Well, I love dinosaurs. I’d be a paleontologist if I’d stayed in school, but I decided to follow my dream and try to get somewhere in writing books. This was simply my own birthday cake. It was a simple idea, really: big chocolate cake, and a royal icing dinosaur skeleton and digging tools.
Now, let it be known that things rarely work out well for me in the kitchen, and I was most certain that this dinosaur would fail. The cake itself is a box mix because it’s the only time things go right for me.
Find Your Dinosaur
I decided on a raptor. Simple enough dinosaur family, popular enough, finding a skeleton was easy. The cake I was making was about the size of an A4 sheet of paper, so it was easy enough to print it out. I set it so that it was about 75% of the paper in size.
Then I stuck some wax paper over the picture so I could still see it, and mixed up my royal icing according to the instructions – then added more icing sugar, because I always think I know best, and I wanted stiff icing. You really don’t need much icing, mind you. Gum paste would work in a clay gun, but then it’s all smooth and funny colored, and not nearly jagged enough.
I put the icing in a disposable icing bag, cut the tip off nice and fine, and began to pipe. I do not have a steady hand, I really don’t, so I was so surprised by how well this went. Doesn’t his head look great?
Follow the lines beneath the wax paper, and try to keep it even. You can add another layer over the top if it’s too thin, and I used a sharp knife to carefully drag some of the icing down to make the teeth.
Jump right in
Let Your Dinosaur Dry
It came out wonderfully. I was and still am over the moon with this (I wouldn’t be submitting it otherwise!). I managed to trace the dinosaur much better than I expected – but then came the difficult part: leaving it alone. I’m a compulsive fiddler, I can’t help trying to better things, and it often leads to destruction. I managed to ruin the head (if you look closely, it’s fuller than it was on the first picture when I started, and the teeth aren’t as good), BUT the rest of the raptor came out so well that I could live with it.
To keep myself busy, I started piping a few excavation tools, which were an after-thought. I made a “brush,” a “hammer” and a “chisel”, which I then colored with a water ad luster dust mix (silver and peach), and an edible black food pen, because that’s all I had on hand. Like I said, it was an after-thought.
I reluctantly left everything to dry.
Peel the Paper Away
I admit to coming back and fiddling more before it dried, and I ended up breaking its spine, but never mind. I came back when it had properly dried, and peeled the paper away from it very carefully and slowly. It still broke into several pieces, but by peeling the paper as slowly as I did, and using the kind of paper that I did, I minimized the damage. It was fine because it was going to be lying down anyway.
I peeled the bits off and then took the print-out off of the wax paper. I held it over my delicious cake to judge positioning, then began to arrange my royal icing bones on it, closing the breaks as best I could. It was my cake, anyway, I wasn’t putting it on show anywhere, or doing it for anyone else, so I was happy to make do with the cracks.
I then took some cocktail sticks and tied some thread around them to make a sort of marker fence around the skeleton, and then I added the tools. All in all, I’m dead proud of it.
I put it up on my blog, A Blackbird’s Epiphany, immediately, I was so proud! AND it ended up being printed in a real fossil magazine! How cool is that?!