Start with any size batch of cupcakes and mini-cupcakes prepared in paper holders so you can move them around easily. I used red velvet cake because it was the preference of the birthday boy whose wife requested this cake. The background obviously needs to be black so you can use either black foil cake board wrap or, as I did, just use black poster-board. It has a nice dull finish for the video screen effect and since the cupcakes are in paper cups, they'll never touch it anyway.
I used black buttercream icing purchased from my wonderful and helpful local bakery shop. I've never successfully created true black icing and always just get really dark gray but theirs is tasty and crusts well. All of the cupcakes were iced and smoothed for a flat surface. I found my round cut-outs incredibly helpful for this cake. The smallest size circle was used with light yellow fondant to make the pac-dots and the middle size for the power pellets, both of which were placed on the mini-cupcakes to create the maze of the game. The largest circle was a perfect size for our hero in dark yellow fondant with a small triangle cut out for his mouth.
Pac-man cake(click thumbnails to view gallery)
The ghosts were a fun part of the cake since they are all a little different. Pac-man has ghosts of four different colors chasing him in the game but I decided that Blinky needed to be dark blue and on the run like he was about to be eaten. I used the large circle cut-out as a guide for the round tops of the ghosts and an X-acto knife to shape their squiggly bottoms. The eyes are white with baby blue irises except the one being chased who needed square eyes and his jagged frown mouth.
If I made the cake again, I would want to make it bigger and do all the different fruit possible but since this one was small, I only did the cherries. They are the first fruit that pops out in the game and absolutely adorable on a cupcake. I used the small circle cut-out for the red cherries and then added the green stems and white shine spots on top. Pac-man, the ghosts and the cherries all went on regular size cupcakes and were placed along with the pac-dot minis to create the maze.
Once I got them all set in an acceptable shape, I took dark blue strips of fondant to make the outside edge of the maze. To secure it to the posterboard, I painted just a bit of water on each strip with a small paint brush before placing it on the maze. Then, I squeezed a dab of black icing to the bottom of the cupcakes to hold each one in place. I should also mention that each and every person you serve a black icing cupcake to, will end up with discolored teeth. There's no getting around it so you can either warn your guests or consider it the fun surprise part of eating a gamer cake.
For those of us of a certain age, (you know who you are) pac-man is not only a symbol of our youth but also represents an untold amount of lost hours spent chasing ghosts on our Atari. He was one of the first video games ever and managed to stick around long enough to get a wife and kid. With this cake, you can finally eat those pellets yourself. Wakka wakka!