So I was really excited to make this turtle wedding cake for happy couple David and Inessa:
The story behind the design, is that the turtles represent that it has taken a long time for the couple to finally get married, and it matches the design on their wedding invitation. As the groom is not a fan of white icing, the couple plumped for a chocolate orange cake covered with chocolate sugarpaste and filled with chocolate and cointreau ganache. Yum.
I started about a week before making the toppers to give them plenty of time to dry and harden - a drooping bride and groom on top of a wedding cake would be a disaster! I used modelling paste, which is simply regular sugarpaste with gum tragacanth added and left overnight. I started with the bodies, which I made out of yellow modelling paste and a small amount of chocolate brown paste:
I rolled the brown paste into thin sausages and wrapped that around a fat yellow sausage. I then rolled this round and folded it over a couple of times to get the marbled effect:
Using the same technique, I used a slightly darker brown to make the legs, stretching it and folding over 3 or 4 times to get the thinner marble effect. So that each pair of legs matched, I made four sausages about half the size of the body and cut each sausage into two to give eight legs. I shaped the hind legs into an "s" and cut in the claws using a craft knife:
I fixed the legs on using a short piece of dry spaghetti (yep - it works a treat!) and some edible glue. I added a tail which I made from an offcut:
I made the neck and head using the same technique again, with a piece about half the size of the body for each. I inserted a longer piece of dry spaghetti nearly all the way down the neck and left enough at the end to push right into the body and secured with edible glue to make sure it stayed put. I then supported the necks while they dried:
I actually kept them supported this way for about a week to make sure they were as strong as possible.
The day before the cake was to be delivered, I baked the cake and while it was in the oven I finished off the turtles. Having tried one technique for the shell I wasn't happy with it so I took it all off and started again. I added a small lump of paste on top of the back and then covered with a circle of chocolate sugarpaste. I added the textured effect using the end of my edible pen!
I added the eyes and cut a slit with a craft knife for the mouths. I made a top hat from black modelling paste and the bridal headdress from white paste which I shaped at the bottom using my scallop tool (I knew I'd find a use for that tool at some point!). I added lots of details - daisies cut from flower paste filled with handmade edible pearls, some tiny yellow roses I made using a new mould I recently bought and yellow teardrop jewels and more edible pearls to finish it off:
They really came to life once the hat and headdress went on. I was so pleased. I left them overnight again, with a support, just in case.
The next day, I had until 3.30pm before I had to deliver the cake. Plenty of time, or so I thought. I had a bit of a disaster with the first batch of ganache filling, so it was about midday before I had the cake cut, filled, iced and in the fridge to firm up before covering. So much for an easy relaxed day just adding the finishing touches...
Once the cake had firmed up in the fridge for a couple of hours I covered it with chocolate sugarpaste:
I also covered the drum in chocolate sugarpaste and secured the trimmed cake on top with some royal icing:
Next it was ready for the lilypads. I made these from green sugarpaste mixed with a little chocolate paste rolled into a circle. I then texturised the edges using a toothpick:
I cut a triangle out of each of the lilypads and shaped the edges a little to make them look more realistic before adding to the cake using some edible glue:
Time to add the turtles and a message piped in royal icing:
I finished the cake off with some yellow ribbon round both the cake and the drum, secured with a flower detail to tie in with the bridal headdress:
Congratulations David and Inessa - I hope you had a fantastic day yesterday and wish you a long and happy life together xx