Its been a weekend of two cakes. Two very very different cakes. Both very definitely gluten free from beginning to end. Both Chocolate Mud Cakes. Both beautifully moist and totally de-railing my sugar-free run of the past month or so...doh!
This first cake was obviously a 21st cake but it was also my very first 2-tier cake which was a bit exciting. The cake is in actual fact 3 cakes. Two larger cakes on the bottom, leveled and filled with dark chocolate ganache, then crumb coat sealed with dark chocolate ganache. The top cake was a double quantity baked in a smaller tin but with the sides lined high. The top baked a little crisp but this was easily carved off when the cake was leveled, halved, filled with ganache then crumb coated with the same ganache. Here are the finished cakes before assembly.
The brief for the cake was to incorporate both the underwater world as seen through the eyes of a diver as the birthday girl has just completed her Dive Master's course, and an above water element capturing the beach, lifesaving etc in which she was also very competitive.
I was able to make a great many of the elements well in advance of assembly so that the final put-together would be more about placement rather than flat-out construction. Here is a pic of many of the creatures and elements as I was making them.
I experimented with a new type of fondant on this cake too.
Its apparently quite new and has just arrived from the USA. Rather than your boring non-descript coloured fondant- you can now choose your colour and your FLAVOUR with which to compliment your cake. It was wonderful to work with. It goes a long way, is not as sticky as traditional fondants but I have one word of caution. If you are using it to create fondant figures that will require rigidity - this fondant will not give you that. I created the Wooden Sign using this fondant and it looked fantastic. Just the right colours - I was able to write on it clearly and easily but it just would not become totally rigid. After two failed attempts at getting the sign hard enough to stand I had to resort to painting the back of the sign with tempered chocolate which then added the rigidity needed to keep the sign from tipping over. Flavour and texture wise it is beautiful and ALL Gluten Free!
The cake was then covered in tinted blue fondant. As I was using traditional fondant this time I decided to experiment by adding a flavouring to the fondant and added a few drops of butter flavouring to the plain fondant and it just lifted the flavour from plain sweet to something a little more interesting. Both cakes were covered and then I stacked them. I did not use dowels in the cakes as the Mudcakes on the base were so dense I was in no fear of any sinkage or collapse but I did have a cakeboard under the top tier cake.
OK - now we're talking. Everything always looks so hokey as you assemble it. I edged the cakeboard with black satin ribbon, centered the cakes then applied a light application of heated jam to the board to have the brown sugar stick to. The light brown sugar was then sprinkled evenly all over the board. This dries hard and stays well in place and looks exactly like sand.
Now to start positioning all the creatures and items. This takes longer than you think as you have to think about which side to present it from, how it will look from all angles, what to do with spaces, gaps, uneven areas on the cake that need to be disguised etc.
I placed all the items on and rearranged them quite a few times until I got something I thought worked well. Then I added the accents of the waves. Dusted Silver Lustre Dust onto the waves, edging and some of the creatures to accent them and give them some shimmer. I had to use 3 pieces of heavy grade florist wire which was wrapped. One in the Palm Tree Trunk - to take the load from the fronds; one in the LifeSavers Flagpole; and one in the sign to hold it in on its jaunty angle. My son was more fascinated at how I had managed to get the diver and the shark to 'float'. They were just held in place with Royal Icing and wedged from underneath until dry and hard.
The birthday girl was very happy with her cake and that is the main thing with any creation isn't it ?