Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The world is very squiggly when you try to ice its outline...

A very belated post tonight about the Borders Exploration Group 20th Anniversary Celebration Cake that I made back in October.

It's not a printed photo - it's icing!
Dracula pondering the Romanian flag
Borders Exploration Group is a fantastic hands-on youth expedition group that organises and leads expeditions both overseas and at home for young people form the Scottish Borders area. It provides hands on social, cultural, environmental and personal development for the young people involved and delivers valuable community projects around the world. And it's been going for 20 years in 2011/12.

I went on one of these expeditions when I was 16 to Mongolia - a travel destination I'm unlikely to top in the rest of my life! Jump 9 years down the line, and I was chief leader of the Poland expedition, and then stuck out several years on the committee. I've stepped back a bit at the moment, since Mini-M is providing plenty of opportunities for adventure of a different kind - sometimes just getting to the supermarket and back and feel like a bit of an expedition!

But I knew I really wanted to make everyone a special cake for the 20th Anniversary ceilidh that was held in October. I wanted something that represented all of the expedition destinations over the years, so I went for a map of the world with flags of all the visited countries around the sides, and a small model symbolising each expedition. I made the models out of modelling clay because I needed to make them in advance, and didn't want any melting or cracking disasters, and let's face it - none likes eating fondant icing on its own anyway!

When it came to icing, I discovered the slow and painful way that the outline of the world is really wiggly. Cue epic hand cramp! But I got there :o)

Of course, I may have altered years of geological processes!

How did I do it - I printed the outline and lettering onto a sheet of paper, which I placed on top of the cake. I then got a sharp sterilised pin and pricked all around the outline - that in itself was fairy time consuming, but was nothing compared to the icing! And then I very carefully, with my heart in my mouth, joined the dots with black royal icing - and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when it was done.

No spelling mistakes - phew!
I made the flags from fondant and coloured them in using food colouring pens, and attached them with royal icing.

Scotland attached as the guinea pig - it stayed put so the others followed soon after
I can't pretend it was easy - it was definitely a labour of love, but I'm glad I went with the design I did, and it certainly prompted much debate and guessing during the ceilidh as to which flags were which and what the models represented.

Guardians of the cake...
As for the cake - it was a very moist and delicious chocolate fruitcake!

Here are all of the  models and their associated countries...
Mongolia 1999 - Ger
Peru 2003 - Guinea pig on a stick
Ukraine 2011 - Flower garland
Solar Eclipse 1999 - Sunglasses
Poland 2008 - Sister Klara
Vietnam 2005 - Cyclist
India 2001 - Curry, naan and a flower garland
Norway 2006 - Fjord Kayaking 
Cuba 2012 - Classic Cars
Kenya 1997 - Safari
Zambia 2007 - White water rafting
Romania 2002 - Dracula
Pyrenees 2004 - a mouflon sheep
Scotland - several - the Ocean Bounty
Lesotho 1993 - a Basotho hat
Chile 2010 - petroglyphs and red wine
Ecuador 1995 - a condor
And one last pic of the cake getting cut

4 comments:

  1. That is absolutely amazing, it looks incredible!! I can't even think of the amount of hours you put into this! You're an artist!!

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  2. THIS IS INCREDIBLE! totally a labour of love. what a lucky organisation, and what a great group to be associated with! looks fab ruth!

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  3. OMG This cake is amazing!!

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  4. I'm impressed you went to such an effort, what a wonderful thing to do to mark the occasion! I'm in awe of your modelling skills too!

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