A Daring Leap and a Diamond Ring

skydiving cake plane header“So yeah, they got engaged while skydiving. He came down first, and when she landed, he was waiting there with a picnic and the diamond ring. Is there any way you could… maybe… recreate that scene?”

plywood pvc pipes for plane cakeAnd so began the hunt for materials. How does one make a plane suspended from the sky? Ideas were swimming around inside my brain until my Technical Director, er- I mean- my mom, and I finally went to Home Depot. We had the good fortune of running into the most creative and helpful employee in the place. “I’m making a cake, and it needs to have a plane suspended in midair. And a girl skydiving off the plane- so I want her suspended, too. The actual cake will be the hill underneath the plane.” I paused. “Do you have any ideas?”

Now, in an era of online shopping, mobile apps, and self-service checkouts, human interaction can get lost. But it’s nice to know that a person can walk into Home Depot asking for something completely ridiculous, like suspending a cake in midair, and not only does the employee not laugh, but he springs into action.

Our helpful associate paced up and down the aisle, deep in thought. In fact, for a moment, I became concerned that he had forgotten us completely, and had perhaps dozed off while staring at the PVC pipes. But just as suddenly as he had withdrawn into silence at the mesmerizing sight of neatly stacked white cylinders, he bounced to life and said, “I’ve got it! Follow me!” He led us around the store, gathering an assortment of gadgets and tubes. Since my primary knowledge of Home Depot had consisted of flowers, tomato cages, and the occasional foray towards the light bulbs, the cavernous aisles within were quite daunting. But he weaved us skillfully around, one display to another, until we had the tools we all agreed would support a plane made of chocolate.

Is there something extraordinary about an employee helping a customer? Certainly not. But genuine happiness and good humour? The giving of one’s time without impatience? Joy and pride taken in one’s work? That is extraordinary.

But I digress.

The trick with this cake was that I wanted the female skydiver to be suspended in midair. So before I could do anything else, I created her gum paste skeleton (these figures were created the same way the Blackhawks were created- gum paste torso, arms, and legs, and once hardened, covered in modeling chocolate). I tied fishing line around her torso, and the opposite end of the fishing line around the top of the PVC pipe. You can see the little gum paste figurine against the towel in the photo above.

The next step was to create the plane. I threw some modeling chocolate on the PVC pipe and smoothed it around until it began to look plane-like. And of course, as always, the female skydiver was there, hanging out below.

skydiving cake partway finishedAdd some windows to the plane… and a door:

skydiving cake plane door in stagesAnd next comes the cake! The wooden base was covered in black fondant, and then I put down a cake board. I then covered with several sheet cakes, cut up another sheet cake to make an angled side, covered with frosting and fondant, and then piped on the grass: skydiving cake in stagesAnd voila! You have a skydiving cake!

skydiving cake plane guy proposing 1    

guy proposing 2        tiny fondant roses skydiving plane cakegirl from skydiving plane cake

 

Sculpting a Face with Modeling Chocolate

Dear Michelangelo,

Wow, you are good. This week I tried to attempt to make Mary’s head from your “Pieta” sculpture, and now I understand why it took you two years. I know you had to carve marble, but just for your information, it is no fun to use modeling chocolate, because it turns to putty after about ten seconds in your hands. But hey, at least with modeling chocolate, if you make a mistake, you can stick it back on. I’m pretty sure marble doesn’t work like that.

Anyways, I’m a big fan. Thanks for letting me attempt to recreate your work with an interesting edible medium. I think I’ve got about a bazillion years to go to learn how to do this, but it was fun to pretend for a week. Your marble pieces look beautiful, but I have to admit- this chocolate smells delish!

