This year, Tobes wanted a “Skylanders” themed cake for his birthday. So, we decided to make a “Portal of Power.” (That’s the gadget you hook up to your gaming console and set your Skylanders toys on top in order to play). We decorated it with a banner celebrating T’s birthday, and, of course, with a few unexpected gifts, three new Skylander toys. Below, we’ve published our yummy Recipes (100% fondant free!), Cake Construction DIY, and Free Printables (the Banner and the circular “Elements” that we used to encircle the portal of power). All you need to do is find the toys…Or, for a more frugal solution, you can just search the web for skylander pictures, size them, print them out, and attach them to skewers.
Skylanders Portal of Power Birthday Cake: The Recipes
The BEST Chocolate Cake Recipe
inspired by Ina Garten
P.S. The kids don’t taste the coffee
2 c all-purpose flour
2 c sugar
.75 c unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dutch processed
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
.5 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Spray one 6-inch and one 9-inch round baking pan (non-stick is preferable) with baking spray.
Line the bottoms of each pan with circles of parchment paper cut to size.
Spray the tops of the parchment with a bit of baking spray.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer using a sifter or a wire-mesh strainer.
Add salt and sugar to the bowl, and with the mixer set to low speed, beat for 30 seconds or so until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
With the mixer set to low, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend until just combined.
Beat in the coffee until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans (in about a 3:1.3 ratio) and set the cakes in the oven.
Bake cakes for a total of about 30 minutes, until a butter knife inserted into the centres of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in their pans on top of wire racks for at least 30 minutes.
Then, invert the cakes on the wire racks, remove the parchment circles, and cool completely.
Summer of Funner & The Lunchbox Season’s “Flexible” Vanilla Buttercream
1 c UNSALTED butter, room temperature
4-8 cups sifted icing sugar
.25 tsp salt
2 tbs vanilla
4 tbs -.5 c milk or cream
gel or liquid food colouring to suit
In an elecrtic mixer, on low speed, cream the butter for a minute.
Add 3.5 cups icing sugar to the butter and mix on low until the sugar is incorporated.
Add salt, vanilla, and 2 tbs milk or cream to the mixing bowl and beat on medium for about 2 minutes.
Now here’s where you become “flexible” and add .5 to 4.5 cups of icing sugar to the mixture to increase volume and sweetness to your liking.
We do this about .5 c at a time.
Accordingly, add milk or cream by the scant tablespoon to achieve your desired spreading or piping consistency.
We always end up making more icing than we need, using about 6 tbs total milk and 7-7.5 c icing sugar, but this varies by taste, temperature, and the size of the cake/cupcakes you are frosting.
Warning, this “flexible” recipe may require a fair bit of tasting and, hence, result in a bit of a “sugar high” pour le chef.
Skylanders Cake: Icing & Assembly
Remove about 1.5 c icing from the large mixing bowl and spoon it into a separate cup.
Use gel or food colouring drops to dye that smaller cup of icing emerald green.
Then, to the majority of the icing in the mixing bowl, add black gel icing colour until the icing reaches a stone-gray colour.
Use a serrated knife to trim the “muffin top” or “bulge” from the tops of your cakes.
[If you are freaked about making the cake level, mark it all around the top outside circumference with toothpicks first.]
[Don't waste! Pass around these excess yummy cake bits to thankful kids or save them for your own cook's treat!]
On a large tray or cake stand, place the large, 9-inch cake layer, trimmed side down, so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is facing up.
Ice the tops and sides of this cake with gray icing.
[An icing spatula is helpful here.]
Place the smaller, 6-inch cake layer trimmed-side down in the center of the larger cake, so that the perfectly flat bottom of this cake is also facing up.
This smaller cake is your “Portal of Power.”
Using your green icing, ice only the top of this Portal of Power cake with a spatula or knife.
Using the rest of your gray icing, either with a pastry bag fitted with a long, wide tip (the rosette tip) and using vertical strokes, or with a simple icing spatula or knife, ice the sides of this smaller cake.
Place “Elements Symbols” (see below for printables) along the circumference of the lower cake.
Attach each end of the ”Skylander Banner” (see below for printables) to wooden skewers using tape.
Mount banner by placing skewers in the lower tier of the cake, towards the back.
Place purchased toys (or printed skylander images you find online and tape to skewers) on top “portal of power” section of cake. (We cut out some of the plastic packaging around the toys to use as a base, keeping the toys clean).
Add candles before serving!
Free Printable Skylanders Banner…
We created our banner by downloading an image of the Skylanders Logo from the web, changing the name of “Spyro” to our son’s name using the photo editing tools on the free site, fotoflexer, and mounting it between two small wooden dowels or chopsticks. We also “laminated” our banner using clear contact paper to make it a bit more sturdy.
We have made printables, below, for you!!!
One banner has a blue background. You can use photosoftware such as the Decorate/Add Text feature on fotoflexer to add your child’s name. Or you can use a dark blue pen.
Here’s an image you can copy and use as you see fit:
And here’s the pdf: SOF Skylanders Printable Banner Blue Background for Kid’s Name
The other banner has a white background. You can simply print it out and write in your child’s name.
Here’s an image you can copy and use as you see fit:
And here’s the pdf: SOF Skylanders Printable Banner Write Kid’s Name On
Free Printable Eight Elements Circles…
We placed little circular images of the 8 Skylander Elements along the circumference of our base cake. We simply found these images online, printed them out, “laminated” them with contact paper to make them extra sturdy, and placed them on the cake. As with the banner, the laminating step is totally unnecessary.
Here’s an image file that you may copy and use as you see fit:
And here’s a pdf: SOF Skylanders Eight Elements Free Printable
As for the Toys…
Well, we bought the toys on sale at a local gaming store. They were unexpected late day birthday gifts for T’s special day! Thinking frugally, you could easily ditch the trip to the game store by searching the internet, printing out colour photos of the toys, and taping them to toothpicks or skewers to attach to the cake! Laminating with contact paper might work well here, also!
Good Luck! And send us pictures of your own Skylanders Cakes as they become available!!!