Tag Archives: Tolkien

Happy Birthday, Tolkien: A Smaug Cake

9 Jan

Happy New Year! And happy birthday, Professor Tolkien! J.R.R. Tolkien was born on January 3, a birthday shared by my youngest sister, so of course I often make a Tolkien themed something. Last year I made hobbit hole cupcakes. This year I made a cake! And I’ve had The Hobbit on the brain (who doesn’t, lately?) so it had to be a Smaug cake.

Smaug, curled up on his hoard of stolen dwarvish treasure.

My Smaug is inspired/loosely based on this illustration by Tolkien:

I made Smaug out of fondant, molded mostly with my hands with a little help from a chopstick and a sharp knife. I used an icing tip to press ‘scales’ into the fondant of Smaug’s body, and the handle of my small offset spatula to press indentations for the arm and leg sockets, and made the limbs (legs/arms and wings) separately. I let the fondant dry and harden overnight, then painted the pieces with gel food coloring mixed with vodka, and then brushed it all over with sparkly yellow luster dust.

The cake itself is a chocolate cake, filled and covered with peanut butter mousse. Then I put a wire cooling rack across the sink, set the cake on it (holding it carefully with one hand to make sure that it didn’t slip and dump my cake into the sink!), and covered the cake with sparkly yellow sugar sprinkles for gold, red, green, and blue sugar sprinkles for gems, white nonpareils for pearls, and a sprinkling of gold luster dust for extra sparkle–a delicious hoard that would make any dragon proud!

Swap Package: The Hobbit

27 May

I’ve mentioned before that I participate in a Folklore & Fairy Tales group on Ravelry, and that we do seasonal package swaps, which I always love! My last package had an owl theme, inspired by my swappee’s screenname.  This time, however, our seasonal discussion and knit-a-long topic was The Hobbit. As you may have noticed, Tolkien is one of my favorite things, so I enjoyed putting this package together.

Here is the package! ...except that those three copies of The Hobbit? Those are all mine. They're just in the picture to hold other things up in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. Yes, it is necessary for me to have three different copies of The Hobbit, why do you ask?

My first idea for the theme of the package was for it to be a collection of the things that got left behind during Bilbo’s journey–the buttons he lost while escaping from goblins, a handkerchief he probably dropped, etc. Then things just sort of…rolled along, and before I knew it I was writing a letter under the name of Thistle Took (yes I gave myself a hobbit name, because I am cool), a hobbit historian researching the history of Bilbo’s journey in order to write a book about him, and sending some of the artifacts she’d collected to be housed in a museum of local history in the Shire.

The artifacts are:

-Bilbo’s lost buttons

-Bilbo’s lost handkerchief (embroidered with his monogram by me)

-the silver tassel from Thorin’s hood (I couldn’t find a silver tassel, so I made my own)

-a crown of elf flowers that will not fade from Rivendell (made by me)

-a copy of Thorin’s map (…printed out by me)

-a silver pony charm (I didn’t make this one, but I did make up a story about it! If you’ve read The Hobbit then you may have noticed that Bilbo and the dwarves manage to go through several sets of ponies in the course of their journey. They start out with ponies, lose them all, borrow ponies and are (wisely) compelled to return them, borrow more ponies and lose most of them–being a dwarf’s pony is not a safe position at all.  Surely, I thought, people would have given the dwarves grief about their inability to keep ponies–a little gentle teasing. Surely. So I decided, and Thistle Took recorded in her letter, that among the people of Dale something that was likely to be lost or broken was often called a ‘dwarf pony’, and that charms like this one would be attached to protect whatever the object was from its fate of certain destruction.  It makes perfect sense to me!)

-wooden dolls representing the dwarves and Bilbo Baggins, a popular children’s toy among the people of Dale (made by me!)

The dwarves and Bilbo in their box

The dolls are my favorite thing. I am so happy with the way that they turned out!  They’re very simple, but I think they’re very cute, and fat Bombur is so adorable that I might just die.

Thorin Oakenshield & Co., plus Bilbo Baggins (burglar)

The dwarves can be identified by the colors of their hoods as follows:

Thorin – sky blue with a large silver tassel

Dwalin – dark green hood

Balin – red

Kili – blue

Fili – blue

Dori – purple

Nori – purple

Oin – grey

Gloin – brown

Bifur – yellow

Bofur – yellow

Bombur – pale green

Ori- grey

Bilbo, of course, had to borrow a dark green cloak, and has no beard.

Happy Birthday, Professor Tolkien

3 Jan

I spent most of my childhood in countries that don’t exist–Narnia, Oz, Prydain, Never-Never Land, Wonderland–but it all began with Middle Earth.  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are in my earliest memories. January 3rd is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday, so to celebrate I made cupcakes.  Hobbit hole cupcakes!

If I could choose to live in a fictional place, the Shire would be high on my list–I would make an excellent hobbit.  Since I can’t move into Bag End right away (unfortunately) these will have to do for now.

I made chocolate cupcakes and froze them, so that they’d be easier to cut, and then trimmed off one side to make a flat surface–

The hobbit doors are made from candy melts–the door knobs and hinges are yellow candy melts, put into a disposable piping bag and microwaved in thirty second increments and then piped on–

I covered the cupcakes with green fondant, then used more melted candy coating to stick the doors onto the flat side of the cupcake.  I melted some more green candy coating and piped it onto the sides of the cupcakes for grass, and added flower sprinkles–