My boss, Chef Rob, from Ethan’s Catering recently commissioned a butterfly cake for his mother for the family’s 4th of July party. Or at least, that’s what he told me over the phone when he was placing the order…
The day of pickup, he asked me to send him a picture of the finished cake. Odd, I thought. He’ll see the finished product in a couple hours. Meh, some of us don’t handle anticipation very well. Not thinking anything of it, I snapped a picture on my phone and sent it to Chef. He responded with a text message of approval.
When clients first arrive to pick up their cakes, usually the first thing that happens is they ask to see the cake. Not this time. Instead he tells me that he’s going to go home and enjoy a slice right now.

Isn’t it for your mother tomorrow?? I asked.
“She got this last one. This one is mine! It’s too nice!”
And then… I died.

The butterflies are made of gumpaste and took several days to make.

I used a variety of small gumpaste cutters to cut out the butterflies.

The weather in Redwood City has been advantageously hot, so the butterflies dried very quickly in about 24 hours.

My outdoor airbrush station.

The heat of the direct sunlight was another great advantage to painting outside. The first layer of coloring was dry in about 10 minutes.

The second layer, a darker speckling for depth and texture, took about 20 minutes to dry.

I had technicolored hands for 2 days.

Done with airbrushing! Now for the really painstaking part…

Hand painted details.
6 hours later, everyone is finished!

With the help of a few friends, we were able to capture some video footage of the cake assembly process. I’m hoping to have this up in the next few days:-) Stay tuned!