This month we were asked to create a cake for Myra, who’s daughters were planning to throw her a surprise 80th birthday party. We were given a profile of her personality, which talked of her glory days in the 50’s and 60’s. Myra was an avid Tom Jones admirer and a dance-a-holic. We wanted to not only capture her fun-loving nature, but make something that was both elegant and unique.
We set to work at crafting something she hopefully would love.
If this post inspires you to try your hand at something similar, ensure that the surface of your cake is firm. You should really ice the cake at least a day before otherwise it will be too soft to work on.
When it comes to decorating a fancy cake with all the bells and whistles, fruit cake is one of if not the best option to work with (as you can work on it for longer). The shelf life of fruit cake far exceeds that of any sponge cake, providing it’s stored in the right conditions. A long-lasting rich fruit cake ensures your creation tastes as beautiful as it looks by the time you’ve completed your beautiful design.
I use edible paste colours and mix them with flavourless alcohol, such as vodka, (but gin would probably work well too!)
Alcohol is a much more effective mixer than water, as it evaporates from the surface of the cake. Water tends to make the colours run straight off – ruining all your hard work.
I use soft artist brushes in a selection of widths, test the colours on a normal sheet of paper and mix on a plate. I think it’s unnecessary to spend a fortune on professional palettes, when a plate does the trick.
To create a romantic look, I start with a very pale outline, gradually building up the colour of the petals and using white to highlight.
A great tip is to start on the back of the cake, just in case a small mistake is made, then work your way round to the front.
We gave the record a realistic vinyl look by using confectioner’s glaze, which can be found in your local cake supply shop.
Inspiration for the painting was gathered from the real flowers I spot and photograph when I am out and about.
Another source of inspiration was found in searching for vintage prints of fabric and wallpaper, which show the array of colours that were often used in retro floral patterns.
Our painted retro-record player cake was a massive hit at the birthday party. Not only did family and guests think it was stunning, Myra loved it so much that she couldn’t bring herself to cut it at the party… Don’t worry, they lit the candles and sang happy birthday!
If cake-painting is something you would like to try, Miller Sucré is looking to host workshops as a future endeavour… so keep your eyes peeled!