Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Banjo Groom's Cake

I met with Rachel and Daniel several months ago and as soon as they mentioned they were interested in a banjo cake, my eyes lit up.  This is the kind of cake that I rarely get to do, but always look forward to making.  Almost immediately, I called our good friend Jim Pankey, who is a professional banjo player.  He was kind enough to lend us a banjo for a couple of weeks.  Chaddy went to work taking measurements, making cardboard templates, and taking pictures and detailed notes.  He even made some silicone molds of the tuning pegs!

Details on a cake like this is what can take it from great to incredible, but none of it will come together without a proper structure.

In instruments I have made from cake in the past, I used extruded fondant for the strings, and I never liked the look.  This time I wanted to use real strings, which meant that extra structure would need to be in place.

Luckily, our couple didn't care a great deal about how many people the cake fed, they were much more interested in a realistic final product.  The cakes are comprised of a 14" and a 12" rounds, but each "tier" is less than 2 inches high.

The neck is made of 1/4" wood, covered in modeling chocolate.  There's a small block of wood at the top and bottom of the banjo to hold the neck and strings.

 For the neck, all the decorations needed to keep a very low profile to keep the strings from damaging them.  I used thin strips of edible image paper for the frets, and gumpaste rolled super thin for the inlay.  I looked at lots of pictures of banjo inlay, and they were ranged from very simple to very ornate.  In the end, we wound up using a standard fret dot with a heart on either side.  I thought it added a nice hint of romance (it was a wedding, after all) but without being too "girly" or over the top.

So, is anyone interested in seeing the structure used to create this cake?  If so, drop back in here next week and I'll talk a little more about how we made the structure and show a few in-process shots of the cake.  If you have any other questions about the banjo cake, leave a comment on this post and I'll try my best to answer it next week.


  1. That is amazing - perfect details! What a fun couple to work with.

  2. Wow such excellent work. I love cutting into cakes but I wouldn't mess with this one. I would just sit and stare at it all day. LOL.

  3. This is amazing!!! I am making a banjo cake in 2 weeks, the pictures of the actual banjo looks just like this cake!! I want it to look real but totally edible and I am struggling ......I cant find something suitable for the strings!! can you recommend anything?

    1. Thanks! I actually used real guitar strings on this cake, but of course that isn't edible. I have used extruded fondant before, but I didn't like the look nearly as well. Good luck with your cake!! Make sure you look my "banjo cake armature design" post as well.

  4. Replies
    1. Hey bubbasbride, thanks for stopping by! I detailed the process I used for the armature in this blog post:


      Tell Bubba we said "Hey!" ;-)


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