“So, what kind of cakes do you make?”
“OMG, that’s a cake? Are you freaking kidding me?! How does it even stand up???”
Let me tell you a story about the cake I like to call: Ice Cream Bear.
Technically, his name was Tatty Teddy. “Tatty” played a significant role in the relationship of the couple. Not only would said bear be part of the bridal party on their wedding day, they also wanted to pay him tribute in cake form at the reception. Most of my clients come to me with an idea, and trust me to come up with a vision for their cake. This couple on the other hand, came to me with a very clear vision and trusted me to execute it. These guys knew precisely what they wanted for their gravity defying, sculpted teddy bear cake, right down to the ratio of ice cream to bear height.
Welcome friends, you have come to the right place!
I have often told my clients, “I can build you the Eiffel Tower out of cake, but I cannot draw to save my life.” For this reason, instead of sketching out a cake design, I would “splice” an image together instead. This method has been a much faster way for me to get a design out of my head and to create a more concrete point of reference.
The couple provided thorough photographic documentation of the bear they wanted replicated. However for the sake of demonstration, I cut out a different image of a teddy bear and spliced him together with a random ice cream cone to resemble the gesture and relative height the couple wanted captured in cake. Yeah, there is no way I could have accurately drawn this…
It took three weeks of planning, trips to the hardware store, and consulting with several sculpted cake experts before I realized that there was one factor of my clients’ design that I would not be able to deliver… I could not make this piece only 12″ tall. The materials I needed to pull off this feat would not scale down to that size.
This cake was about to defy more gravity than all of my previous projects combined. The structure had to be infallible!
I ended up using 1/2″ plywood for the base, and 1/4″ plywood for the sections where actual cake would be sitting. The bones are all 3/8″ metal threaded pipe, except the bits covered in aluminum foil tape. Those are are made of thick copper wire. This thing was as sturdy as I could possibly make it, short of fabricating the entire thing out of steel and welding it together. Alas, I had neither access to a welder nor a ready supply of scrap metal, so that idea was out. But hey, it’s good practice to use the materials available to us, right?
The finished structure was big, clunky, and weighed about 15 lbs when it was done. Most importantly, I knew this thing WOULD NOT FAIL when I started to pile cake and chocolate on top of it. I also knew that I would not be able to lift the finished product all by myself.
There was just one teeny tiny little problem with my plan…
It became clear that the finished product would not fit in the refrigerator. In some ways this was a good thing. I was already beyond capacity for the amount of weight I could safely lift getting the unfinished piece out of the fridge to work on it. I would need to finish decorating on the day of delivery and leave the cake out for my crew to put it in the delivery vehicle for me.
After everything was finished, Partner double checked that the stitching and patches were all in the correct places. (The hat would be placed on top once we were at the venue.)
And since I was no longer able to move this cake anywhere on my own…
Enter the Hired Goons!
(A.k.a. Best Friends in the Whole Wide World)
Take a moment to notice how much clearance there is between the car ceiling and the top of the ice cream. Ok, now notice where Waffles’ foot is. Imagine that the “trunk” of the minivan (in which the bear is sitting) dips below the level of her foot by about 18″… Why yes, that is approximately the amount of clearance between the ice cream and the ceiling! There’s nothing like having a perfectly planned week come to a screeching halt when the cake nearly does not fit in the delivery vehicle. GIANT LESSON LEARNED, and another argument in favor of implementing Project Scale Down. (Note: If the cake had not fit in the car, I would have rented a bigger vehicle. There was no way this cake was missing its wedding!)
The four of us piled into the car for a (thankfully) uneventful drive to Silver Creek Valley Country Club. Delivery was equally uneventful, as every cake decorator hopes theirs will be.
Congratulations to the happy couple! Wishing you and Tatty many years of continued joy and luck!