This is a cake I was commissioned to do by one of my Uni friends. We did both our Zoology degrees together: I was on the terrestrial side of it, where she was marine biology focused. So I shouldn't have been surprised when she asked me for a marine-themed cake.
Straight up, I'm terrified of realism. I'm also terrible at it. And I hide from it a lot. So I was pretty terrified when she wanted a realistic animal cake, but at least it was a Cephalopod and not a horse or something.
So the cake is a Southern blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa
). The golf-ball-sized species we're most familiar with. Needless to say, this cake is much much larger than the life-size octopus. Every Aussie kid grows up being told to never never never never go anywhere near one of these because you will die a horrible death. And while they are lethal, they are a really timid species. They carry enough venom to kill 26 adult humans, yet have only caused 2 fatalities. Ever. They will use their camouflage to hide or swim away when they can. It's usually only when someone picks one up that they get bitten. When hiding, they're usually a light yellow to dark brown. The vibrant yellow and magnificent blue rings appear only when they feel threatened and have no choice but to fight back. The blue rings are a warning of what is to come. I chose to colour it in this state of alarm as that is how it is most recognisable.
The cake is a chocolate mud cake. I carved the mantle and top half of the arms from it, then covered it in dark chocolate ganache, then covered it in fondant. The bottom half of the armas are fondant. I cut out hundreds of tiny little suckers, ranging from about 5mm at the top to 1mm or less at the ends. That part alone took about a day. I then painted it using dry powdered food colouring. Usually I would mix food colouring with alcohol, but doing so gives the 'paint' texture and I wanted it to look like skin, not like a painting. Painting it dry takes a lot more time, so what should have taken 1-2 hours took at least 10.
Grab more photos, rambles and all the progress shots at the blog: cakecrumbs.me/2013/12/03/blue-…
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