So last week I made a special geode cake for a friend’s birthday. See my previous post for all the details on that. But long story short I spent days planning and making this cake. Then it comes time for the photoshoot. And I drop the cake. I’m 2 pictures into the photoshoot and I drop the cake. so after screaming internally for about 5 minutes I assess the situation. How can I turn this from a negative into a positive? The decorations are ruined and can’t be saved but the cake itself was mostly in one piece. While it did have a noticeable chunk missing I was at least able to scrape off the decorations and frosting and save the cake for another day.
Since this cake had been on the floor I didn’t really have any intentions of eating it BUT it could still be used as a practice cake. I literally use any excuse to practice my cake decorating. So after hemming and hawing over this now blank slate of cake I zone in on the missing chunk of cake and immediately get inspiration. Fat unicorn cake. You may have seen this style of cake around a couple years back. Basically a fat unicorn slouched next to a cake with a big chunk missing from it. Enter marzipan.
So ordinarily most people use fondant to add extra decorations to cakes. I am not a fondant fan so I looked up alternatives and found that marzipan could be used. So I set to work. I looked up a recipe for homemade marzipan (here) and start molding myself a unicorn. Because obviously my first marzipan decoration has to be a unicorn. Fun fact: I’m obsessed with unicorns.
So here’s my first attempt. I realize it looks a little gruesome…it’s basically just a head on a stick but trust the process lol
So I admit I got ahead of myself and just threw it on the cake before letting it set completely. The cake itself needed some fine tuning as well as the unicorn. But for a first attempt I’m really not mad at how it turned out. However the longer it sat the more the unicorn started to sort of just melt into itself since it hadn’t set properly. At first it just added to the fat unicorn aesthetic but after awhile it just started to look disturbing lol So finally around midnight I took it apart and decided to try again. I was short on marzipan at this point so I had to reuse as much as I could. Which meant getting a little extra creative with the unicorn hair. It wasn’t easy to separate the different colors so I decided to go for a tie dye look which I ended up really loving.
I found it was best to make the body and head separately and let them dry out overnight and then attach them the next morning. If you try attaching them before they’ve set they will just sort of melt into each other.
I loved how this version turned out but the more I looked at it the more I kept thinking it was missing something. And then finally the next morning it hit me – ears! Maybe I should add some ears?
And here she is all put together
I love how she turned out! She’s not quite as chonky as the first version but I feel like I did such a better job with putting this one together.
So now to put the finishing touches on the cake itself. I decided not to waste my precious buttercream on a cake I didn’t plan on eating so I opted to use meringue instead. Now meringue isn’t quite as stiff as buttercream when it comes to piping but I’ve loved using it to practice my piping skills. At the end of 2020 I counted up all the cakes I had made and it was close to 50. Only a handful were for other people. That was close to 50 cakes I made all so I could practice my decorating and piping skills. Needless to say….I made a lot of buttercream last year lol So I decided I needed to find another method to practice. Enter meringue.
I actually have gotten a lot of compliments whenever I use meringue and I have to say I love it, as well. It always ends up looking so pretty and it sets so nicely. I’ve even started making meringue “cakes” and just putting them out as decoration so I have nice things to look at around the apartment.
Overall, I am so happy with how this cake turned out and, well, I’m not going to say I’m necessarily happy I dropped my original cake….but at the same time…I’m happy I dropped my cake because it gave me the opportunity to make this cake and learn a new skills set. Everything happens for a reason, you just have to find the positive.
Here’s the finished cake with a few more finishing touches on it. I’m a bit obsessesed with this one.