I hardly know a little boy who doesn’t love fire engines or who doesn’t think ‘wow’ on meeting a fireman in his red and neon fireman turnout gear wearing his easily recognisable brimmed fireman helmet. A fireman is after all the archetypal hero, belonging to the same league as Superman, Spiderman, or Batman, except he’s real.
Reality can often be built around or reinforced by what’s on children’s television, as in the case of my son’s fascination with Fireman Sam (the inspiration behind this Fireman Sam-inspired cake)during the seasons it was aired on the abc4kids channel. He was enamoured by the heroic adventures of the protagonist, brave Fireman Sam and his fellow firefighters who keep the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy safe. C’s eyes are peeled for the rush of the rescue missions as the town counts on the firemen to battle smoking infernos, hop onto whirring helicopters and launch lifeboats, among other life-saving measures like administering medical attention to the injured.
I think it’s wonderful that these animated series teach kids about the dangers of fire, fire safety and the importance of staying calm during an emergency.
For these reasons I totally endorse the program and C’s plea to have a Fire Engine cake/ Fireman Sam-inspired cake for his 3rd birthday! I’ve to confess though, this Fire Engine cake has been one of my most challenging yet, as I discovered in my first attempt at designing and assembling a ‘shaped’ fondant cake. The trickiest part was having to trim a square cake and assemble it stacked piece by piece with buttercream frosting to form the shape of a ‘fire engine vehicle’.
Then comes the panel by panel assembly of the fire engine’s ‘body shell’ and using the sculpting tools to imprint, shape and apply the various tiny details of its body, including the bumpers, headlights, door panels, windows, front and rear tyres, roof sirens and others.
Fireman Fondant Figurine
My interpretation of Fireman Sam was not meant to emulate an ‘exact likeness’ of Sam but to immortalise and ‘cake-kefy’ a funny memory. I fashioned my fireman fondant figurine to look more like a certain smiley station officer who personally rang our doorbell one winter morning. That had been one embarrassing and unforgettable breakfast moment when somehow our home security alarm managed to trigger a false silent alarm to the fire department near our home, activating a fire truck to come charging towards our street and stopping right outside our lawn!The kids were stoked (as were the curtain-peeking denizens on our street), especially my boy, while daddy and me stood red-faced in our pyjamas. Sorry officer. All we did was try to change the batteries on the alarm, we know you had better things to do with your time! What really got me was how patient he was, this fireman, who, in his full firefighting getup, managed such a cheery disposition under what must be very annoying circumstances. Precisely why he deserved some glory as a sugar sculpture on a little boy’s birthday cake. Thank you Officer B.