I’ve got to admit it: I’ve always had conflicting feelings towards novelty cakes. There are so many out there: some so accurate and exceptionally crafted, enough to make you go “wow!”; others made with such approximation or so awfully kitsch to leave you truly perplexed.
I believe that this has the chance to be the most insidious kind of decorated cake to produce. After all, recreating such things as a cartoon character or a 1992 Macintosh Performa or a sliced mortadella (believe me, I personally saw one and it actually looked like the real thing) is a huge challenge indeed, if you aim to get as close as possible to the original.
When I was asked to create Super Mario in cake and cupcake form, I hesitated, novelty is not my bailiwick, I thought. Giving a character the right look is a matter of little details and what about getting the right proportions without any training in human anatomy… or italian-plumber anatomy actually?
But then my lifetime passion for the beloved character prevailed.
Year after year, Mario gave me a good time peeking out from different screens, from the “previous generation” consoles hooked to the TV up to Nintendo 3DS (that’s right, I couldn’t resist and I bought it, and now I can’t wait for 3D Mario Kart), so not even trying to create an “honest” reproduction might have felt like betrayal. After all, I thought, getting my hands dirty with sugar versions of Princes Peach, Boo, Toad and Goombas could only be great fun! I took a deep breath, lighted an incense stick to Shigeru Miyamoto and the Japanese videogaming Gods, then got to work.
Believe me when I say that I got very close to giving up a couple of times during the adventure. Then almost unexpectedly, Mario materialized in my hands with his trademark red hat and mustache, glancing at me with his friendly smile. That’s when I realized I had made it.
When my nephew, 7 years old and an impressive experience in videogaming already, goggle-eyedly told me: “That’s exactly like the real Super Mario, can I have the same cake for my birthday?” I shed my last doubts and proudly started working on Mario’s cupcakes.