Puffy the puffin was originally going to be a llama cake! Yes really, at the time I was researching themes for my ‘One Tier Party Cakes’ book Cute, llamas were certainly very much on-trend. Llamas were everywhere, on birthday cards, cushions, bedcovers, cupcakes, cakes etc. However, something stopped me from creating one, because I guess, I questioned how long would they remain popular. My book at this point wasn’t going to be published for at least a year. Instead, I opted for a creature much closer to home. A globally endangered bird, cute and comical to watch, known as a ‘clown of the sea’. Yes, an endearing black and white puffin.
It’s best to plan if you want to get up close and personal with puffins. A couple of summers ago three of us did just that. We got up very early one morning, at a time I’d rather not remember, and joined the queue for the boat. A boat that would take us to Skomer Island, a bird paradise, a mile off the Pembrokeshire coast. Tourist numbers are limited on the island and during puffin breeding season trips are incredibly popular.
We were not disappointed. We found puffins to be incredibly entertaining, small, noisy and fast, they seemed to fly like bullets. I never did manage to successfully photograph one in flight! These cheeky birds, however, made a big impression on me. So much so, that one of them sneaked its way into my book and is probably why I’m writing this blog – thank you Puffy.
Puffy the puffin cake
I could have approached this cake in many different ways but in the end, I chose to create the sea using coloured royal icing and the puffin from coloured modelling chocolate. Full step-by-step instructions are available in my ‘One Tier Party Cakes’ book.
The sea decoration
I had seen quite a few buttercream cakes decorated using pallet knife painting techniques, I experimented and found, what I think, is a very pleasing way of representing the sea. I used royal icing rather than buttercream, but that is my personal preference. The waves are created with a damp brush after the icing has been applied with a pallet knife.
The chocolate puffin
It was a lot of fun making this puffin so I’m hoping you will too. I decided to make him from chocolate modelling paste as I find it really easy to handle. I know however that some of you have really hot hands and struggle to use chocolate modelling chocolate. If this is you, can I suggest that you simply switch to using modelling paste? Perhaps a commercial paste that doesn’t dry too quickly.
Cake photoshoots – did you know?
Did you know that every cake for this book has been made twice? One in my studio when working on the design. Then again in the publisher’s photography studio, where the photographer photographed my every move! Consequently, I have two puffin cakes. I’ve never named the second one, so wondering if you have any suggestions?
Purchasing your signed copy
If you’d like a signed copy of ‘One-tier Party Cakes’ (where full step-by-step instructions can be found) please follow the link to the Lindy’s Cakes shop book page. If you’d like a special dedication please ask.
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