The Nerdiest Cake I’ve Ever Made

* Mission: Recreate a famous painting using candy on top of a frosted cake.sorting nerds for cake *

When I read this description in the Lake County Fair handbook, the first idea that popped into my head was Nerds! They’re small, colorful, and would possibly create an impressionistic vibe if colored and placed correctly.

I’ve never entered a competition before, and though the timing for this was awful, I did it anyways. (Hm, let’s see: I’ve got my sister’s wedding, immediately followed by a week-long family reunion, immediately followed by a short vacation, which meant that the cake needed to be completed during the night hours- I wasn’t about to miss the reunion activities!- and dropped off at the venue by my dad- thanks a million, Dad!)

STEP 1: Choose painting.
I chose a Monet “Haystack”- he made many, and in all different seasons. I tried to pick one that had lots of contrasting colors.

STEP 2: Buy Nerds.
I literally had to go to five stores to find Nerds. Are they, like, not cool or something? Are Nerds nerdy?

STEP 3: Sort the Nerds.
That took forever. That is all.

STEP 4: Airbrush the Nerds a variety of colors.
Airbrushing them on a plate didn’t work because they scattered with the force of the compressed air. The best method I discovered was to put a handful into a plastic disposable cup, airbrush them while shaking the cup many times, and then dumping them to dry on a paper plate.

airbrush nerds for cake STEP 5: Cover cake with frosting and then airbrush it in a color similar to the lightest color on your cake.

STEP 6: With a small knife or toothpick, lightly sketch the outline into the frosting.

STEP 7: Begin laying Nerds!
This may look easy, but it was difficult, as the Nerds had dried in a variety of colors. I chose each one carefully, paying attention to the size, so that they would lay close together without large gaps.

nerds cake 2 nerds cake 3 nerds cake 4 nerds cake 5nerds cake 6  STEP 8: Enjoy your work of art! If you lay a frame around it, step back a few paces, and squint, it almost looks believable! 🙂

nerds cake in frameMissed the other pieces in my “Famous Works of Art” series? Check them out here:
* “Starry Night” (Van Gogh- painted buttercream)
* “Still Life with Apples” (Cezanne- apple peelings)
* “Pieta” (Michaelangelo- modeling chocolate)

Airbrushed Radar Map

Step-by-step guide to creating a Chicagoland weather map with frosting and an airbrush machine:

1. Cover cake board with fondant and frost the cake with buttercream.

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2. Put plastic wrap around the cake board so you don’t spray it with the airbrush machine! 🙂

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3. Start drawing those counties! Yikes, there are a lot of counties in Illinois!

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4. Add a black border to tie it all together. Add a black fondant Lake Michigan.

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5. Using metal cookie-cutters, cut the black letters out of fondant. Begin to pipe snowflakes.

333photo 3 444photo 4  11photo 16. Send final photo to Tom Skilling at WGN and wait for him to write you back with the world’s nicest compliments- which he did, because he’s the coolest weatherman ever! 22photo 2