A Paean to Purple Cake
Well, maybe if it was humorously shaped exactly like their head for the sake of some serious post-defense mordant wit!
My most recent graduation cake was for a friend, D (the same one who got me the UFO cake gig), who was celebrating her graduation from ASU’s Museum studies MA program. D, in addition to her Museum gigs, has worked at some of the same places I have as an archaeologist.
I asked her what she wanted on it, since it was an encomium in her honor, and she requested that it be the color purple and possibly embellished with some kind of flower. She was unspecific as to details but I surmised that she wanted something “girlie”.
D and I have both worked as field archaeologists. Actually, I believe she has way more contract field archaeology experience than I do. This means hard outdoor work, (well, pretty much anything outdoors in an Arizona summer should be considered hard labor by any standards!) complete with work boots and hard hats.
I see no inherent contradiction in D’s desire for girlie purple cake and her street credibility as a field archaeologist.
However, this may come as a surprise to people who assume that field archaeologists adopt the outdoor accoutrements (including boots, jeans, cotton work shirts, etc.) as affectations designed to enhance their credibility.
Naturally I thought D’s cake should involve the appropriate amount of glitter, flowers, ribbons, and purple. In this instance, I thought I would start by modeling gum paste flowers.
There are pretty standard instructions on how to model gum paste flowers and I’ve owned a kit that has the cut-out designs and cutters necessary for the job for years. For some reason, I’ve mostly stuck to sculpting basic flowers like roses “by hand” and avoiding all the others except when it comes to graduation cakes.
The first graduation cake flowers I ever did were daisies for a graduation cake years ago but they were relatively easy to do. They were labor intensive (they required royal icing applications for the flower centers and stems) but they were not technically hard to do with the flower petal cutters and some minor sculpting.
The second graduation cake I did for D's sister (requested by D) and it involved calla lilies. Again, a relatively easy flower.
Although the peanut gallery did opine it was a pity my orchids weren’t vibrant colored and speckled, the plain white orchid was the only kind in my flower instruction book!
Here they are.
You can see in the close-up the more detailed parts (three to be exact) of the three petals that had to be put together.
I used a plain vanilla sugar frosting (not too exciting but heat resistant, which is important where I live!) to decorate the 12 inch round two layer white cake.
Finally, the finished product, a glittery, pearl bedecked purple cake complete with beribboned gum paste orchids.
Personally, I think only the addition of some unicorns could have made this cake more girlie.