I was given a last minute commission by a lovely actress at the end of day on Wednesday, for her daughter's 5th birthday on Saturday. As usual, I wanted to make the cake as personal as possible, so wanted to find out what her daughter was into. The answer: swimming, gymnastics and Hello K... aherm, I mean cartoon kittens that may or may not resemble a well known and heavily copyrighted 35 year old Japanese kitty.
I knew a single tier just wouldn't cut it if I was to include all of Izzy's interests in one cake and besides, the higher you go, the more flavours you can get - which is obviously much more exciting to children and greedy people like me. The flavours chosen were gooey chocolate fudge cake for the bottom tier and vanilla and butterscotch for the top.
Next: how to include everything, while still maintaining a proper sense of cohesion? I went for the sea for swimming instead of a swimming pool, partly because there are more things of interest to play around with in the sea (star fish, other fish...), but also because I could make the cake's "story" more comprehensible. I mean, who does gymnastics at the side of a pool? But on a beach? Definitely much more feasible. Probably.
After icing both cakes and a cake board with deep aqua blue sugarpaste, I covered most of the top tier in draped yellow sugarpaste for the sand on the beach. Once that was done I set to work making the cartoon sugar kittens* and fish and star fish. For the beach cats, I had one balancing on a beam, one performing ribbon gymnastics and another doing a hand stand. For the sea, I had a swimming team, two (a big one and a baby one with arm bands) in rubber rings and, of course, there had to be a Hello K... (Shhhh!) mermaid with a gold fish instead of a ribbon on her head. I piped on the sea foam with royal icing, which I also used for mermaid scales and bubbles which spelled out the birthday girl's name.
All in all, Izzy and her mum were delighted with the cake and rang me the next day to thank me, which is always a rather wonderful bonus to the job and makes all the hard work feel thoroughly worth it.
* Any resemblance to actual Japanese kittens, living or dead, is purely coincidental.