The most powerful cake pans in the universe!

By Shawn Robare

While cleaning up and organizing Branded HQ I found a handful of loose catalog pages that my good buddy HooveR sent me awhile back.  They were from the 1987 Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating, and featured their line of pop culture cartoon figural cake pans.  Since I’ve sort of been on a food-centric nostalgic kick of late I thought this would be the perfect thing to share.

Though I have plenty of memories seeing this style of cake pans in grocery stores back in the day, I was never treated to a cake baked in one during my childhood.  It’s not for lack of asking mind you, just that my mom wasn’t keen on that level of preparation and patience when it came to birthday cakes.  She always bought something at the store and put some special candles or action figures on my cakes.  There’s still a part of me that kind of wants to track one of these down and do it myself one of these days…

I’m not sure if it’s the date when the catalog was printed, or if Wilton didn’t have a huge licensing department, but I was kind of sad not to see any Transformers or Star Wars cake pans in the pages.  That being said, there are still some pretty cool franchises represented in sugar and flour, not the least of which are He-Man, General Hawk from G.I. Joe, Superman and Batman.  I love how these came with plastic faceplates so that some sort of recognizable figure would emerge from even the sloppiest cake decorator’s piping tip.  I also love that apparently Superman and Batman were more or less interchangeable when it comes to their cake-y bodies…


By far, the majority of the pans in this catalog were geared towards girls with Rainbow Brite, The Poppels, Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Barbie, and the Wuzzles represented.  Makes me feel like there should at least be a Thundercats cake pan in the mix, but again I’m not sure if it was licensing or when this was released.  Can you imagine the fun that would come from piping out Lion-O’s red frosting hair!


For all those curious about getting some pointers on just how to go about frosting one of these beauties, here’s a spotlight on the Snoopy and He-Man cakes…

The weirdest thing about these cakes for me is the extremely sharp and spiky nature inherent in this style of frosting a cake.  Granted, it makes it much easier to keep the colors from mixing, but it always seemed weirdly antagonistic to me.  Is it just me?

  • Florin

    I have Wonder Woman (not pictured here) and it was always fun decorating it! Of course it never looked as perfect as on the package. I have to digg it out again! Greetings from Munich.

  • Shawn Robare

    Finky – Thanks man, I try to bring something a little different to the pop culture blogging. Well, at least slightly more obscure subjects. As far as the icing goes, I wonder what that inner debate is like for moms and dads that attempt this style of cake making. To spike or not to spike. I can imagine some parents stayed up late the night before and considered making two to try their hand at both. It’s one of the things I regret not experiencing since the wife and I don;t have kids. Maybe one day…

  • Shawn Robare

    Michael – Agreed. Actually, I’ll bet that He-Man cake pan would make a pretty damn cool mold for a Danzig cake. Hmmm, that’s giving me ideas…

  • Shawn Robare

    Paxton – Yeah, those plastic faces, though helpful to moms who don’t want to attempt the level of detailed icing it would take to make the face, are just weird and awkward. Probably even more so when the kids go to eat the cake and that’s the first thing the mom or dad does, pull off their hero’s face…

  • Michael

    He-Man looks like he should be opening for a metal band!! The GI Joe cake is awesome!!!

  • Finky099

    What a flashback these cakes bring. Great pick for an article, Shawn. Things like this are what make this site really stand out. Somewhere at my parents’ house is a photo from my 6th or 7th birthday with that exact same Superman cake. We had a Smurf one, too, but I seem to remember it being tainted with the memory of getting mad at my mom for NOT doing the spikey-icing thing on it. Instead she just spread all the blue and white icing “flat” (like normal icing) and I remember telling her she “messed it up” b/c she had smeared the colors at the edges. Dang, what I brat I was….she was trying to save us from spikey-icing! I owe a longover overdue apology.

  • Paxton Holley

    Yeah, they did. It was like eating dried clay dusted with sugar. Speaking of, that He-Man face is damn creepy.

  • Shawn Robare

    Pax – Now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t they also have cake toppers sort of like He-Man’s face up above that were edible and made of hard sugar with the same spiky texture? Bet that would cut up your mouth. I wonder why they aren’t making them these days, what with the popularity of pop culture and figural cakes and all…

  • Paxton Holley

    I have an R2-D2 one, but it’s not pictured here. Yeah, the spikey frosting is a bit weird. It gives these cakes a “bed of nails” feel to it. Like I’m gonna slice up my mouth by eating it.

  • Shawn Robare

    Tommy – Yeah, the more and more I think about it I need to track one of these down and bake me a cake. But who will it be? Hmmm…..

  • Tommy

    I love Wilton cake pans. I totally had that Snoopy cake on my first birthday, and I have a picture of it somewhere. I think I have an ALF and a TMNT cake pan somewhere in my closet, I may need to dig those out now!