No one achieves any kind of success on their own. Not personally. Not in business. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who not only cheer me on, but actively push me out the door.
Is that a hint? GET OUT!!!
If you’ve been to any of my shows this year, odds are you’ve met my booth babe Andrea.
This is her above. You can’t tell she wasn’t truly a nerd before I got my hands on her!
She’s the one who shows up, mans my table and tells me what to do. I wouldn’t be doing shows without someone like her by my side.
And guess who is getting older?
Hint: it’s not me.
If you’ve spoken with Andrea at any point, for longer than a business transaction, you might notice that she’s…welll…she speaks her mind and often that mind is in the gutter. This has lead us both into some adventures and awkward situations where at least one of us (me) is blushing.
At Ad Astra, Andrea met a woman who writes fan fiction on the spot. Andrea opted for a steamy one about her and Thor.
I’m sure you’ve read fan fiction. I know I’ve read fan fiction. Fan fiction can be…yeah…rather explicit. This custom piece was very much classic fan fic. Guess who ended up bright red after reading it? Hint: not Andrea!
Try reading something rather descriptive with the described character sitting right beside you. Try it.
Now, Andrea isn’t the only person who has been shoving me out the door. I am surrounded by a fuck ton of amazing people. But there’s another person in our motley group that actually has a part in this story: Shannon.
Shannon has been in the background quietly shoring up the foundations around here. Editing my posts (apparently my grammar can be disturbing and punctuation a lost art), showing up at every local show of mine where possible, and buying my art. I think she might have been among the first people to buy a painting when I was setting out.
Shannon also makes cakes.
Not boring cakes.
Awesome, custom made, wildly creative insanity cakes. They look great and taste incredible.
This is saying something since I don’t like cake. The only exception I make to liking cake belongs to Shannon.
But, getting back to the story: we have an aging, raunchy booth babe, a cake making wizard and an artist.
You know what that means: fucking awesome cake!
The planned cake is a 9″ circle. Shannon threw out the idea of playing off Andrea’s fan fic. The one with Thor and a classic fan fic setting I can’t write about here. She asked me to provide a drawing. This is where I came in.
Working with a rough idea, after googling all sorts of things that will probably make me look weird. I searched for things like sexy Thor, hot men (omg) and more.
I wanted a drawing that was more than suggestive but still subtle.
Some details (*cough cough balls cough cough*) were added in on purpose. A little extra just for my babe.
The finished drawing
That’s my contribution. This cake-along continues with Shannon’s part.
Why, thank you, my friend! Over the last few years, one of my greatest joys has been following Paula online as she does a paint-along. As a person who approaches art in an edible way, I was always (and still am) intrigued with the process of how Paula makes her art come alive. So, in the spirit of reciprocity, I have done private cake-alongs with Paula, so she can see how my cakes come together, from the baking to the end product.
So when Facebook forcefully informed me that our mutual friend was having a birthday and we should celebrate, I thought, “Why anger the social media gods?” and quickly set my thoughts to what sort of cake to make for Andrea.
As Paula has stated, our friend has a mind that tends to…go there. So, remembering the fan fiction she sent me, starring her, Thor and his “hammer,” I knew I had to contact Paula to make a collaborative effort. I asked her to make me a sketch of Thor and Andrea. Once she had sent me the file, I went to cake decorating step one, which is to draw a reverse sketch of Paula’s art onto parchment paper. Which looks like this:
That done, I put it aside while debating cake accessories. That’s when I thought, “Well, duh! Thor’s hammer!” And by that, I mean, Mjölnir. Unlike in the above mentioned fan fic, which reads: Thor’s grin widened. “Not that one.” He grasped her hips and pulled her hips against his. “This one.” *gasp*
To make Mjölnir, I needed first to make some gumpaste, which is basically combining fondant with powdered tylose, as a…stiffening agent. Then, I mixed colours, and shaped it, and painted it, and it turned out like this:
I knew that I wanted the basic covering of the cake to be Thor’s cape, so next I made the…buttons? Epaulettes? Buttalettes? You know, the things that attach his cape onto his chest plate. I used chocolate fondant and brushed them with a bronzing powder.
For the actual cake, I decided to go with a tried and true cinnamon Dutch chocolate cake. But I wanted to try something different for the filling and icing. Something rich and decadent. And untried. What are friends for if not to be guinea pigs, right? So I whipped up a batch of browned butter icing. It is different from my usual swiss meringue in two ways: one is that it uses 1.5 cups LESS butter, there are no eggs whites and uses icing sugar instead of granulated sugar. The second is that the butter is not creamed or mixed into the sugar in a solid form. It is first melted and cooked over a high heat until the butter turns a gorgeous caramel colour. When mixed with icing sugar (and vanilla and milk) it creates an icing that is smooth, creamy and has a wonderful nutty flavour, minus the nuts. Great for those of us with food allergies. (Puts hand up). (Paula also sadly puts hand up).
Back to the art portion. I drew Paula’s art onto a piece of rolled fondant, outlined areas in edible dye markers, and painted in with food colouring mixed with vodka. Then I cut around the image with my trusty X-Acto knife.
I covered the cake in red fondant to represent Thor’s abandoned cape, and added the buttons to the back where the cape would attach to his shoulders. I placed the image on the top, and arranged fondant folds around the image. I sprayed some edible clear lustre spray onto the cape for a bit of sparkle, then added Thor’s hammer.
Whew! I hope she likes it! Many thanks again to Paula for not only providing the art for Andrea’s cake, but for letting me guest on her blog in cake-along form. 😀
If you want to view some of my other cakes that I’ve done, you can find me at http://carpecakemseizethecake.blogspot.ca/ and on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/carpecakemseizethecake/ or on my Facebook business page: Carpe Cakem! (Seize the Cake!)