Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Dude Abides

Point Break meets The Big Lebowski
For the past few months my son was set on having a Mad Scientist birthday party. We had been watching fun science experiments on YouTube and researching ideas for transforming our garage into a labratory for his party. But then in the month leading up to his birthday he changed his mind and begged asked for a bowling birthday party at the local bowling alley. I was a little disappointed not to be able to execute the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment on our street, spraying cars and houses with soda. But then the idea of keeping my house clean and not turning it into a science lab also sounded very appealing.

My son has had a love affair with bowling from a very early age as you can see below. At three years old he was bowling in our hallway and told me, "This crown makes me bowl better." What can I say? The dude abides.

With the location and theme out of the way, we started to talk about his cake. At a restaurant later that night he pulled a notebook and pen out of my purse (any other neurotic list makers out there?) and drew a picture of the cake he had in mind, saying, "It's a surfer bowling cake where the surfer is actually bowling on the water and then a shark leaps out of the water at him!" Wow. I had no idea how that would even come together, but I brainstormed for a day or two and searched around for cake ideas on the web. I almost gave up and went to the dark side for help (the dark side being a bakery), but then I figured I could swing something along the lines of what he wanted.

I asked a few friends if they had a toy surfboard that I could use on the cake, but no one had anything like it. Then one friend suggested drawing a board, so I ran with that idea and made my own cake topper using old photos of my husband's long board and of my son surfing.

I used Mod Podge to adhere a couple of photos to stiff cardboard (an old Amazon.com box) and then I carefully cut out the figures with an X-Acto Knife.

I wish I had thought to take photos of the cake as I made it, but I was having a slight panic attack as I assembled it, thinking it was going to look like a Cake Wreck. I just focused on getting it done by that point.

I  used two boxes of Trader Joe's devil's food cake mix and baked them in two jelly roll pans so I would have plenty of space to work with. Then I baked another box cake mix in a 8x8 pan to use for the wave, cutting it to size. To make the wave, I placed a few blocks of cake on top of the sheet cake and frosted it, then I stuck a small sheet of foil into the wedge of the cake so that it would look like a wave, and I bent the foil to form the curl of the wave and covered the whole thing with frosting. I found the little bowling pins and bowling ball at a cake decoration store and used a rubber shark from our bath toys (Yes, I cleaned it thoroughly). The look on his face was priceless when he saw himself surfing on his own cake.


  1. um, you are amazing!

  2. Just came over from DALS and I stumbled upon this post about the dude and love it! My husband and I do not have children yet, however, our pup is nicknamed the Dude for his laidback personality. One of the best movies ever haha. Love your blog!

    1. Thanks Rachel! We are huge fans of The Big Lebowski (though my 7 year old hasn't seen it yet, not quite ready for that yet!). Thanks for stopping by!