Monday, May 2, 2011

Earth Day Cake

I know what you're thinking. Why is there a graduation cap on an Earth day cake?  I made this cake for the student chapter of the American Chemical Society at Gordon College.  If any of the students happen to be out there reading this, "Hi!".  They were celebrating both Earth Day and graduation in one event so the cake reflected a combination of the two.
After much thought I decided to make the base of the globe out of Styrofoam.  I just didn't think that a small piece of cake could take the weight.  The last thing I wanted was for this cake to go slip-sliding around...hot glue to the rescue.  The center support dowel was hot glued into the base cake board.  The Styrofoam was pushed down over the dowel and hot glued to the base as well. 

Now it's all ready for the cake.
The first tier of the cake is a 9" round stacked on top of a cake that was baked in a 9" pie pan.  I poked a hole in the center of the cardboard cake board so it would slide right down the dowel and be centered.
The top tier is supported with 5 small dowels that were cut to size and rest on the lower cake board.
Working from the bottom up, this tier is made of one 9" round layer, one 9" pie pan layer, and one 6" round that was carved by hand.  This tier also had a supporting cake board with a hole in the center which slid down the dowel for easy stacking.
Frost the whole thing in blue buttercream.  In this picture it is only spatula smooth.  I used the viva method to get it to the finished smoothness.
Time for continents!  I printed off some world maps that I found online and used them as a pattern.  Place the paper pattern over the rolled fondant and trace the continent out lines with a small ball stylus or tooth pick.  This leaves an impression on the fondant that can be cut out by hand using a sharp knife.  For the record, this is a tedious process, but well worth the effort.
Brush a little water on the back of the continent and it sticks nicely to the globe.  The small islands were piped on with a matching green royal icing.
I decided to paint the land with some vodka and green and brown food color paint.  The painting gave the continents more depth and made them stand out.
I finished off the cake design with a scarf wrapped around the base and the chocolate graduation cap on top.

The most difficult thing about this cake was transporting it to the party.  We had a 30 minute drive to get there and I felt every bump and turn.  What saved this cake during transport was the center dowel.  It stuck out the top slightly so I held on to it the whole way to keep it from rolling away.  (Don't worry, I was not driving.)  On location the graduation cap covered the protruding dowel nicely.

Happy Earth Day/Graduation!

Frostine