I was completely surprised to be asked if I could to submit a cake to be possibly featured in an upcoming issue of CakeCentral Magazine. Who could possible pass this up! Well, I almost did. I received the invite on a day that I had gotten hit really hard with the flu bug. I briefly read the email not thinking anything about it and went right to sleep where I stayed for 4 days fighting a high fever. It wasn’t until later that I sat down and reread the email that it actually hit me…Cake Central had invited ME to submit a cake! Me! Oh my! and it had to be professional photographed and submitted by a deadline that was now less than 2 weeks away. I pondered whether I could possible pull it off while being sick all while trying to figure out what was I going to do, am I even qualified to do this, how, when, where, who, ahhhh!
The theme I was given was a Beatrix Potter Baby Shower and the book was, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Beatrix Potter is the illustrator and writer behind the Peter Rabbit series of books. I absolutely love her work and I was excited to take one of her stories and turn it into cake. The design I came up with for the cake was my interpretation of the story – the top-tier showed one of the baby bunnies sleeping under the lettuce plant after filling his belly up with lettuce (food coma or as Beatrix Potter called it, soporific) and the bottom tier showed farmer Mr. McGregor’s window (the one the Flopsies used to peak in through) and I added mommy and daddy, Flopsy and Benjamin Bunny, walking along the farmers home.
A week went by in trying to fight off the flu and now I was on a tighter deadline. With my head in a fog, and a flu that just stuck to me like glue in what seemed to take forever to get rid off, I was now on a mission to get this cake done. And it never fails….Why is it that when you need something, you can’t find it but when you don’t need it, they’re everywhere? I had to go all over town to 3 cake supply stores to find cake dummies in the sizes I wanted. All I wanted was a 6 x 4 inch round and 2, 8 x 4 inch round dummies! Nothing complicated, nothing out of the ordinary. Then, make another run to Home Depot to grab a pale of Patch ‘N Paint (it’s the stuff you use to spackle and patch walls with) and rolled up my sleeves to attempt prepping my first cake dummies. Just a month prior, a fellow cake club member gave a demo on how to prep your cake dummies using Patch ‘N Paint like buttercream to cover your cake dummies with, let it day a couple of hours, sand it down smooth, rub in a light layer of shortening all over it and then roll out and smooth your fondant over that.
Sounds easy right? Well, real cakes are heavy and stay put when you ice them. Cake dummies on the other hand, are really light and move all over the place. I rolled up packing tape to the bottom of the cake dummies and onto a board to help them stay grounded and just held the top of the dummy down with one hand while I iced and turned the cake with the other hand. What a challenge that was! The Patch ‘N Paint is awesome and has the same texture and workability as buttercream. It’s super lightweight too and dries within hours. Just look at how neat it looks after sanding it down smooth.
|A blank, white canvas….|
It looks like buttercream without the extra effort and ingredients to actually make the buttercream. I’m really loving this stuff.
For the cobblestone base, I rolled out balls of white fondant and smoothed them one by one next to each other around the board. After it dried, I dusted it over with an assortment of 5 petal dusts to give it some depth and the illusion of a real cobblestone floor. What’s an English garden without cobblestone?
The baby bunny was hand molded out of marshmallow fondant that I mixed with Tylose to help it dry harder and faster. I used scissors to snip the fur pattern around his body.
I cut out the lettuce leaves free hand (didn’t have a cutter that was large enough for these) and veined them using a large orchid veiner. They were originally made in white then dusted with yellow and green petal colors to look like lettuce.
The larger lettuce head is what I assembled with the leaves I had made a day prior then at the last-minute, I decided to add a couple small ones along the base of the cake. I used rose petal cutters to cut these since they were smaller and dusted them the same way as the large one, assembled them and let them dry overnight.
The fondant name plaque was hand cut from a paper template I made and I added the ribbed texture on it by pressing down a skewer every 1/8 inch across it. Upper Case and Lower Case Tappit Cutters were used for the “Baby” font. I added 2 trees to either side of the cake and made each leaf on the tree one by one…
well, each leaf is actually a 5 petal flower molded and pinched in the middle to look like a cluster of leaves. I wanted to illusion of leaves but without the work of having to make each and every single leaf – cool right?
I used 5 different colors for the leaves to create some depth and made well over 200 of these blossoms for both trees.
They came out exactly how I wanted them to look. I absolutely love how they turned out.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny were also hand molded and I used a pair of scissors to lightly snip the hair markings around their bodies.
Aren’t they just cute walking along the cobblestone path?
And here it is…3 pages in the June 2013 issue of CakeCentral Magazine (Volume 4, Issue 6). What an honor and an adventure that I would do all over again in a heartbeat.
A special thank you to Bryan Ramsay (www.bryanramsayphotography.com) for making the time for my last-minute request and for taking the beautiful photographs that made the cake magazine worthy!
We had to wait quietly for 3 whole months to find out whether the cake made it into the magazine or not. It was torturous not being able to talk or share the photographs with everyone but now, I can finally show them off. Hope you enjoy them.
I also got picked for Cake Central’s Cake Decorator Highlight piece in June. Read more about it HERE and find out a little more about me.