The endless rain has started in Vancouver, and while I do love cozy days listening to the pitter-patter, walking to and from the bus stop is somewhat soggier than usual with wet autumn leaves still lining the streets. I tend to hibernate during the cold months but when asked to create a wine bottle themed birthday cake this week, the artistic challenge was quite invigorating!
I had a bit of déjà vu because this cake was for another 60 year old who lives far away, just like the Tree cake. In order to make life easier, the more elements which I can create ahead of time, the better and so, the fondant grapes, gumpaste wine label and bottle cap, white chocolate scrolls, and faux-wood chocolate box panels were all done in advance.
The most rewarding but time-consuming element was undoubtedly, the wine label. Having recently attended a Compressed Italics calligraphy workshop by Martin Jackson (who I secretly wish I could be), I was eager to practice this hand and experiment with my calligraphic tools on dried gumpaste. Using Wilton colour paste mixed with vodka for ink, my Speedball C2 nib flowed quite nicely whereas the pointed nib was more tricky since it tended to scrape into the gumpaste and get clogged.
The cake itself was built from a 10 x 15 x 3 inch slab of chocolate cake layered with whipped dark chocolate raspberry ganache. This was divided into the 6 x 15 x 3 inch box and the remaining section was carved into the life-sized wine bottle which was covered with black rolled fondant and stacked on top of the box. I never think of myself as particularly skilled at doing highly realistic cakes but this was quite a lovely outcome!