I entered the 2014 Threadcakes competition this past November and never shared my progress pics with you all 🙂 They need a home here, so I figured I’d walk ya through my process and craziness in creating this amazing image in cake!
Well, of course you have to start with cake…
Now these cakes were PRE my best vanilla cake recipe… they were getting there. But do you see that bubbliness on the top of a few of them? Yeah. that’s what I was trying resolve. I resolved it 🙂 There were also chocolate cakes but I forget to take pictures sometimes.
While the cakes were a’bakin’, I assembled my structure. This is rather simple for what I typically do, but I was challenging myself with sculpting a human face in cake, so I gave myself a pass. PVC, floor flanges, custom and round cake boards in masonite, and a good ole wooden dowel.
Cakes are more fun with gelatin! So while my cakes were going through batches upon batches of baking, I hydrated some gelatin to make big sheets. You can find my gelatin methods HERE and HERE and HERE. Gelatin makes me happy.
As pretty as all these stacked cakes are…
I do kind of enjoy hacking ’em up a bit. I can start to see my final image come to life. Just be careful when taking your knife to the cakes. It much easier to take a little bit more off, than to have to add cake or filler back to it because you got all carving crazy.
A rough coat of ganache and allowed to set over night. Why overnight? I was going to be doing a bit of pushing, moving, and modeling over top of it and I needed that chocolate to get firm. The next day I laided her printed template over the face and gently traced her features placement through the paper. It helps. Then I began slowly building up the face in bits. I’d never actually sculpted a life sized (well, a bit bigger than life sized) natural looking face before. WHAT WAS I THINKING????
Oh well. Just dive in and have a go. And have fun! I found that once I took on this carefree attitude I started to really enjoy it and was digging the modeling. I wasn’t scared of it or intimidated by it any longer. It was really cool to hit that stride.
She needed details and I had created these the night prior to modeling the face. There is RKT (Rice Krispie Treats) as the base to all but the flat shell fan. But still, all is edible. The flower looking bit is actually coral and is made of (what else?!?) WAFER!!! Love me some wafer paper 🙂 Since I had these done and detailed ahead of time I was able to simply assemble them just prior to airbrushing. Yep. Airbrushing.
I added a few more detail pieces that I wanted to blend in with the airbrush, but they were a bit deeper so they got a touch of purple in the fondant. But here, as you see her, she is ready for her first coat of edible make up!
And did I EVER airbrush her! My kitchen wasn’t well ventilated and I didn’t yet have a fancy-schmancy airbrush booth and was reddish pink till kingdom come. And you would be correct that that day has not yet arrived and I am still finding areas of red airbrush haze. But she needed so much more… And at this point the over-drive kicks in and I forget to keep taking pics. So lets skip ahead after a bit more airbrushing in blues and purples. Just use your imagination. Haze. Colors. EVERYWHERE.
This color was airbrush color that was washed on gently and then removed in the negative color areas with grain alcohol. It does an incredible job of removing water based colors from a fat based surface. (the face was covered in modeling chocolate). I had no idea it worked. Honestly. I kinda just trusted what I knew of my mediums and the qualities and behaviors of the foods and decided to experiment and see what I came up with. Seriously. This is a GREAT thing to do on non-customer orders. I spend at least one day a month going at experimental things “just to see” if they work. It’s where all my gelatin work and wafer work came from.
Lastly, I cut my gelatin decor. Large sheets in pink, purple, and blues. It take a sharp Xacto or scalpel (find the scalpels in my AStore HERE) to make this happen.
But then. After all this fuss and worry and fun and stress, and cake that I couldn’t yet eat, I found this…
And of course, for size comparison, my kidlet digging in. Clearly it is very dire business to eat a cake. He takes his job very, very seriously. And I melt 🙂
To answer a few questions that will be coming my way as they always do:
No, I don’t mind cutting into these things INSTANTLY to eat. That’s what they are meant for and that is my end game.
No, Munchie did not eat the whole thing.
No, I did not eat the whole thing.
Yes, it was too much cake and because I cut her a bit lopsided, her face fell off that evening waiting to be eaten more. It was funny. “FLOP” and she face-planted. We had a hearty giggle!
Thanks, as always, for hanging out here with me in this crazy, cakey virtual space. Stop by often.