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Vacuum Cake

I never imagined the words “vacuum” and “cake” together until a few weeks ago. Usually by age 2, children begin phases, enjoying particular television characters or toys. My little boy's 2nd birthday was quickly approaching and despite my gentle teaching, pleading, bags of fruit snacks, buying him a pint-sized comfy t.v. chair, and bribing his sister to sit next to him as a good example of proper t.v.-watching, he does not like t.v. (seriously, I'm only asking for a 20-minute attention span so I can just take a shower!). Alas, I know he will get there soon enough and he'll be begging for more.

It's fun for the kids to have a birthday theme that they know and love, and with all t.v. characters ruled-out, this was my list of of Junior's favorite things (try to sing this to the tune from The Sound of Music): forks, rolling suitcases, cell phones, markers, sister's princess high-heels, a massive collection of white diaper cloths we call “lovies” which he sleeps with, rocks, donuts, and definitely top on his list, vacuums. Wow, what a list. Think of all of the amazing parties you could throw! Fork party: complete with a fork cake, pin the missing poky end on the fork, fork golf, colorful plastic fork prizes, fork fights (maybe we'd substitute “sporks” in here). Did I mention that Junior can't say his “r”s? I'm just waiting for someone on the street to accuse me of swearing around my children. I still can't help but snicker when he screams at the top of his lungs for a fork (minus the “r”) at dinner time when he gets frantic for food, as is typical for him. Yes, the fork party idea was out, so I went with the 2nd dumbest party idea known to man, but I knew it would be a hit because his obsession dictated it would be so: Vacuum Janitor Party! Do I see a future janitor in the making? Yes, yes I do. Shoot for the stars, Bud bud. We know you can do it!

And so we have come full-circle and I am sitting at my computer typing “vacuum cake” into Google. “Please, let someone have a child as odd as mine. Yes! Other vacuum-lovers exist.” Sadly, none of the cakes are what I would deem copy-worthy. I wanted to do a full up-right vacuum with a clear garbage canister to look like the vacuum he knows and loves. My goal: for him to recognize the cake as a vacuum when he first sees it.

The creation of this monster was a bit tricky. I soon found myself in Home Depot looking in sprinkler and plumbing aisles at “stuff that looks like it could go on a vacuum.” I avoided employees and imagined several interesting scenarios: “Ma'am, can I help you?” “Yes, I'm going to make a vacuum cake and I'm looking for gadgets that could pass as parts of the vacuum. They can't be too heavy, or they'll squish the cake and ruin my buttercream frosting. I was thinking of using this foam duct-sealing pipe as the exterior rubber bumper trim...what's your opinion?”

And here it is: the vacuum cake! The upright portion is cardboard with a silver foam backing (from Husband's endless supply of garbage accumulated after buying computer equipment—Mr. Sylvia Cynthia Stout, would not take his office garbage out! It was piled and leaning, his wife started screaming, and then she got lost trying to go back upstairs). I frosted the front of the cardboard and decorated with icing. The vacuum model number is mixed with Jr's age and name. The vacuum handle is a foam pipe insulator and the electric plug is also foam. The hose is some kind of washing machine drain hose, I think.

Cake how-to: I made a regular box cake in 2 8x8 square glass pans. I cut half circles out of the finished cake layers so the canister could fit snugly in the back of the cake. The raised portion of the vacuum cake is from the half-circle pieces I cut-out. I ended up using different piping tips and just did buttercream decor, but I'm sure it would look even more fun with candy decorations (fruit roll-ups, chocolate knobs, licorice...). If you decide to do a canister vacuum cake, fill your airtight container with your little guy's favorite treat: gumballs, cookies, makes their eyes pop-out when they see it! My little man is Krispy Kreme's biggest fan, so I filled the canister with donuts and also put donuts on as vacuum wheels—I know him too well, he likes donuts far more than cake. The second his “Happy Birthday to you” was sung, my kids both had a vacuum donut wheel in their mouths.

If you have a vacuum-loving child, let me recommend this as a present: HERE
It was Jr's favorite present and they have many colors available. It picks up dust (barely), has 2 attachments, and is operated by a USB cord or batteries.

The best part about a vacuum party? Don't worry about clean-up--the kids will happily take care of it for you.


Jen said...

This was soo funny! My girl likes feather dusters- maybe we need to hav a janitors party also!!

Lizbeth B. said...

Ha ha ha--I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe! This is the most funny post ever. I wish I could still make birthday theme requests and have my mom create them down to the last detail. This is so great!

C said...

Having two grown nieces that remember the cakes their grandmother made m(my mom), I can tell you this cake will be talked about years later. Hope you took lots of pictures. Great job!

Anonymous said...

It's fantastic. I too loved making unusual birthday cakes for my kids and even though they are grown up now we all still have a giggle at some of them. They do make wonderful memories. Didn't ever make a vacuum cake though

ShaunaM said...

My son is turning 5 the end of June and I have been pondering how to make a vacuum cake, this is a great idea! He has been fascinated w/ vacuums since he was 2. Electrolux even sent him a free vacuum to review, and his odd love has been in a newspaper article as well. A friend of mine hunted down some vacuum cake pics! Glad I wont be the only person ever to make a vacuum cake haha.
Here's his article-

Your not alone! =)

andieclark said...

Wow! That's very unique. Just don't eat too much of this sweet cake because you might get toothaches and end up visiting the dentists in Champaign IL.

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Yes, the fork party idea was out, so I went with the 2nd dumbest party idea known to man, but I knew it best small canister vacuum would be a hit because his obsession dictated it would be so: Vacuum Janitor Party!

Stephen Prady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Harold said...

haha, this is the first time I saw a vacuum cake, it really is funny and adorable ... Maybe I will order a cake to surprise my niece.

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