Last week I was given the opportunity to create a Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs 2 cake using buttercream.
I must confess I haven’t actually watched these movies so I had to consult my sprogs for their expert advice before creating the design. Their suggestions were Flint (who I’ve discovered is the main character), Cheesespider and Berry. After a bit of research (god bless the internet) I sketched out a design plan.
The trick to successfully drawing characters in buttercream is to find the right base image/images to use. In this case I searched for a good colouring-in image as the source for Flint. Once it was reversed horizontally and resized based on the size of the cake I printed it out ready to transfer onto the cake surface. Most images you wish to trace transfer need to be “flipped” before you print them to ensure they don’t end up “backwards” on the cake.
To copy the image onto the cake I placed baking paper on top of the printout and lightly taped it down. (Don’t use too much tape as eventually you have to unstick the back image from your tracing). Using a small amount of piping gel placed in a piping bag with a #1 decorating tip attached I gently traced around the outline of the image. Once the tracing was complete I removed the baking paper from the image and carefully placed the baking paper onto the cake gel side down into position very lightly.
Using a toothpick I gently pressed the piping gel outline onto the cake. This is a slow process as you want to try not to blot lines together (which is why it is important not to use too much piping gel or lines that are too thick for the tracing).
Happy that the gel lines of the image had been transferred onto the buttercream cake surface I slowly peeled the baking paper away to reveal a transparent outline.
Using a #3 tip and black icing I carefully traced and followed the piping gel outline on the cake. This produced an image ready for me to colour in with buttercream.
Instead of using star tips for this cake I opted to use a “fill” approach as the detail required was quite fine. Using a #3 tip I slowly piped colour into each section until every area was filled. For the eyes I used a #2 tip to give more control over the detail. Eventually Flint came to life in full colour on the cake.
Given the title of the movie I decided to attempt what I am going to call a spaghetti font for the birthday message. Buttercream writing is something I consider a real weakness of mine so I was nervous but happy with the outcome. With the writing complete the cake needed a few components around the edges and a border.
Using a #5 tip and natural coloured buttercream I created a small pile of spaghetti on one corner of the cake, slowly building it up strand by strand. Using a tablespoon of strawberry jam diluted with a small amount of water I poured the runny consistency over the buttercream spaghetti to create the “sauce”. A couple of Ferrero Rocher made perfect meatballs to finish the effect.
Continuing with the #5 tip and the natural buttercream I added a loop border around the base of the cake to provide a subtle frame. Yupi jelly candies in the shape of pizza slices stuck to the cake with a dollop of buttercream came to life as I added buttercream eyes and mouth to each.
Using yellow icing and a #3 tip I created a base for the burger shaped candies. Once they were placed on their bases I drew 8 legs extending from each burger. One of the cheeseburgers I separated and spread the jellies out to make it look like the mouth was open. Yellow buttercream helped set the candies into position.
The final component of the cake I created was Berry. After umming and arring I decided to create her in 3D using fondant. The dilemma I had was that most of my fondant tools were still in boxes that haven’t been unpacked since our last move so, I had to be a little creative in how I made her – mostly through the use of bare hands. She isn’t as perfect as I would like however my kids thought she was cool and a child’s opinion is the most important when it comes to cakes.
The birthday girl also loved her cake and ended up keeping Berry. Part of the satisfaction of making a cake is the smile it will bring to the face of its recipeint. In this case – a huge success. 🙂