My son Matthew normally doesn't like to eat cake. I know. I don't get it either. But we were recently at his friend's birthday party, and when all the games had ended and it was time to eat, he finished his pizza and then promptly told me he wanted to go home. I said we couldn't leave until we'd had birthday cake, to which he declared he didn't want any cake! I told him that he didn't have to eat any of it, but that he had to stay long enough to sing happy birthday and watch his friend blow out the candles.
When his friend's mom was passing out the cake, she offered me two slices, but I only took one and told her that we'd share (since I knew Matthew didn't want cake). But when he saw that the cake was filled with whipped cream and strawberries, he asked if he could eat my strawberries. After he had eaten all the strawberries off of my plate, he still wanted more. So I got him his own piece of cake, and to my surprise he devoured the whole thing, cake and all! And that's when I knew what kind of cake I would make him for his birthday.
I used the same white cake recipe as I did for his dad's "heart surprise" birthday cake, and since I was making a 12 x 18 inch cake I had to make four of these in 9 x 13 pans! (Which took quite a long time since I made them one at a time and the batter is more complicated than my regular cake recipes, as it requires folding in whipped egg whites to make the cake fluffy).
After baking and cooling all four cakes, it was time to assemble. I placed two of the cakes side by side after slicing off the connecting edges, and then covered it with a thick layer of homemade whipped cream. Then I topped that with sliced strawberries, and then another layer of whipped cream.
After letting it set in the fridge, I topped it with the last two cakes, and then covered it with blue cream cheese frosting. Now here's where I realized my mistake in judgement. While I love the taste of cream cheese frosting (especially compared to buttercream), it just doesn't hold up as well as buttercream. And no matter how many times I tried to smooth out my cream cheese frosting, it was just gloppy. And runny. And melty. I think on a regular 8 inch cake it would have been fine - but on a gigantic 12 x 18 inch cake? There was no way I could get it to work. Next time I make a cake this large, I'm definitely using buttercream!!!
But it was too late, and I had to just roll with it. So I piped my superman logo outline in black, and then filled it in with red and yellow frosting using a star tip. I wanted to do some sort of decoration on the sides, but my favorite basketweave design just didn't seem to fit with the whole Superman theme. So I just used a frosting comb to make a design on the sides. And then it was time to pipe the border in white. But since my frosting was already goopy and melty, the border on the top edge started drooping (sigh). But at this point it was past 3am and I was too tired to do anything about it. So I just left it alone.
In the end, it didn't matter anyway, because while driving to the party we had to brake really hard at one point, and most of the borders got smashed against the box! Argh!
When I finally tasted the cake, I loved the combination of all the flavors, but I thought the cake itself was a little bit dry. However several people asked for seconds, so I guess they must have liked it? And most importantly - the birthday boy loved it. And that's all that really matters, right? :)
*** Update: I also made Superman cupcakes and cookies! You can find the cupcakes here, and the cookies here!