Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tropical Paradise Cake

I work in an organisation filled with marine biologists, it's a great place to work, and everyone who works there, has come to be there because they love the sea (makes sense really!).  Sadly, contracts can be very short, and one of the girls who has been working in my office for about three months, finished last week.  What better a send off though than a marine themed cake!  It was a tropical island paradise, with some creative marine creatures all over for decoration. 

I made this cake with a friend from work, who I had fun introducing to creative cake decoration.  She is a very artistic person, and took very well to the task! 

I had on hand, some pink royal icing in a piping bag, with a very small bit of the tip cut off to create a tiny pipng line.  This was used to pipe the pink sea fans on the sides, as well as the pink fish, and crab below.  The fish and crab were piped onto baking paper to get the outline, then piped over a couple of times.  Once they had dried they were removed from the greaseproof paper, et voila, pretty sea creatures.
I also had a lot of fondant on hand, in a wide variety of colours, which we moulded like play doh into all sorts, as well as rolling out and cutting some shapes, like the pretty seahorse.
Green fondant sea grass...
Pink fondant seaslug, with purple sanding sugar on the body for colourful spots ....
One very big fondant octopus!
The cocnut tree on top of the cake was made of chocolate a packet of rolos and some green fondant.  I started out by melting some white, and some dark chocolate (in separate bowls).  I created a base out of white chocolate by pouring a pool of white chocolate onto a piece of baking parchement, allowing this to set, then adding a second layer to make the tree nice and stable once added.  I then dipped the bottom of a rolo into the dark chocolate and attached it to the white chocolate "sand" base.  Each rolo was then added to the top of the previous one, with time in between each 2 rolo additions for setting of the chocolate.
The leaves were cut from green dyed fondant, set to dry over the bottom of a dish, to give a curved look.  I used the melted dark chocolate to add a brown line down each frond.  This had 2 jobs, decorative, and more importantly it added a more stable structure to hold the thin, fondant layer which was drying in a curve, and would not have any support once removed from the underside of the bowl!   
Unfortunately, the leaves still seemed a little bit like they might break off and fall apart once they had dried, so I inverted and covered the bottom's with a few layers of melted white chocolate, which once dried, provided a much more solid, less fragile structure.  An additional blob of white chocolate was also used to attach the whole thing to the rolo tree trunk.
The coconut at the bottom, was a little bit of fondant shaped into a coconutty type ball.  Lovely.
We made great use of spare dessicated coconut, food colourings and sanding sugar to cover almost everything on the cake!  Anything and everything was used, with very little method involved.  A seascape is an excellent way to get creative without constraints!  A wonderful task for children, and big children (like myself!) alike. What a great time :)

Oh and of course the all important cocktail umbrella for miniaturised days of lolling in the tropical sunshine!

Ahhhh now if only I could go and find some of that tropical sunshine I mentioned ...

Thanks for reading.

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