We’ve felt a bit guilty about Serenity’s birthdays for the last couple of years. Although her first birthday cake was my first 3d character cake Dorothy, her 2nd birthday was overshadowed by Seb’s heart condition and a rushed visit to the vet for the cat. Her 3rd birthday was soon after we arrived in China where I was hellishly busy and we had no oven or baking powder (although Marie still managed to make an awesome cake).
This past weekend was Serenity’s 4th birthday party, and we decided to try and make up for the past few years with a very blue Princess party.
There was never any question what the cake would be, Cinderella has always been Serenity’s favorite princess. Unlike previous efforts, I tried to minimize the stress involved by making it simple and modular, and spreading the workload over 4 half days rather than 2-3 very long days. To achieve this I thought I’d make Cinderella’s body out of modeling chocolate, and to make it separate from the cake dress. That way I could work on the fiddly detail early on, without the worry of making a mess of cake and fondant.
I made cakes and modeling chocolate the first day. Since my last attempt at modeling chocolate, I’ve read that Australian Glucose is thicker than American corn syrup, so I added some additional water which made the end result softer and much easier to work with. Since I needed a fair amount of skin color, I thought I’d be clever and color the first batch while it was liquid. I needed more color than I thought, but eventually got it the perfect skin color. I added the glucose and within seconds it became deep orange, argh!! Luckily I had an extra packet of chocolate, and the orange ended up being used for the bird so it was ok. I decided to leave the next 2 batches white and color them later…
Next day I made fondant and the armature. I made the armature from coat hanger wire, bulked it up with polystyrene, then covered it all with foil. One wire went from the wooden dowel to the head, and another for the arms. But as soon as I put the arms in, they just swung straight down. In my haste I’d forgotten to attach the arms to the torso to hold them up. Luckily lots of tape under the foil held the arms in place long enough. Ultimately the right arm was supported by the dress/cake which in turn supported the left arm holding the bird.
Next day I modeled the torso and bird using the modeling chocolate , leaving the dress to be made from the same blue fondant that would cover the cake.
The day before the party I carved and covered the cakes with fondant, and put the torso on. Usually I’m working until midnight the night before the party with a mad last minute rush the next morning. It was a nice change finishing the cake at 5:30 the day before the party.