My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.


The Viking Hordes 1

Posted on November 21, 2010 by crankycheryl

I’m hiding from my children as I write this.  I find that the procrastination that’s let me put off writing this post for a week has been run flat over by my need to avoid any more yelling and conflict today.  It’s half an hour past bedtime, and I have no idea what they’re doing up there.  But for right now it’s quiet, and that’s good enough for me.

So let me tell you about E.’s birthday.

Maybe it has something to do with an obsession with the exploits of Asterix, and maybe it’s just some good clean love of marauding.  Whatever the reason, this year it was a Viking party for E.’s 8th birthday.

“Mommy,”  he said, “I want a Viking ship cake.  And can you please do a good job with it?”

This was a clear reference to last year’s gorilla-face cake incident.  Oh dear.  I told him I would try.

So I went researching Viking ideas, and found that there aren’t a ton of them out there.  Pirates and racecars galore, but Vikings seem off the radar.  I found directions for duct tape helmets (and learned that horns weren’t actually that common).

Greg took pity on me and made them.  Aren’t they awesome?!

And then I was talking to another mom at school, who gave me the idea for a catapult.  “Catapults?  Vikings didn’t have catapults!” Greg exasperatedly told me.  “Not enough wood!”  In spite of this, his awesome friend Loren delivered one to us the day before the party.

They were a huge hit.

And while everyone else was doing this excellent stuff, I found this idea for the cake. I hit up my usual source for fondant, made two loaves of chocolate pound cake (by the way – kids don’t like pound cake), cut them into a boat shape by cutting one end into a wedge by making two even diagonal cuts, then slice off the top towards the other end.  Then did the same to the second loaf so that they were the same height in the middle.

I used fondant dyed brown with icky food coloring gel.  (More on fondant later.)  This part I don’t have pictures of as I was up to my elbows in the goo, but I made the cake by:

  • Rolling out a big hunk of dyed fondant to about 1/4″ thick between two sheets of parchment.
  • Draping the thin layer of fondant over the two cut loaves, placed with flat sides together.
  • Tucking the fondant around, then using a sharp knife to cut to fit.
  • Rolling pieces of fondant into thin long ropes for the rail of the boat.
  • Coloring some small bits red, yellow and black and rolling them into discs and other shapes for the shields on the side of the boat.
  • Painted a square piece of paper with red stripes, cutting two small holes in it and poking a green chopstick through it for the sail and mast.
  • Treating a couple of hunks of brown fondant like play-do and shaping a dragon’s head, spines, and tail.
  • Putting two candy-coated sunflower seeds on the dragon’s head for eyes, and a snipped triangle of dried mango for the fire it was breathing.
  • (The green sparkles obviously didn’t adhere well and could have been skipped.)
  • Dyeing some more fondant blue, rolling and stretching it into a flat long rope, and then pinching it into waves.

Fondant just doesn’t taste that good.  Next time, I’d use good homemade frosting, and only use fondant for the details (in this case, the dragon and shields).

But it sure looked good, and got this overtired mom some extremely gratifying admiration … at least until they tasted it.

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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