"Hey, I can do that!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Internal Structures

Internal Structures
Do I know what I'm doing?
Absolutely not.

This hot mess is how I'm practicing for next month's cake competition (http://thattakesthecake.org/).  For the past few nights my kitchen table has been subjected to some serious prototyping.  Since this is for competition, I'm going to keep some details on the down-low.  After the show I'll discuss my designs more in depth.

This is the first prototype for a 3D sculpted cake of a cartoon character.  He will be standing straight up and will hopefully stay that way for several days.

Here's what I started with.

  • 8", 7", and 2 6" rounds of doctored Spice cake
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Wilton Decorator's Buttercream Icing
  • big ole piece of scrap wood
  • 2 1/2" galvanized floor flanges
  • 1/2" PVC piping, some threaded, some not
  • several 1/2" PVC couplers
  • PVC cutter
  • foam core
  • modeling chocolate
  • fondant
I've never built an internal structure for a sculpted cake.  I've never taken a class for this.  So for the most part, I don't know what I'm doing.  I'm going off what I've seen on tv, notes on CakeCentral.com and other internet bits, and off of Mike McCarey's 3D car tutorial DVD.  It was extremely hard to research when I didn't even know what those thingies were called (those "thingies" turned out to be "flanges").  It's good that this prototype happened early on; there's plenty of time for improvement.

I want the body to be in at least 2 parts: top and bottom.  Things will be so much easier if I can deal with half of him at a time.  The idea is that later on in the process he will be glued together.

Initially I hot-glued couplers on to foam core and fit them over the PVC.  After one night the couplers popped right off and I was left with a saggy waist.

Wilton icing is all kinds of gross to the nose and tongue, but it's actually really nice to spread.  I bought a 4.5 lb bucket with a 50% coupon at Michaels.

 I did not make the entire cake; there's not enough time or resources at the moment to push this prototype much farther.

  • buy more flanges
  • buy a 1/2" thin pipe to help core cake to be put on structure
  • get thicker base wood
  • get thin wood to go in the middle
  • re-design how PVC fits together
  • bake twice as much cake
  • make twice as much Rice Krispie treats
  • let chill after crumb coating, then do another layer of buttercream to help smooth him out
  • use a mixture of fondant and modeling chocolate instead of just fondant
  • decorate the board around the flanges so his feet can be flush ... somehow
  • his head needs to be Rice Krispie treats as a base
I left half of his torso covered in fondant and modeling chocolate.  I'm going to let him sit on my kitchen table for a few days to see how long he can hold up.


  1. I'm trying to figure out how to make a flamingo stand up on one leg ( and then the make the body out of rice krispies). Any advice? I also have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to structures. I know it's inevitable that a customer will ask for one, so I'm making this for my birthday. That way when I have an epic failure, I won't have too much of a meltdown. LOL!

  2. I've learned that rice cereal treats don't necessarily stick to pvc! Next time I'll be using more melted candy coating or chocolate to act as a glue. I watched a demo where the lady showed us 2 pvc pipes, one inside the other. The outer one was cut shorter. She would then slip on a circular board, then sandwich it between the first outer pipe and then another pipe on top. So there's a center pipe, and then the outer pipes holding a plate. Then she capped it off with a pipe cap. Does that make sense??

  3. Do you remember where this demo is at? I'd like to watch it too.

  4. it was a live demo at a cake show/competition


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