Some of you will already be familiar with the Link’s Blacklist project, my undying love for it, and my previous cakey creations for it. It returned for a third round, and of course I signed up as soon as I was able. I love any excuse to make a Zelda cake, and I love any excuse to join in a collaborative project and show everyone that art isn’t just drawn.
For those not familiar with the project, Link’s Blacklist is a collaborative fan art project that focuses it’s attention on the baddies of the franchise. Each time a select amount of artist are permitted to sign up for the project [this time it was 45], and all get to claim a different baddie. The places available disappeared within the day, which is a testament to how popular it’s becoming. It’s run by Game Art HQ and coordinated through deviantART, which is how I first got involved. These days I’m a community volunteer on deviantART, helping to look after the Artisan Craft galleries, so I prodded as many artisans to get involved as possible. I hope to encourage more fans from different artistic genres to get involved and diversify the fan art a bit.
As for my claim, I was pretty set on a Deku this time around. I love making sugar leaves, and the design felt a bit more achievable that some of my previous adventurous attempts. I settled on making a Mad Scrub, simply because I love the autumn palette in it’s design. I also love covering the basic enemies. A lot of people go for the big bosses, but I like the under-appreciated.
The Mad Scrubs are found in both of the N64 games: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. They’re a red variant of the green scrubs found through the games. Deku scrub enemies shoot nuts at you, which you have to rebound to injure it.
I started the cake off by making an almond buttercake sphere, carving out the eyes and making a truffle for the snout. I covered the whole thing in chocolate ganache and set to work.
But the first attempt looked nothing like the one above. I started off trying for more realism, then it didn’t work and I switched to a more basic ombre. I wanted the leaves to look like a vine or creeper and to be messy the way real leaves are. The more I continued, the more I ended up hating it. By the time I was finished I knew it just didn’t suffice. It looked like some random deku scrub, not a mad scrub.
So for the first time, I decided to re-do a cake. I completely changed the way I did the leaves, and injected more of that sickly green colour of the Mad Scrubs into the body.
In the end I’m so glad I did because I like the second version a lot better. Though, oddly enough, the second version gave me way more trouble.
I had so much trouble with the leaves falling off. I’d leave them overnight to dry and remove the supports in the morning. They’d seem fine, then half an hour later I’d return to find they’d sagged or broken off. Or one day we had a rain storm and the humidity in the air softened the leaves and some broke. And even today when I went to photograph it one of the leaves from the crown had been snapped off by goodness knows what. Another shoddy repair job ensued.
The sugar eaves were all hand cut, thinned around the edged, embossed and then painted with powdered food colouring,
They took so much longer to complete than I thought. And the sad part is that most of the detail gets covered up by other leaves.
There’s well over 100 sugar leaves in the piece. I made even more than that for all the ones that broke along the way, so I was close to going batty by the time I finished.
But the real focus was meant to be the eyes. For anyone who has played Majora’s Mask, you’ll remember the opening sequence where link is turned into a Deku. That scene with all the mad scrubs closing in around link and the final shot of the giant deku chasing him down is the most prominent scene in my mind. Those glowing eyes in the dark is what I think of when I think of Mad Scrubs, so I wanted to make this guy glow. I set LED lights deep into the cake and covered them with sugar glass.
It was my first time putting light in a cake so it was a lot of fun to experiment with ways to make it work. Definitely a technique I’m going to need to refine in future.