I am not an expert baker, but I enjoy making birthday cakes for my kids. There have been many that turned out awful, but little ones don't care, so it's worth trying to make what you think they would enjoy on their birthday. My Aunt was a professional baker; she had a bakery and taught school years ago, so she often made our birthday cakes. I remember the one year she made my brother an Ace Frehley cake; complete with silver and black frosting. So in a way, I am trying to keep this little tradition alive, but I also believe that sometimes calling a bakery is the best choice. Here is the not so great tutorial:
1. Cake Central has cake decorating tips, tutorials, and pictures of cakes other people have made. You can type in what you want, and see what others have created. I tried to post a link to their site, but for some reason the page won't open - I will try again later.
2. I used my Wilton Winnie the Pooh 3-D pan, they also sell a bear pan that you could use. I cut off the ears (sorry, Pooh, you were so last year). I think the cake would look more Yodaish if the neck was smaller, but I was afraid to cut away that part of the cake and have the head fall off or crack.
3. First I covered the cake with a thin layer of butter cream frosting. I started with the face rolling out Wilton's pre-colored fondant. You can make your own fondant, and you can color it yourself, but I have not had luck doing this - the color always seems uneven. A word about fondant; it tastes bad - there will always be one person who likes it-they are the same ones who can eat five hard sugar flowers off a cake, but most find it gross, so keep that in mind. Fondant is also not cheap - I bought mine at Michaels, so you could use a coupon.
4. Face; roll out a thin layer of fondant into a circle, and gently lay over the head; smooth it out with your fingers. Fondant dries out quickly, so keep any unused amounts covered and use powdered sugar on your work surface and rolling pin to keep it from sticking. I used water to smooth away any cracks or creases, but it seemed to make the fondant shiny (if anyone knows how to do this better, please share). I used a toothpick to make the mouth and wrinkles. I molded the rest of the fondant by hand (cut out circles with a knife for the eyes), and dabbed a little water so it would attach to the face. I saved the ears for last.
5. Body; I rolled our a layer of dark brown fondant for the front, and light brown for his cape. Lay the dark brown "clothing" on first and roll out some into a sausage shape to hide the neck/clothing line. I had to use two pieces for the cape, so there was a seam in the back that I tried to smooth out as much as possible, but you could still see it, but it's the back, so who cares. Then I made the light saber by covering a candy cane with blue fondant. You could also use a rice Krispie treat and mold it with your hands. Use a little water and stick the light saber in place, then make hands and stick them in place. Ross our more light brown fondant and make sleeves for the arms, partially covering the hands. I would put the collar of the coat on next, I didn't do this, but I think it would have made the sleeves look better.
6. Ears; I couldn't get the ears big enough and stay on. They also drooped, but I read that you can mix tylose gum to the fondant to make it more stable. I rolled out more fondant and shaped them by hand; attaching them with a little water and holding them in place for a few minutes.
I did not refrigerate the cake; the fondant box said you did not have to, but if you did, condensation could be a problem, so you would have to let the cake come to room temperature before your celebration. The fondant drying out and cracking was a problem for me, but I am not used to working with fondant, so I may have rolled it out too thin or handled it too much. I am sure there are better ways to do make this cake, but this worked for me, and I am not a skilled baker, so anyone can make this.
Prep time: 3 hours (includes emergency run for more fondant to Michaels
Stress level: 10
Skill level: 2
Birthday boy happiness: 10
Yoda says, "Cake you must make, young Jedi."