Painting and decorating

'Today the children went back to school after the half term break. I try as much as possible to take some time off during the holidays (or at least run a reduced schedule) which is absolutely great until I have to get myself going again. Anyone else struggle with the back to school blues?

So today I should really be working on planning for a fairly epic wedding cake, but instead I'm doing super important stuff like organising photos and looking back over last month's cakes...

My last cake for May was a retirement cake/ end of term celebration cake for the housemaster and school leavers at a local private school. The lady tasked with sourcing said cake was Gerry, the perfect client, vague and creative in equal measure and completely happy to trust in the 'creative process' (aka 'making it up as I go along'). And so the only information supplied was these two photos...

I settled very quickly on the idea of a façade to replicate the building. Its such a gorgeous brick colour and has so many little details I wanted to get it a true to life as possible. 

I paint onto cakes pretty regularly as it scratches my 'arty' itch but usually, actually always, I paint using gel colours thinned down with alcohol (vodka, I'm not willing to share my gin). I paint that way partly because I like the watercolour style that it gives and partly just because its what I've always done.

The brick colour was so rich though and I really wanted to capture those details that I needed something with a bit more opacity and just generally a bit more 'oomph'. I know that a lot of people paint using dust colour mixed with cocoa butter so, as I always do, I thought I'd try out something new on a really big cake. 

initially the cocoa butter mix kept seizing but once I realised I needed to keep my paint palette resting over a bowl of hot water, it was amazing to work with. The cocoa butter melts almost instantly and its so unbelievably easy to blend colours and layer up, really just like working with acrylics or oils, only with virtually no drying time.

What started as a very beige block of icing, quickly transformed into a beautifully rich, glossy (but not shiny) replica. 

I don't often remember to take 'work-in-progress' photos (must get better at that as its very satisfying to look back on what you did) but I'm so glad I did this time!

Pretty cool huh?

Really pleased with how this turned out and so glad I tried something new. Can’t wait to paint another cake!

Now I really do need to get on with some work...

E x