Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cake of Pi

Settle in guys... this is gonna be a long one....
I welcomed a new challenge to my repertoire. I was asked to donate a cake for the Books2Eat Gala Fundraiser for the Edmonton Public Libraries. The theme this year was "Make a Splash" and I was asked to create a cake for auction based on a book with a major theme of water. After much deliberation I decided on the book Life of Pi. I read the book years ago, and some of the twists an such elude my memory, but I remember that it was a profound story that held my imagination and toyed with my emotions. I apologize in advance for the mish mash of pics. I didn't always have my bloggin camera (courtesy of Mr Lemur with me)
Being ever so slightly the over thinker (yup thats sarcasm) I tried to tie the story into every aspect of my design. I also changed my design about 47 times. In the end I was pretty happy with my submission. It told the story and fit the theme. I started with 3 vanilla cakes. The largest symbolized India where the tale begins, flavored with mango and cardamon. For the middle sized tier I tried in vain to come up with a flavor to symbolize the ocean voyage. So instead of making a seaweed and sardine butter cream, I went with browned butter and burnt honey, just because I like it. And finally to represent the intended destination, Canada, I went with maple and bacon. yes you heard me bacon. It tasted like when you roll up a strip of bacon in a pancake. YUM.
then I coated all the cakes in a bright teal fondant to match to cover of the book. In retrospect I think I would have colored the tier in gradients. Darker on the bottom and lighter on top, a lesson learned. After doweling and stacking I was ready to decorate. which is where the fun begins. 
First i carved a boat shape out of rice krispie treats, and coated it in strips of fundant textured to look like wooden planks. then I worked on the tiger, and the main character, Pi. I planned to have them sit in the boat, bobbing on the top of the cake. Mr Lemur set to work designing a small motor to set the life boat in motion. 
the first attempt at Pi, was a bit off scale, but easy enough to fix with a butt-ectomy. I just sliced off his rump and readjusted his limbs. Since the tale is slightly on the morbid side i tried to lighten it by cartooning the characters. The tiger was particularly adorable, if i do say so myself.
Adjusted Pi, and a finished tiger make me smile. 

After final inspection Lemur and I found that the boat would not be a-rockin. which is OK, we  learned alot about cake mechanics ( and by we I mean he, lol) despite the set back, I forged onward and started final assembly. I wanted to add the man eating moss island, and its inhabitants the meerkats, as well as the flying fish from the cover of the book. I even painted the symbols for Pi's 3 religious beliefs on the back of the boat. 
The most time consuming part was the waves, each rolled individually and attached painstakingly. i tried 4 or 5 different techniques for the waves, and although I wasn't completely thrilled with the result, it worked. I was happier after brushing the tops of the waves with luster dust. it gave them some depth. I struggled with wanting to add alot more elements onto my cake. But I stopped myself. I think sometimes it is better to have less clutter on the cake so that there can be a clear focus.  
Bunz and I whisked the cake over to the library just in time for me to come home and get gussied up. I wore a dress. That's right!!! I wore a dress!!! My niece and I attended the gala, a first for both of us. I was nervous, but there was a lot of friendly faces. I made a few new friends, and passed out a couple business cards. I cant wait till next yer to do it all again. They sent me the date already, all i need is the theme and i can start all over again!

1 comment:

  1. I was the happy winner of your beautiful cake! Some of it was enjoyed by the staff of the Whitemud Crossing branch library and the rest by my family. Thanks so much for your support of EPL! Looking forward to seeing what you create next year!