Man-oh-Man this was a tough one.
So many little pieces-parts.
So many things that could and did go wrong.
This cake was for my first cousin's grand daughter. (What does that make the birthday girl? My first cousin twice removed????) Anyway, this cake was a doozie. I spent weeks making all the little objects out of gumpaste.
Out of all the little pieces-parts, I think the house is my favorite. The porch, door and window are "broken" looking because hey -- the house fell from the sky. I like the witch's legs poking out from underneath too. You can't really see it, but I have some broken siding at the bottom where the witch's body cracked the wooden boards in half. I was going to put a flower box under the window, but I thought it might be a little over kill.
Toto, Dorthy's basket, and the ruby slippers are there too...
Glinda's crown and wand...
The doodads for the Tin Man (ax, heart, and funnel hat), the Scarecrow (diploma), and the Cowardly Lion (medal of courage) are on the other side. And poppies too, don't forget about the poppies.
I didn't like the "witch's" section as much. The broom and hat came out okay, but there was just something missing from the final arrangement. There was a void between the flying monkey and the sign that I couldn't fill. (FYI: The sign says "Follow the yellow brick road".) Nothing seemed to work, so I just left it alone. I think if I had put the monkey a little closer to the sign it could have been okay, but once I stuck him on the cake, there was no moving him.
The rainbow had some issue too. I wanted it to be sparkly, but nothing I tried seemed to work. The sanding sugar wouldn't stick, and the luster dust wasn't visible at all. Oh well, no sparkly rainbow for the birthday girl.
This cake was a huge learning experience in my cake decorating adventures. I just hope the cake makes it to the party okay (I'm not going to the party so I couldn't deliver it.) My cousin picked it up on Saturday and drove it 50 miles to her home (actually I met her half way). That drive didn't worry me because the cake was ice cold and rock hard. But on Sunday the cake has to be driven another 100 miles to the party location. The cake wouldn't fit into my cousin's refrigerator so I made her this nifty insulated cake box to help the thing stay cool. The box even has a pouch that I loaded with dry ice!!!
So fingers crossed that the cake makes it to the party in good shape.
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The supply list for this cake were pretty normal. Gumpaste to make all the doodads. 14" Wilton cake drum for the base. On this cake I used round Foam Core Boards under the cakes instead of the regular cardboard dividers. I have been having problems with the cardboard dividers soaking up moisture and going limp (which in turn caused the cake to sag), so I decided to give the foam core boards a try. And they worked great. The form core is much stronger and more rigid than cardboard, but still soft enough to get a center dowels to pass through without pre-drilling. You can also get the foam core in a 1/2 inch thickness so if your cake isn't quite tall enough you can boost it up with the form core. But sadly the form core is also much more expensive, so I'll only use them when I know the cake is going to travel long distances, or the cake is taller than 2 tiers.
For the brick road I used a PME Brick Design Impression Mat, and I used Wilton's Color Mist to paint some of the objects: Silver for Glinda's hat and wand and the Tin Man's ax and hat, Black for the witch's hat, and Green for the Emerald City. I used Color Pops powder food color on the house, Toto, the basket, some shadowing on the Emerald City, and the witch's broom. I love using the powder color; it gives everything a more life-like look than just tinting the gumpaste with a single color.
For the sparkling gold color of the Lion's medal of courage I used Alan Tetreault's edible luster dust. I mixed the dust with a little vodka and just painted it on. Shiny...
Making the straw bristles of the broom gave me a frustrating 20 minutes till I had an Ah-Ha moment that totally changed the way I cut out gumpaste. I was having trouble cutting the soft, sticky gumpaste into individual straw-like strands, so I sandwiched the gumpaste between inside a Reynolds Wax Paper Sandwich Bag and cut through all three layers at once. The wax paper of the baggie is very, very thin (much thinner than regular wax paper) so the x-acto knife cut though the wax paper and gumpaste like a hot knife through butter. Once cut, I just pealed the wax paper away and I had ultra thin bristles for my broom. After this breakthrough I started cutting all my gumpaste between the wax paper baggies.
After I finished all my doodads, I arranged ever thing on Styrofoam cake dummies to see how they all looked together. In all honesty I had to remake a few things because the proportions weren't right. In fact I made the witch's hat three times before it looked good next to the broom.
The fondant I used on this cake is a new brand called Mona Lisa. The fondant works great in high humidity, but I had other issues with the fondant that almost had me tossing it out the back door. Look for the review of Mona Lisa fondant in the next few weeks.
So this ends my Wizard of Oz cake making adventure. Now I just have to wait to see the Dorthy (oops, I mean the cake) makes it safely home. But if the cake collapes along the way, at least I have a "Before" picture.
Update: My cousin just let me know that the cake made it to the party without a single problem. The birthday girl loved it, so I'm a happy baker.