29 January 2012

With the Rain, Comes the Frogs

Happy New Year to you all - 2012 and the Year of the Dragon!
It's been way too long and I've finally put my feet up; it's Sunday with no cakes due until tomorrow and a busy year ahead.
A lot has happened since the last time I blogged. Business has boomed, we've moved houses (not far, only to Cannon Hill) and cake classes have recommenced.
So I thought I would use this Blog as a kind of tutorial as many of my students have requested I show them how I cut a 3D Novelty cake to shape.
Most of you will have watched cake shows on television to some extent and have your favourites. Personally, I love seeing how other cake decorarators work but I'm let down by the amount of 'rice treats' or wood/piping in their work. I think as cake professionals, we should be dealing more with food products to construct or cake rather than plastic, steel or foam.
Therefore the following "Frog" cake is 99% cake with 2 skewers inserted to provide structural elements to the head.
 1. Start with a 10" square cake. Usually most shapes can be cut from a square. This would be the smallest I would start with as ultimately, you still have a cake big enough to make an impression and yet small enough for details.

 2. Always have a refernce on hand - photos of the frog's left, right and top views are always good. As you turn your cake you can make sure the Frog looks correct from all angles.
  Cutting the cake in half on an angle gives your frog a larger front and a smaller bottom.
 3. Cut the slope down the back of the Frog: this will give you the first few 'extra' pieces' you can work with for other parts of the frog.
 4. Cut in the back bottom section to have a flat point for the frog's bottom.
 5, With the 'extra pieces' slice them in quarters - using two to achieve the shape of the back legs. Make them look as similar in size and shape as possible.
 6. With the other 2 pieces left over, cut the top half of the back legs.
 7. Cut into the front body of the frog. If you cut too far the head may fall from the weight so always cut in smaller pieces. You can keep cutting but you cannot add cake back to the structure if you remove it's strength.
8. Pull the parts apart and keep them in such a manner so you can easily remember where they all fit - just like a jigsaw puzzle!
 9. Using ganache, start "glueing" your pieces together. You want to make sure the cake is all one solid piece before covering in fondant. The thicker your fondant, the harder it will dry so make sure you have fondant that won't remain too soft and will set.
 10. The whole frog need to be completely covered and tacky all over for the fondant to stick to the cake.
 11. Roll your icing out and using a rolling pin unroll slowly over the frog using you hands to smooth the fondant out as it adhere's to the cake. Cut off any exces left on the board. Using your hands make sure all the fondant is as smooth as possible and firmly attached.
 12. Roll out a piece of icing into a thin rope and then indent in the centre and approximately 1" from each end. Fold in half and add a c entre piece to make each of the Frogs feet.
 14, Attach to the two hind legs first and then add the two front feet as well.
 15. Using your fingers, indent the line for the mouth of the frog with the two dimples on either side for the mouth to curve into a smile.
 16. Roll out two black modelling paste balls and attach with some water for the eye balls.
 17. Cut out 2 circles the size of the width of the eye ball and cut in half, Attach to the frogs eye's with a touch of water to give the effect of eyelids.

 18. Cuttin two more strips per eye, attach and fold over the eye to create folds of skin and cut away any excess with a scalpel.

19. Using an airbrushed start colouring your frog. Lighter colours first.
 20. Add darker colours and keep layering to achieve a more realistic colour hue. Darker shading around joints and to accent parts like eyes, feet etc.
 21. With a paint brush colour in the eyelids and the mouth.
 22. Using a piece of wire attach the tongue to the inside of the mouth and allow to dry.
 23. Paint the tongue red and the details on the blowfly. Add other small element - some leaves the birthday message...

VOILA! Here is your finished Frog masterpiece!
I hope you enjoyed and have fun making your own amphibian!