When I posted the Earth cake, I did not expect it to get anywhere near the amount of attention it received. Getting featured on the Facebook pages Think Geek and I Fucking Love Science was a total highlight of my blogging life. I’m big fans of both pages so it was kind of surreal. A lot of my Zoology graduate mates are also fans of IFLS and you’d often hear conversations in the Masters office beginning with, “Did you see that post by IFLS today?” So I woke up to several of them messaging me about it and we all got super excited over it.
With the exposure those pages brought came a whole lot of people who wanted to know how to make it. I still get a couple of emails a week asking for a recipe. The cake was a total experiment on my part, and not one that went flawlessly. There were many imperfections within the cake and I never share recipes unless I know it’s absolutely tried and true. I’d hate to be responsible for a baking fail simply for giving a botched up recipe. But I also hate letting people down. So I decided to re-visit the concept so I could make a tutorial. That will come later in the week as I’m still editing it. But first, here’s the result of round 2.
One question I got asked a lot was if it was possible to make it a sphere. Absolutely it is. If you can make the hemisphere a sphere is easy. I didn’t want to make another Earth cake as I hate repeating bakes, so I opted to decorate it as something new. I threw around a few ideas ranging from something floral to a giant pokéball, but in the end I just wanted to make another planet.
Some of you might remember the Zelda cakes I made for Game Art HQs Link's Blacklist Tribute. Well, a little while ago another artist tribute caught my attention. It's called "Virtual Worlds We Loved" and, as the name suggests, is completely focussed on the worlds, levels or places depicted in games. I love tributes that move away from the protagonists and otherwise famous characters and allow scope for the under-appreciated, unseen, or unusual.
The tribute features 30 different artists and allowed for no repeats of games. I almost claimed about Zelda game, but instead decided to depict the first game I ever played: Super Mario Brothers. Ah, the good old days of playing the NES as a kid. We owned 3 games and I repeatedly played each of them. I fell in love with the 8-bit world so I couldn't resist the chance to bring it to life with cake.
Our cake is in another castle…
A little while ago, my sister approached me with an idea. She’s doing an education degree, and her and her friends had to give a series of lessons on the geological sciences to a class of primary school kids. One of their lessons involved teaching the kids about the structure of the Earth. One of her friends came up with the idea of presenting a model of the Earth made out of cake. So my sister asked me if I could make a spherical cake with all the layers of the Earth inside it.
I told her I couldn’t do it. “How do you get a sphere inside a sphere inside a sphere?” I recall saying. “Oh yeah,” she replied, realising what it would involve.
I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. I don’t admit defeat. Ever. But especially not with cake. Nothing is impossible is pretty much my baking motto, so to say this cake was impossible left me feeling weird. There had to be a way. A way that didn’t involve carving or crumbing the cake. I kept mulling it over until I had a breakthrough.
It finally arrived…
You guys might remember the Furnix Cake I made for an artist collaboration on deviantART. Well, the project was so popular it's on for a second round. When the organiser contacted me to let me know, I was only too ecstatic to be on board a second time. Any excuse to make a Zelda ckae is a very welcome one indeed.
For those of you who don't remember, the collab is called Link's Blacklist. It's a fan art project that focuses only on enemies from the video game series, The Legend of Zelda. It's that enemy-only facet that I love so much. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Link artwork as much as the next Zelda fan. But there's no shortage of them. Focusing solely on enemies generates a lot of fan art with a focus on what is often ignored. What makes this project even more special is that it's both quality-controlled and open only to a select number of artists, so every entry is one worth staring at. If you're a Zelda fan, or just love some beautiful fan art, check out the artwork so far here on Game Art HQ.
Beam me up…
This was a cake I was commissioned to do for a 24th birthday. The birthday girl wanted a shark emerging from a cake – I'm in love with sharks, so I was only too pleased for the opportunity to make my first fondant shark.
Over on deviantART one of my favourite groups, Project Educate, is holding an Artisan Crafts contest. The theme this year is "Circus". I've been wanting an excuse to do a circus cake for forever. Alas, with the weather being as phenomenally hot as it is, I couldn't days working on an epic cake. So I had to downsize.
When I think circus, my first thought is my favourite: Cirque du Soleil. Particularly since I just recently witnessed their amazing Ovo show, as well as the Cirque du Soleil "Worlds Away" movie. I well and truly have cirque on the brain. But doing a cake that did that amazing circus justice was out of the question, do I went for something a little smaller.
A year ago, I made the decision to finally join deviantART. It was a rather flippant decision, not meant to turn into anything significant. I certainly didn't plan to become invested in the site. I just couldn't comment and fave art I stumbled upon without an account, so I joined.
