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You have five minutes to decorate this cake. Go!

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Back in June, my dad turned the big 5-5. On his actual birthday, though, he was out of town. So the night of his return, my mom baked his favorite cake as a surprise.

But it wasn’t just a surprise to my dad; it was a surprise to me as well! I had been out all day, and I arrived home at around 6 PM. (Daddy-Dearest was due to arrive at 7.) My mom greeted me at the door with “Hi Katie I baked your dad a cake will you decorate it for him oh by the way he’s coming home in less than an hour.” Surprise!

Ack! Not yet fully registering what she wanted me to do, I quickly pulled out my cake-decorating supplies and spread them all over the kitchen counter (usually the cleaning process alone takes half an hour). What to make… what to make? It wasn’t exactly an easy cake to decorate, with its bumpy icing and big, fat hole in the middle. With the clock ticking like mad, I had no choice but to put my perfectionist tendencies aside.

With pen and paper, I jotted down a list of things about my dad. Hmmm… he loves soccer. However, I’d *just* made him a soccer cake for Father’s Day. He’s a huge Beatles’ fan. But did I want to make four men, badly in need of haircuts, out of fondant? Nope, not really. He likes the Yankees…. Ooh wait. Daddy really likes turtles. They’re his favorite animals (except for Molly and Henry, of course). So turtles it is!

Close-up, with a spiffy party hat. Hello, Mr. Turtle!

Much more aesthetically-pleasing than this guy:

Who would YOU rather have on your birthday cake?

Below, cake with the candles (the cake wasn’t vegan, but it was my dad’s favorite– maple chiffon)

And I’m happy to say that the kitchen was spotlessly clean by the time my dad got home (5 minutes early!). Well, maybe it wasn’t spotlessly clean… but we successfully diverted Daddy away from the mess by showing him the yummy cake.

One happy Dad.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. alaina says:

    actually i wouldn’t mind having john lennon’s face on my cake! but it’d be way too hard haha. cute turtles :)

  2. Animal-Friendly says:

    You really did such a great job- I can’t believe that only took an hour! And I know what you mean about being a perfectionist, it really is difficult to turn that part of your brain off!

    Happy Birthday to your dad and I think you made a great decision with the turtles- John Lennon on a cake may be a little odd….. (but now I’m thinking it’d be a fun idea for my brother’s birthday…hm….)

  3. vegalicious says:

    That’s a beautiful cake, you have one lucky daddy! 😉

  4. mad about udon says:

    Aww! He looks so happy, and who wouldn’t be. I think a homemade cake is the best, best birthday present you can give anyone.

  5. shelby says:

    You’ve got skills! An hour? I can’t believe it, it looks amazing!

    And I know what you mean about perfectionists, my mom is that way and she passed that down to me!

  6. just me says:

    great job for only an hour!!!! i just would have put sprinkles on it…ahaha!

  7. Meg says:

    I love the turtles! Great job decorating on short notice!

  8. Danielle says:

    I think you’re supergirl? Nearly perfect cake decorations in under an hour?! Your dad is very lucky man :) yum!

  9. Janet says:

    The turtles are totally cute. Do I see glitter in their party hats? That’s hilarious!

    Mmm I bet a vegan maple chiffon cake would be delicious. Must add that to my “to do” list…

  10. Green Eyes, Green Heart says:

    Hmm….turtles or the Beatles… I think I would personally go with the Fab Four [not five! 😉 ], but your cake is adorable nonetheless!

    And of course we Virgo vegans are perfectionists–it’s just in our DNA!! :)


  11. Alice (in Veganland) says:

    I think next time you have to try it with Lennon ;-). But I also love turtles (don’t know, they look so noble), so this cake looks pretty great for me! one happy daddy!

  12. Vegan_Noodle says:

    You did that in an hour!?! Amazing. Those are the cutest little turtles. What a lucky dad!

  13. Ricki says:

    That is one lucky Dad! The cake looks great, as always. Love the lettering and the blue glittery trim on the turtle hats! Adorable. :)

  14. Vaala says:

    I’d definitely rather have the turtles on my cake (not that I don’t like John Lennon…but it wouldn’t be as pretty)!

  15. Erin at says:

    It would feel weird eating John Lennon’s face.
    How cute is your dad?!

  16. Nikki Douglas says:

    Adorable cake, adorable Daddy and I love John Lennon – you can put him on a cake for me any day – ok – with one turtle too!

