What do cakes and emoji have in common? We love them, they help us celebrate occasions, and we can eat them. You probably have no problem eating a piece of cake at a birthday party or a wedding, but eating a cute little emoji takes a bit of imagination. And fondant.
As emoji continue to infiltrate every part of our lives, we are finding them all around us in the real world. On coffee mugs in the office, key rings in the gift shop, alongside t-shirts and pillows. Emoji are increasingly popular in today’s culture. There is even a series of game apps testing your emoji-Q. That tells us a lot about how many emoji are out there and how much we use them. Because if there are enough emoji and ways to put them together that one game can be made of it, let alone the dozen or so apps that are out there, then emoji has, in a way, become a language all its own.
What Is an Emoji?
An emoji can be anything from the basic emoticon symbols we type in our texts, like the basic smile 🙂 or wink ;-), to the artistic themed emoji offered exclusively in social media and chat apps like Kik Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook. For World Emoji Day, Google launched a neat make your own emoji project to encourage young women to add female emoji to the mix.
World Emoji Day, you say? Yes, there is a World Emoji Day. It is July 17 and has its own hashtag and anthem. The date was chosen because July 17 is the date that shows on the Apple calendar emoji.
While some of the more decorative ones can be a little harder to interpret, the basic smiley-type emoji are clear to most of us. We all know what it means to see a bright yellow emoji with its tongue stuck out at us, as we do the one with the tear at the bottom of its face vs. the one with the tear at the top of its eye vs. the one with the solid tears streaming from its eyes.
Yes, there are subtle differences in some of the emoji characters. Affection can range from a quick kiss that can mean anything from a deep friendship to a budding romance. Want to make sure they know it’s romantic? Blow a kiss with a big red heart of love. Totally blown away and falling off the deep end in love? Whether it is the one that just asked you out for dinner or a new pair of shoes, the heart eyes emoji will say it all for you.
We use emoji to express a range of emotions, most often celebration and love. Is it any surprise, really, that they would eventually show up at our most personal and cherished events?
Emoji Birthday Cakes
The bright sunny yellow of an emoji is the perfect color to say “Happy Birthday” to just about anyone. Choose a big smiling one for a young child, a smirk with tongue sticking out for a teen, and maybe a grimace, tear, or angry emoji to top a cake to mark an adult’s entry into their 30th, 40th, 50th, or later decades.
Emoji cakes are easy to find. Your custom cake decorator will gladly do it, as will your local Walmart baker. Sure, you can go to your local baker, but when it’s so easy to do it yourself, why not consider giving it a try?
Say It with Frosting
Most of us ice and decorate a cake using frosting that we mix up in a bowl, spread on the base, and pipe on for decorations. You can do that for an emoji cake, too. Just make sure you have plenty of yellow food coloring as well as some black.
For a cool emoji cake top, lightly outline the sunglass pattern on the yellow icing base with a toothpick. Trace it with an outline of black frosting and then fill it solid. Do the same in a tear pattern and blue frosting if your emoji is crying or sweating it, and with red frosting for a tongue or heart.
When it comes to the smile itself, make it straight and simple or add the little dimples at each end. Blowing a kiss is as simple as writing a ‘3.’ You can also be plain or simple with the border, or have none at all.
If you are new at cake decorating, do not be put off by it. You can find simple decorating kits at your local craft or fabric store and make the colored icing yourself, or buy the ready-made tubes at the grocery (be sure to pick up a set of decorating tips that fit right onto them, too).
Say It with Fondant
A lot of the emoji cakes you see online are done with fondant, like the middle one in the picture up there.
What is fondant, you ask? It is a type of frosting made stiff so that you can knead it and then roll it out like a pie crust. After that, you cut it with a cookie cutter or other tool into the shapes you want. You can mold and build 3D decorations, too.
You probably won’t need any special tools to make an emoji cake with fondant, as long as you have basic kitchen props like a rolling pin, rolling mat, good knives and a cookie cutter or two.
Making the fondant is not as hard as you might think. No need to boil or double boil and not much timing to it. Better Homes & Gardens (BHG) shows how to do it in the microwave using a simply yet tasty recipe of marshmallows, white baker’s chocolate, butter and milk.
To decorate a fondant emoji cake, first make the main piece, the big yellow base that is going to cover the entire cake. Refer back to the BHG link for tips on how to make this go easily.
Next, you will color and cut (after more kneading and rolling, of course) the pieces that make the emoji who he (or she) is. Hearts, tongues, tears, eyes, sunglasses, and whatever else it takes to recreate your favorite smiley on the cake top.
Fondant takes a little more effort than frosting in some ways, while in other ways it is easier to handle and assemble the pieces than to pipe decorations onto a cake. It gives a smoother and more ’emoji’ appearance, that much is certain.
Preparing for a child’s birthday party where lots of other children will be present, maybe at school or church, usually calls for cookies or cupcakes rather than a cake that has to be cut to be shared equally. You can work your emoji mojo there, too, and again with either frosting or fondant. Express wishes for the day with a variety of emoji decorations or choose just one that fits the theme.
One particular emoji lends itself especially well to being a cupcake topper. Just mound creamy chocolate icing on the top of the cup cake, add a bit of a smile with some pre-made white frosting, and use candy eyeballs if you don’t want to make your own.
Serve your birthday cake, cupcakes, or cookies on an array of emoji-themed party supplies from your local Walmart or Party City store. Deck out the place with emoji balloons, table centerpieces, pennants, banners, table cloths, and more to stoke everyone’s emoji fever.
Emoji Wedding Cakes
When we think of a traditional wedding cake, it is usually a lot of white with pastel accents, and often a flowery decorating motif. Yet we know that over the last 20 years or so, people are opting more often for a wedding theme that expresses their personalities or says something about how they met or how the relationship grew between them. This is coming onto their wedding cakes, too, as bolder colors and specialty themes come into play.
An emoji wedding cake would be perfect for the couple that spends a lot of time on social chat with each other, and even more so for a couple that first met online. It’s only natural that when most of the communication you have with someone is in a text, chat, or even email, a lot of different emoji are going to be used. A couple may have their own special emoji in mind, maybe an exclusive collection from the chat app they used. A professional cake decorator could easily add aspects of that emoji theme to the cake without it being overwhelming.
Those of us looking forward to a more casual wedding theme in the first place can certainly see emoji working their way onto the cake. The pictures below are not wedding cakes, but you can see how emoji can be used to accent a tiered cake for a more special occasion. We can top a full-blown six-tier emoji cake with an emoji wedding cake topper, or we can add an emoji wedding cake topper to a more traditional cake design for an understated emoji presence.
Your love of emoji can certainly be a part of your birthday or wedding celebration. They are bright, sunny, and cute, which is usually how we want our parties and receptions to be. Show your fun side by having the emoji smirk or be cool, or go full joy with a big toothy smile or heart eyes. Make your special day all your own, whether you make the cake or someone else does it for you.