The Tale of a Kraken Cake

As promised, here is a full tale of making a Kraken Birthday Cake.
I’ve been so temped to write “cake” with a “k” in the title.

I started baking early in the week, to give myself plenty of time to bake & decorate this cake that would be so perfect for my six year old, Kevin. He adores Krakens. He always loved Finding Nemo as a toddler & that grew into a wild fascination with underwater creatures. Especially squids & sharks. For some reason, the squids have been an obsession for a long time. When I found this cake on Pinterest, it was unanimous that this was “the one” to make. Before I even begin, I have to give Vina Jafar a lot of credit. She made her version based on a drawing. I had my iPad out at all times & made mine based on every step she had photographed from her own cake. I think it takes a lot of creativity & admiration to bake a cake from three dimensional from a drawing. I clearly took her design as my bible.
Major love goes out to Vina & the beautiful creation, “Long Journey.” If you look closely, her details {especially her ship} are phenomenal!

I documented most of the major steps through photography. My mom always enjoys the process of how something is created, so I hope you enjoy this 😉

It all started with a six eight inch layer cake. I was nervous about carving into it since it was my first time, but I really enjoyed this part & it was one of my favorite steps!

After letting the cake defrost overnight, I noticed that it was leaning forward… in the worst possible way! It looked like the heavy, carved part of cake would make it fall forward. After taking Kevin to school {a 45 min round trip} & grabbing a cup of coffee, I decided think about my options. I had a small pep talk with myself & finally concluded that even if I had to dress up a couple cake dummies in fondant, everything would be ok.


I quickly formulated a plan to make a cake dummy wedge so that my leaning cake would straighten up with support.
First, I quickly Googled, “how to cut a cake dummy” and was on my way to salvaging this kraken cake.
Here are some iPhone pics of this process {since you know I was too worried to move the cake & take pretty pictures}!

First I cut a rough wedge in a 2 inch cake dummy {no measuring or fancy estimations… just winging it}. Then I covered the newly cut Styrofoam with Crisco so that the pieces wouldn’t get in the cake. I moved the cake to rest on the cake dummy wedge & began trimming the front down even further. Instead of carefully carving like I did the day before, it was all quick & drastic chopping to remove some of the weight. Then I did another coat of buttercream before I rolled the fondant.
I’m tired & stressed just re-capping this part of the story! It definitely felt like a Tim Gunn “make it work” situation. 😉

Here is the more polished coverage of the cake baking process from that week… that thankfully… went a lot smoother!

After saving the leaning cake, I let the buttercream dry a bit too much. Since I’m not a professional baker, {I figured the guests would forgive me}, I did something on a whim… sprayed the cake with Baking Spray to get the fondant to stick. I don’t really know if it helped, but I felt more optimistic after I did it!

The fondant was probably rolled too thick, so when I covered the cake it instantly weighed it down {as you can see the dowel rods poking out}. My husband, Rocky, cut them later for me. The next step was to make fondant & gumpaste kraken parts & extra waves. Then I attached them to the cake with icing. I liked it in all white and would love to do another cake sculpture with a modern style in the future.

On Vina’s site, she uses a food marker to make her lines. I tried that, but it didn’t go very well. Maybe because the food marker was 3 years old? My solution was to mix extra buttercream icing with piping gel & dip that in vanilla extract to make it thin enough to paint with. It wasn’t ideal, but I was happy to have a relatively easy way to add dark lines.

Painting was a bit stressful, I kept wanting to be further on this cake than I actually was. Around this time, Kevin told me he found a flower more beautiful than roses. I asked him to pick one for me… and this gave me new inspiration to keep going. It helped me remember why I wanted to make him something he would like that would be unique to him!

I had never used food spray paint, and I was excited & nervous to do it! Especially because I had accidentally fallen in love with the {imperfect} Dr. Suess style of the painted lines on the waves. I didn’t know if I even wanted blue waves, but I had already bought the materials & decided to go for it. I honestly would leave it alone or spray even more delicately if I did this cake {or one similar} the next time.

For his party, I made a boats to hang above the cake as if they were the ones that sailed in safer waters.
You can find the complete DIY on how to make these beautiful paper mache boats {out of cereal boxes!} on Ann Wood Handmade’s blog. She also sells way more beautiful versions than the ones I made 🙂

 This year he actually had a decorated cake {unlike last year when I ran out of time}!
Thanks for reading this extra long post ♥

This is a shot of Kevin playing with the cake & putting his Pirates of the Caribbean legos on it 🙂


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  • Elle Ruiz - April 19, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    Andrea that is & YOU are AMAZING. Is there anything you don’t do that is just sooooo pretty? Even your baking shoes are just darling. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing a slice of your personal life. xo

  • katie's pencil box - April 20, 2012 - 4:03 am

    what a lucky lucky boy to have such a mama!
    i adore your style, miss!

  • Alli - April 20, 2012 - 2:30 pm

    oh my word, this is amazing! And you are adorable : )

  • Andrea - April 21, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Thank you {I admire all of YOU by the way}!

    It really was a very long project since I tend to work very slowly… but a lot of fun for me to just throw myself into it for the week. I think it helps that it’s a cake & not a real permanent sculpture… I could live with my mistakes much easier 🙂

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