I loved doing this cake. It was for the Stiles Clark charity auction for the Coast Guard Spouses’ Association on Kodiak which provides books and toys at Christmas time to children in the remote villages of our island in an event called Santa to the Villages. The Coast Guard helicopters touch down in the villages and “Santa” and USCG spouses dressed as elves jump out bearing gifts for the children. Its an incredible organization and I was thrilled to be able to donate a cake to serve this charity. This was one of those cakes that I had no idea what I was going to do. I was inspired by the beautiful autumn colors of Kodiak for the peony, as you can see in this photo below showing the cake backdropped by the fall leaves. The buttercream technique was developed late at night after trying a gazillion things that just didn’t seem perfect for me. I finally was inspired after staring at the petals of the peony. I used a round tip to create small dots mimicking the petals’ contours and then used a spatula to smear the dots back together.