Believe it or not, this was a last minute cake! Made entirely by one person in one week, this cake wasn’t as hard as it looks. I had to take it tier by tier in order to not panic. I started with the bottom, which consists of buttercream and fondant rocks. The rocks were actually the easiest part! I just took fondant and mixed up a few stone-like colors and rolled them into balls, then pressed down to make them flat. The sand on the bottom was made by taking regular granulated sugar and rubbing it together by hand with a little yellow and brown food coloring (if i were to make this cake again, i would double up on cheap gloves because my hands were dyed brown for a week!).
I knew I wanted one tier to look like a sunset, so I covered a 2-layer cake with white fondant and painted, yes painted, the fondant with vodka and food coloring. It is easier to make the ripples in the sunset if you let the color dry half way before starting to paint with the next color for the fading effect. The palm trees were a pain! I drew an outline of one on paper, rolled out black fondant and used a gumpaste knife tool to cut it out of the fondant. I used toothpicks to cut into the fondant around the palm tree leaves and make them look jagged.
The next two tiers on top of the sunset were just plain covered in white fondant, I couldn’t think of anything to do on short notice!! So I ended up making gumpaste flowers (fondant + 1/4 tsp. tylose) with the hydgranga flower cutters and mold ($50! pretty pricey if you are only making one cake.) I then took a small paint brush and dry painted the flowers with edible glitter. They aren’t the best flowers, but they look great on the cake as a whole. The middle of the flowers were stems bought from Michael’s, wrapped in fondant.
HINT: When drying flowers, lay them in an empty egg carton to take shape!!
The wooden piece with words was made out of fondant. I used a knife to make ‘wooden” impressions all over the rectangle and once again painted it with food coloring and vodka. I’d recommend writing on it in icing, I used fondant and had to roll it into really long skinny lines and try to glue it to the wood in cursive. (NOT the smartest thing I have done!! It made the work ten times harder!)
THE PINEAPPLE!! Made of cake. I used a small stainless steel bowl I had and baked the cake right in the middle. I carved it a tiny bit to make the pineapple shape, and the top part is made of rice crispy treat. Of course, all of it is wrapped in fondant. I then used a knife and made little impressions almost like pentagon shaped checkers all over the pineapple. In the middle of each square, I pinched the fondant and pulled it up just a tiny bit and then painted it with brown food coloring and vodka. The green is the same.
Each individual green spike on top of the pineapple were done by just rolling out fondant, cutting it into long triangles and pulling the tops until they broke off in rigid patterns. I painted them green, with a little bit of brown on the top and glued them down with royal icing.
The straw was a red slurpee straw from Speedway! I had to venture to 4 different locations because they were all out of the cool straws!!
Best part about this cake? It was supposed to feed 70 people.. This one feeds well over 200. I went a liiiiitle over board but I wanted to be sure they got what they needed. I had to stack this cake with a dowel rod down the middle of the cake to keep it from falling over on its 4 hour drive. I had to cut circles in each cake board in the same spot so that they would be even when I lowered the tiers down over the dowel. It was pretty fun over all!! I would do it again if I had the choice to!