Saturday, July 12, 2014

Recent Projects: A buttercream sculpted, Rob Kaz inspired cake.

This cake was a really interesting project for me, both because it was a challenge and inspired by some incredible art. It's based on the work of an amazing artist I only recently became familiar with: Rob Kaz. Rob does some absolutely adorable paintings, and also happens to work with Disney quite a lot. One constant in his work is the adorable frog, Beau.

My friend Sara and her husband encountered Rob Kaz's work on a cruise and immediately became fans. This is also how I found out about Rob Kaz's work... after the cruise neither of them could stop raving about it! For Sara's birthday, her husband managed to find a canvas print of Rob Kaz's Bee Mine from a gallery out of state.

This was all a huge surprise for her. When I asked her husband for a cake theme, he saw a chance to compound the surprise and suggested using the painting as inspiration. Since I'd already been ogling Rob's paintings for a few weeks at that point, I was all over it. I looked up some more of the paintings in this series (Friends Along The Way, which you can view here!) and also found one entitled Busy Bee. These two paintings together were my reference material.

So, on to the cake. I think we've firmly established by now that I am insane these days, and crave ever-more intricate buttercream projects. This was no different, so I decided to go with good ole buttercream for everything except the bee. My base was a lemon chiffon cake with lemon cream filling, and I began taking photos at the crumb coat stage. Making this cake was a series of frosting applications with chilling periods inbetween. A long, long series. Most of my icing sculpting was done with a small, pointed spatula and strips of acetate I cut to various sizes.

Here's a rough start. The frog body and flower were buttercream-iced cakes.

A quick smoothing, and I added two cake pieces for the thick of his legs.

I covered and smoothed the legs and flower. Next I carefully scooped the green frosting from where his eyes should be, and piped in white buttercream. I also covered the center in colored brown sugar.

Next, I used a piping bag to build up his toes and add brow ridges to give his face a bit more dimension. I smoothed these a tad as well.

Finally, I gave it one more smoothing once over. I began brushing darker buttercream detail onto the flower and frog, and piped his arms. I also used colored buttercream to paint his eyes. Finally, I topped it with the only fondant item I'd be using for the whole cake: a little bee. Here's a finished Beau!

And here's the lovely birthday girl posing with both her cake and painting!

The birthday girl is actually a pastry chef and cake decorator herself, and she created this awesome rainbow gummi bear cake for partygoers! 

Gorgeous, right? This left the lemon chiffon cake just for her and hubs, who sent me super cute photos of them enjoying the cake once everyone had gone home.

All in all, the cake was most certainly buzzworthy. Right? ...Right? Anyone?