  17. tofufreak says:

    teehee such a cute cake, as always! the turtles are adorable!!!!

  18. Lauren says:

    So cute! That cake looks amazing! Happy birthday to your dad!

  19. sweetpotato says:

    That’s so cute! I love the turtles. I’d love turtles on my birthday cake!

  20. Vegetation says:

    TURTLES! (well you already know I love turtles, given that I have one :P). Your cake is adorable! And Happy Birthday to Chocolate Covered Dad!

  21. talieworld says:

    I love the little turtle hat! I know if I was short on time I wound have just made a complete mess!

    And I just finished watching the end of the last season of DH today, so I’m all caught up for tonight! :)

  22. Gina says:

    hahaha i would much rather have cute turtles on my cake than a beatle, any day 😀
    AMAZING work– i can’t believe you whipped that up so quickly! your talent always amazes me!
    have a great sunday!

  23. River says:

    OMG you are so sweet! Your dad looks so happy with his beautiful cake! The turtles are adorable!

  24. Jess - The Domestic Vegan says:

    What an adorable cake, Katie! However, I wouldn’t mind having John Lennon on mine… :) Actually, I used to date a guy who looked eerily similar to him, so perhaps the turtles *would* be the better choice? :)

  25. Lily Girl says:

    I agree – those perfectionist tendencies are excruciatingly hard to ignore!
    And great cake, I too love turtles and your’s are just great. Your dad is one lucky guy!

  26. trustmyintuition says:

    I LOVE the turtles!!! Lucky daddy!

  27. linds says:

    CCV you have no idea how happy I was to see your comment on my blog, it has been far too long since I last “talked” to you too! I love the turtle cake, your speed decorating is another skill to add to the cake decorating set! :)

  28. lighterportions says:

    The cake is ADORABLE. Turtles rule. YOUR turtles rule even more. 😀

  29. Brooke says:

    Katie, you are so talented! I love the turtles!

    And pumpkin mousse!? I’m intrigued! Did you use silken tofu? I would love to try your recipe, it sounds excellent.

    Riley said he would love to have a play date with Molly and Henry! (Riley was almost namd Henry!) They would have so much fun together! I’ll make sure to bring a batch of homemade vegan dog biscuits :)

  30. Mihl says:

    I would love a John Lennon cake, but if I had to choose between your beetle/beatle cake and John Lennon I would also choose the beetles. Cute decoration!

  31. VeganCowGirl says:

    You are a GREAT daughter. What a thoughtful and kind thing to do for your daddy!!! The cake looks great.

  32. sportsnutritionliving says:

    What an amazing cake and yes your dad looks very happy… I love making treats for people and seeing how much they enjoy it… makes it all worth while!

  33. Urban Vegan says:

    Your dad is adorable and so is the cake!

  34. shellyfish says:

    I love it! Your dad is so cute with his sly smile & that knife…he looks like he's thinking 'hurry up & take that picture so I can eat my cake!'

  35. Binx says:

    The ‘favorite animal’ never fails! If got got a giraffe cake for my birthday, it would probably, by default no matter what it tasted like (and as long as it was vegan) be the best cake I would ever have in my life!

    I love giraffes. And your fondant turtles!

  36. Astra Libris says:

    Ohhh, your cake is so lovely!! I am amazed you were able to create the turtles so fast! Wow! They’re absolutely perfect!!

  37. jessy says:

    you did such an awesome job, CCV! one would think you had plenty of time to make those super cute turtles! they’re perfect and ADORABLE! they made me smile, too – thanks! 😀

  38. evestirs says:

    very cute icing job!

    nah, thats not strange, i crave chili when its hot too :)

    i’m guessing you’re a dallas stars fan?

  39. eatingbender says:

    You are so talented! And definitely good under pressure! You know, that kind of skill would get you far with your bakery/decorating business ;o)

    I loved reading about your dad’s birthday because it seems like you two are really close, which reminds me of my good ol’ Pa! Happy belated to yours!!

  40. aTxVegn says:

    Wasn’t there a group called The Turtles? Your dad looks very very happy with your wonderfully decorated cake.

  41. Ruby Red Vegan says:

    I think it is so funny that turtles are your dad’s favorite animal! No one has ever told me turtles were their favorite before. :) They sure look adorable on the cake, though!

  42. Aimee says:

    Great way to think under pressure because those turtles are so cute!

  43. pixiepine says:

    Cute cake!

  44. Martin says:

    Could you please post your Maple Chiffon Cake recipe?