This Homemade Safari Cake was made for my 7 year old's safari party. She picked the plastic animals she wanted on the cake. This is a large sheet pan single layer cake to give as much decorating space on top of the cake as possible!
The water areas are made from Jello using the jello jigglers recipe. I lined the water areas with decorator frosting and allowed it to dry well before pouring in the jello, and then set in the animals. The sandy banks are brown sugar. The jello areas held up great throughout the entire day.
The big challenge for this cake was the palm trees. They are made from gum paste and Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers. I had never used either of these before, and started a few days before the party, but next time I would start even earlier. I made a cardboard template for 3 palm leaves, cut them out of rolled gum paste, and imprinted the leaves with a blunt knife.
Then I attached two sets of leaves on top of each other to make each tree top, and placed the treetops on paper towel-covered plastic balls so they would dry curved. I did not start early enough and was scared they would not harden in time, so ended up using a fan for almost a day to dry them. I attached the treetops to the trunks with wetter gum paste.
I did this too early and the "trunks" became soggy (due to humidity) and started to bend. I had to stick wood skewers up through the bottom of the trunks to keep them from bending all the way over! I should have waited and added the trunks the day of the party.
I also made some gum paste palm fronds for decoration, and put a hole in one of the palm tree tops so I could attach a bird on a paper clip to "fly" above the trees. The rest is just decorator frosting using lots of grass from a Wilton grass tip.