this was a cake for a boy's 4th birthday. i was asked to incorporate a monkey and the color purple into a cake design. a clown would be performing at the party. so i created this circus themed design.
each tier was actually two 2-layer cakes stacked to create a nice tall tier over 7 inches tall. the problem with serving a cake slice over 7" tall is that it wouldnt fit on most dessert plates, but the tall shape makes for a nicer looking design. so i stacked two 2-layer cakes to make each tier. when cut, the slices will only be less than 4" tall, the perfect serving size.
all the decorations are made from fondant. i used gum paste for the wired decorations and rolled them as thinly as possible to decrease the amount of weight the wires would have to support.
the white posts are cookie sticks and the flag pole is a wooden skewer.
the animals and clowns are all fondant with some gum tex added to help hold it's shape. the clowns took almost a week to dry because they were so large. i molded all the pieces out of white fondant and then painted them with food coloring thinned with clear vanilla extract.
the name plate is thinly rolled gum paste. the name is painted on using black food coloring and a super fine brush..it literally has 5 hairs on it which allows me great control over fine details. the plate was edged with rolled fondant to create a frame for the name.
the top tier was made to look like a circus tent and the bottom tier was modeled after the round platform that the lion and seal are sitting on. if i could change one thing about this cake, it would have been to shape that bottom tier with a flared base so it looked less drum like and more like a platform.
the monkey on top was tricky because i needed his arms to be thin, but strong enough to not break, and that left hand to be able to hold the banana. the tail had to be strong enough to hold the balloons. so i made those parts with full strength gum paste, then created supports with toothpicks to hold everything in place until it was fully dried. then held my breath that nothing would knock it over and cause it to shatter (there are ALWAYS casualties when working with very thin pieces of gum paste!).
the ball that the monkey is sitting on is a ball of Rice Krispies Treats. making such a large ball out of fondant would have been too heavy, so i opted for molding RKT into the shape of a ball and then covering it w/fondant.
the monkey's hat and the number 4 on the flag is finished with sanding sugar to give it some texture and shimmer. i think the stars on the wires could have been improved with a bit of sanding sugar too. i didnt have any sanding sugar in blue, green or purple at the time, but it's easy enough to make some with plain white granulated sugar. just put some sugar in a ziplock baggie, put in a little bit of paste icing color and massage it around, and voila! colored sugar!
the cake board (base) is covered with green fondant and iced with green sparkle gel icing and allowed to dry for a week so it is dry to the touch. then i painted on the words Happy Birthday with black food coloring. and then finished it off with purple grosgrain ribbon.