Peace, Love, and Cake

I was super excited for this cake project- one of my coworkers found out that I bake as a hobby and asked if I could make a VW van cake for her daughter’s 15th birthday. I immediately had lots of ideas in my head on how to make this a fun, brightly colored cake to fit the theme of fun hippie youth.
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A lot of times the inside of the cake is forgotten in the whole process of cake-istry. I thought this project posed a great opportunity to make the inside of the cake just as fun with the addition of some food coloring. I baked two 9×13 layer cakes with various colored white cake batters with the intention of a fun surprise when the cake was cut open.

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I love the way the colors look like tie-dye!

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Here are the two cakes after evening out the top for stacking.


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To get the right shape for the VW Van body, I cut the 9×13 layers in half (like a hamburger, not a hot dog, you know what I mean) and stacked them for a total of 4 layers. I was given creative license with this cake so decided to put a raspberry buttercream in between the layers for a pop of flavor.

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In the meantime, I made a platform for the van out of foam core, knowing that there needed to be clearance for the wheels. One lesson I learned in this project is that the supports are just as important as the cake.

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Back to carving the iconic shape of the VW Van. I rounded the front and trimmed up the sides to make them a little more symmetrical.

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Here is the swiss meringue buttercream coating that holds it all together. At this point I carved the wheel wells also.

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I covered the top half of the van with white fondant, and created the iconic “V” shape in the front.


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Following along with the tie-dye theme, I rolled together a few different colors of fondant, which created the tie-dye effect. At this point, I started getting more focused on the details and forgot to take pictures of the rest of the process. I’ll try to talk through the things done on the finished photos below.


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I was asked to do a little cartoon version of the birthday girl driving the van so I used some fondant and a toothpick for stability to create her!

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Ok, So after adding the tie-dye panels, I tucked the fondant wheels into the pre-made wheel wells. The next steps were a white front bumper, a white “rooftop” and roof rack, and grey windows.
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The small details fell into place- the yellow lights and pink “HPY BDY” license plate. I had my in house fondant sculptor help me with the VW logo 🙂

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Here is another side view. I used some purple fondant to make the lining of the tie-dye panels.

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The roof is covered with tie-dye fondant cut outs of hearts and flowers and peace signs.

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The back has a white bumper, two red lights, and of course a customized “Taylor” license plate for the birthday girl.

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Another side view of the van riding into the sunset (or my dining room lights). 🙂

Happy Birthday Taylor!