It's time for the world to know how to make a Hulk princess cake.

Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.


The Elton family has been getting a lot of attention for this awesomely gender-stereotype-busting and fabulous DIY cake design.

Even Mark Ruffalo, Mr. Incredible Hulk himself, gave the cake an Internet high-five.

Lainie Elton, mother to twin girls who requested the princess hulk cake, designed the whole thing herself — even though this was the first time she'd ever made a birthday cake!

"I had the music blasting and I was just dancing around the kitchen trying to figure out how to do this." — Lainie Elton, creator of Hulk Princess cake

Obviously, we had to get in touch and find out the details.

Are you ready for an epic no-expertise-needed DIY? Let's get started.

You'll need:

  • A cool family
  • Cake ingredients (details below)
  • A Hulk doll, preferably one that's about a foot tall
  • A piping bag and attachments for icing
  • Two 9x13 cake pans and one 9x9 cake pan
  • A lazy Susan
  • The "Kitchen Karaoke Classics" playlist from Songza
  • Determination and a willingness to experiment!

Step 1: Have twin daughters. Ask them what kind of cake they want for their birthday while you're driving home one day.

Two daughters. Cool parents. Hulk princess can't lose. Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

Your twins don't even hesitate.

"I asked them what they wanted for a cake. Completely out of nowhere, one of them said 'Hulk princess cake!'"

Ask yourself: Does it pass the giggle test?

"We're a family that values comedy above most other things and the idea of the hulk wearing a dress was just too funny for us to not go for it."

Step 2: Contemplate just having someone draw this hybrid hero on a sheet cake.

"They're just really into the Hulk! And of course they're definitely girls who love princess-y things."

Image via vagueonthehow/Flickr (altered).

But then you go ... no. I wanna do this thing.

You begin your research. You are Lainie, coolest mom. You're doing this.

Step 3: That's right. You're doing this. Find the cake recipe of your destiny on the Internet.

You find Rosie of Sweetapolita, who has a great recipe for both cake and icing ... yes! It's for her "classic 3-layer vanilla bean cake with pink vanilla buttercream."

Double the recipe even though you're not exactly an expert cake maker. You got this.


Make a last minute choice to make the second layer green!

Bake that cake in the three cake pans you have in your house: two 9x13 pans and one 9x9 pan. Sure, it might've been easier with round pans, but you had square and rectangular ones! You're living your best DIY life and nothing can stop you!

"I said 'Are you sure that's what you want?' and they said 'Yeah, Hulk princess cake!' and I said 'OK! Let's do that! Sure!'"

Step 4: Stir in some chill parenting and some deeper thoughts on the gender stereotypes your project is busting.

"It didn't occur to us for a second that they shouldn't be interested in Hulk ... and if they were interested in Hulk, why shouldn't she wear a dress?"

HULK LOVE THIS.

"It doesn't have to be a thing. It doesn't have to be a question. It's just like 'Yes I like princesses and yes I like Hulk' ... They don't get it, and I just love that they don't get it.

And they shouldn't have to get it."

Step 5: Have your husband make the icing because he once got really into bread-making, so he knows how to do this icing thing.

Lainie's husband initially posted the picture of the cake online, which began the Internet's love story with it. And he was a big supporter of the whole process, including reminding Lainie to put icing in between the layers of cake. (She almost forgot.)

Next, decide that purple is the obvious choice for the Hulk's dress. Add purple food coloring for the perfect shade of delicate lavender. Add more food coloring for the sweetheart neckline bodice.

I asked Lainie why purple was her choice for the dress color:

"Well that's kind of an obvious one. The Hulk's pants are purple. If it's his ball gown … it must be purple!"

Makes perfect sense.

Step 6: Get a Hulk doll from the toy store and say "yes" to the Hulk dress.

Not "She-Hulk." No. THE HULK.

"[Google] kept turning up She-Hulk stuff, and there was this one picture of a She-Hulk cake that was just a Barbie doll painted green. And I was like 'Well, it's OK, but I really want a proper Hulk action figure.'"

Get that proper Hulk action figure. Wrap his lower half in plastic wrap because he's got moving parts and you want your girls to be able to play with this toy later and not have it be all sticky and have weird cake goo in his leg joints.

How to do this oh-so-architectural cake-stacking ... it's about seven steps:

  1. Prepare your layers. To do this, cut off the tops of the cake to remove the dome that happens when cakes rise. You want the tops of the cakes to be very flat so the layers lie flat. BUT! Save the dome slice that you cut off ... you're going to need it later for the "CRUMB LAYER" (stay tuned).
  2. The first two layers are the 9x13 cakes. Lay one down and note the imprint of the Hulk's footprints. Cut holes for the Hulk to stand in. Do the same for the second layer.
  3. Ice the two bottom layers together.
  4. Stick the plastic-wrapped Hulk down in those iced layers.
  5. Cut the 9x9 cake in half. Cozy it up to the side of the Hulk. Cut a half circle that could go around the Hulk's hips. Do the same for the other side.
  6. Ice the top 9x9 layer to the other layers.
  7. Trim off corners. Stack them on the sides in a stairsteppy way (pictured above).

Step 7: Begin sculpting the layers and the dress.

