I am a cake obsessive, based in West Sussex, UK.

I started off making cakes for family and friends before giving up a proper career in favour of playing with sugar full time. Having worked for two bakeries making their wedding and celebration cakes, I am now looking toward world domination with breaks for coffee and chat.

If you are interested in seeing future projects, enter your email address in the box on the right for updates.

To see my website go to: www.kasserina.com. You can email me on info@kasserina.com.

I also sell some sugarcraft items on Etsy. Please go to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KasserinaHome?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Shark birthday cake - November 2014

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

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