“This year,” said Liam “I’d like a Top Gear themed cake please.”
“Oh? But you had cars last year. Don’t you want something different?”
“I’d like it to have the people on it. Jeremy Clarkson, Hammond…”
This was going to be a challenge.
Where to start? I’ve never really made human figures before, certainly nothing which had to be identifiable as a real person but I soon realised that the Top Gear crew were quite identifiable as a group. You’ve got a tall bloke in jeans, another tall bloke in jeans but with long hair and a flowery shirt, a much shorter bloke in jeans and a person in white overalls and helmet with his arms folded. I set to work.
I started with Jeremy and created a fairly nondescript person. Blue legs. Check. White shirt. Check. Grey hair. Check. This was the standard by which all the others were created. James May initially looked remarkably similar until I added some longer hair. Richard Hammond was pretty much identical but comically short. The Stig was all in white. I painted on some further distinguishing detail (and I admit James’ flowery shirt looked much more like leopard print by the time I’d finished) and I was actually pretty happy with them.
Now, it wouldn’t be much of a Top Gear cake without a car so it had to be Liam’s favourite car in his favourite colour, an orange Lamborghini Murcielago. Luckily it’s a very distinctive body shape and after version 1 was abandoned for reasons of scale (Richard Hammond wouldn’t even have fitted inside) version 2 was successful. I used black food colouring and silver edible glitter to add the relevant details.
The cake itself was covered in green and grey fondant to become the test track, with detail added with white writing icing and the final touch was Liam’s name and age added to a number plate made from yellow icing.
As is now traditional Liam had a cake for his actual birthday as well as his party even though they were only two days apart. This year’s surprise theme was geocaching. If you don’t know what this is you could go and have a look at Geocaching or you could just take my word that it’s using multi million dollar satellites to look for tupperware in the woods.
This was a relatively simple cake to plan. The most popular containers used for geocaches are lock’n’lock boxes, a clear plastic container with a light blue lid which has snap down catches on all four sides. I also wanted to be able to put things inside, specifically a log book and pencil (edible) and a real travel bug for Liam to find and set off on its travels. The cake started off as a chocolate and banana flavoured square sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream. I then cut a small square out of the top before adding a chocolate buttercream crumb coat and then covering the whole thing with white fondant. This almost went disastrously wrong as my first attempt involved covering it in stages in an attempt to create sharp edges. This ended up with buttercream squooshing everywhere and a total mess. Luckily it was easily salvaged with a single sheet of fondant.
The next stage was the lid. I wanted Liam to be able to lift this off to find the contents of the box so I added a substantial quantity of gum tragacanth to light blue fondant and cut out a square. This was where my latest technique (stolen shamelessly from a YouTube video) came into its own. Need to cut a straight line from fondant? Knife pulling at the edges of the cut? Easy, use a pizza wheel. Genius! The lid was finished off with a green label and rested loosely on top of the cake
Inside we needed a pencil and a logbook, the bare minimum required to log a find on a real geocache. These were straightforward to model out of fondant and there you have it, an edible geocache!