January 12th is the birthday of HAL 9000, the computer installed in the Discovery spaceship from 2001: a Space Odyssey. Why anyone but a die-hard science-fiction fan-boy would care is beyond me. Being a die-hard science-fiction fan-boy, I decided to celebrate Hal’s birthday by making a Hal cake and watching 2001 with my kids. They were happy to do it. They're suckers for chocolate cake.
I was nervous going into the project, although I knew I could do the main body pretty easily. The iconic face of Hal is just a long rectangle, after all. It was the eye that bothered me. That glowing, red, menacing computer eye! I had three goals in mind. It had to be 3-dimensional, recognizable and above all, edible.
Cue “The Blue Danube”
I started by making a single-layer chocolate cake in a 13 inch by 9 inch cake pan. I bought a commercial cake mix, knowing I had quite a bit of work cut out for me with the decorating. This was going to have to take place over a couple of week nights, and I wouldn't have that much time in the evening.
The cake was baked the first night, and then cut and shaped the next. I cut the full cake in half, setting one half on top of the other, and trimmed it to make the sides and top even. So far so good. The second night, I would make Hal’s eye.
Little did I know, this part of the project might prove to be as doomed as the Discovery mission.
To be continued ...