Sincerely,
Kathryn

P.S. Please enjoy the following short video and photos of how my work progressed.

modeling chocolate face partially donemodeling chocolate face

 

 

 

Here Come the Hawks: How to Create A Chicago Blackhawks Cake

I’ve been trying to decide why I love hockey, and I think it’s because my mother is a nurse. I spent many of my elementary years attempting to fake sick so that I could stay home and watch “Little House on the Prairie,” but alas! To have a mother as a nurse is to never, ever, ever miss a day of school. Her insistence that we muscle through any dribbly noses or rumbly stomachs has created within me an immune system so strong that in 8 years of teaching, I have only succumbed to illness once. (Which reminds me: always get that flu shot. Trust me.) Her no-nonsense attitude has completely rubbed off on me and I’m both ashamed and proud to say that, should someone complain that they have a cold, I might outwardly exhibit signs of compassion, but you can be sure that on the inside, I’m thinking, “Take some Dimetapp and move on with your life already- geez!”

It is commonly known that hockey players are the absolute best when it comes to muscling through pain. And I think my mother would approve. I’ll never forget the sight of Andrew Shaw, a gaping gash across his face, hoisting that cup last year! Now there’s a trooper! Or Keith taking a puck to the mouth, losing teeth, and then finishing the game? I can’t even come up with a sport where they’d do anything like that.

Strangely enough, I have baseball to thank for this hockey cake I made. How richly ironic is that? Baseball: the sport where time stands still and the biggest threat to players are grass stains. Any readers who are baseball fans, please enlighten me as to how I can better enjoy the game. Until then, consider this an open invitation to the high-speed world of hockey, where the players move fast, hard, and even win once in a while.

Several weeks ago, The Cake Boss brought a cake in to Wrigley Field to celebrate their 100th Anniversary. The cake was left out all day for the enjoyment of the fans at the ballpark, and by the end, was deemed not safe to eat (or something like that). It found its way into a dumpster, where someone took a photo, which went viral, naturally. The Cubs just can’t catch a break. Many of my friends sent me the photo, and I jokingly commented to them that I wanted to build a hockey cake, instead! Later that evening, I heard a discussion on WGN radio where the hosts were going on and on about the cake, and about how Wrigley should have eaten it, and aren’t there any bakers in Chicago, anyways? I fired off an email to the station offering to bring in a Blackhawks cake, and- wonder of wonders!- the producer was in touch with me within minutes. And then, a deep gulp: what had I gotten myself into?!

With a ten-day deadline, a regular job to do, and absolutely no knowledge of large cake construction, the project seemed doomed for failure. Luckily, my family is awesome and, as usual, served as my minions. There is absolutely no way I could have done this without them.

STEP 1: CREATE THE RINKcreating the fondant hockey rink

Supplies: foam board, rotary cutter, and fondant

1. Cut out foam board to a “rink” shape.
2. Lay fondant on the board and smooth it out (it was easier to roll it directly on the board than to try and transfer it after rolling).
3. Using a very thinly-rolled fondant, cut out various rink decorations.
4. Create center logo. Keep all these pieces like a puzzle, rather than layers. Make it as flat as possible.
5. Use a black food-safe marker to create highlights on the face and feathers.

piecing the blackhawks logo

 STEP 2: CREATE THE “ICE” making a hockey ice rink with sugar(Disclaimer: There may be, and likely is, an easier way to do this. I have no idea what it is though and would welcome suggestions because this was hard. 🙂 )

Mission: Create a clear piece of “ice” that was in the shape of a rink that can lay atop the fondant rink pictured above. I was dead-set on creating this and required it as the “wow” factor.
Difficulty level: Almost off the charts
Success rate: 8 experiments later, we came somewhat close. Result still slightly yellow-ish and bumpy, but seriously, eight tries! Enough already!

1. Bottom surface: Granite (don’t have granite, like I don’t? Buy some garden thingies from Menards!)
2. Lay foil across stone tiles
3. Lay nonstick mat atop foil (that’s me, always food-safe!)
4. Create a barrier that will hold in the boiling sugar and allow it to harden into the shape of the hockey rink (For my barrier, we improvised and took a trip to Menards. We found black metal pieces with a gentle curve (somewhere in the fencing department) and then had a gentleman cut a piece of wooden molding down to the required size (2 feet). We wrapped the wood pieces in foil, coated the foil in crisco (so that the hardened sugar wouldn’t stick to it), and laid them carefully on the mat.)

