Saturday, April 13, 2013

Icing Smiles Cake for Davein

Icing Smiles is a wonderful organization that provides cakes for seriously ill children and their families.  I started following them last year on Facebook, and signed up to volunteer as a cake maker in Boulder.  About a month ago I finally got a Call to Action from them.  I cannot tell you how happy I was to make a cake for this little boy and to be part of such an amazing charity!

I made this cake for Davein, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Davein is turning six years old this year, and requested a Jake and the Neverland Pirates cake.  My kids are a little too old for this show, so I didn't have a lot of knowledge on it.  A trip to the Disney Store and several Google searches helped enlighten me.  And thanks to Pinterest I was able to collect most of my inspiration for it in one place, on my Icing Smiles Inspiration Board.  (Pinterest is my new favorite brainstorming tool, by the way.)

The first thing I made was the pirate ship.  It is made from gumpaste, which I painted brown with food coloring and vodka.  After scoring the sides of the ship with a sharp knife to make the wood planks, I stippled the color directly onto the gumpaste with a paper towel dipped in the vodka food coloring mixture.  The sails of the ship were made from Wilton icing sheets.  I had never used these before and they were perfect for what I wanted.  They ARE difficult to cut and a little brittle (so they break easily) but I love how clean the stripes are and how they turned out.  The pirate flag was regular gumpaste that I hand painted with black food coloring, and also stippled the edges with brown color to make it look weathered.  The cannon and little porthole windows are painted gold.  I won some neat prizes from Sweet Times in the Rockies, and one of the things I got was a spray gold food coloring.  It worked like a dream-no drips or streaks.  It wasn't as metallic as painting with gold pigment, but I was super happy with how fast and easy it was.  For the waves, I used a couple of different colors of blue gumpaste and rolled it into little curlicues, which I placed around the base of the ship.  Those little curls might be my favorite part of the whole cake.

The middle tier was fun, because I decided to hand paint it with a very fine tipped brush.  I painted a star on it for a compass.  I did not dilute the food coloring on this tier with vodka-just painted straight from the bottle.

The top tier and then also the banner with the inscription at the base of the cake are gumpaste that I wanted to look like weathered canvas.  I cut it roughly, with some cutouts in the middle.  And then again with brown food coloring and vodka, brushed it around the edges to give it the look I wanted.

And now the figurines...ah yes.  Those.  I kinda struggled here, because I don't like using plastic figures on my cake (even though I have for Nate and Charlotte because they love those figure sets from the Disney Store).  It isn't really art, right?  And it is more artistic to make them myself, right?  But Nate and Char INSISTED, over and over again, that the toys would be better because then Davein could play with them later-and what would he do with fondant ones?  I finally succumbed to their reasoning.

On to the cake board.  I covered it first in blue marbled fondant for the sea, and the "glued" crushed grahm crackers to it for sand (I used light corn syrup).  Then I tossed some little gold coins into the sand for prosperity.  

This morning Davein picked up his cake and he loved it!  Happy 6th Birthday Davein!

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