I have two young and talented Wilton Method of Cake Decorating students who have been through all three core classes with me; So when their mom asked me to make a cake for the youngest’s birthday, I was honored. To be honest, it was also a little bit of pressure to make a cake for someone who knows all your secrets!
They were having a Hawaiian themed party and found this cake they liked. The only change requested was to replace Lilo and Stitch with flamingos or pineapples. When I looked at it, it didn’t look very difficult. I was WAY off on that one.
I thought the flamingos would be the most challenging, so I started there. I knew they’d be relatively heavy, so I supported the gumpaste with a low gauge floral wire base. Since I struggle with sculpting, I was so excited when they turned out looking like flamingos! They were a little wobbly, so I hot glued (but probably should have used floral tape) a wooden skewer to the bottom and voila!
For the trees, I tried covering dowel rods with chocolate fondant, then using the veining tool to mark the “bark” like a palm or coconut tree. That wasn’t a bad idea, but thinking the green gumpaste I used for the leaves were strong enough to stay on the tree was a different story. I had leaves that I’d hand-veined, scissor cut and dried over night and EVERY SINGLE ONE broke.
I figured I could wing it on the hibiscus flowers even though I didn’t have the correct cutter… or experience making them. [Insert ominous music here.] I found a YouTube video with instructions where a teardrop cutter was used, so I cut a leaf cutter and trimmed off the jagged edges. I’m not sure what type of flower I ended up making, but it definitely wasn’t hibiscus. They were just embarrassing. Staring at my broken trees and ugly flowers, I had a brief moment when I almost cried, but then decided that I’d rather make a plan.
Luckily, Wilton teaches the hibiscus flower in the Advanced Skills: Intro to Wired Gumpaste Flowers class. I haven’t taught this class yet, but no better way to learn than trial by fire, right? After reading and watching the training videos, I figured I could make a much better flower, I just needed like 10 new tools. One of those was the flower impression mat. I’m not quite sure how I ever lived without this. The leaf vein alone was worth the money!
So… after a few days, a late night, early morning, and the newly acquired skill of working with wired gumpaste, I had tree leaves that stayed on the tree and hibiscus flowers that actually looked like hibiscus! After that, it was smooth sailing! In the end, I could deliver a cake I was proud of!
P.S. These two students have a great blog about their own adventures in the kitchen. Check it out at https://twokidsandakitchen.wordpress.com!