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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Decorate an R2D2 Cake

When I asked my five-year-old what kind of birthday cake we should make for daddy, I should have known the response would be Star Wars-related.

It seems like Star Wars has captivated another generation; it is the current hot topic among Kindergarten boys. They know the plot lines of every episode of Clone Wars. They know which level their friends have beaten in Angry Birds Star Wars. They are constantly asked to stop humming Darth Vader's theme or pretending to shoot battle droids at school. They all want the LEGO Death Star (suggested retail: $399.99!) for their birthdays.

Really, it's no wonder my son declared that daddy needed an R2D2 cake.

Wilton used to make a wonderful R2D2 cake pan. Unfortunately it has been discontinued, and a search on Amazon yielded a used pan for $73.99. I wouldn't pay anywhere near $74 for a new R2D2 pan; is there really someone who would pay that much for a used one? Crazy.

Instead, here are the steps to make your own R2D2 cake, sans fancy pan.

Step 1: The Cake

First, prepare a cake from a packaged mix or from your favorite recipe, and divide the batter between a  round pan and a square pan. I used a 7" round pan and an 8"x8" square pan.

Once baked and cooled, cut the round cake in half and place on a large platter or baking sheet. Line up the square layer and trim a strip from the side and one from the bottom to make the two arms. Cut the remaining half of the round layer into thirds to make the feet.
Slide some strips of waxed paper under the edges before frosting your cake. This step will protect your serving platter from stray drips of frosting. When the paper is removed, all evidence of the mess will be gone as well. Yay.

Step 2: The Frosting

Next, you'll need a batch of your favorite white frosting (about 3 cups or more), or two tubs of white store-bought frosting. I used homemade cream cheese frosting, but buttercream also works well. Reserve half of the frosting as plain white.

Place remaining half of frosting into a bowl and add a few drops of blue food coloring; stir until evenly colored (Lightest Blue). Scoop three-quarters of the Lightest Blue into another bowl; add more blue food coloring and stir until evenly colored (Blue #2). Scoop two-thirds of Blue #2 into another bowl; add more blue food coloring and stir until evenly colored (Blue #3). Scoop one-half of Blue #3 into another bowl; add more blue food coloring and a squeeze of black decorator icing and stir until evenly colored (Darkest Blue).
From left to right: Darkest Blue, Blue #3, Blue #2, and Lightest Blue.
Step 3: Pretend You Know What You're Doing

While the Wilton pan is no longer available, you can still download the decorating instructions from their web site. Those instructions might be slightly more irritating than listening to Jar Jar Binks.

Luckily, this blog post from Way More Homemade provided detailed instructions that are actually useful.

Scoop some of Blue #2 or Blue #3 into a pastry bag or another decorator tool. Using the finished photo (near bottom) as a guide, or another photo of your choosing, draw the basic shapes on R2D2's body.
Doesn't that look amazing? Yeah, I was about ready to go buy a cake at this point. Any cake. But, do. Or do not. There is no try.

Use white or Lightest Blue frosting to cover all sides of the cake, except for the surface where your lines are drawn.

Use Lightest Blue and a pastry bag or other cake-decorating device to fill in the squares near the bottom of R2's body and the outer parts of his "joints," as shown below. Does yours look as pretty as mine? Are you nervous? Just stay with me. It will be great.
Use Blue #3 and Darkest Blue to fill in the shapes on R2's head and the remaining shapes on his body, as well as the "shadow" at his inner shoulders (gives it a little dimension), as shown below.

Use Blue #2 to fill in the rest of R2's head. Then use a tube of black decorator icing to outline all of the shapes, as shown below. See? Looking better already. Sort of.
Fill a pastry bag or decorator tool with white frosting and fill in all remaining areas. Use two red candies as the lights on R2's head. Ha! Now you can actually tell that it's R2D2! Told you it would be great.
 See how easy? You can do this too for your favorite Fanboy or Fangirl.
Happy decorating! As always, thanks for reading.


  1. Great Directions, my son's birthday is this weeke so I am going to try and make this.. Thanks so much for posting.

    1. Thanks for stopping by ROCmomma! I'm glad you found the R2D2 cake directions helpful. How did the cake turn out?!?!

  2. How long did it take to decorate this?

  3. I found an updated like for "Way More Homemade" http://waymorehomemade.blogspot.com/2012/08/r2d2-cake-decorating-steps-tips.html


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