Not being as obsessed as I am with cakes, Mr Cupcake did not know what he wanted.
The weather in Tasmania has turned very cold so suddenly that a icy penguin tableau seemed quite apt for a March birthday. I decided to try something I had seen in Planet Cake Cupcakes.
This was only the second time that I have decorated a full size cake with fondant icing. Planet Cake definitely wouldn't give me a job based on the end result, but as a beginner I was reasonably happy with it.
After I had baked the Sacher torte, I split it horizontally and filled the centre with blackcurrant jam. Then it was time to ganache and hot knife for a smooth finish.
It took an awful lot of ganache to cover all the top and sides, because it needs to sit in every little uneven crevice and be built out to an even edge. This is the ganache finish.
His flippers were rolled and hand cut, then left to dry completely before moving them. I cut deep slots in penguin's sides to stick the flippers in.
The white side of one flipper got a bit of black on it - I thought this was terminal but managed to remove the stain by wiping with a damp cloth - good to know for future reference.
When penguin was dry, I stuck tiny white fondant balls on for eyes and dotted a black pupil in each with a paint brush. I stuck his flippers into their slots and put him on the cake, then placed his feet in front of him.
Then I peeled the fondant away, but replaced it with a very very thin layer of white fondant, just so that the blue gel would really shine.
In photographing the cake I thought this pic which was taken in direct sunlight seemed to make the 'icy' setting more realistic. The sun gleams off the water beautifully!
I finished up with Happy Birthday candles in green and orange to go with the fishy and a matching green ribbon at the base of the cake, which apart from providing a bit of colour to what was a very pale cake, also served to hide some little imperfections at the base.
Happy birthday Mr Cupcake... just like the penguin's successful fishing expedition, may this year present you with many delicious surprises!