Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Not your typical cake design....

One of my colleagues, Steve, was leaving the company and I wanted to make a cake to wish him luck in his new adventures. Hmmm…what should I do? Well, he loves zombie movies. OK. No particular zombie movies come to my mind immediately, so I start searching for zombie cakes….

The “traditional” zombie cake photos that I found were mostly of tombstones with heads and arms crawling out of the grave. I didn’t need a large cake and I wasn’t real comfortable with trying to make a head and face, even if it would be a zombie! I found one cake that was a pink decorated birthday cake with a zombie hand breaking through the cake and decided that was they way I wanted to go. I just changed it up a little but kept the idea, a nicely decorated cake with a zombie hand coming out of the cake…and my zombie hand would be holding an eyeball!

For this trick I decided to try modeling chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy modeling chocolate was to make and work with. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos while I made the chocolate. It basically works like modeling clay. Once you work it a bit it becomes soft and malleable. Then you can sculpt or carve as necessary. It hardens again by placing it in the refrigerator.

As suggested by a fellow cake decorator I decided to use rice krispy treats covered with modeling chocolate instead of solid chocolate, purely for weight concerns. I made what looked like a baseball mitt out of rice krispies. The fingers were just too hard to do with this medium. After this “dried” for a few days I started covering with modeling chocolate. I added fingers and was able to add small pieces at a time and smooth the entire surface. I didn’t really worry about it being perfect, it was supposed to be a zombie hand. This is what the hand looked like at this point.
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I was debating on other colors to add to the hand for effect. Should I use modeling chocolate or edible paint? I decided to add some green modeling chocolate, going for the moldy, rotten look. I new the hand would be coming out of the cake surrounded by a pile of crushed cookies for dirt so I brushed on small amounts of piping gel (so it would be sticky) and sprinkled with cookie crumbs.

On to the eyeball… solid white modeling chocolate smoothed into a ball. Used a small piece of fondant for the iris/pupil and painted on blood vessels with melted red chocolate.

Next the cake... it was 4 layers of chocolate cake, with strawberry jam filling, covered with chocolate buttercream.

I placed a small cake circle (cardboard) at the base of the hand and inserted two wooden skewers through both to support the hand. I then inserted the skewers into the cake, of course adding buttercream under the circle to “adhere”. I piped a mound of buttercream around the hand and covered with crushed cookies.

I was careful to keep the rest of the cake neat, but Doug said it was too neat of a pile; it should have been more messy like the hand actually broke through. OK, I get that, but executing that is a lot harder than it sounds. I think it turned out great!

I added the eyeball and some melted red chocolate on the hand for blood dripping from the eyeball. Done!

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Here is a close up of the hand...


Best of luck Steve!
It was a pleasure working with you!

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