Method: Cook sugar according to recipe (I used this one). Make sure you have a good candy thermometer- the temperatures listed on the device are extremely important and even a few degrees’ difference is enough to throw off the entire batch (I repeat: we did this EIGHT times). Here are three of the failed attempts. The first we cooked to the marking for “Hard Crack” (310°F). It was clear as we poured it but it turned brown about halfway through- apparently it continued cooking even when off the flame. Attempt 2 we cooked to “Hard Ball” (250°F). As you can see, it was too droopy. Attempt 3: cooked without corn syrup in an attempt to get rid of yellow tinge. Didn’t work- the corn syrup is important in getting rid of all the granules of sugar. This photo shows how cloudy it was, even after half an hour of cooking!

burnt poured sugar     poured sugar fail 2     poured sugar without corn syrup

The final result that we used was “Hard Ball” (285°F). We poured it out and then let it sit for an entire day. Then we gently removed the side pieces, and luckily, it stayed in place! This one was the winner! Here’s a photo of the sugar right after it was poured:

poured sugar ice rinkSTEP 3: CREATE PLAYERS gum paste hockey players

I created body pieces out of red gum paste, and allowed them to harden for several days. Then, using red modeling chocolate, I added another layer to create the uniform. Once the pieces were mostly covered in modeling chocolate, I stuck a little bit of white gum paste in between to hold the leg (or arm) to the torso. Then, I covered the entire joint area with modeling chocolate and allowed it to harden for several days. (My lineup of players lived in this pan while drying. I checked on them frequently to make sure they were behaving and not falling over.)

blackhawks players modeling chocolate fondant cake

gum paste hockey player

Each player had an individual stance and therefore, his own personality. The Toews figure turned out to be the most reliable one, which amused me greatly. (It’s the little things in life.) Every time I had to pick up one of the others, I looked over at #19 and thought, “Well isn’t that just like him. Always the responsible one, getting it done.”

modeling chocolate fondant hockey playersI was so utterly lost for time that I even packed up a little kit to work on while attending my dad’s spring band concert! My last guy came to the concert as a lump of modeling chocolate, and left a player. Not easy to do by the flickering candlelight, but the deadline loomed and I was motivated by the thought of them showing an incomplete cake.

creating player by candlelight
       blackhawks players from the back
STEP 4: CREATE NETShockey nets wire and fondant

Using a heavy gauge floral wire, I sculpted two hockey nets. They were then covered in white fondant. My mom, a whiz with fabrics, created the net with a bit of string. Then she covered the remaining portion of the nets with red modeling chocolate.

STEP 5: PUT THE RINK TOGETHER placing sugar rink on fondant rink

Once the white fondant was dry, and the sugar-ice was hardened, it was time to lay it on top and see if it worked! This picture pretty clearly shows the yellow cast of the ice. :/

Once the ice was down, it was time to create the walls of the rink. These were foam board covered in fondant and stuck into the rink using toothpicks. Unfortunately there are no photos of this part! WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!!


STEP 6: MAKE THE CAKE

Here’s the most awful part about cake decorating: there are certain things that you have to do last minute. Like putting the cake together. Sure, I can make the parts in advance, but one doesn’t quite know how it will work until the actual cake is there! Luckily, my mother is an absolute angel and she baked twelve cakes while I was at work. Twelve!

Once the cakes were carved and frosted, it was time to cover with fondant. I decided to cover the top with one piece, and the sides with separate pieces. If I had the luxury of hiring someone, this would be their #1 job because I am absolutely awful.

