with the classic ‘Mojito’ cocktail. These amazing cupcakes capture the signature flavors of rum, lime, mint and sugar perfectly, with the coconut base to add a little tropical twist. Bake yourself a batch of these - it’s the perfect way to welcome spring!

    I want a little ‘Mojito madness’ for myself.


    Re-thinking The Dollar Store – A Treasure Trove Of Great Cake Ideas.

    This is the second article in a series on unusual places to find great cake ideas and supplies. This month we’re trawling your local dollar store for inexpensive finds to make great cake decorations and present the finished cake. You may just look at the dollar store in a whole new light after reading this!

    You never know what you’ll find on any given trip to the dollar store, but one thing you can be certain of – there’s always a great new idea if you look at things the right way! Here are some finds from a recent shopping expedition:

    Decorating Discoveries

  • extra large sugar granules – these are perfect for making paths, rocks and garden elements in similarly themed cakes.
  • Tootsie Roll ® look-a-likes – these are very versatile little candies. They can be modeled like play dough and turned into so many things – like these hats for snowmen or these fire station bricks or even these Cattail reeds around the frog’s pond. I’m sure you can think of many more ways to use them in your cake designs.
  • different colored gummy candies – did you know you can melt these in the microwave and use them to make all kinds of great stuff? Some examples would be: flames, stained glass windows (or great jack-o-lantern eyes!), seaweed, exotic tropical fish (got a mermaid theme party coming up?).
  • refrigerated bread dough. I can hear you asking yourself right now "is she crazy – what am I gonna do with that?". Trust me – this stuff’s great for construction theme cakes (think - logs), farm-yard cakes (think – fences) and even sports cakes. Have a look at how it’s used in this Basketball Cake. You’ll think of new uses all the time.

  • Presentation Matters!

    Just because you don’t want to spend a small fortune on a cake stand, doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful display. Just some of the possibilities I discovered at my local dollar store/liquidation center:

  • interesting glasses and plates – like the old soda-fountain style milkshake glass with the foot. Turn this upside down and add a decorative glass plate. For $2.00 plus a tube of clear bathroom caulk to join them, you’ve got a beautiful, original cake stand that you haven’t spent a fortune on so you won’t mind if you only use it once or twice. Also a great gift idea – make a special cake and present it on your one-of-a-kind stand for a friend to keep and use again and again!
  • this idea shouldn’t stop at glassware either. I’ve seen some really bright and funky tea cups and dinner plates that you could so the same thing with. What a fun way to present almost any girls themed cake, or a tea party or the girls bunko nights that have become so popular.
  • tiered plant stands – these make fabulous displays for tiered cakes without all the work traditionally associated with this style. What a great do-it-yourself wedding project for the incredible price of only $5.99! Just put each tier of the cake on a tier of the planter and you have instant ‘wow’. You could also add themed elements, like flowers and vines, to really enhance the look you’re going for.
  • another alternative for displaying a tiered cake is to use separate stands in different heights like these. Just place one cake on top of each stand and you’re done. These were only $3.99 for the set! Since these particular stands have shells on them they would be perfect for a seaside or beach themed event. Add some sand to sit them in, some real sea shells and a few starfish…you get the idea!

  • Who knew you could find so many great cake decorating tools and supplies at the local hardware? Next month look out for the article on “Dollar Store Gems”…


    Your Questions Answered

    Q: Hi Michelle,

    Love the colors on your site.

    I've a question. I want to bake a sponge cake that's Starbucks coffee flavored. Do you have a recipe in mind? Limited ingredients and limited skills, so please take that under advisement


    A: Hi Fenix,

    Glad you like the colors. I'm about to launch a completely re-designed look this week so you should visit again and let me know what you think. As for the cake - sponge cakes can be tricky. I don't bake them personally. If it's the light texture you like, I would recommend this yellow cake recipe. Just make up the 1 cup of milk listed in the recipe as a strong latte and add when the milk is called for. This recipe is pretty fool-proof in terms of technique so I would go with that. I personally think that coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven so if you really want to make that coffee cake amazing, fill and/or frost with this milk chocolate ganache. It's another really easy recipe that really delivers. Hope that helps. Thanks for your question. Regards, Michelle

    Q:I need some unique ideas for a special 40th birthday, over the hill type of cake? any ideas? thanks.


    A:Hi Carolyn,

    For your 40th birthday "over-the-hill" cake why don't you do the cake itself as the hill, with a very windy road leading up to the top and a very steep, straight road going down the other side. Put sign posts on the way up that say 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 at the top with just one sign post at the bottom of the straight road that says 100. You could use the chocolate technique use to make the police shield in the donut cake to make the sign posts. And you could make the hill itself using the chocolate grass and cookie crumbs technique from the baseball cake. Just pave the road with cookie crumbs. If you're feeling adventurous and you want to make it really special, take a full-length picture of your friend and photocopy it to get a line-type drawing about 3" high then use that as a template to make a chocolate figure to place teetering on the brink of the hill. To make this, follow the chocolate technique used to make the sketch in the High School Musical Cake or if you want full color follow the method to make Dora on the Dora The Explorer Cake. Good luck with your project. I hope some of these ideas were helpful. Regards, Michelle

    Q: Hi, We are adopting a baby we have fostered for 18 months (since he was a newborn). What is appropriate to write on the cake??? Any suggestions? Thank you very much, he is also being baptized.


    A: Hi Steph,

    First - congratulations! That's a very special occasion you're celebrating. I would go with something like "Welcome To The Family **name**". Did you check out this Christening cake ? It's perfect for the occasion and you could just put the wording around the cake board rather than on the cake if you didn't want to mess with the design of the cake. I often do that. Hope this helps. Regards, Michelle.

    To send me your questions just reply to this e-mail and I’ll feature the answer in an upcoming issue of “Too Nice To Slice”.


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