In Mike McCarey's 3-day Custom Class, a maximum of 5 students spend 3 days receiving the ultimate in hands-on, personalized instruction from Mike and his talented staff. Each student gets to create the project of their dreams from start to finish. Mike teaches the entire process from finding resource materials and creating patterns, to building your stand and then executing your cake to it's final finish. In addition, each student will watch and learn as Mike instructs the other student on their dream projects. Possible project ideas were: cars, animals (standing or sitting), shoes, ball shapes, off-kilter tiers, boats, upside-down wedding cakes...
For more information on this class you can check out the calendar on his website at www.mikesamazingcakes.com.
So, what is my dream cake? I have no idea. I have a whole file on my computer filled with pictures of cake ideas I would like to make, but this is entirely different. This cake has to be monumental, challenging...and large. Mike is known for making over the top, enormously realistic, and to-scale replicas of....well, almost anything. He asked me to send my top four ideas and with the help of the husband spent about 6 hours making my list.
I finally figured that if this cake was going to be as awesome as I imagined it could be, that I should probably make something that I could replicate for an actual event where people could see it. My little lady's 4th birthday was only 5 months away ;), so why not make her the best birthday cake ever. The researching of different Rapunzel cakes lead to the realization that there were very few awesome Rapunzel tower cakes. Most were some version of frosted upside down ice cream cones on cupcakes or stunted versions where it may have been possible for Rapunzel to just climb out the window and make a small jump to safe ground.
I sent Mike a picture of the tower as it appeared in the movie and when Mike called to talk about the specifics of the cake I couldn't have been more excited. Mike explained that he wanted make a 3 1/2 foot
tall exact replica of the tower. The actual tower would be made of cake, while the top portion and Rapunzel's living space would be made entirely of chocolate. The chocolate top of the tower would also be able to be removed from the bottom section of the tower so that it would be easy to transport and so that the top could be saved and admired for months after.
When I got to Mike's Amazing Cakes, I found my new work station and met the three other students I would be sending the next three days with. The other students flew in from around the country (California, Las Vegas and Canada) to be there and each of the cakes we were going to be completing that weekend were entirely different. We spent the morning reviewing the plans Mike had made and how to replicate them at home, talking about the internal structure, and getting to see all
of the work our classmates would be doing.
The it was time to get started. Here is what I found on my work table.
Picture of idea board
These are just a couple pictures of plans Mike gave me for the tower. All the plans were copied to scale, as were the patterns for the tower's many details.
To learn more about how Mike makes his patterns and plans, check out his Craftsy class on Advanced Cake Sculpting here
This is a picture of stands I used to create the Rapunzel tower.
The stand on the left is a 'working' stand. This is the stand that I used to work on the top portion of the tower. You can see the Styrofoam round attached to the stand in this photo. This stand's lower height made a more manageable working height.
The stand on the right was the actual stand that the cake was attached and carved on. When the tall tower of cake was carved, covered and finished, I removed the top of the tower from the 'working' stand and set it on the dowel attached to the actual cake stand. Using the two stands also made transporting the cake easier.
Here are pictures of the tower building process. The tower was made from a buttermilk based white cake and surprisingly had no internal structure beyond the middle pole. We did not use any cardboard rounds in between layers and the tower was more solid than I would have thought possible.
The process for the top of the tower was little more complicated. The structure started with
styrofoam rounds and then we covered them completely in modeling chocolate. All of the details on the top tower were done in modeling chocolate. With a little airbrushing and some buttercream piped ivy the cake was complete. I couldn't have been more excited about the finished project.
Best. Rapunzel. Cake. Ever.
Here are some photos of the cake once I got it home.
I added these photos of Anna with her cake so that you can see how big the cake really was. I don't think the pictures above truly do it justice.
This one I added just because it is so sweet! Anna is looking for Rapunzel through the window.
While I was there, Mike generously offered for me to come back to the shop to recreate the bottom portion of the tower a few months later for Anna's actual birthday party. Of course I said "YES"!
Stay tuned for my next post detailing Anna's Rapunzel Party.