It’s been a while since I made a cake, having taken 3 months off due to my own wedding . But now I’m back in the game, and my first cake this year was a great one to start off with – the Hippo in a Hot Tub birthday cake.
The client for this cake is actually the same person who placed the first ever order for Delicious Cake Design. She ordered a birthday cake back then, and this year she ordered another. She was very trusting and left the design of this year’s cake up to me, which was very kind of her as it meant I could try out some new ideas I’d been thinking about and also have a go at some new techniques. I really enjoy sugar modelling and had received a lovely book from my new in-laws about character cakes. I just fell in love with a cute hippo in the book and was dying to try it out myself. So this was the perfect opportunity!
Modelling the hippo out of sugarpaste turned out to be a little tougher than I thought. After an hour, I had attempted the hippo’s head four times and each attempt ended up looking like a lumpy gorilla made from Play Doh by a kindergartener. I was following the instructions exactly but it looked nothing like the adorable hippo in the book. My fantastic new husband saw my frustration and came over to give me some words of encouragement. He also gave me a very good suggestion. Instead of following the written instructions, which clearly was getting me nowhere, why not just copy what I could see in the pictures of the hippo parts? I followed his advice and voila, a perfectly adequate hippo.
I adored the detail that this hippo had – curly black eyelashes, grey eyelids, rosy pink cheeks, a blue towel turban, pink pads on the soles of the feet. I threw in a few extras as well to complete the picture – little bottles and jars sitting on the edge of the tub, a blue towel hanging off the side, and a back scrubbing brush, all handmade from modelling fondant. I also sprayed the “tub” with pearl lustre spray to give it a shiny, enamel like finish and to help distinguish it from the white fondant bubbles in the tub. I’d bought the lustre spray on a whim and not for a purpose, so it was another item I’d been uber keen to try out. I have to say, it worked quite well and I didn’t end up with a streaky finish at all. Much easier than using lustre powder dust.
It felt so good to be baking again, and to be designing and decorating a cake. I’d missed colouring sugarpaste, covering a cake with buttercream and fondant, moulding shapes from sugarpaste using just my hands, putting together all the pieces of decoration on the cake, and most of all, seeing the finished product and the delighted look on the client’s face. It’s good to be back.