It's that time of year again, time to make birthday cake for my gorgeous godson. Can't believe he's so grown up!
This year's theme is "SHARK !"
Had a look on the oh-so-reliable Pintrest and there are some great designs out there and great inspiration. Obviously I had to create my own design though.
I found a fantastic image of a great white shark leaping from the water to catch a seal and wanted to try and capture that energy.
There were also a couple of cakes I found that were "fish tank" style so I decided that maybe I could make a cake that was like a cross section of the ocean with the shadows of circling sharks and one on top leaping out in a realistic way... except without the eviscerated seal as that's perhaps a bit too much reality for a cake.
I would have liked to model my own shark, but my time was a bit limited this week so I cheated slightly and found a rubber shark on a toy shop, made a silicon mould of it and used flowerpaste to form the hero shark, with some structural supports inside.
As the flowerpaste dried it started to show seams a bit more, but rather than remake it I felt that it added to the realism as great white sharks tend to have some pretty big battle scars anyway.
I wanted to make the cake so you could see shadowey outlines of other sharks in the water. I found some images of sharks and drew the outlines straight off the computer screen onto some paper.
Then I cut up some ziplock bags and laid one side of the bag over the outline. I drew the image onto the plastic and cut it out. I sprayed a little vodka onto the cake and stuck the plastic sheet onto it. I lightly airbrushed over the sheet with the black and then carefully lifted off the plastic to reveal the silhouette of the shark. I repeated this a few times with two different homemade stencils.
I wanted to try out a 3D splashing water effect on the base which worked well, although now I think I probably should have kept the clean lines of a flat board. Well, that's what free family cakes are for though, being able to try out new things!
I put my 7" round cake on a 9" board, and then that on a 12" board to give it an extra bit of drama and height.
I tore bits off my block of fondant and allowed it to "elephant" up a bit (oh, so easy with PME fondant!) so that it all looked rough and random like surf.
I then airbrushed the whole thing with blue and teal. I decided to massively over-do the spraying and let it gather and run to see how it worked as a watery effect, like light refracting through the water. I also used a paintbrush dipped in vodka to take it off a little in places, then resprayed over it again. I think it generally worked, but I took it too far.
Next time I wouldn't use the paintbrush and although a bit of pooling worked well, I liked it better with a bit less on. This is what my practice cakes are for though, so if I want to use this effect on a commission I now know how it works best.
Above: after the first coat of airbrushing.
Below: the finished version
I liked it best when it was somewhere between the two.
To support the shark on top of the cake, I inserted a dowel that extended past the top of the cake, but was supported at the bottom by the cake card I'd used at the mid point of the cake layers. I covered up the exposed dowel with "splashing water".
I painted the tops of the waves with pale blue and white opaque edible paint.
Airbrushing is no friend of the manicurist. I must remember to use gloves... and possibly a mask to stop me breathing it in!
Oh, by the way, inside it was alternate torted layers of chocolate fudge cake and red velvet cake with white chocolate frosting, home-made raspberry jam and home-made summer fruits jam. Num, num, num!
I couldn't be there for Ronnie's party this year (the first birthday of his I've missed the party for), but I hear it all went rather well. At least I got to see him last night for cake drop off, hugs and catch up. Moo, I love you. Now stop growing, it's making me feel old! x