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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bottle of Vodka and a Pack of Smokes

Nothing says delicious birthday cake like a bottle of vodka and a half-burned cigarette, yummy:) I was thrilled to get the request for this one. Starting at the beginning, For the board I cut a piece of 1/2" thick foam core board to the size I wanted, wrapped in cake foil, and trimmed the edge with ribbon (strangely enough neither Micheal's nor Hobby Lobby stock alcohol or cigarette themed ribbon, and I had to settle for black with white stitching)
My next step was to lay out all my elements to get an idea of composition.
I wanted the bottle to look like it was actually lying on its side, instead of just a bottle cut in half, but I didn't think an all-cake structure would hold up. I decided to form the bottom half of the bottle with rice cereal treats (I use the recipe on the box, with just a little less butter. I have tried with no butter, but found it too dry)
I covered this in ganache:
I let it firm up a bit, then flipped it over and cut a cardboard to fit. For extra support I used three short dowel sections in the cereal treat part going up to the cardboard:
I stacked my cake layers on top of the cardboard:
I had cut two waxed paper templates the diameter of the bottle. I placed one on either side and used it as a guide for rounding out the shape:

Then I made the top and stem of the bottle out of cereal treats and covered with ganache. I used a long bamboo skewer to impale it into the cake:
I attached the neck, smoothed any gaps with more ganache, and set it in the fridge overnight, covered with a clean plastic bag
Now for the fun part: the details, all of which were made of modeling chocolate
I started with the pack of smokes. I tried to accurately measure all the parts, and cut the sides out individually:

I attached the pieces together with a little water, used gumpaste tools to blend the edges, and used a thin piece of foam inside to support it while it set up
I painted all the details using 190 vodka and powder colors, with black airbrush color for the lettering. I think I spent close to 2 hours on the cigarette pack alone

Then onto the ashtray. I mixed some blue and white modeling chocolate together for a nice marbled look:

For the ashes I mixed some black and gray modeling chocolate together and used my micro plane grater. Very touchy stuff. It looked great, but I had to carefully scoop it up with a knife blade or it just all clumped together

The martini glass is also modeling chocolate, with a skewer in the stem. To do the stem I stuck a sausage of MC onto the skewer first, then rolled it into a rope

Now time for fondant:( Actually it wasn't as bad as I had expected. I did the neck first, as I figured doing it all at once would be a futile and infuriating endeavor. The position of the bottle made it easy to hide the seam
For the body I measured out the piece I'd need, and carried it over to the cake on a piece of cardboard to minimize stretching
It went pretty good, although there were some gaps at the bottom:
To solve this I cut thin strips of fondant
and used a butter knife to tuck them into place:
Not perfect, but good enough since the bottle will be painted and the bottom edges won't be noticeable in the final product.
Painting time:) Which was worse than I expected:( I again used gel color thinned with 190proof vodka. I kept getting clumps that wouldn't dissolve, and it happened with all my shades of blue, both Wilton and Americolor- very frustrating
I just kept layering washes of blues, and sponging off colors to try and make it look translucent

While the blue was drying I decided to be bold (for me) and use poured sugar to make the spilled martini. I have bad experiences with cooking sugar (mostly my own stupid fault) including a stove-top covered in boiled over sugar/water while making baklava; what a mess!

I looked up a generic hard candy recipe on the magnificent interwebs, and combined some sugar, water, and corn syrup and cooked to 300-ish degrees
I poured spill blobs on a silicon mat and let cool
Then I started putting everything together:
I used just a little bit of corn syrup to attach the spills, and a little ganache for everything else

After I removed the foam, I crumpled my pack of smokes:

In the next picture you can see the piece of foam I cut to support the martini glass as it set up; I wasn't confident in its strength, so I sent the foam with the cake so it could be taken off right before serving, and sent a dollar store martini glass along just in case

My original idea for the bottle was for it to be open, with vodka spilling out, but I messed up some measurement, and my half-assed attempt at a opening looked, well, half-assed so I changed to a closed cap.

The end did not really look as mangled as the next picture implies, but my camera's flash only has a Hiroshima setting

This one was a lot of fun, and semi-ironic that I was so painstakingly handcrafting cigarettes and cigarette paraphernalia on just about the anniversary of when I quit smoking myself 6 years ago. Hope you enjoyed seeing the process.


  1. I'm a little in love with you. That cake is AWESOME! Fantastic job! *patting you on the back*

  2. Why thank you Jenny:) *blushing*

  3. That's amazing well done! How did you do the other part of the martini glass as you have only showed how to do the stem?