3D Elegant Corset Cake

Ever since my early days of cake making, when Busty Bertha was created, I’ve wanted to try my hand at the infinitely more elegant 3D corset cake.

Corset Cake 1With complete free rein on the design of Big Sis’s birthday cake, an opportunity was clearly presenting itself and the time had quite obviously finally come.

Bottom to top: 5" cake - 2 layer 4" cake - 3 layer 5" cake - 3 layer I'd started to carve at the bottom before I remembered to take the picture!
I’d started to carve at the bottom before I remembered to take the picture – this was 5″,4″,5″ tiers

Why was a corset cake appropriate for Big Sis? Well, we’d had the fine dining experience and to complete things, I felt a little tasteful burlesque would be just the thing to have with coffee and cognac.
Ok, a little tenuous, but I really wanted to make this cake 😉

Carved cakesThe cake was made up of eight layers of vanilla Madeira, filled with lemon buttercream, stacked and carved into shape.

The ease with which the shaping took place was incredible…I thought I’d be there for at least an hour shaving bits off and trying to get the curves right…in the event, it took about 20 minutes.  A very pleasant surprise.

Cake pop breastsThe curve of the breasts was made using crumbled cake off-cuts mixed with frosting to make a mouldable paste (like cake pop mix).

A fresh, zingy lemon Italian meringue buttercream was used to fill and frost.
Crumb coatedFirst the rough, crumb coat…

Second coat…then the much smoother second layer.  And then a third, finishing layer which filled in and smoothed out all the little dimples you can see in this picture.  I forgot to photograph the final buttercream finish but it was smooooth!

The whole cake was then wrapped in fondant and detailing added.

Embossed front panelThe front panel was embossed then hand tinted with edible silver dust.

Silver painted back panelThe panel underneath the lacing was hand painted with silver before the lacing detail was added.

Corset cake - backThe back lacing detail and bow were my favourite part of this cake…so dainty and effective.

Corset cake - frontThe ‘fabric’ top and draping details were created from thinly rolled fondant, which was then folded, tinted and lustred with various grey, silver and pearl dusts.

Corset cakeThe flowers were made using a simple rolling technique to create a fabric roses type effect.  These were the only non-edible part of the cake, and only because I’d used the diamanté embellishments.

Presented on a simple white cake stand with slender, curved, silver candles to give a pretty finish.

This cake gave me a real indication of the progress I’ve made and the increased proficiency that is coming with experience.  It felt really good to know my skills are continuing to improve.

What do you think?  Do you like it?

8 Reasons why your custom made cake “costs SO much”

I know I am not alone in the cake making community when I say I need to increase my confidence when pricing and quoting for my work.

Although I wasn’t actually charging for most of the cakes I’ve made to date, I know what they should have been priced at for full paying clients. With an eye to the future business I’ve kept a careful record of costs, so over time I’ve built up an increasingly realistic picture of materials, ingredients and time expenditure required for different types and styles of cake.

Despite this, whenever someone asks, as a paying client, about cake costs, I can feel myself wincing a bit inside at the thought of saying the final figure to them (I so much prefer doing it by email!)

Why? Because all too often the response goes something like this:

How much?! It’s only a cake! I can get one from the supermarket for £30!”

And that isn’t a great thing to hear.

Black and White Hat Box Cake with Roses & Pearls
Hat box cake – £85

So, let’s break this down:

  1. It’s not only a cake…it is an edible piece of art, the centrepiece to your table, created just for you, designed to reflect you and the occasion you are celebrating.
Chanel handbag
Chanel handbag cake – £105

You will definitely not be able to find something like this in your local supermarket. Your cake is an individual, one off, piece – just like with clothes, paintings, restaurants and cars, you should expect to pay more for cake exclusivity 😉

Christening cake
Crib Christening cake – £90
  1. Look at the ingredient list on a £30 supermarket cake.  Goes on a bit, doesn’t it?  Lots of nasties.

If you are ordering from a reputable crafts person, with high standards, they will be using just a few ingredients, all of the best quality…organic butter, free range eggs, high cocoa content chocolate, Madagascan vanilla extract…well, you get the picture.  No nasty palm oils, synthetic essences or long lists of preservatives.

A gluten free baker will need to carefully check all baking and decorating ingredients, including sugarpastes and colourings, to ensure the integrity of the gluten free-ness of the cake. Sometimes ingredients need to be specially ordered. That all takes time and effort.

£30 wouldn’t cover the basic cost of ingredients for most custom made cakes, never mind the labour.

Simple vs complex cakes
3D Corset cake – £105
Tangled Tower cake – £170
Pets birthday cake – £65
  1. The larger the cake and the more complex the structure, the more it will cost.

It stands to reason that a single tier, circular cake with a couple of small figures and ‘Happy Birthday’ written on it is going to cost less than multiple tiers and complex shapes. Doesn’t it?

Tangled Tower Birthday Cake - tower creation collage
Planning and building Tangled Tower
  1. A bespoke cake takes time to design, plan and to execute.

Coming up with a final design that you’re happy with may involve several consultations, multiple sketches and the pushing of feasibility boundaries.

Your cake creator wants you to LOVE your cake so will put a lot of time, thought and effort into the design.

Get in the bowl
M&M cake – £85

Continue reading