Last year I made a Portal/Rickroll cake for my husband's birthday. It was a hit to say the least. This year I made him a Settlers of Catan Cupcake Cake. My guests enjoyed it; I hope the internet does as well.
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Step 1: Planning
The Settlers of Catan playing board is made of Hexagonal resource tiles which are placed in a set pattern in a random order to form the board. In the standard two player game the resources break down as follows :
The cards a player draws during game play have nice pictures of each resource, but the tiles have an image suggestive of the land from which that resource might be taken.
The first obstacle was making the cupcakes into hexagons. I toyed with buying/making hexagonal pans but settled for the much easier option of topping each cupcake with a cookie. I didn't even buy a cookie cutter for this, I just cut around an actual Catan piece.
The next obstacle was making the cookies look like the tiles. I wanted to do more than just frost them their respective colors, but I didn't think I could copy what was on the tiles. I ended up decorating some with just frosting and others with candies.
Step 2: Ingredients and Tools
Hexagonal Sugar Cookies
Piping bags and tips
Candies, I used:
Yogurt covered raisins
French burnt peanuts
Cookies and cream candy bar
White melting caps
Sugar in the raw
Step 3: Numbers
Catan has number disks which are placed on the board in the same order each game. Each disk has the number (which represents the numbers the dice can roll), dots (to indicate the probability of two dice rolling this number) and a letter (so you know what order to place the disks in).
I actually did the disks last, but it would have been easier to do them first which is why this step is here.
On the flat side of a melting cap I wrote each number with gel food coloring and a walnut pick (I was out of toothpicks). I changed the letters on the top to spell out the message 'Happy Birthday Steve'.
It was helpful for me to have someone reading me the number, number of dots and letter in my message as I decorated so I didn't get confused. Also if you are doing this first you should write down in order each number and its new letter so you can put the cookies in order later.
Step 4: Sheep Tiles
I used light green frosting and Wilton tip 233 to make grass. I found that the 'grass' stuck better if I frosted the cookie first. To make the grass use even pressure and pull straight up. It took a little practice to get the strands to a good length, but small mistakes didn't show in the end.
My best friend, who was helping me, placed yogurt raisins in the grass, and place a random number tile in the middle. I later went back and painted little sheep faces on the raisins to make them look more like sheep and less like baby seals.
Step 5: Grain Tiles
This process is the same as the sheep tiles only with yellow frosting and no sheep.
Step 6: Forest Tiles
I frosted these a darker green than the sheep tiles and used an open star Wilton tip to make trees. This is where it comes in handy to have made the number tiles first. As you can see from the pictures I ended up squishing my trees when I put the numbers on.
Step 7: Clay Tiles
One of my reservations with frosting the clay tiles was the taste of red frosting. In order to make the color red, and not pink, you have to add enough coloring that the flavor changes. I also didn't know how to make the frosting look like clay. I settled on French burnt peanuts for their deep red color, delicious flavor, and lumpy clay-like shape.
Frost each cookie with a thick layer of red frosting to hold the peanuts place a random number tile in the middle and then cover with peanuts.
Step 8: Ore Tiles
Frost the ore tiles in which and then place a number in the middle and cover the rest with a mixture of crushed Oreos and crushed cookies and cream candy.
Step 9: Desert Tile
I frosted the desert tile with white and then covered it with Sugar in the Raw. The desert doesn't get a number disk.
Step 10: The Theif
I made the thief from one large and one small black gumdrop. I cut a ring into the large one to make it look more like the game piece. I sliced a small slice off the top of the large one and the bottom of the small one so that they would stick together.
Step 11: Settlements and Roads
I planned briefly on having the board represent the middle of a game but these pieces were a pain to cut and so I left the board at the end of the first round with three players. This means 2 settlements and 2 roads each. I used actual Catan pieces as models and cut fruit slice candies to size.
Step 12: Assembly
Frost each cupcake and place a cookie on top, then place them in order to make a board. If you care about accuracy this is where having a list of the numbers' new letters is helpful. I placed the desert between the words 'happy' and 'birthday' but I think it would have been easier to follow the message if I had placed it at the beginning.
I placed the settlements and roads as if they were three players choosing the best location for each on their turn. Note that just like in a real Catan game things did not work out ideally. The ore numbers are crap! I guess city building will not be such a good strategy this game.
When the time came for candles I used the trees on the forest tiles to hold the candles.