Wednesday, June 3, 2009

this is the cake that never ends...

Went in this morning, and the shop was nice and clean after a weekend of rest and not falling apart or in a tizzy. Wednesdays will be a nice way to "start" the week (well, considering my week is Wed-Sat) because there's no pressure as most cakes go out Saturday and Sunday. Instead, Joan uses these early days to finish baking, compile orders, and start on more long-term / time-consuming tasks (like the 188 hearts I did last week). She said the woman with the 188 pink wedding cupcakes LOVED them and thought they were so beautiful (yay!).

Today, she handed me an 11x15 marble cake and then a toy truck + children's storyboard as references to carve out the yellow vehicle pictured below.

That's something interesting about how Joan runs the shop: whereas I sit at my laptop and can Google Image Search anything imaginable for my cakes, Joan has collected dozens of catalogs and children's storybooks over the years as a reference library for her creations. So unless the customer brings in a specific image, she goes right to her shelves to find pictures of Tinkerbell, Elmo, kittens, teddy bears, etc. And can usually find what she needs. So today, I got the toy and the book and I actually learned the difference between a bulldozer, an excavator, and a backhoe. (The cake today was a backhoe).

She instructed me to carve out the backhoe and make sure to re-use anything I cut out - she knows the number of servings for each cake size so anything you cut out has to be put back in (so the customer gets the right amount of cake that they're expecting and paying for), or if that doesn't work, she has a "scrap" pile of pieces from other carved cakes. It's like the law of conservation - matter (read: cake) cannot be created or destroyed - use it all! So, carved:

It was then that Joan goes, "You know this has to be 3D, right?" Ahh, wha? "Yeah, it has to stand up, like the toy." Well that changes things and I definitely would have tried a different approach had I realized that. I tried patchworking-things together and it looked pretty mangled but hey, it all gets covered anyways.... and it's "up!":


Then Joan gave me a sheet of balsa wood and a HOT GLUE GUN (another sign this is a job for Jenna) for the boom, stick, and cylinders (learned those words too) of the backhoe, which clearly couldn't be made out of cake. So, put my architectural modelling skills to work and voila - we're getting there!

After the "prep" or "crumb" coat of icing (to mat down the loose crumbs on carved cake), I followed it up with the construction yellow frosting and it was slowly coming together ... but it was already 4 o'clock! I hadn't meant for this cake to take 6 hours (Joan's definitely not profiting on this one), but she said I could take my time b/c it was only a Wednesday and I'm still figuring out the best way to do things for myself and perfecting the techniques. So tomorrow I'll add the tires, a few details, and DIRT (crumbled chocolate cupcakes) to finish it up. I have another Tinkerbell coming my way this week (take #2), the Stanley Cup, and much much more...

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