I turned into one of the best decisions I made. deviantART has a thriving artisan craft community. You have to dig a little to find it, and it's virtually imperceptible from the outside. But it is there, and it is full of some incredibly talented artisans.
The community has not only been supportive of me beyond what I thought imaginable, it has inspired me and it has changed the way I view this hobby. I've come to respect culinary art as an art form. From the photography of savoury dishes to the creation of novelty cakes, it's all art, it's all expression. The community has motivated me to improve not just in culinary art, but to learn and improve in still life photography as well.
I have so much to thank the community for, so I decided to say thanks in the best way I know how.
Cake is the word…
The single most exciting part of Christmas for me is decorating the tree. Most of November consists of me waiting for any sign that's it's appropriate to bring the tree out. This year our neighbours put up their Christmas lights really early, and that was all I needed. I eagrly grabbed the tree and set about my favourite task.
No one else in my family is really into any artistic hobbies or creatively inclined, so even when I was quite young they were more than happy to let me decorate the tree. To everyone else, it seemed like a chore. It eventually became my 'thing' at Christmas. As a kid I'd become easily bothered if people tried to 'help', because it would inevitably result in them putting decorations in places that were just aesthetically horrible. These days, my boyfriend always helps me decorate the tree. While he jokes about how pedantic I am about it and teases me about my decorating 'rules', he shares the same creativity and an eye for detail that comes with his love for artistic hobbies. He's just a pedantic as me, and the only person I trust to help me with this onerous task. It was really evident this year when we were finding places for the last handful of baubles. My sister suggested a place for him to put the one in his hand and he replied with, "No, you can't put it there. There's another bauble of the same size and colour right there." That's my boy!
As I grew up, every year I'd have a different theme. Out decorations were a haphazard collection of brand new assortments of baubles alongside ratty old ones from the 80s. I'd pick and choose colours every year, with one of my favourites being red and gold. These days, my tree is always blue and silver. I've built up quite the collection of blue and silver decorations now, a collection large enough to fit the ridiculously over-sized Christmas tree. While blue and silver is my chosen poison these days, I miss the red and gold a little. I almost have no red and gold baubles left any more, so it was with immense joy that I returned to one of my favourite colour schemes with these edible versions.
Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…
I have such a love of candles. I own far too many candles that I never burn because I have some weird thing about keeping things looking new and never using them because reasons (I'm looking at you, 5 sets of Derwent pencils still wrapped in plastic).
Once I inevitably get over this weird quirk and light them, I'm quickly captivated by them as the flame dances on their molten surface. I love their elegance, their ambiance and their beauty. I especially love their fragrance, be it from a scented candle or the smell of a wick just blown out. I also love the way they remind me of being a kid. I grew up in a household where money was variably present, and so we often had one or more of our utilities cut off. Of course, as a kid, you don't yet know the stress of money and bills so it's all just another adventure. Today we get to boil the water for our baths on the stove and read stories by candle light. There were a lot of candle light nights. Maybe it's because they bring me back to this time of personal innocence, or maybe it's just their intrinsic beauty, but I find them so calming.
Candles also remind me of Christmas. They're my favourite centrepiece at Christmas dinner, though they look gorgeous adorning any occasion. Lit or unlit, they make the setting look beautiful. So when creating a list of baking for my 12 Days of Christmas, I just knew candles had to be featured.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Over on what is fast becoming my new home, deviantART, a group called Game Art HQ was hosting an ART collab called Link's Blacklist. It's a fan art tribute to The Legend of Zelda. But instead of featuring the usual types of fan art, this art collab ventured to be something different. It features only enemies from The Legend of Zelda. It involved 60 artists and each artist had to claim a different enemy from the series so there are no repeats. If you're a fan of the series, or even if you're not, you should go check out the gallery. The standard there is amazing.
Now, this group accepts only quality fan art. I'm a digital art newbie, so instead of drawing something, I turned to a medium I was more advance in. Cakeage.
I chose to do Furnix from Skyward Sword.
You encounter these enemies when you enter the Ancient Cistern. I saw these gorgeous birds flying around and hoped I wouldn't have to kill something so beautiful. Then they started spitting fireballs at me. Sigh.
There are so many gorgeous elements to Skyward Sword. The aesthetic of that game make me swoon. So it was a delight to recreate something from the game.
Or, at least, it was when I first embarked on the project. I've never had so many things go wrong with a cake before. This was the most stressed I had ever been when making a cake.
But let’s start that story from the very beginning. ..