Monday, November 8, 2010

The Force is Strong with This One


  It is a period of grand birthday cakes. Ambitious bakers, creating from hidden kitchens, have learned skills to master the Fondant Empire. During the battle, baker spies managed to steal secret techniques that give them access to 3D cake sculptures and power to destroy the hold of Costco cakes forever. Pursued by production cake decorators armed with sprinkles and ‘whipped topping’, Sugar Alchemist Lorie races to deliver a very happy birthday treat for the young Jedi, Kevin, and to restore unique sugar creations to the galaxy….   

I can not say how thrilled and intimidated I was to make R2D2 in cake, when my friend posed making this cake a few months ago. Thankfully, there are some truly excellent R2D2 cakes on the internet and I was able to put together a plan from their progress pictures. But of course that is as open-ended as trying to cut your own hair by following the steps online--so it was a leap of faith in my skill level that I could pull it off. 

But it all came together and the birthday boy was thrilled with his 18" R2D2 cake. I didn't get to stay for the cutting, but I hear that they ate his silver dome first, then worked their way down the body.  

This is how he came together

His body consisted of three 8" x 3" cakes split and filled with marshmallow-almond flavored All American Buttercream. Cakes were Triple Chocolate Sour Cream and White Almond Sour Cream--both very moist and dense like a pound cake to hold up to 3D construction. After the bottom four layers, the cake was doweled and a cake circle placed onto to help support the top half of the cake. After stacking the cake was crumb coated and well chilled. 

I now did a layer of dark chocolate ganache on the cake. Not only does it give a lovely layer of rich flavor to both the white and the chocolate cakes, it provides a supremely smooth and firm surface onto which the fondant can adhere. 

 The fondant was half homemade marshmallow fondant and half Satin Ice (all homemade can be too soft for vertical uses, so the Satin Ice helps to keep sagging to a minimum). Because R2 has arms and a paneled body, I was able to apply the fondant in two pieces. 

Once his body was covered, a dome top was applied and the cake was placed on a 6" x 3" foam riser covered in grey fondant. A sharpened stake was driven through the entire cake and into the base to provide support.  Then I went from numerous reference photos to create his paneled and be-buttoned body. The legs were made from sculpted rice krispie treats covered in fondant. 

Silver luster dust and shine was then applied to give him sparkle and depth. I made the body panels free hand by pressing into the fondant with a wooden skewer then painting the edges of the panels with luster dust. The camera eye is the only non-edible part of the cake and is a milk carton lid covered with fondant and painted with silver luster. 

Left side, some details are out of scale and/or missing because I'm a cake maker, not a model maker! 

Right side 

The back side, not at all accurate, but the best I could do without a detailed model. 

And it wouldn't be a special occasion cake, if the birthday boy didn't have a call out on the board. 
Happy 5th birthday Kevin! May the Force be with you.