Guest Post: Melissa Aston-Welberry
I’m so happy to have Melissa as a guest here on Scrumdiddlyumptious! What an amazing effort this cake was, standing at just under a metre tall!!! – Fiona
A Parisian afternoon tea, what could be more perfect for Miss six year old and thirty of her friends. Well, now I needed the cake to match. The only problem is my cake making and decorating skill set weren’t quite a match with my big ideas. I wanted an impressive, tall cake that would get the class mums talking and have the little girls in awe……I decided on an Eiffel Tower Cake.
Fiona Poole is an Australian high school friend of mine and we both landed in Dallas about the same time. I think her work is truly inspiring. So I got some advice for the structure of this cake.
I covered my board in fondant (15.5 inches squared) then hot glued four plastic columns to the plastic square board (posts were standing straight up and flush with the board after cutting out four circles of the fondant). Using a level from the garage, I glued a smaller board (9 3/4 inches squared) on top of the posts trying to make the top board exactly flat.
I used rice crispy treats to build up the four legs and make it look like it was on an angle, then covered it in white chocolate for a smoother finish.
Using parchment paper and rulers I drew out the four bottom sizes and labelled them A1, B1, C1, D1.
Using fondant and tylose I rolled and cut out the shapes and let them dry for at least a week.
The reason I used these cut out shapes is that I wanted to have a space under the Eiffel tower. I covered my second layer board with fondant. I stuck the shapes on the bottom layer with gel piping and royal icing on the edges.
Next I worked on the very top layer. I used a dummy (a polystyrene cone). With a sharp kitchen knife I cut a plane down each four sides. Again I traced the shape I wanted on parchment, cut it out (A2, B2, C2, D2), then used it to cut out my real shape on rolled-out fondant and tylose. I also cut out a square for the bottom of the pyramid. I let it dry for a week. I then stuck the fondant on the dummy using gel piping and filled in the edges with royal icing. It was a lot heavier than I anticipated.
Then it was time to work on the cake layer, a dense vanilla cake. I layered four layers of cake with vanilla butter cream in between. I left it in the refrigerator wrapped in saran wrap (overnight) to become really firm before I started to carve it. The shape I wanted was a square prism, with the top chopped off. I tried to use the level at all times. I used a cardboard cake square at the top of the cake. I then put fondant on the cake and underneath and added it to the board using gel piping. (If I had my time again, I would have used a plastic square as the cardboard had trouble supporting the weight.)
I then added the dummy.
I used silver mist spray out of a can and used black royal icing and even painted with Wilton gel colour and vodka. The grass was green royal icing. Fiona showed me how to make gum paste roses so I added some of mine and some of hers.
I did have an issue, with the whole cake on a bit of a lean. This cake has to be really level for the top dummy to stand up straight and not fall over. I used long toothpicks to prop it up. But if you do this make sure you are the one cutting the cake so as to ensure they are all found!
So I admit it wasn’t perfect but it was a lot of fun doing it. It showed me that you don’t have to be a professional to create something wonderful.
And it was the talk of the school mum circuit!! But most importantly Miss six thought it was amazing and she thanked me, unprompted, for all my effort! (Not bad for a six year old!)