Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Millennium Falcon Birthday Cake

If you follow our blog, you will know that each year we get to make a fantastic cake for a sweet little birthday boy named Kaben.  His Mom gives us lots of freedom in terms of design and budget, so the cakes are fun for us to make.  This is the first year that we haven't done a tiered cake, but we spent more hours than ever before.

The biggest challenge making sculpted cakes can be figuring out the structure under the cake that will hold everything up.  It is scary and feels like you are more of a handyman that a baker.  Having a cake with pipes and plywood also cut down the amount of servings in the cake.  Our commercial refrigerator has a 22" wide door opening, so that limits our cake size and cake board.  Most sculpted cakes are built on the board with the armature screwed in and everything secured down.  When a customer needs a lot of servings and wants sculpted cake, you have to know your bakery's limitations.  You may need to add sheet cakes or smaller matching cakes to fill the order.  For this cake, I did need a lot of servings, about 100, and started the cake as large as I could while using my 22" cake board.  To get as many servings possible and avoid making an internal structure, I used a sturdy mud cake and sculpted the cake out of one BIG hunk of cake.  There were no supports, boards, wires or anything non-edible in the cake.  All the rectangles of cakes shown are 11x 14" layers.

This pic shows the cake structure underneath... Barely visible, right?

We've made a little movie to show how the progression of the cake sculpting.  Since the "real" Millennium Falcon is fairly flat and pizza like, we decided to sculpt it at an angle to get more cake servings.  We made the ships "stand" a little smaller and covered it in black Fondarific.  The idea is that it kind of disappears and isn't very noticeable.

A video posted by Jenniffer White (@cupadee) on

I did get distracted and forgot to keep taking pictures once the decorating got started.  I will give you a few words of advice if you decide to tackle a cake like this:

  1. Use a firm cake.  Soft boxed mix type texture will not hold up to the process, even if you keep it cold.
  2. Find templates, blow them up to the correct size, cover in packing tape to laminate, and use them the very best you can.  Cut smaller than the template because when you add buttercream and then modeling chocolate it will "grow" into the template.
  3. Use only modeling chocolate.  These are all panels that are fit together so you can cut sharply and maintain sharp corners.  You also have unlimited working time to go back and add lines and such.
  4. Use icing tips, #0, #00, #1 and #2 to add lots of very little details like "rivet" marks.
  5. Since the add on pieces are so very small and thin, your hands will melt them really fast.  You can put an ice pack under your cookie sheet with the pieces on them.  We applied these tiny pieces by picking them up and positioning them with a pin.  That way you don't melt or distort them.
  6. Print out a piece of edible image paper 1/2 black and 1/2 red.  We used this to add all the little colors.  It looks MUCH sharper than painting the small details.  Those details are not all accurate.  At that point, I was "winging it" just to make it look good.
  7. Dry brushing will get into the scored lines and bring out the details.  It also makes it look more authentic and less showroom new.

Lastly, if you want to make this cake, schedule 40 hours of decorating time.  That's not including baking, making templates, and research.  I've seen a similar cake done in all buttercream and it was nice, but I like sharper look and cleaner details.  If you want a simpler version (I don't mean that ugly), that might be the avenue to take.  If you get it done in 20 hours, send me a picture so I can give you a shout out!

Thanks to all of you that stop in and read my little old blog from time to time.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous 2015!!


  1. The detail is amazing! I find when clients give me "freedom" because they trust my design style, I end up going out of my way to add more detail as I know they will appreciate it and I enjoy it so much! I'm sure they really appreciate your work - above an beyond!

  2. You are so awesome! This is perfect!


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