I was asked to make a medieval cake for a surprise 40th birthday party. I was given completely free reign to design the cake, as long as it fit the medieval theme (to match the venue) and the budget. As soon as the word "medieval" was mentioned my mind went to dragons, I was also asked to make cupcakes with flag toppers, so I though those should be represented in the cake somehow.
So I put pencil to paper and came up with a quick sketch of a dragon perched atop a tower. The client loved it, so the work began.
For ages now I have been dying to try using modelling chocolate, but I just never seemed to get around to it, so I decided that the time had come. I bought some chocolate, made some bright red modelling chocolate (following varied online advice), and began to play. I sculpted a little red dragon in the style I wanted for the cake and was very, very pleased with the result!
Modelling chocolate is a wonderful medium! (Once I figured out how to stop it turning into an oily mess). It sets quickly, but can still be worked and changed, and it is easy to blend different parts seamlessly. It is also very structurally strong, and elastic enough that it can take reasonably hard knocks without breaking. Why did I take so long to try it?!
Next came the baking and assembly of the cake itself. The main tower of the castle is made of rich dark chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing, the small tower and dragon are both vanilla cream cheese pound cake (which stands up to carving very well) with vanilla buttercream and rice krispy treats. The completed cake stands just over 2 foot tall (65cm), the structure is stabilised by two large vertical dowels firmly screwed to the cake board. This worked exceptionally well, the cake arrived at the venue (a 2 hour car journey away) completely intact.
I wish I had taken more (and better) photos of the whole process!
Crumb coating and final icing was done with my trusty vanilla buttercream. The castle, and all it's details, are crafted from fondant, while the dragon is made of modelling chocolate, dusted (and painted) with gold lustre dust.
At about this point I decided to add some little figurines - a knight and a damsel in distress. These had been mentioned in the 'consultations,' but I hadn't yet included them in my vision. Looking at the nearly finished cake, it was crying out for some extra detail towards the bottom of the cake to balance the 'busy-ness' of the dragon sitting atop it.
I love how this cake turned out!
A 360º video of the finished cake: