Building a Sculpted Cake

The addition of cake shows on television has added a real spark of interest in the world of sugar art.  People are now able to see all the possibilities in cake and sugar. Families watch the show together.  Children love to be able to see the creations being constructed.  This week we had a Dad tell us that they actually discovered their 13 year-old daughter calling Carlos Bakery in New Jersey with her yellow notepad at her side, to see if they could make her cake and deliver it halfway so the family could pick it up! Later that same day a mother and her young son, ” first timers,” came in to see about getting a 16th birthday cake. The daughter was asking for a “Cake Boss” cake for her special birthday.  The mother had searched “cakes, fondant, Carmel” on her browser and up popped Classic Cakes.  They did not have to go all the way to New Jersey to get something special!  The mother and son picked out a cake that had fondant decorations on it.  When they were leaving the store, they were so excited because now they could taste fondant, something they had only heard about on television! I gave them a sample of it and the mom made her son promise not to tell the rest of the family that they had already tasted the fondant….so cute! We are getting more and more requests for these types of cakes.  But what comes with these requests is often some sticker shock. People are not really aware of how long it takes to make these creations.  After all, the cake is done in 1/2 hour on TV!

So I thought I would let you journey with us as we create a sculpted cake at Classic Cakes.  Sarah did this project for a birthday party held at a golf club recently. She took a few photos of the process as she worked.  These do not reflect all the steps by any means, but it does give you a glimpse into the process.

Before the cake was assembled, we had to buy some plywood and cut it to size and attach a large dowel rod to the board to stabilize the cake as it was being constructed and delivered. Then the cakes were stacked 2 layers at a time.  Cake boards had to be covered and place between each set of layers and support placed between the tiers to take the weight from the cakes so they would not crush each other. All of this is hidden inside the cakes. Then Sarah made some guidelines out of icing to help her when she began to carve the cakes.

Carving the cakes is not a forgiving art.  It is very difficult to replace cake once it has been removed!  You have to have a plan in your head, visualize as you go, and carve carefully. There are no patterns to follow.  Each sculpted cake is a unique creation.

The cake was carved, then a thin layer of icing was put on the cake to meld all the joints and seams of the cake and even out the features.  The cake was placed in the freezer for a few minutes so the icing could harden.  While the cake was in the freezer, Sarah began making some of the fondant features that went on the cake.  After the cake had chilled, she then put another coat of icing on the cake.  Fondant is very pliable and it takes the shape of whatever it is covering.  If the cake is not smooth, the fondant will not be smooth.  The second coat of icing defines how the cake will look when it is covered with the fondant.

Covering cakes in fondant is an art in itself.  Fondant is rolled out just as you would roll out pie dough.  Do you ever have trouble getting the dough into your pie pan?  Imagine covering this large cake with it’s bumps and angles and getting it all fitted, smooth and seamless! The cake is now ready to begin decorating.

Sarah colored some green fondant and rolled it out and cut the pieces to fit the bag….again, there were no patterns.  Everything is done by hand!  Then she rolled out the tan fondant in perfect “snakes” to make all the seams around the bag.

This is a view of the other side of the cake.

Now the cake is fully assembled and ready for delivery.  The bag has been embellished with more detail, the sugar golf clubs have been added, which were made in a two day process.  The board has been covered with grass…that’s alot of blades of grass! The golf balls and message tag have been added.

Now, this is going to cost more than a sheet cake with a golf club on it!  Many, many hours of work went into this cake. The best decorators get to do these kinds of projects. There are not very many decorators skilled to do this kind of work in the area. Sculpted cakes cost considerably more than typical cakes.   Prices vary according to the work involved to make the cake, so each is priced individually.  Even small sculpted cakes take just as many steps as a large cake.  Our sculpted cakes begin at $175.00…considerably less expensive than those East Coast cakes!

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