I made this Borderlands themed cake for my brother-in-law and his fiancée to celebrate their engagement. They both love to play Borderlands together and Claptrap is one of her favourite characters. Of course you can make this just a normal Borderlands themed cake by leaving out the engagement ring and any Borderlands fan will be amazed!
I love making cakes themed after games, books or films! You can get so many details to incorporate into your cake from them – that makes the planning stage just as fun as the actual making of the cake. I really enjoy doing all the research about the characters and events in the stories, so that I can make sure to get the cake just right. Have you ever made a themed cake for someone and if yes what did you make? Comment below, I’d love to hear your cake stories!
Modelling more intricate cake toppers like this takes some time and patience. It also needs to be planned in advance, because the cake topper needs a few days to dry out. But with some patience I don’t think this is unachievable.
I have tried to describe how I made Claptrap in as much detail as possible without (hopefully) overwhelming you. But if you have any questions feel free to ask those in the comment section. It is always best to refer to some pictures while you’re making a cake topper like this – I have found that is the easiest way to make sure I get all the details right.
The cake itself is kept relatively simple – both to keep in theme with the game and also to make Claptrap the star of the show (I’m sure he’d love that!). So once you have your cake topper all done, the bulk of the work is already finished.
You will need
20cm cake of your choice, covered in buttercream or ganache
1kg light brown fondant
250g black modelling paste
100-150g yellow modelling paste
20g light blue modelling paste
1 sugar diamond
Metallic silver food paint
White gel food colouring
Black dust food colouring
Dark brown dust food colouring
Red brown dust food colouring
Edible glue (optional)
25cm cake board
You will need to start the Claptrap cake topper about 1 week in advance, so it has time to dry out and harden. The easiest way to make a cake topper like this is to find pictures of your model from as many angles as possible. That way you can refer to those while making your topper to check exactly what it looks like and what kind of little details it has.
Using enough of the yellow modelling paste to get the size you want, mould it into a brick shape which is slightly thinner on one end than on the other. The best way to do this is to continuously flatten all sides by pressing the modelling paste onto your surface with a fondant smoother. Keep turning it and pressing the next side until you have a nice brick shape. Using your scalpel, cut out a small channel in the middle of the thinner end to make space for the wheel. Set aside to dry while you make some of the other details.
For the wheel flatten a ball of black modelling paste on two sides. Make an indent on both sides using something small and round. Mark lines all around the tyre using a skewer. Leave the wheel to dry.
For the arms and the antenna, cut three pieces of wire to the same length, about 10cm. Roll some black modelling paste into three thin sausages, press a dampened piece of wire in each and roll again so the modelling paste covers the wire. Cut off some of the modelling paste, exposing about 2cm of the wire at one end of each piece. Bend two of them twice for the arms, holding them up to your yellow brick to check for size and where to bend. Set aside to dry.
For the remaining details on Claptrap, roll out some more black modelling paste to about 1-2mm thick. Cut out two thin (about 1cm) strips for the sides and one wider one for the top. Round off one end of the wider strip. Cut out the two shapes for the front of Claptrap and a thin wedge shape for the top. Using a knife, indent a grill pattern onto the middle of the wedge shape and the small front piece. Lastly cut a short strip about 5mm wide and roll up into a tube, sticking it together with water or edible glue – this will be part of his eye.
Roll a ball of the light blue modelling paste, big enough to fit into the eye tube. Glue it in place with some water or edible glue. Roll out the rest of the blue modelling paste to about 1mm thick and cut a small rectangle to fit into the bigger front piece and glue into place.
To put Claptrap together, carefully insert a wooden skewer brushed with some water or edible glue into the yellow body shape. Slide the wheel onto the skewer as well and glue into place on the body. Glue all the detail pieces onto the body and insert the arms and the antenna and leave to dry overnight.
The next day you can paint the remaining details onto Claptrap and make the ring. Paint the two grills on the front and on the top with the silver food paint. Also paint an outline going around the light blue rectangle and the strip going around the top of him. Using the white gel food colouring, paint a thick stripe going all the way around the middle of Claptraps body. I have also painted a little dot onto the eye to give him some more life. Stick Claptrap into a polystyrene block to dry.
For the ring, roll a thick sausage shape with the black modelling paste, leaving a ball on one end. Flatten the ball out slightly and make an indent big enough for your sugar diamond, then glue on the other end of the sausage to make a ring shape. Don’t put the diamond in place yet, because they tend to dissolve relatively quickly with the moisture in the air. So glue that in just before you need the cake. Paint the ring with the silver food paint and leave to dry. Once the paint is dry, glue the ring onto Claptraps arms.
Cover the cake board the day before assembling the cake. Roll out the light brown fondant to 2-3mm thick. Brush a little water over the cake board and drape the fondant over it. Smooth out using a fondant smoother and cut off the excess. Set aside to dry overnight.
To cover the cake, roll out the remaining light brown fondant to 2-3mm thick and drape it over the cake. Starting at the top, smooth the fondant onto the cake with your hands, lifting any folds away from the cake and smoothing them out. Cut away the excess and go over the entire cake with your fondant smoother.
Lightly dampen the fondant on the cake board and put the cake on top. Using the two brown dust colours, dip a dry brush into the colours and flick them onto the cake and cake board to look like dirt. Choose where you want to position Claptrap and then indent a tyre track on the top and sides of the cake. Indent the same line pattern you have on the tyre and then brush with the black dust colour to make it stand out more.
For the Borderlands logo and the letters, roll out the remaining black modelling paste to 2-3mm thick. Cut out the word ‘congratulations’ and using two different sized circle cutters cut out the circle for the logo. Cut out the middle bit of the logo using a scalpel. Leave to set for 30 minutes, to make the shapes easier to handle and less likely to stretch out of shape. Then glue the logo into place on the front of the cake and the letters onto the cake board. It is always best to lay the letters out first without glue, to make sure they are positioned the way you want. I recommend doing this from the middle outwards to ensure they are centred on the cake board.
I finished the cake off with a black ribbon around the cake board and gave the letters some texture just using the end of a wooden skewer. Stick Claptrap into place on the top and don’t forget to add in the sugar diamond before serving the cake.