Once upon a time, years ago, I loved to decorate cakes. I only had one child at that stage, and he was a good little helper in the kitchen, and we had lots of time to do ‘stuff’. Nowadays he’ll just bounce a ball in the kitchen while I’m cooking. (Is there any sound more annoying than a ball just bouncing bouncing bouncing on hardwood floors?) So, I watched a few YouTube tutorials and decorated a few cakes, and even made a little bit of money. And then a friend asked me to make this cake. A die hard Star Wars fan, he was turning 40 and this was his dream cake. It took me 5 days but I was super happy with the result, and so was he. At the time, I took photos of each step as I hoped to document the process one day. Please excuse the quality as they’re about 5 years old and from my pre iPhone days!
Before I did anything, I needed to find a template. I was lucky that one of my friends had this huge Millennium Falcon model that I could refer to, and I managed to find a template online. I printed it onto A4 paper, then enlarged it and copied it on 4 x A3 sheets and taped it together.
I used a basic chocolate mud cake recipe and multiplied the ingredients by 6! I think there’s about 3kg of chocolate in total!
I used 3 big roasting tins to bake the cakes – each tin fitted 2 cakes worth of ingredients so that was 6 cakes in total. I could only fit one in my oven at a time, and each one took over 2 hours to make and bake. It was a busy day in my kitchen!
Cutting and shaping
This part was a bit nervewracking. I didn’t want to make a mistake and have to worry about sticking pieces back together. It was a big learning curve as I had to shape some pieces with rounded edges.
This was a long and painful process. In all the cakes I decorated, I never really fully mastered the knack of a smooth ganache finish. You can see all of the lumps and bumps still visible but I wasn’t too worried as I knew there would be plenty of decorative pieces covering it. After everything was covered, I glued all of the pieces on with more ganache. It was assembled on a thick piece of plywood covered in black wrapping paper.
Another skill I never really mastered was estimating how much fondant I would need to cover a cake. For some reason, and one I still don’t know to this day, I didn’t buy gray fondant. No, I bought about 2kg of white fondant and coloured it gray. It took AGES to knead in the food colouring. And then I had to roll it out. I commandeered our dining table and managed to roll out 2 huge pieces which I very carefully laid on the cake and smoothed out. The join blended together quite well, I don’t even think you can see it in the photo.
And then it was time to put the finishing touches on it. I needed a steady hand for the piping as I hadn’t had much practice beforehand. The cake measured about 20×24″ and weighed a lot. To transport it to the party, I covered the boot of the car in wet paper towels to stop the cake sliding around. I remember telling my husband that I had to drive so if anything happened I only had myself to blame! Fortunately though, it arrived safe and sound and was a great success.
This was one of the last cakes I decorated with fondant. There’s too much humidity here in Auckland, which makes the fondant sticky, and I grew tired of the artificial taste. It was also one of the last cakes I ‘sold’. Whilst they were fun to make, I always got too stressed about the finish of them, not to mention getting them to venues. Nowadays, I generally only make decorative cakes for family ( I will always make my kids cakes) and I now use buttercream which has a much nicer taste and is much easier to use.
I’ll leave you with this
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