One of my oldest and best friends turned 20 on New Years Eve, and she gave me free reign over the cake design (a risky decision on her part!). Somehow between working and working some more, I managed to come up with this cake just in time! The cake was chocolate mud cake with dark chocolate ganache – at the birthday girls request (I think she likes chocolate).
(Unfortunately I took the photos of the cake at night when there was no natural light. The colouring in the photos I have is a little yellow-tinted. The picture down the very bottom with Lara and the cake is a better photo of the actual colour of the cake and sand!)
Lara is a surf life saver so I decided to go with a beach theme. I made the sand the same way I did for this cake. I initially made flags from icing, but the weather was really hot here in Aus and I was worried they wouldn’t survive. Plus, they looked a bit shit (true!) so I settled with paper ones in the end.
Covering an extended tier
Friends are great for experimenting on, and I decided to use this opportunity to try my hand at an “extended tier.” Basically, a cake that is twice as tall. There are a number of ways you can do this, but I settled with a board between my two cakes. This made sure the ganaches sides stayed straight and gave the cake internal support. You can also use dowels, straws, or combinations of all of these!
The next part seemed like it would be simple… Just cover it the same way you cover a regular height cake! WRONG!
Google and youtube before you attempt this – not after (like genius me!). Because the cake is twice as tall as it is wide, the icing on the sides is very heavy. I had to cover it twice because the top edges tore right away the first time. Even second time around, the white icing under the ruffles was far from perfect – luckily all those ruffles covered up any creases and tears!
Apparently the trick is to not roll your icing as big as you need it, as it will stretch due to gravity when you start to pull and smooth it over the cake. This would definitely have made my job a lot easier if I had learned this beforehand, but as I always say, there is no better lesson than a mistake!
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