Tag Archives: Fondant

Super Mario Cake … did I mention I love videogames?

I’ve got to admit it: I’ve always had conflicting feelings towards novelty cakes. There are so many out there: some so accurate and exceptionally crafted, enough to make you go “wow!”; others made with such approximation or so awfully kitsch to leave you truly perplexed.

I believe that this has the chance to be the most insidious kind of decorated cake to produce. After all, recreating such things as a cartoon character or a 1992 Macintosh Performa or a sliced mortadella (believe me, I personally saw one and it actually looked like the real thing) is a huge challenge indeed, if you aim to get as close as possible to the original.

When I was asked to create Super Mario in cake and cupcake form, I hesitated, novelty is not my bailiwick, I thought. Giving a character the right look is a matter of little details and what about getting the right proportions without any training in human anatomy… or italian-plumber anatomy actually?

But then my lifetime passion for the beloved character prevailed.
Year after year, Mario gave me a good time peeking out from different screens, from the “previous generation” consoles hooked to the TV up to Nintendo 3DS (that’s right, I couldn’t resist and I bought it, and now I can’t wait for 3D Mario Kart), so not even trying to create an “honest” reproduction might have felt like betrayal. After all, I thought, getting my hands dirty with sugar versions of Princes Peach, Boo, Toad and Goombas could only be great fun! I took a deep breath, lighted an incense stick to Shigeru Miyamoto and the Japanese videogaming Gods, then got to work.

Believe me when I say that I got very close to giving up a couple of times during the adventure. Then almost unexpectedly, Mario materialized in my hands  with his trademark red hat and mustache, glancing at me with his friendly smile. That’s when I realized I had made it.

When my nephew, 7 years old and an impressive experience in videogaming already, goggle-eyedly told me: “That’s exactly like the real Super Mario, can I have the same cake for my birthday?” I shed my last doubts and proudly started working on Mario’s cupcakes.

Flowers & Butterflies

I got a call from a customer who knew precisely what she wanted. The occasion: her daughter’s thirteenth birthday; the design, a cake she saw in England, was strictly non-negotiable. No matter what alternatives or options I offered, she had made up her mind before getting in touch with me. I like working for determined people, and even if I’d rather have created something from scratch, I got along with my client’s requests for the design.

Since guest were all teen-agers, we chose a two-layer cake with no alcohol soaking. The lower is a chocolate cake layered and covered with orange-flavored chocolate ganache, lightly soaked with orange syrup. The upper is an orange sponge cake, lightly soaked with orange syrup, layered and covered with dark chocolate ganache. I covered both cakes with marzipan, then with Regalice fondant, the best available on the market at the moment, if you ask me.

The chosen design, with a quantity of tiny flowers in different shapes and colours, and sugar butterflies, was adorable, and preparing the cake was fun, although a little tricky. Shaping the butterflies was especially difficult: for the lack of a specific cutter, I had to shape each butterfly with a scalpel, and believe me, it’s easier said than done. Eventually I made it, and the result lived up to everybody’s expectations. All decorations are made of sugar flower paste (gumpaste), which is by far my favorite ingredient. Even though it requires organization and quick processing times (it dries quickly when exposed to air, and when dry it becomes almost unusable), it gives excellent results.

You can judge the results in the pictures, taken in far from optimum light conditions a few moments before delivering the cake. Just seeing Nadia’s expression (the nice, though exacting, lady I spoke about at the beginning of the post) gave me a great satisfaction for my work.

Italy’s 150th Anniversary

Today is a very special occasion: my Country’s 150th birthday. Italy is young, beautiful and blessed with a colourful personality, as many are the souls of people gathered together to build the Contry. Yet after 150 years, some consider it an unstable, irreconcilable unity, but if we all could realize that unity is what made our Country strong, any doubt would be replaced by the pride that must be strong in the bottom of every Italian’s heart. Happy birthday, Italy. Let’s get to business, now… here comes the cake!

I made a three-layer cake for this special event. Roses are there to remind of the beauty of our Country, their colours speak for themselves…
 Preparing sugar flower paste (SFP for the initiated) roses that size took quite a lot of time: about half an hour each. I made 29, I leave you the math. 
A simple cutout, again made in SFP, painted gold, to remind the Lady’s age sealed the deal.

The cake complements a themed window in a famous bookstore in Brescia’s centre, surrounded by books and waiting to be admired by passers-by.

Even if you don’t have plans for grand celebrations, fuel the love for your Country.If you’re at home today, pop into the kitchen and make a cake, decorate it with green, white and red candles, gather your loved ones and all together put the candles out, wishing all the best to Italy.