Don’t forget to put supports in the cake so the rink doesn’t come crashing through! 🙂

sheet cake 1    sheet cake layer 2     sheet cake layer 1  finished blackhawks cake base
STEP 7: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

Here’s a handy dandy photo that shows the many layers of the cake:

blackhawks cake construction

STEP 8: TRANSPORT DOWNTOWN

transporting cake            transporting players on soft towel

STEP 9: SET UP CAKE IN WGN SHOWCASE STUDIO

setting up in green room        Kathryn and Garry

Check back for my next post that will describe my experiences at WGN! I was able to bring the cake into the studio, talk on the air with Garry Meier and Tom Skilling, and leave the cake in the Showcase Studio window for passersby to see! I am so grateful to WGN for this awesome opportunity- it was a lot of fun and something that I’ll never forget! In the meantime, tune in to the podcast, available here: http://wgnradio.com/2014/05/07/garry-meier-full-05062014/ (beginning around the 3rd minute).

Oh yeah: GO HAWKS!

blackhawks cake 

Like the Blackhawks? Check out some other goodies I’ve made here:
Blackhawks/ hockey-themed iced cut-out cookies
Blackhawks logo cake
Life-sized puppy cake for player Bryan Bickell’s foundation
Blackhawks jersey cookies

(Literally) My Family Tree

fondant and real grandparents

When the time came to create a cake for my grandparents’ birthdays, I struggled to come up with an idea. What does one make for the perfect couple? The man who is so fiercely dedicated to protecting the marginalized of our society, giving a voice to those who have none? Who has shown his children and grandchildren the very definition of love with the way that he adores his wife? The woman who leads the conga line across the stage at the restaurant when our family’s “song” comes on, who demonstrates her pride in her family with unabashed delight? Who- literally- will seek out the people on the fringes, so that they experience, even if for a moment, the feeling of belonging and inclusion? The couple who cares for each other before they care for themselves, and who have demonstrated how to live out a faith-filled life that is brimming with love?

With these thoughts swirling through my head, I rejected idea after idea. Nothing seemed good enough for them. And suddenly, my sister said, “The family tree!” Now, everyone knows that I am spending much of my free time conducting family research, but I hadn’t thought of actually bringing that to life in edible form. After a discussion at dinner on Sunday, it was decided: I would attempt to recreate a family tree. Grandparents at the bottom, with the families sprouting off on the branches. What better to way to honor them than by bringing their “legacy” to life, in fondant form?

Though our history has been traced back until the 1700s in rural Ireland, out of necessity due to both time constraints and cake design requirements, I narrowed down the branches to include only my immediate family. This Irish blood is what accounts for the ghostly skin and the dark hair… And the fact that one in three people in the family are named Mary. (Ok, I’m just kidding about that.) But in all seriousness, due to Irish traditions, names tended to stay within the family. For example, in one strand of our tree: There is a Robert who has a sister Mary and a sister Margaret. Robert marries a Margaret (who has a sister Mary). Robert’s mother’s name is Mary, whose mother’s name is Margaret, who’s grandmother’s name is Mary. Add in an aunt Margaret, a great-aunt Margaret, two great-aunt Mary’s, a great-grandma Margaret, and a great-great-grandma Mary, and then remember: this is just ONE strand. On the other side- completely unrelated- the Margarets begin anew.

photo 1With the exception of one cousin, who has a name that says it all, really- Margaret Mary- the naming tradition has fallen by the wayside with the past few generations. (While it is nice to keep family traditions, it HAS been nice to get to know the other 19 letters in the alphabet!)

Ok, back to the cake! Counting up the relatives, we discovered we needed 25 heads. I asked/begged my mother and aunt to help in this endeavor, promising them that “fondant is really fun!” Luckily, these two women are great sports and we really did have fun making heads, noses, eyes and mouths. (And this aunt isn’t even a part of that particular tree! Do you see what I mean? I have the best relatives all around!)

