Happy Sunday! This week brings a very special cake for a very special little girl...our granddaughter, Jillian. Jilly turned 3 this week. As you can see, we are a Disney family and she is a huge Beauty and the Beast fan!
Her cake is what we call a "background" cake. Since the figures are Disney copyrighted I made a cake for them to sit upon and around that gave the "feel" of the animation. Of course, being for a family member, I'm not selling this cake so, according to copyright law, I could have made the figures. But I thought, what if someday a client wants the same cake? I wouldn't be able to do that for them. So I figured Jilly would love the play set for after the party and this way I'd be able to work within the copyright law if I made a similar cake later on for a paying client.
Several of the pieces, along with the play set, were done before making the cake. The rose, dome and the library shelves had to be done days ahead in order to allow them to dry before assembly. The shelves were hand painted on white fondant. It was a fun challenge. It is harder to make straight lines that are not perfectly straight up and down than you may think. I wanted the books to look as close to the real thing as I could get in miniature. But books don't sit in a bookshelf straight up and down. They lean from side to side a bit. As I said, it was a fun challenge. It also took almost a full day to do this work. A good example of the level of artistry when you hire a designer as well as a good example on why this type of cake costs more than a supermarket cake. I let the shelves dry overnight against an 8 inch form and then the next day formed the shelf moulding for the bottom of the bookcase. I painted that and allowed it to dry for a full day. In the meantime I took a regular rounded juice glass and turned it upside and added the fondant "finial" to the top, painted it gold and let it dry.
The cake underneath is lemon chiffon and is filled with vanilla buttercream. The fondant is colored vanilla marshmallow fondant. My goal is always that the cake inside tastes as good as the outside looks. I can tell you from the piece I had at the party that it is really good cake!
When it came to assembling I draped over the brighter color of fondant to meet at the edge of the front and then drape around the sides and back. Then I set on the library shelves. I did not attach these to the cake with water. I want to be able to easily remove them when it comes time to cut the cake. I then rolled out rectangles of the bright fondant and draped it around the edges, like curtains, of the bookcase. I started with that edge and did the same type of draping around one side and then the other side, leaving the back drape for last. This is so I could size the back drape to fit. If I needed to be 3 inches long or 5 inches long or 4.5 inches long I could adjust as needed without ruining the spacing or look of front of the cake. After those had set for a bit I added the darker shade of yellow to the drapes. Finally I used a flower cutter to cut out the moulding pieces under the roses. Lastly I used the royal icing roses, set on toothpicks, at each join to add another layer of decor as well as another layer of stability at the joins.
Finally it was time to do the cake topper. And here is where tragedy struck. A few weeks back I did a whole blog about making a sugar rose. Unfortunately when I was measuring how tall the rose could be inside the dome I slipped and the rose hit the dome...and shattered. Yup, shattered. Fortunately I had more of the royal icing roses, and a good example of why I always make more than I think I will need, so I was able to remove the broken sugar rose and, using the same stem with leaves, attach a new calyx and a royal icing rose and still have one for the center of my cake! Whew!
At last I was able to place the figures and the sparkly 3 on the cake for a finished view of Jilly's Birthday Cake! This is one of the few cakes where I can say I am perfectly happy with it. Usually, as an artist, you pick on your work...this should have been like this...that should have gone like that...but for this cake I'm perfectly happy. I really wouldn't change a thing.
This week wasn't just Miss Jilly's Birthday but also Miss Sarah's! I'll share her special cake with you next week!!! Happy Birthday to both my granddaughter and my niece. I'm so happy I got to make these cakes for your special days!