Friday, May 30, 2008

Cakes and Miniatures

This is a blog about cakes and miniatures.

My step-mother, H, also collects dolls and, more importantly, doll accoutrements. In particular, she collects “playscale” doll stuff (aka, the right size for Barbie) rather than the itsy bitsy miniatures that used to fascinate me as a kid in doll museums. Due to her interest in doll stuff, and her own interest in sculpting doll food she persuaded me to attempt making a miniature replica of a wedding cake I’d recently made. Most of the cakes I’ve done required a certain amount of sculpting so despite my relative inexperience in that art in a non-food medium, I decided to give it a whirl.

H helpfully got me a book on polymer clays and more importantly, she got me some basic tools and clays to get started. Basically, tinfoil can be used as an armature by making tinfoil base "cakes" and then one can treat the clay exactly like fondant and use it to cover and decorate the faux cake.

The first cake I attempted was a version of the art deco and paisley wedding cake sans the paisley elements because I thought they might be too ambitious in something this small. First I made the tinfoil "cakes" and covered them with clay. H helped me roll out the clay and make the tiny round ball borders.

Next I stacked the finished tiers together and added the detail work.

The next step was making the black and white lotuses. It was actually a lot easier sculpting polymer clay even though the scale was challenging because I found it to be a lot less sticky than fondant!

After that I had to make some choices. Although I really liked the original cake topper deco line drawing in royal icing on the wedding cake, I didn't think I could get it to look right at this small a scale. The contrast between the deco lotuses and the teensy line drawing would be significant. I thought something bolder would show up better so I opted for a different design. H can be shown holding her cake just prior to baking so you can get a nice visual sense of playscale.

My dad helped out by making the cake platform. It was a real family affair.

Finally, the finished and baked cake.

And the original wedding cake below for comparison!

The next miniature I attempted was one of Mr PB's favorites, the daisy cake as seen previously here.

First I added the stems. Then the flowers, color by color.

I couldn't manage the same level of details in the flowers for the miniature cake as I did for the original. The mini-cake was truly too mini.

Finally the finished cake.

The original real cake is below:

And here's the finished clay cake with a better scale, since I muffed the one with the measuring tape.

Finally, I made a miniature of a birthday cake I made for Mr. Pretzel Bender.

Here's Mr. PB's original cake. It was devil's food (what else?) covered in fondant and painted with a metallic blue luster dust with silver fondant damask-pattern like accents.

And the miniature cake below!

I have mixed feelings about making miniature cake replicas. They don't smell good (polymer clay smells like playdoh but saltier), they don't taste good er...can't be eaten.
I enjoyed the experiment, and will probably make more of these for H, but I think I prefer real cake because they can be enjoyed and then finished.
They don't last; I like that.