dani’s cake portfolio


SAVE A SEAL May 14, 2009

Filed under: animals,character,charity — dani @ 12:00 pm

This cake was made for the International Interior Design Association  (IIDA) ‘Annual Culinary Challenge’ charity event to benefit the Marin County Marine Mammal  Center on May 14, 2009.

Design The design for this cake came straight from the advertising flier for this event which can be seen in the background behind the cake in some of the photos.  It shows a life preserver ring with the silhouette of a seal in the middle.  We simply made it three dimensional, not to mention edible, and put the cute little creature sitting in a life preserver ring floating on a little patch of ocean over a kelp forest as if he’d just been saved by the Marine Mammal Center.  He even has a little band-aid on his flipper….  To get enough “depth” for our ocean and kelp forest, we stacked three 10-inch round cake layers and then applied a thick layer of multi-colored blue-green “water”.

Cake We tried to come up with an “ocean” themed cake flavor, but the only thing that came to mind was the tropics.  So we decided on a delicious coconut cake.  I had fun trying out a few coconut cake recipes before I chose one made from coconut milk and shaved coconut.  The seal and life preserver are both made from pound cake which is denser and easier to carve without falling apart.

Filling To keep with the tropical theme, we incorporated a passion fruit Italian meringue buttercream made with passion fruit curd.  The tart passion fruit paired nicely with the coconut cake for a truly tropical flavor combination.

Frosting The frosting was coconut Italian meringue buttercream made with coconut milk and creme of coconut for a coconut “essence” that would not overwhelm the cake.

Decoration The seal was made using the teddy bear 3D pan and carved to about the right shape, lightly frosted and covered in black fondant.  The life preserver ring was similarly made using a bunt pan and carving off the ribs.  The team helped make the kit of parts including the chocolate shells and sea creatures as well as the gumpaste kelp and fondant band-aid.  The “sand” was simply made from graham cracker crumbs, straight out of the box.

Thanks The Steinberg Architects team came up with the overall design and helped make it all happen. The official team was comprised of my colleagues (from left to right), Priya, Lisa, Karie, myself and Shannon,.  There were several others from our office that popped in during our lunch time work sessions to help make all the chocolate shells and sea creatures. Lisa designed and created all the signage.  Karie  came over and stayed up late one night to help make the kelp.  Both Karie and Shannon came over early the day the cake was due to help finish it up as I was desperately behind schedule.  I gave Shannon (an interior designer) the fitting role of coloring buttercream.  And as you can see, everyone was there to help set the cake up at the event and apply all the decorations. Shannon massaged the seal with a bit of buttercream to give it a shiny, right out of the water look while I  stacked the cakes, applied the “water” frosting and piped the coral (coral color created by Shannon).  We all took up corners and applied the kelp.  Finally Lisa gave it some whiskers while the rest of us spread out the “sand” and artistically laid out the chocolate fish, shells and other sea creatures.  I have to say that it’s events like this that really bring your co-workers together on a more personable level.  We had a great time and I think we were all proud of the results (even though we didn’t win anything this year).  And for once, Blake had nothing to do with this cake since he was in LA.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this cake a success.  And now you are forever on my website too.