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Saturday, September 15, 2012

E.T. Phone Home

For the past 5 years I have lived in Manitowoc, WI. In September they have a Sputnikfest celebration , which commemorates a piece of the Sputnik satellite crashing into the sidewalk here in 1962. The event is alien-themed, which doesn't make much sense, but I'm all for silliness and fun. The first two years I participated I based my cake designs on the festival's awesome vintage feel posters created by illustrator Tina Kugler, see them here
My 2010 entry:

And my 2011 Entry:

I loved the Sputnik poster for this year also, but wanted to change things up a bit so I decided to do E.T. wearing a cheesehead with the Sputnik satellite

For the board I used a Wilton cake drum and hot-glued a circle I cut out of 1/4" MDF board so it would be sturdier and easier to pick up


Then I covered the drum with fondant and cut out a circle where my flange was going to go:

I also made a cardboard cut-out the size of the bottom of the cake with a hole cut out for the flange so everything would sit flush:
Then screwed the flange onto the board and into the MDF
One tip I find useful when drilling starter holes for any screw (be it for around the house repairs or cake construction) is to chose a drill bit a little smaller than the inner part of the screw

I made a base for the cake with a few layers of foam core with a space for the flange cut-out and wrapped it in cake foil:

My next step was indenting the fondant and airbrushing to look like a sidewalk

I then started stacking the cakes I had baked , cutting a hole out for the PVC as I went along

I made my cake board a little apron of waxed paper and duct tape to try and keep it as clean as possible during the decorating:
I did the basic carving with just cake and waited to ice until I was more ready to put it all together as I hadn't really figured out the structure yet and was just going to wing it as I went along. Then I started stacking and icing ( with ganache on a sour cream pound cake)
I stacked up to where the shoulder area would be, then put on the PVC coupler , extended out some PVC (well cleaned of course) and kept stacking
Adding more couplers for the shoulders:
For the bottom of E.T.'s head I attached another flange upside down on the PVC post and carved the basic shape out of more foam core sandwiched together, hot-glued and foil-coated.

The top of his head was cake

Then I started building his features with modeling chocolate

Some modeling tools

After laying down the features I covered everything with a thin layer of modeling chocolate and used my modeling tools to bring out the shapes and refine them. I used gumpaste for the eyes because it is easier to paint on than modeling chocolate for me

I had intended to use cereal treats for the satellite and cheesehead, but I must've used too much marshmallow and it was super soft- and as I didn't have much time I just used a Styrofoam ball, covered it with modeling chocolate and painted it with a mix of luster dust and vodka, and used lollipop sticks for the satellite's "arms"
I also cut and "tore up" part of my base fondant to make it look like Sputnik crashed into it
I finished him off by painting with gel-color mixed with vodka; I ran out of time and modeling chocolate so no cheesehead, but I was still pretty happy with it. I was actually surprised by how well he came out as normally one of the most important things to me when making a sculpted cake is to get my proportions as close to 100%accurate as possible, but in this case I would have either ended up with a cake that was way to little or way to big, so I just tried to make it look o.k.