Next, we created a base for the tree. This tree was going to be very heavy, so we decided to use rice krispie treats instead of cake! Cover the base in fondant, and trim off excess fondant:

photo 3 photo 4 photo 11

Next, create the tree. I used a large plastic cylinder, stuffed it with modeling chocolate, and then stuck in some metal decorative pieces I found at a craft store. I then duct-taped these sticks together because I was afraid the addition of the heads would cause them to shift around a lot.

photo 22 photo 33 photo 44

Once the branches were secure, I added the heads (in family groups). The heads had hardened with a small bit of wire inside, and I wrapped the other end around the “branch” and secured it with floral tape. Then the entire branch was covered with modeling chocolate.

DSCN0049    DSCN0051

The entire project ended up taking a ridiculous amount of time – my lovely mother was roped into work with me literally all day. She was a hard worker that completed all the hard or boring jobs like making leaves (yawn), softening the modeling chocolate (ouch!), and everything else that I could bark out at her.

photo(33)
Not only is she a hard worker, but she’s got a sense of humor!

Normally, I spend a lot of time thinking about the cake recipient while I’m decorating, but boy, in this case- wow! It was like a trip down memory lane!

photo 55Later that evening, we had a birthday party and presented them with the cake. As always, it was a very enjoyable evening and I was reminded about how blessed I am to have this life, these perfect relatives. And as I was thinking about what to put in this blog post, an unfortunate quote came to mind: “Every family has a weird relative. If yours doesn’t… it’s you.”

:/

 

 

A Chocolate Rose? Now THAT I Would Accept!

rose cake popsRecently, a friend asked me to make cake pops in the shape of roses for her “Bachelor” finale party. Always up for a challenge, I readily accepted and began my preparation for the event.

In order to fully immerse myself in the experience, I set the DVR for Monday evenings. I could practically feel the machine looking at me confusedly, thinking, “I’m sorry, WHAT do you want me to record?!” Avoiding its accusing glare, I plunked myself onto the couch and flipped on the program.

It’s not that it’s a bad show, it’s just that, for me, personally, hearing the word “connection” used approximately 27 times in 60 seconds is a little much. I’m certainly not one to judge a person’s tv choices- after all, my DVR is equal parts “Friends,” “Ace of Cakes,” “Jimmy Kimmel,” and “The Voice” (not exactly the most cerebral combination of programming) – but I just couldn’t make it happen.

Luckily, I was familiar with the shape of a rose, even without JP’s helpful weekly examples. Read on below to learn how I created this flowery bunch! (For another example of cake pops- Easter eggs!- click here!)

1. Create Leaves: Use green gum paste to form leaves, laying them across crumpled wax paper in order to let them dry in a more realistic manner.

drying gum paste leaves2. Find a good cake-pop recipe! I tried this one from Bakerella.  (Check out her site– it’s amazing! She’s the cake pop queen!)  This recipe could not have been easier, and tastes so delicious! Of course I needed a red velvet recipe, since I was doing red roses. 🙂

cake pop mix3. Form cake pops into a teardrop shape. This will help create the illusion of a flower bud.

cake pop bases4. Cover cake pops with melted chocolate. I wanted the pops to be really secure for this project, so I dipped the end of the stick into the melted chocolate before I stuck it into the pop. This will help the pop adhere to the stick. Once that has hardened, dunk the entire pop into the melted chocolate. To dry, put the sticks into a piece of styrofoam.    cake pop stick5. Cut out petals. I didn’t have a petal cutter, so I just used my spatula to cut out petals. (The modeling chocolate rolls out easily.) Luckily, with modeling chocolate, any seams or extra bit can just be smoothed out (unlike fondant). Before putting the petal on the flower bud, I pinched the edges to make them very thin. This will give it a more realistic appearance.

cake pop petal

6. Layer petals around flower bud. Use your artistic eye to find a pleasing composition! I found that 2 petals around the chocolate bud, and then two petals around that (going the opposite direction, so as to cover the seams), and then three petals around that, created a pretty rose. To make a bigger rose, keep adding petals!

