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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Woodland Fairy Cake

I will fully admit that when I heard the request for a fairy cake I was less than enthused, but then I realized I could use this as an excuse to model animals and it turned out being one of my favorite cakes so far. 

After some initial sketching I decided that this would be a woodland fairy cake, and her house would be a tree stump. My first step was to saran wrap some cake dummies the size I wanted my cakes to be. I then used rice cereal treats to make the tree limbs, using the dummies and board as my guides so I knew everything would fit together correctly.

I also used a pan on top to visualize how it would look altogether.
After the limbs were made to my satisfaction I covered them with a thin layer of modeling chocolate.
This cake was the first time I used the pasta roller attachment for the Kitchen Aid to roll out modeling chocolate - I absolutely loved it.! I mostly rolled my modeling chocolate to level 3 or 4 for this project.

My favorite part of this cake was making the animals. I began by smooshing rice cereal treats into the general shapes I wanted 

Defining the eye sockets :

First layer of modeling chocolate:

Second layer:
Adding an eye:
To start and model the features I rolled a thin sausage of modeling chocolate:
I used this for the eyelids:

Smooth the sausages with gumpaste of clay tools, this flat curved one is my favorite, I use it for everything:
I used this thin needle tool to give the fur texture:

I cut out an ear shape, and thinned the edges a bit with a ball tool:

Attach the ear with a little water, and then blend the seam smooth:

The "naked" unpainted little bunny:
Then I started on the chipmunk, who also had a base of rice cereal treats and was formed in the same way as the bunny. Here he is at the start of modeling:
Adding texture:
Here they are after their paint jobs , they were both painted using both brushes with dusts and vodka-diluted gel colors, and airbrushed




Now for the actual cake. To make the tree stump look right I wanted more height than the amount of cake I needed, so I used a styrofoam dummy underneath the cake, you can see I marked on it the placement of the rice cereal tree limbs:

After stacking, I started carving and tapering:
then I covered it with ganache:
Here is the base for my cake, which I covered in fondant. I airbrushed it brown, and then traced the outline of the tree limbs so I knew exactly where to place them later:
Here is the cake with limbs added, on the board. The blue is the backing for the double-sided duct tape I use to attach my ribbons. I find it easiest to apply the tape to the board right after covering with fondant, but I leave the backing on till the end, so the ribbon doesn't get dirty.
I gave the limbs a second layer of modeling chocolate, and also laid irregular bunched up sheets of it all over the stump.
I made a fondant disk for the top, textured it, and airbrushed brown. Then I covered the sides with another layer of ganache, nice and rough to resemble bark.
Cookie crumb "dirt"; I think the generic chocolate sandwich cookies have the most dirt-like color as opposed to the blacker Oreos.

I knew I wanted the stump mossy, but wasn't sure exactly how. I thought about royal icing, but that would have been really futzy. Through the miracle of Google I came across this post from the blog "peas love carrots" , where she used cake crumbs for moss. It had the perfect fluffy moss look I wanted. If I were to do it over again I would make one bigger cake to crumble, instead of what I did, which was make a dozen cupcakes with different shades of green. I did like the variation in color, but there wasn't much cake left after cutting away the brown, and harder to crumble little chunks. I ended up using a cheese grater
Another fun detail was the fairy door - I was going to use a texture plate (on the left), but I was rather underwhelmed by the results so I just used my handy dandy needle tool and doing it by hand after all :
Here it is after painting and with modeling chocolate stones added:

Now the fun part, sticking it all together. I also decided to add some tree fungus (also modeling chocolate)

I really love how the door turned out:
Here's the actual fairy , I threw away about 3 awful heads before I got this o.k. one, the wings wer wafer paper with a little disco dust on top