Construction of a Semi
Before the start of any cake, I research the theme rather extensively. I gather books, photos, toys, anything I can get my hands on that will help me understand fully what I am creating. Being a mother of two boys gave me the great advantage of having an endless supply of truck paraphernalia. When my research portion is completed, the walls of my work space are generally covered. This is my work space for the Optimus Prime project:
I could not have been more excited when I found the front and side view truck renderings. Using my printer, I blew up the images to the dimensions that I needed for my cake and cut them out. These are what I use to constantly check the scaling of each piece of the truck.
After I know the general dimensions of the cake, I can work on the pieces that will have to be constructed out of gumpaste. In this case, I knew the side view mirrors, front window frame, grill, bumper, muffler thingy (yeah, I’m most definitely not an authority on what the individual pieces are called), etc. would have to be constructed out of gumpaste and then painted with silver luster dust. I went ahead and made the rims first since they looked REALLY cool. I measured the diameter on the rim of the truck on my blueprint to get the size circle cutter I needed and proceeded to cut 6 circles out of white gumpaste and used a round piping tip to create holes around the edges of the rims. Now, the front two tires of the truck had rims that were convex and the back 4 rims were flat. To make the two circle convex, I laid them on top of an upside down plastic painting pallet to dry. The other 4 rims just dried laying flat. As they were drying, I measured the center portion of the rim and used small round cutters to cut out 6 circles for the inner circle on the rims. I again used a small piping tip to make the small circles around the edges. Last, I used another piping top to cut the center circle of the rims. I assembled them all and let them dry. The other pieces I made according to the dimensions on my blueprint. Here are the pieces drying in this photo below. Just disregard those Lorax tree trunks on the left. :)
After the pieces dried, I painted them with silver luster dust mixed with some vodka and set them on parchment paper to let dry overnight.
I also completed the wheel wells ahead of time:
I knew that I wanted the truck raised off the cake board so I had to enlist the talents and skills of my wonderful husband. I gave him dimensions for the board including where I wanted the dowels places under the truck portion of the cake board so they would be hidden by the tires. He made the board and while he did that, I baked the cakes and whipped up some peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream. Once the board was done, I wrapped it in foil and began to cut and position the cakes on the board.
Here is the board my fantastic husband made for me:
In hindsight, it should have been more narrow in the front but this worked well enough for what I needed. I layered cake with buttercream and cut the cake down until I got the dimensions and the basic truck shape. I crumb coated it and let it chill and harden in the refrigerator.
And here’s the fun part! I covered the bottom board in black fondant, attached the tires and wheel wells, covered the hood in red fondant and attached the grill and headlight pieces.
Coming along now, isn’t it?! See? I told you this was the fun part! I covered the cab with blue, attached the windshield, muffler thingies and all those other random pieces of metal stuck to the outside (Yep, still don’t know what any of it is called) and made holes to place the rear view mirrors. See those white poofy things near the bottom of the picture? I used marshmallows covered in fondant for the air tanks.
Basically after this, it was just adding flames and detail where I thought it needed it. And there you have it! Easy peasy!