Sunday, May 15, 2011
So I took a little trip down memory lane today and read some old blog posts. I honestly can hardly believe the cake I did this weekend in light of how intimidated I felt only one year ago about carving and constructing a cake like this. Yes, it's been one year since I took that wonderful fondant cake decorating course. I never in a million years imagined myself doing cakes such as this one at that time.
I am proud of this cake, and for more reasons than just the carving and decorating. You see, I still tend to approach cakes somewhat timidly and wonder each time if "this will be the one that really flops". I was thankful it wasn't this one for two reasons. First because I really wanted to pull it off, but second, and most important...this cake was for one of my son's very good friends, who is also our neighbor. We have the best neighbors in the world, and I loved doing this for them!
So onto the cake! I began conceptualizing this cake a few weeks before the party...looking online for sample cakes from which to take inspiration as well as trying to deconstruct the entire cake into steps in order that my cake making days might go smoothly. This is one of the most important steps for me. I can have no confidence going into a decorating day if I don't have a very clear idea of each thing I need to accomplish. So I made templates, and talked it over with my husband, who always has really good ideas and is quite the perfectionist (he pushes me to do better and go farther, which, although at times frustrating, is exactly what I need). My neighbors had also left all the creative work to me, so I had full reigns on this one! (scary!)
The first day of decorating came and I carved out a rough airplane shape with my template and stacked my cakes. Then all I had before me was just a monstrous block of cake. Oh my... I wondered once again what I had gotten myself into and how this very "un-airplane" looking thing was going to turn into a fabulous airplane cake! So it was with a pounding heart that I dove into that cake and started shaving away. Somewhere in there I got into a groove and my excitement mounted. This thing was actually starting to look like an airplane! YAY! I kept carving and about an hour and a half later, the shape was done and looked quite fabulous to me! I covered the cake in fondant, decorated the cake board, and called it a night.
The next day I made the wings and tail out of foam core (I tried making the wings out of gumpaste, but they were too thin and light for the size of airplane, so I went with foam core because it's thicker, but very light and wouldn't pull down on the cake) and covered them in fondant. I decorated the airplane, and started wondering how big those engines were going to have to be in order for them to hold up the wings. I went back and forth between a few different ideas, but in the end I decided to cover foil wrapped chocolates in gumpaste (cuts down on the amount of gumpaste needed, and since gumpaste is not terribly palatable, gives a fun treat inside the engines for the kids). After painting on some pearl dust I was ready to call it done. It had been a very long day of decorating and there comes a point where it just needs to be finished! But my husband had other ideas. He wasn't convinced the engines were quite right, yet, so he decided to give them a little more realistic look with a black insert and knob in the centre. I was so happy he helped me with this detail. They look amazing and really do add to the cake as a whole.
After all this it was time to assemble the cake! The wings went on and we were excited (my husband helps me with all these little picky details...he's just the best!) and then after the tail went on I stood back, and honestly couldn't believe I had made that cake. It looked just like an airplane!
Before starting the cake I had no idea how big the airplane would end up being. I was afraid it wouldn't be enough cake for everyone at the party, so since I was completing a cupcake order for Barely Burnt Cookies and More (a fun little cupcake and cookie "non-business" that my sister and I started not too long ago...check out our blog here) I offered to include chocolate cupcakes (the airplane was vanilla cake with white chocolate peppermint filling) just so there would be enough cake...and it also added an extra flavor for people to choose from. I had found a fun airplane cookie cutter and it made for a perfect fondant cupcake topper.
So this was a fun one. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it!