I was asked to make a cake for Father’s Day and the requested subject was garden. I image googled “Father’s Day Cake” and found hundreds of garden themed cakes, which made me laugh.
Anyway, it was a short turnaround, I got the call Saturday lunch time and agreed to have it ready by 11am the following day. Living in a rural area meant I couldn’t just nip to the shop and get some cake supplies… I had to think outside the box! I knew I still had some sugar carrots leftover from Easter and I remembered seeing some “nature” sugar decorations in one of the supermarkets… indeed, it was a small box with three mushrooms, three bees, three butterflies and three rabbits. I checked every single box and unfortunately none of them came with all sugar decorations intact so I only had two mushrooms instead of three.
I wanted to make some kind of fence… the chocolate fingers were too fat for my liking so I opted for Mikado sticks. They turned out to be perfect!
Grass nozzle? Nope. I had ordered a whole box of nozzles only the day before but of course they hadn’t been delivered yet.
What else is in a garden? Flowers. I had lots of different sugar flowers, so that wasn’t going to be a problem.
I baked my chocolate cake and thanks to the addition of extra baking powder it rose high enough to be cut into two and I didn’t have to bake a second cake layer.
I filled the cake with fresh raspberries mixed with half a jar of raspberry jam and some gelatine.
I buttercreamed it all around (melt chocolate, add 1/2 tsp of instant coffee, add butter, add icing sugar and vanilla and some milk depending on the consistency). Once it was completely covered (I did a crumb coat as well) I started decorating. First came the fences… the horizontal beam was held in place with some buttercream. Then I started on the grass. I had a choice between a big piping bag or some tiny paper ones (I only use them for writing on cakes) but I couldn’t find a nozzle with a small enough hole in it for the big piping bag so it had to be the paper bag. I made green buttercream (I use sugarflair colours) and filled a bag, cut off the tip and started “making grass”. Problem with the small paper bags are that the warmth of your hand makes the buttercream melt so you have to work fast. Hundreds of grass strands later I had reached the garden path… made out of chopped roasted hazelnuts.
Then I got started on the pebbles. I brought big pebbles back from the beach in Portugal, they are smooth and have a black/grey/white pattern, they are ever so pretty. So I made several big ones and even more little ones out of white and black sugar paste.
The carrots went in and nearby a couple of rabbits. Flowers started to bloom and a butterfly came by. A bit of fire wood (broken Mikados) close to the pebbles didn’t look out of place. Some mushrooms near the fence and of course there were also some animals on the back of the fence… a bee and a butterfly and I made a snail out of brown fondant. Every garden has at least one snail (my garden seems to have thousands!).
The last thing I made was the watering can. I took my own as an example. The snout got lots of small holes courtesy of a sowing needle (where are the pins when you need them?) and then I signed my cake along a fence post and took pictures.
I apologise for the quality of the pictures… they were only taken with an iPhone.
But here is one the customer sent to his son later (who kindly forwarded me the email) with the words: “The Cake was Frantastic and your friend should be very proud of her efforts. Everything about the cake is out of this world: Taste, Design, Texture, Craftsmanship and soooo moooooorish.”
I’m so happy with this cake… mainly because I know I made someone else happy!