Get out your lazy Susan and your serrated bread knife. It's time to get all Michelangelo up in here!

Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

You're going to want to reduce the ridges as much as possible from the outset. Just cut diagonally along the edge of the dress to make it as smooth as possible.

Then, it's time to learn a new technique — the "crumb layer."

The crumb layer is what gives the cake that smooth look. It's crumbs and icing put together to form a molding paste.

Take the cake bits you cut off when you were making the dome, crumble 'em up, and mix with some icing until you have a nice paste going. You want it to be somewhere in between Play-Doh and rubber cement — but more delicious!

Start with the dress waistline. Make a slope with your crumb layer that goes up to the Hulk's natural waist.


Lovely. Flattering. Crumb layer.

Now fill in any other gaps with your crumb layer. Then, apply a thin layer of icing all around the Hulk's skirt!

Put your Hulk into the freezer for around an hour. You want the crumb layer to get firm. Then, it's time to get icing!

Step 8: Full-on ice the dress. Time to get all Project Runway and make it werk!

For the skirt, ice as normal. Then take the back of a spoon and make beautiful diagonal ripples. What movement!

Hulk swoosh. Hulk werk. Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

Now, get out a piping bag with a star attachment to make the bodice. You might've forgotten that the bag needs chilled icing in order to form perfect stars, but what is perfection anyway???

"I contemplated putting a tear in the dress … but why shouldn't he be beautiful? Why shouldn't he have a dress that fits him?"

Sure, the Hulk is known for his torn-up clothing.

GIF from "The Avengers."

When he gets all Hulk smash, he doesn't have time to change, so he never gets the chance for that Old Hollywood glamour! Well, that ends here. This Hulk dress fits!

Step 9: Contemplate how the Hulk would accessorize. Say yes to a tiara, no to the necklace.

Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

Find a hot pink tiara from a Rapunzel doll and attach with a hair elastic. Now for the jewelry debate:

"He almost had a necklace, but I thought that would be too much. I wanted to show off the sweetheart neckline! I was just thinking, what would I do with myself here? I would wear dangly earrings. But I couldn't make that happen on The Hulk, so I decided to go bare.



A timeless, classic look."

:)

Step 10: Give the cake to your kids, who are excited. And kind of amazed.

Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

They've known their mom for four years. They just didn't know she was capable of this.

Step 11: Eat the cake and celebrate your cool family being so darn cool and making fun DIY cake art that makes people smile AND think!

Even Mark Ruffalo (yes, Mark Ruffalo) took time out of his busy "being the coolest Earth-advocate on Earth" schedule to show the Hulk princess some love.


So, there you have it. Adorable, right? No wonder the Internet is in love. But there's more!

As soon as I was done talking with Lainie, she sent me a photo. The girls' grandparents decided to get involved in the DIY game and made the girls .... a Hulk princess doll!

HULK SqueeeeeeeeeeEEeEeeEeeeeeee! Photo via Lainie Elton, used with permission.

Lainie's hoping to see a line of Hulk princess Halloween costumes this year.

But first, here's hoping we see many more [insert superhero here] princess cakes. So cool.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Upworthy is sharing this letter from Myra Sack on the anniversary of the passing of her daughter Havi Lev Goldstein. Loss affects everyone differently and nothing can prepare us for the loss of a young child. But as this letter beautifully demonstrates, grief is not something to be ignored or denied. We hope the honest words and feelings shared below can help you or someone you know who is processing grief of their own. The original letter begins below:


Dear Beauty,

Time is crawling to January 20th, the one-year anniversary of the day you took your final breath on my chest in our bed. We had a dance party the night before. Your posse came over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, closest friends, and your loving nanny Tia. We sat in the warm kitchen with music on and passed you from one set of arms to another. Everyone wanted one last dance with you. We didn’t mess around with only slow songs. You danced to Havana and Danza Kuduro, too. Somehow, you mustered the energy to sway and rock with each of us, despite not having had anything to eat or drink for six days. That night, January 19th, we laughed and cried and sang and danced. And we held each other. We let our snot and our tears rest on each other’s shoulders; we didn’t wipe any of them away. We ate ice cream after dinner, as we do every night. And on this night, we rubbed a little bit of fresh mint chocolate chip against your lips. Maybe you’d taste the sweetness.

Reggaeton and country music. Blueberry pancakes and ice cream. Deep, long sobs and outbursts of real, raw laughter. Conversations about what our relationships mean to each other and why we are on this earth.


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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

An assignment on the Trail of Tears has prompted debate about taking historical perspectives.

Helping young people understand the causes and effects of historical events is a formidable task for any educator. History isn't just "what happened and when." There's also a "why," "how" and "who" in every historical happening, and quality history education helps students explore those questions.

Sometimes, however, that exploration can go off the rails.

Most people would agree that understanding different perspectives is an important part of learning history, but there are more and less problematic ways of helping students gain that understanding. We've seen some of the more problematic methods pop up in school assignments before, from asking students to pick cotton like slaves to listing the pros and cons of slavery.

Now an assignment from a school in Georgia is making the rounds, with people calling out issues with the perspective it asked students to take.

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The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.

From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


An abandoned 747 rests in a Bangkok lot. Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images.

Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.

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