I could not find a bakery in Los Angeles willing to attempt this Homemade Elephant Birthday Cake for under $500.00; and that was without the handmade touches and a much, much smaller Ellie made of gumpaste for the top. So, I decided to do it myself. This was a first for piping flowers, but I am an artist and gourmet cook and decided to give it a whirl. They turned out excellent.
The cake itself is 3, 12" tiers. It is a coconut cake from a recipe I improvised using cream of coconut and coconut milk and is delicious. The filling was fresh strawberries and white chocolate/whipped cream. I used a stabilizer figuring for extra time since I had never piped animals or done flowers before. The Ellie was hand molded a week in advance from Rice Krispy treats, then carved to capture the gentle slope of the head and belly. Ears were made from royal icing on a heavy card stock and worked very well being fit into the head. I measured and created slits for that.
The little foot pads were also made from royal icing. The outer cake icing was a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Some of the flowers, as well as the balloons I had made ahead; always contemplating the worst timing scenario. The giraffes all have tiny little noise makers I made by hand, there are butterflies made from royal icing, and Ellie has her hat I made also.
On Flicker, you can see more detailed pictures at MagnificentCakes on Flicker. I have done other cakes and they have all turned out so beautifully, I thought maybe I'd try selling them. I must tell you, I am extremely artistic, patient and detail oriented, and very much a perfectionist, very particular about ingredients, a gourmet cook and baker, and this was not easy.
I love the lettering on top (see on Flicker). I did do this from a sketch I made (that is how the bakeries quoted it) and the finished product looked just like the picture. I wanted a cake made for a baby girl; sweet, innocent, feminine, yet fun. I think this was spot on. Should I do a video for this? Let me know what you think!