Tuesday, January 27, 2015
We have made three musical instruments to date. A simple acoustic guitar, a fantastic banjo, and this cake. The bride was limited on her budget, so to cut costs/labor we didn't make any type of armature for this cake. The neck is entirely made out of cereal treats and then "faked out" by using black fondant to represent the underside of the neck. I like the look of it, especially since I didn't have to do a bunch of woodworking that isn't much fun to me. The sides of the guitar are buttercream. The top and neck are all covered in modeling chocolate.
For the cake board, I did use a power tool and cut 1" thick Gatorboard with a rotozip tool. Gatorboard is a lot like foamboard, but instead of paper on the outside, it's this really hard surface. You can't cut it with a box cutter. I used to use it all the time when I was in visual merchandising. Look at the letters in a department store and you will see this material. It was not my most brilliant plan :( It was messy, bumpy, and not a good structural idea. I was moving the cake from the cooler to the table and hit the neck cake board on the side of the table. It was heavier than I expected and I was just trying to hurry too much. My accident caused the neck of the cake board to break but not come off. At this point, the cake was carved and iced smooth so moving it to another board would have turned it into a pile of crumbs. For a solution, we cut a 1/4" piece of plywood about the size of the cake and glued it underneath to brace the original cake board. It gave me a lot more structural integrity.
For the strings, well my husband is a damn genius! We were so running out of time to finish this cake and I was going to do something that would not have been so pretty. I'll give you the short version and we can follow it up with a little tutorial. Since the Gatorboard cake board we could stab wooden skewers into it and they would hold in tight. Chad drilled the tiniest of holes in the skewer and tied fishing line in a knot. Then with both of us holding it so as to not damage my fancy paint job (heaven forbid we try this before the cake is otherwise done-silly baker). We used a tall piece of modeling chocolate at the top of the neck to hold the string up so they didn't lay flat on the neck and it held them in the proper order without wiggling around. We then put the line through another tiny hole in a wooden skewer and hammered it into the cake and board. The tension was good and the line didn't move. We then put some trim pieces over the top skewer to hide the skewers. We ran out of time to figure out camouflage for the bottom skewers. We used real guitar string on the banjo, but know that we have figured this out, it will be our go to method. I will say that when we moved the cake the strings got looser because the flex of the very long cake board but then got tight again as soon as we laid it on the display table. I'm lucky the saggy, traveling strings didn't mess up my paint.
http://www.shopchefrubber.com/Cocoa-Butter-Painting-Kit/) has a great kit that will last for a while. ANYTIME I use an edible marker on modeling chocolate, once the cake comes out of the fridge and has a little condensation, all the details run like Alice Coopers mascara! Cocoa butter painting takes a little practice, which is what I'm still doing, but once it firms up, the details won't move or get smudged by anything. I hope you take something helpful away from this because one day you may have to figure out guitar strings on a cake!