Happy Sunday and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all of you Dads in the USA! Hope you are celebrated for all you do for your families!
This week I had a Father's Day cake with an unusual theme...STEAMPUNK! That's sort of the whole Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea theme. With Steampunk there is always a lot of metallic colors, gears, nuts, bolts and, of course, sea creatures also made of metal. The hard part was thinking of a new way to put these all together into a small Father's Day cake.
I've seen some pretty sensational Steampunk Weddings that had towering cakes filled with metal covered boxes, tentacles and metal parts. They really are something to see so if you have time head out to Google and look up Steampunk Wedding Cakes and take a look at all of the really incredible works of art that are out there! But for Father's Day you usually only have a single tiered cake because you only have a few people to feed over dinner. This means you don't have much of a base to show off the Steampunk decorations.
I chose the hex shape because it looked as much like a "part" as I could find in a cake pan. So I decided that it would be a "nut" with smokestacks in the middle with an octopus bursting out of the middle and taking it over. The cake itself is a 2 inch marble cake with no filling. Now here is the secret...the "smokestacks" are fondant covered columns...just like the kind that you put in between tiers of a wedding cake. I just covered them in strips of fondant and then detailed them with a fondant tool and little "bolts" and then painted it all with a bronze luster dust I had made into paint with a bit of vodka.
The other pieces had to be hand molded and then allowed to dry before being painted so I started on them at the beginning of the week so that by yesterday, when I put the cake together, they would be solid enough to stand up on their own. This was not without issues though. The metallic finish didn't respond well to my gluing methods. I tried buttercream and they slid right off. Then royal icing and they popped right off. Finally water and just held each piece in place till they stuck. Tedious but it finally worked.
Here is the secret to the "popping out of the center" part. I crumbcoated the cake and when it was dry I brushed on water on the sides and about two inches in from the edge on the top, leaving the middle of the top of the cake dry. The fondant adheres where there is water to glue it down and is still loose where it doesn't. I mapped out where I wanted the edges of the inside of the "nut" to be and painted the whole thing silver. When that was dry I used an exacto knife, used only for baking, to cut the star burst pattern into the fondant in the center of the cake that wasn't painted silver. I, very gently, pulled these pieces back so that they "rolled" over the line of silver paint. I made sure that some curled out further than others to make it look like it's "bursting" out. I then inserted the smokestacks down into the cake and filled in around those with buttercream to give them more stability. Then began the process of adding the detail pieces.
With all "art" you have to sort of wing it when it comes to actually putting the pieces onto a cake like this. You have a general idea of what you want the cake to look like but in the end you are really thinking "yeah, that looks right" or "nope, that doesn't work there" as you are placing them onto the cake. This is what makes your cake look individual in the end. No one else will ever have one exactly like yours. This is what makes it a work of Art.
This upcoming week brings a Tiffany Wedding Cake! I think you all will love this one!