Rose cake pop tutorial

 7. Add leaves. Carefully twist the wired ends of the leaves around the cake pop stick. Once they’re twisted, and the pointy ends are pushed down, cover with green modeling chocolate.

wire leaves on cake pop

8. Artfully arrange flowers in a vase.

rose cake pops on white

   rose cake pops close up

smell the cake pop
Mmm… smells like chocolate!

Bucky Badger in Pound Cake Form!

Several months ago, a friend asked me to do a groom’s cake for her daughter’s wedding. “You can do a 3D Bucky holding some Mike and Ikes, right? Great. Thanks!” She promised to send more info and then waved and went on her way.

And I stood there, frozen, with my mouth gaping. No, I do not know how to carve cakes. No, I’ve never had a cake at a public event. And no, I do not like to disappoint people, especially on their wedding day!

But then there’s that little spark inside that pushes me to try something new. “If she thinks I can do it, maybe I can,” the little spark told me. So with much trepidation (and a pep talk from friends), I nervously assented to her request.

So began the research necessary for a carved cake. What type of cake works the best? And frosting? Fondant? How do you transport it? Does it need to be kept cold? How do you attach the head? What’s the best material for making the head? How about my head? Will I lose it during this process?

Armed with google and a determined spirit, I created the following calendar:

  • Two months before: answer the above questions
  • One month before: sketch cake design and figure out dimensions
  • Three weeks before: finalize cake design and purchase materialsStyrofoam head  and base
  • Two weeks before: begin working on the head
  • One week before: bake and freeze the cake
  • 3-5 days before: create gum paste extras
  • 2 days before: make the cake board, thaw the cake
  • 1 day before: assemble (and pray. Lots.)

Here’s how everything went down:

STEP 1: THE HEAD

I decided to use a styrofoam base to carve the head. (Are you supposed to do that? I have no idea!) I purchased some cake pillars from a local craft store that I think are meant to help stabilize cake layers, and I shoved one of the pillars into the head and stuck the other in a large styrofoam dummy cake as the base.

After the base was formed, I began to coat the styrofoam with modeling chocolate. I’ve used modeling chocolate twice before and, let me tell you, something went awry this time. It still made a beautiful finish and was easy to work with once it was kneaded, but I think I can safely say that I gave myself tendinitis just from this one afternoon. I “knead” to learn how to do this better. Haha. 🙂 After approximately 3 hours of kneading (I wish I were joking), most of the modeling chocolate was ready to go.

The photo below shows the modeling chocolate before and after. (The “before” is the crumbly-looking block and the “after” are warm and malleable logs:) modeling chocolate before and afterWith a pile of ready-to-use modeling chocolate by my side, I commenced Head Construction. The photos below show the progress: Bucky Badger head how to

STEP 2: MIKE AND IKE BOXES
For the candy boxes, I used a piece of styrofoam and covered it in fondant. That didn’t work one bit. So I coated it in frosting, then fondant, which worked a little- but the box was lumpy and weird. So I left it as is, waited a day, and then covered the fondant with a thick-ish layer of gum paste, which I managed to sort-of flatten with the rolling pin so it was a smooth surface. That seemed to work okay, but I am certainly not that happy with the result. I cut out little pieces of colored gum paste to form the fruits, candies, and words on the box (I cut the white letters out first, and then laid them on the black and carved around them) and stuck them on with some gum glue adhesive. Next step: let the whole thing dry for a few days, and voila!
(Oh- I only wanted one box for the final cake, but I made two, just in case. Believe me- make an extra copy of all your embellishments.)
Mike and Ike fondant boxes

STEP 3: THE BODY
I have no idea what I’m doing! I don’t even know what a badger is, really! And how do you carve arms on an animal- it’s not like cake can just withstand the powers of gravity without something supporting it, right?! So I decided to just make his arms close to his body and hope for the best. What follows is a series of in-progress photos. My badger ended up short and morbidly obese. :/

