Predator Bust Cake
“Mom, I want a Predator Bust Cake!”
Two of my favorite things in this world (or OUT of this world?) are Science Fiction and cake. Imagine my excitement when my son wanted me to create THE cake to top ALL cakes…
Now, I was up for the challenge, but funny enough, my son admitted to me AFTER I created it that he didn’t really think I could pull it off. Well, I never! Anyway, the finished cake amazed everyone and even scared us a little.
So, I’m sharing this ambitious creation here in progress pictures. And yes, we ate it!
Step 1: Structure, structure, structure! Of every cake I create, the most important thing after sketching the design, is to make sure I have proper structure. This is to support the weight and embellishments that will make up the finished product.
For any bust-type cake, you’ll want to have a wooden base and either a 1″ diameter wooden dowel rod (or you can use PVC pipe as well). I happen to have this structure left from a previous cake, so I went with the wooden dowel as pictured below.
Support Base for Predator Bust Cake
To attach the dowel rod into the wood base, I drilled a slightly larger than 1″ diameter hole in the middle (HOORAY for power tools!!)…and then I filled the edges of the hole with hot glue and then pushed the dowel into it and let it set until secure.
Step 2: Make it food safe! I wrap the wooden dowel in clear plastic wrap to keep it from direct contact with the cake (see below).
Step 3: Ready to stack and carve cake for the torso of the bust! Cut a rectangular piece of cake board for the bottom portion of the bust (this will keep your cake from direct contact with the wood base). You’ll need to cut a hole in the center so that it will slip onto the center support dowel. Then start cutting pieces from a sheet cake (for this cake, I baked two 9 x 13 x 3 inch cakes). Then start stacking!!
As you get farther along with stacking layers, you’ll need to fill in between the layers with buttercream or ganache. Cut Boba Tea Straws for supports before adding another piece of cake board to keep the weight of cake from crushing itself. Also keep in mind that as you get higher on the torso, you’ll need each layer to be slightly wider than the one below it, and you’ll be carving off excess to get the basic shape of shoulder width at the top, and waist width at the bottom.
Step 4: Crumb coat. I used a variation of Swiss Meringue Buttercream (click here for the recipe!), though you can use ganache as well.
Step 5: Give him some muscles!! I printed out an anatomy muscle diagram to use for reference. Remember all of that cake I had to carve away to get the basic shape? Well now’s the time to put it to great use! In a large mixing bowl, I crumbled the cake and added some of my buttercream to make a mixture that works like edible “clay.” Using the anatomy chart I began to form his pectorals, deltoids and lats…oh, if only it were so easy for us humans, right?
Step 6: Cover with fondant – I make Marshmallow White Chocolate Fondant (click here for the recipe), but you can use any pre-made brand you like. You’ll also need a longer than standard rolling pin for a cake this large. The one I use can be found on Amazon (click here for my affiliate link).
Step 8: Use SugarVeil and the SugarVeil Dot Veil mat to create the mesh:
Step 9: Melt candy melts and pour into chocolate skull mold. Let set in refrigerator until firm – I used the mold from www.sugargeek.com. Once the mold is set, gently cut a hole in the bottom of the skull with a sharp blade the size of the large dowel. Gently push the skull onto the dowel – this is your base to model the head onto!
Step 10: Dress him with his armor using black fondant and black gumpaste! Attach panels onto the bust to create his garments and armor using a brush dipped in vanilla extract for “glue.” Once your panels are attached, paint over the black with a mixture of vodka and black food coloring to give it a very dark and shiny appearance.
Step 11: Build up the neck and basic head shape around the dowel and the candy melt skull. I used a combination of rice cereal treats for the neck and aluminum foil for the head. These materials are much lighter in weight than cake, modeling chocolate or fondant, so they are a good option to keep the top of the bust from falling over or being too heavy: Once you have the basic shape in place, the fun part begins of creating the basic shape of the face! For the Predator, he has a very distinct mouth with an outer section with large fangs that opens up when he growls. To create this, I used Boba Tea Straws that I bent and hot glued to the foil to give structure to this part of his mouth. The openings of the straw were perfect for inserting the gumpaste fangs after the modeling chocolate and fondant facial structure was complete:
Step 12: Once the basic contour and ridges of the facial structure are modeled, the isomalt eyes are inserted into the sockets, and then overlay a piece of fondant cut to size onto the face. This allows the bumps and ridges to show through, without looking too sharp. Continue with modeling and gently pressing the fondant over the modeling chocolate under layer your created using gumpaste / fondant tools (I love Sugar Shapers from Innovative Sugarworks). You will also insert the gumpaste fangs into the straw holes at this point. Using dusting powders, color the face with food safe artist brushes:
Step 13: – Finishing touches of the facial paint details and insertion of his gumpaste teeth are next. The final pieces to attach are his signature “dreadlocks” – these are just long pieces of black fondant that is rolled into shape! And don’t forget his “trophy” human bone necklace. I had fake bones from a Halloween decoration which I used to make a food-safe mold from ComposiMold. Then white modeling chocolate dusted with cocoa powder serves as a perfect creepy (and edible) substitute!
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