Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eloise's Woodland Wonderland

First of all, Eloise is adorable and I was absolutely excited to make her 2nd birthday cake.  (Her first one was also made by me - Eloise's Ombre cake.)  I wanted to make sure that her 2nd birthday cake was just as memorable.  

So when I received this invitation in the mail, I was immediately inspired.  I loved all of the little critters joining in the fun and knew I needed to incorporate them into the cake design.  We just had to wait for the RSVPs to come in before I'd know the size of the cake.  

In the meantime, I received an email message from a visitor to my site who wanted to know how I make those gum paste figures on the top of my cakes.  My students also ask this question, so I thought there was no better way to teach this than to show you step-by-step how this is done.  It's easy.  But time consuming.  You've been warned.  ;)

So, the first thing I did was scan in the invitation and save it as a jpeg.  I imported the picture into Word and cropped it so that I could print out the animals in the size I wanted.  Here, they're just about 4" (or so) high.  I had to crop three times to get all of the animals printed in the correct size.  I used plain old printer paper for this.

The next step is cutting each of the little animals out.

Here are the supplies I needed to make these little critters.  A scissors, a rolling pin, an exacto knife, gum paste, Crisco, food coloring in the colors you'll need and a nice work space.

I actually had some brown fondant on hand and mixed it with some gum paste.  I used about a 50/50 mix of each.  I spread some Crisco on my hands and knead the gum paste/fondant mix until it's really elastic and workable.  Think about the consistency of silly puddy.

When it gets to a workable consistency, I spread some Crisco on my work surface and roll it out, about 1/4" thick.

I place the first animal on top and literally trace it out of the gum paste/fondant using my exacto knife.

Like this.  This is my first layer and I'll build the monkey out of this.

I added more white gum paste to the brown to get this color and cut out the beaver the same way I did the monkey.

The monkey's belly also needed that lighter tan color so I cut that out of the monkey cut-out and traced it out of the lighter colored gum paste/fondant mix as well.  If I need help figuring out were to place the cut-outs onto the shape, I just use the paper cut-out as the pattern, like I did below.   Now his belly is where it's supposed to be.

With the varying shades of browns and tans, these little creatures are beginning to take shape.  I use plain old water to stick all of the pieces together.  A very light brushing of water truly acts as glue.

Now I'm working on the eyes.

More eyes...

I used a food marker (shown is a Wilton fine print food safe marker in brown) to draw in the detail work of the mouths and noses of some of the creatures.  

And here they're almost complete.  The frog is my favorite.  I used some luster dust to incorporate the yellow shading.  

Here's the finished product.  A delicious chocolate cake with buttercream filling and a light chocolately buttercream frosting.  

Yep!  I think it passes!  

I hope you have a wonderful party today, Eloise!!  Many blessings to you on so many wonderful years ahead!!

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