If you’re a Zelda fan, or just generally have a finger to the pulse of the gaming world, you’ll probably know that late last year the latest game in the Zelda franchise was released: A Link Between Worlds. Of course I had to have it straight away, and as soon as I had it I did nothing else but play it until I’d beaten it. A feat that took an usually long time because I got crazy addicted to the baseball mini game. Saving the multiple worlds in chaos can wait, man, I’ve got some Octorock baseball to perfect! I don’t think I have spent so much time getting sidetracked by a mini game since fishing and horseback archery in Ocarina of Time.
In the course of finally getting around to beating the game, I came across the very Turtle-centric dungeon aptly called Turtle Rock. To access the dungeon you must rescue three adorable baby turtles and return them to mummy turtle. They then play stacks on, allowing you to climb on top and go for a ride to the dungeon entrance. Waiting for you on the other side of the dungeon is the boss fight, wherein it completes the other turtle-themed bookend with a turtle boss. This lava turtle is much less happy to see you.
Now, “I’m so gonna cake you” is probably not a normal thought to be had when trying to avoid being either smashed or burnt to a crisp by a giant lava turtle. But it was the one I had nonetheless. Right alongside the internal debate of whether it would more accurately be called a tortoise because of its limbs, or a turtle because it’s swimming through lava. And does lava even count as liquid enough to make Grinexx a ‘water dwelling’ turtle anyway, or would he still be a ‘land dwelling’ tortoise because he’s dwelling on melted rock?
At some point I stopped wondering about his taxonomy and how the cake would be structured and got around to actually defeating it. I put the cake idea on hold until the next round of Link’s Blacklist arrived. Long-term followers of the blog will remember this as the collaborative fan art project I’ve been involved with. I’ve made a Furnix cake, a Beamos cake and a Mad Scrub cake for Rounds 1-3 respectively. Grinexx was my entry for Round 4.
For those of you whop haven’t seen the game, this is Grinexx in his final form:
As far as the structure of the cake went, this was probably one of the easiest to construct thanks to his dome-ey shape. I baked a bowl shaped cake using my go-to chocolate cake reciope and then set about making his rocky form. I had a bit of an internal debate as to whether or not to make his rocks out of cake or out of fondant. Making them from fondant would leave me with some difficult to paint over seams, so I elected to make them from cake instead. I covered that all with dark chocolate ganache and left it to set.
Once that was dry I then covered the whole lot with fondant. The decision to make the rock shapes first meant that the fondant covering job then turned into one of the trickiest ever. Fondant dries really quickly upon contact to the air, and having to form it tightly around all those rocky shapes without getting any tears, holes, elephant-skin-looking fondant or nail marks felt impossible. So when it all went perfectly first try I was a little shocked. It gave me a moment to appreciate how much my skills have grown, as not even a year ago there’s no way I could have achieved it. I then sculpted his head and feet from fondant and let that dry again.
Once it was dry it was time to paint it and the cake board with food colouring and little brushes. I opted to paint rather than cover in coloured fondant as there’s more opportunity for depth of colour.
During the boss battle Grinexx takes two forms. The first during which he shoots lava from the centre of his shell at you, and the crack between his rocky covering are glowing with lava, but you don’t see his head and feet. In his final form his head and feet are revealed, but his lava disappears as Grinexx takes to chasing Link on land instead. I opted for a happy medium between the two.
I kind of imagine all the animal-like bosses and enemies are rather peaceful when chilling in their dungeon by themselves, until Link stumbles across them and they aggressively defend their territory against what they perceive to be an intruder. They’re not so evil, just being used as pawn by the real antagonist of the game. So I figured that perhaps when Grinexx is alone at home his lava form is on display and his limbs are freely visible, he only hid them against Link to try and limit his weak spots. His lava geyser is smaller and much more subdued when not using it to defend himself.
In the same vein his eyes aren’t all glowing and angry when not in a battle. I saw his glowing purple eyes as being a social signal that animals have to communicate threat. So link the blue ringed octopus only displays its glowing blue rings right before it attacks, I decided that Grinexx’s eyes only glow when he’s in battle mode. At rest I gave him a softer expression.
As we only ever get a top-down view of this boss I had to make up what he would look like from side on, and that included a lot of his facial features. during the boss fight you see him open his mouth and glimpse his fangs as he extends his neck out to bite you, but that’s about as much as we get. So I took aspects from turtle/tortoise features and combined it with his rocky appearance.
Of the 4 Zelda enemy cakes I’ve done this was not the most difficult to achieve structurally, but there were a lot of new skills and tricks I’ve learnt along the way that I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do at the time of doing the previous cakes. No idea which enemy I’ll do next round, but perhaps I’ll have to pick something really crazy and complex just to test how far I’ve come.