Bucky Badger cake in progress When carving the body, repeat after me: “Little cuts. Little cuts. Little cuts.” Once you cut out the cake, it cannot be put back. Carving this body took me two hours, but I’m not sorry! The result was a coffee table that looks like this:
Bucky crumbs

STEP 4: COVERING THE BODY
The final steps went extremely fast. Cover the carved cake in buttercream… and then fondant… and then embellish it:
Bucky Buttercream  Bucky fondant  Bucky embellishment

STEP 5: ADD THE HEAD
Self explanatory! 🙂
(The only thing I would suggest is this: see how Bucky wears a turtleneck? You’ll want to make sure that you carve a little dip into the top layer of cake- where the neck is- otherwise he’ll end up looking more like a giraffe than anything else.)
Adding Bucky's head

STEP 6: SIT BACK AND ENJOY!

Bucky Badger cake

I have to tell you a true story. I almost sliced off his arm. No joke! I was catching up on Season 3 of Downton Abbey and had just finished (or so I thought!) the last episode, so I went back to the carving. And suddenly, out of nowhere, it happened. WHAT?!?! I won’t spoil it for any of you, but if you’ve seen it, you can appreciate how Bucky almost became an amputee.

Thanks for checking out this post. As you can see, I still have much to learn. How do you carve cakes? Do you find pound cake to be the best? Do you have a modeling chocolate recipe or technique that does not cause immediate arthritis? 🙂

Yoda birthday cake

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

I recently watched these movies for the first time (I know, I know) as part of a year-long project. (I turned 30 this year and made a goal to have 30 new experiences during my 30th year!) Since I’d never seen any of the Star Wars movies, I decided it was high time! And who better to share it with than my dad, the Ultimate Fan? (We once went to a Star Wars concert and there were Stormtroopers milling about. My dad insisted on waiting in line to take a photo with them. There he stood in the long line, the oldest person by at least 40 years… but you’ve gotta admire his tenacity!)

Anyways, of the entire series, the line that stuck with me the most was that one: “Do or do not. There is no try.” When it came time for my dad’s birthday, it was pretty clear that Yoda was the man on the menu!

This was my first experience using modeling chocolate, and let me enlighten you on its many wonders! I’ve used fondant a bit, but with fondant, it’s basically impossible to work out seams. With modeling chocolate, you can stick on another piece and blend the two together so it is seamless. This works perfectly for creating Yoda’s face. Take a look below at the process! Simply start by covering a piece of styrofoam, and then add on from there. Use pointed tools to create wrinkles and other texture. (His face became flattened, a condition from which he never recovered, in between the fifth and sixth pictures, when I accidentally set him down face-first.) yoda 3fixing yoda cake Once the face was finished, it was time to stick it on the body. I had created the body out of a stack of round cakes, with a cup shoved down the center. Let me be the first to inform you to NEVER DO THIS. I had failed to foresee the need for Yoda’s head to need to be on a strong pillar of some sort, something I could stick into the cake. So instead, I was stuck trying to balance it on the cup. Bad plan! Bad plan!

Before I finalized the cup-balancing-situation, I did some last-minute touch-ups, which included my sticking a pole up Yoda’s nose. DSCN0091That part was more fun than I care to admit. 🙂

Oh! The ears! I hate them! They are made of rice krispies and are waaay too thick. I wish I had had the foresight to use gum paste, but by the time I thought of it, it was too late. So instead, I used two blobs of rice krispie treats and formed them into that shape. Cover them with fondant, add some texture and highlighting colors, and put a little candy stick in the end, and there you have it. I just think that they are so thick (especially from this angle here on the left). If I do this cake again, I will create gum paste ears in advance!

Yoda birthday cakeYoda cake inside Yoda cake face

Thanks for reading! Do you have any tricks or tips that would have solved some of my conundrums? How about your favorite line from Star Wars? 🙂