This is a conversation with my brother half a year ago, shortly after he and his fiancée asked me to bake their wedding cake. Keep in mind that I am not artistic, had never baked professionally, or really decorated a cake. My cake specialty up until then had been pound cakes baked in bundt pans and dusted with powdered sugar. Sometimes I made carrot cake. They were tasty cakes, but unlikely to impress wedding guests.
Brother: Did you know that there’s also a groom’s cake?
Me: I’ve heard of it.
Brother: Can you make an Optimus Prime groom’s cake?
Me: Um. Well. I could make an abstraction of an Optimus Prime cake.
Brother: You mean…like a bunch of circles and squares?
Brother: I’ll pass.
I thought about it. Then I thought about it some more. As long as I stuck with the chest up, the only problem with Optimus Prime was the elaborate head. The rest of him really wasn’t that far off from a bunch of circles and squares. So I ordered the Playskool Mr. Potato Head Opti-Mash Prime (“More than meets the fry”) and planned a cake around the helmet. This was the result.
The base, helmet, ribbon, exhaust pipes, and nail polish-painted lights were not edible. Everything else, including the fondant and pastillage head, windows, and chest, were. They wouldn’t be tasty, but you could technically snack on them with your afternoon tea. I had originally hoped to make Optimus Prime’s head out of cake so that my brother could eat it with a spoon, but time constraints and the crazy decision to make this a secret groom’s cake made that too difficult. The secret was a success. He was surprised. Or at least he was once it sank in there was an Optimus Prime groom’s cake. It took time for the denial to pass.
Not everything came out well. Red food color changed the fondant’s texture, making it hard to work with, and square cakes are notoriously difficult to cover to begin with. I had hoped to make the cakes tall enough so that the logos and windows wouldn’t jut into the ribbon, but the cakes ended up larger than I expected, and the foam core base boards I’d cut out in advance were too small. I had neither enough time nor privacy to make new ones because my brother was staying in the house.
Still, Optimus Prime kept the Decepticons from crashing the reception. He gazed upon the proceedings with stately calm, even when two different people (one drunk) gave the bride a piggyback ride on the dance floor. His lights glowed well into the night and protected us all.