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I’m a decent cook but I’m not very experienced with baking. While I perfected homemade Yorkshire puddings over Christmas, I’ve always been the sort of person who favors savory over sweet. Despite my inexperience with cakes, when Final Fantasy commissioned cake recipes, to celebrate being online in Australia for a year, I knew I was going to try them out. They came with a full recipe and instructions, how hard could it be?

I started out with the Cactuar cupcakes as these seemed the easier of the two. I realized that I’d forgotten to pick up casings, but I thought with greasy enough tins things would work out. The cupcake batter was wet, but I was warned about this in the recipe so I wasn’t too concerned. What did concern me was how dark the chocolate and coffee mix was, and I couldn’t tell if they were burnt or still cooking.

I made marmite salted caramel and buttercream frosting, as per the instructions, and I broke the hand mixer by overheating it in the process. As with the cupcake batter, the caramel was extremely wet, but looking at the recipe there was nowhere to actually incorporate it in the final product. Was it a dipping sauce? I had no idea, but being the consistency of milk I didn’t know how to use it.

The other thing about the ‘caramel’ is it didn’t taste good. As you may have guessed it tasted like sweet marmite, and I wasn’t sure whether to attempt using it at all. However, I wanted to stay as close to the recipe as possible, so I dipped the cakes in the caramel, giving them salty, soggy bottoms. While waiting for the cakes to cool, the buttercream had become more like butter, and piping it on the top did not give the delicious results I expected.

I didn’t attempt the fondant Cactuar – the part that makes the cakes Final Fantasy-y – because I don’t like fondant, and there was already enough sugar involved. The cupcakes were sickly sweet, but once I scraped the buttercream off, I could enjoy the delicious coffee, chocolate, and even marmite flavor mix. Somehow, they weren’t burnt, and for those who know how to make buttercream without destroying appliances, they might have been delicious.


A few days later I attempted the Chocobo cake. This is essentially a Victoria sandwich cake, cut to look like a Chocobo, and luckily a cake I’ve had experience making in the past. A new hand mixer was purchased, so making the cake batter was much easier, despite the fact that the new one seemed to only have two speed settings, extremely fast and hyper speed. I dumped all the yellow food coloring I had in the mix, hoping I wouldn’t have to make too much frosting this time.

I didn’t have to worry about the frosting though. While baking the cake went well, taking it out the tin did not. It had risen in the middle, as sponges tend to do, and began to fall apart as soon as it was out the tin. Attempting to cut the sponge in half did not do anything for its stability, and the top half was soon sponge crumbs more than a smooth layer. I thought the jelly and cream would help glue it together, but it seemed a lost cause. I cut it into slices as best I could and put it in the fridge hoping to gain some shape.


The cold did not miraculously fix my baking, and while the top no longer instantly fell off, it was in no way solid. I quickly gave up on the idea of cutting it into a Chocobo shape, especially as despite copious amounts of yellow coloring the sponge was still very much brown. I am in fact a professional artist. I have been commissioned and paid for drawings I have done in the past. Icing pens in hand, my plan was to transform the smashed mess with my artistic skill.

Even Picasso couldn’t have saved this one, and the end result was much more Jackson Pollock given the uneven surface. Despite its unappetizing appearance, the cake did in fact taste great. It may have been one of the best sponge cakes I’ve ever baked, which will tell you a lot about my general skill level.

If you have more experience baking than I do, I don’t doubt that the results could be very good. I hope that my misadventures were at least more entertaining than the cakes were appetizing.