My dear friend Laura commissioned me to make a gluten free cake for her mum's 60th birthday party. I was delighted to be asked and even more excited that Laura wanted to use some beautiful and very lifelike edible butterflies she found on Etsy (take a look at Sugar Robot's shop to see the amazing range of cake toppers they have). In fact the whole design was created by Laura, who wanted a two tiered gold cake with lots of butterflies down the side. All I had to do was recreate her vision. Here's how it turned out:
This was a fairly straightforward cake to make as all the impact comes from the butterflies themselves. I started with an 8" and a 6" round cakes which were gluten free orange and elderflower filled with homemade orange curd Italian meringue buttercream. Apparently Laura's mum was very intrigued by the sound of my Italian meringue buttercream from reading this blog so if you are reading I hope it lived up to your expectations!
I covered each cake with a pale yellow sugarpaste:
And then brushed on metallic gold lustre dust with a pastry brush. This is quite a messy job and I seemed to get gold dust over everything (actually this isn't limited to just gold dust in my kitchen...):
I added some dowels to the lower tier to support the weight of the upper cake:
In fact as this cake had to travel 200 miles fully assembled I added an extra tall dowel in the middle which went up into the top tier through a hole cut in the cake board. This made it slightly tricky to assemble the tiers and make sure it was in the middle but it turned out well. A simple gold ribbon finishes the tiers off nicely:
Then to start adding the butterflies, which are made out of wafer and are very delicate to work with. I created a slight crease down the middle and attached with a tiny dab of edible glue applied with a very fine brush. You have to be careful as if you add too much glue then the butteflies actually melt and tear so there were a couple of casulaties as I got used to working with them.
I added the butterflies in diagonal drifts to make sure she size and colours were balanced:
It was tempting to keep adding more, but I felt like this was just the right amount to finish the design:
The cake then travelled from Brighton up to the Midlands in Laura and her boyfriend Slim's converted ambulance campervan for a big birthday bash weekend. I packed a few spare butterflies in the cake box just in case there were any casualties. Luckily it survived the journey and everyone was pleased with the cake at the party. I can't wish for any more than that - a very happy birthday Laura's mum!