Slaying the Dragon [cake]

Alternate title:  The things I do for my nephew
Alternate-alternate title: The little dragon that wouldn't

So, as you probably know, this past weekend marked the making of a much-anticipated cake - the Army dragon cake.
My nephew had his 7th birthday party this Saturday at our community center and pool. I've made a cake for him almost every year. And as my experience level has increased, so has the cake requests. Starting with Spider man, then transformers and two years ago, Wall-E.
So this year when I asked my sister what he wanted, I wasn't surprised to hear "Army Dragon." Of course, she couldn't really provide a description of what that was exactly, since he made it up not being able to choose between a dragon and something Army related.

I started by making everything I would need a few days before, baking cakes, making modeling chocolate, icing and rice krispie treats. Then on Friday night, I began assembling.

Brad declared that the dragon looked like a turkey. 
I respectfully disagree, turkeys don't have tails like that. 

I made quick progress and was pleased. That is, of course until I started trying to cover it in fondant. That's when I hit a snag. A major design flaw if you will. Now, when I heard the phrase 'Army Dragon,' I thought to myself, 'If dragons were real and the Army managed to get their hands on one, what would it look like?'
But every time I mentioned it to someone else, they would say, "oh, so a camo dragon?" So slowly I began to think 'Camo dragon.'

Here is proof that a camo dragon is not cool. No way, no how.

So, at around 9:30 p.m., I called fellow cake maker, Audreya, and sent her a few photos. She agreed that this was not a monster, but a monstrosity. She told me what I was already thinking - start over! This camo was just not working.
Bolstered by her words, I mixed all the camo colors together and created a green-brown and draped it over the ghastly patchwork.

It was better already.

Except, that was all the fondant I had.

And, at 10, my awesome husband drove me to the 'safe' walmart where we purchased more fondant.

But, by the time we returned, the modeling chocolate head had proved to be too heavy for the rice krispie neck and had fallen off.

I laughed, snapped the above pictured then stood there saying, "Brad?" in a low voice until I pulled it together, crammed the head back into the body, scooted the loose rice krispies out of the way and finished wrapping it in fondant.

The head was still a bit heavy (for the record, I still hate white chocolate and will never use it for modeling chocolate again, it was soft and gooey). So I propped it up with a ruler over night and went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke at 6 and started. Because I can hear the cake calling my name.
"Kelli! Get your ass in here and give me some eyes!"

After another two hours for work, he looked like this:

Army dragon

And I added fun details like dog tags:

And cuffs:

After cutting the cake, when asked what piece he wanted, the nephew declared, like any 7-year old would, that he would like the head.

Corbin eating the dragon

The cake ended up being a success. But I have to say, I've done a lot of 'caking' lately and I'm looking forward to a nice little break. The next cake I end up making will be mine! (OK, and like 7 other people, we are having a huge birthday blow out at my house in a few weeks. Luckily, I'm going to make a 7-layer tower of chocolate cake that will be pretty, but simple!)


  1. After you called, David asked what I told you and I responded "I said it sort of looked like the ground when you look down at it from a plane". Apparently I need to work on my "constructive criticism". However, I only said that because I was 100% confident that you would be able to fix it. And it turned out awesome!!! Even better than I had envisioned.

  2. That cake is amazing! The dog tags and cuff are my favorite parts. Your nephew is so lucky!

  3. That.is.amazing. And huge-- I didn't realize just how big until I got to the photo of your nephew eating the head. I know I say this every time you post photos of your cakes, but I'm in awe of your talent.

  4. That's the most unbelievable save I've ever seen. Nice work.

  5. Oh. My. Goodness.

    *THAT* is amazing... good for you! Mine would have looked something like picture number 3 or 4 and then *end scene.*