I've had quite a few cake orders lately! A couple weeks ago, I shared the baby shower cake I made for a friend who's expecting their bundle of joy soon. I also made a cake for my sister a few weeks ago, I still need to put it up on the blog! Over the weekend, though, I made a cake for a former co-worker's 4 year old boy, Anand. (Did you see my post about getting a new job?!) I especially enjoy making cakes for kids, they get so excited about the characters! This little boy loves the Disney movie, Planes, and specifically the character Dusty the Cropduster.
Between Mother's Day, and starting my new job, I may or may not have procrastinated a little on getting my Dusty pieces ready... A couple nights before I realized I really needed to get it finished. I still get extremely nervous each time I sit down to work on a new character. Cakes that don't involve characters are much easier for me, there isn't as much worry about tiny details. But with character character cakes (like Oscar the Grouch, Thomas the Tank Engine, or Daniel Tiger), you have to get the nuances of the characters look just right, or they could end up looking strange. I started working on Dusty and quickly realized the unique challenges to building a fondant airplane. Not only did I have to make a character, but also a plane that would be structurally sound enough to hold up for a couple days! How was I going to get the propeller to work? How would I get the wings to hold up and stay in place? It all reminded me of my college days...
Anyone who knows me, or has read my blog very much, probably has picked up on the fact that I'm a tad on the nerdy side. Seriously, just check out my calculator snacks, math cake, or my week long Pi day party as proof. You may or may not know that my degree is in Mechanical Engineering. When I was in college, my team's senior design project was working on building a remote control airplane that we took to a competition. It was a LOT of work, requiring hours and hours in the lab each day. We spent a ton of time thinking about how to create the wings and fuselage, what to use to stabilize the wings, what airfoil shape to use, lift/drag, ailerons, and so on. Who knew some of that would come in handy for cakes?!
Just as we had a wooden spar running through our wings on our remote control plane, I decided to use that for the wings on my fondant plane! I used some skewers to serve as support for Dusty's wings. (I know it looks like they are resting on the table, but they weren't flat on the cake, there was some room below. For the propeller and the back horizontal stabilizers, I used toothpicks to support them, and keep them attached to the plane.
It was a lot of fun to work on the plane, I enjoyed the mini stroll down memory lane as well! My little fondant Dusty might not have flown like our competition plane, but it was still a big hit!
The night before the party, I worked on some other components. I wanted it to be simpler, so the focus would be on Dusty. I made some fluffy clouds and the Planes logo replacing "PLANES" with "ANAND". We set the cake up at the party, so I didn't get a great picture of the final product! The lighting was hard since it was outside, but I'm hoping my friend got a good picture. Here's what I do have of the cake though:
Hopefully this cake will give you some ideas if you have a Dusty the Cropduster fan in your life!!