Do you dream of being somewhere where it’s always warm? Where you can go for a swim to cool off? Somewhere tropical, full of colour, a paradise island perhaps? Just such a place was where I had the great privilege of being earlier this year, as part of my 94-day trip around the world teaching cake decorating. Teaching on a cruise ship is fabulous but full-on. Port days are the days we have a chance to explore and we did – so many locations I never thought I’d visit. Tahiti was one of these and the place I found the inspiration for my Tahitian reef cake.
Bake & Decorate magazine feature
The theme I was asked to design for this time around was summer/tropical. I had two ideas from my travels but decided to go with a tropical reef cake rather than a tropical island with palm trees. I’ve seen many cake designs based on tropical reefs but most seem to be the colourful cartoon type. I wanted mine to be based on what I actually saw and filmed whilst underwater.
A snorkelling safari
We were in port for two days in Tahiti, which gave us time to explore both the island and its coral reefs. To get the most out of our reef adventure we booked a snorkelling safari. We’ve learnt it’s nearly always better to let local people show you around somewhere new and a coral reef is no different. As you can see from the picture below, it wasn’t a particularly sunny day and there was a treat of rain, but it was warm and the water was warm too.
Reef cake inspiration
The reef was amazing, we saw so many species of corals and fish. We spotted numerous giant glams ranging, which I’d never seen before. What struck me most, whilst swimming through the coral gardens, was that although we saw many colours of fish and corals, the predominant colours around us were yellow and blue. These are the ones I chose to use on my Tatian lagoon-inspired reef cake.
From our adventures underwater, I identified two possible larger fishes to be the focal point of the reef cake design. I considered the colourful Sixbar Wrasse but I preferred the shape of the Picasso Triggerfish, also known as a Lagoon triggerfish, a Blackbar Triggerfish and a Picassofish. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a fascinating fish to watch as it can swim backwards as well as forwards!
Tropical reef cake design
I absolutely loved creating this reef cake on our return. I guess it help keep the experience alive and helped me appreciate more fully just what I’d seen. Interestingly the most challenging part was creating a realistic watery background. I am thrilled with the result and hope it inspires you to have ago.
Full step-by-step instructions to make this tropical reef cake
My instructions to make this reef cake are available in the August 2023 edition of the Bake and Decorate magazine. The magazine is available in newsagents during August and also as a download from the publishers.
Hoping you feel tempted to make your own version…
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