Nuzzling lovebirds are a cheerful reminder of nature’s beauty in the chilly winter months, and they can be a great way to add romantic flair to winter wedding cakes. Hajnalka Mayor (Hajnalka) of Zorica’s Cake Art in Ontario, CA brings us this step-by-step tutorial detailing her modeling chocolate winter lovebirds sculpting technique. Read on to find out how she does it!
This bird is called a Canadian Common Redpoll.
16 gage wire
20 gage floral wire
Crisp rice cereal (RKT)
Round piping tip
Regular sculpting tools
Gel food colors, white, black, blue, pink, red, yellow, brown
Paintbrushes, medium and very small
Make this shape from the 16 gage wire; it will be our branch. As you can see, on both sides we need support wires. To make them, cut a 20 gage floral wire in half and twist both pieces around both sides of the the “branch”. Then cover the whole branch with floral tape. This will make it food safe and will also help to keep the support wires in place. When you make the branch, keep in mind that it will have to keep the birds in balance.
If desired, you can add more smaller branches from 20 gage wire and affix them with floral tape. Then, create two loops for the birds as you see in the pictures. Make sure that the loops are strong enough; they shouldn’t move.
Cover the whole branch with modeling chocolate, and make indentations and holes to create a wood texture.
From the RKT, make two balls surrounding the loops, stuck to each other.
Cover the RKT with modeling chocolate. Stick two toothpicks into the back of the birds for the tails.
Make two basic flat tails. If you can manage to touch the love birds’ tails to the styrofoam, it will be an extra support later.
Start to shape the birds. Use reference pictures!
Take away or add more chocolate as you need. First, always try to create the basic shapes, and then you can give more and more details. Use the tools that work for you the best! It’s takes time but it’s definitely worth it!
Build up the thickness of the back and tails and start to make some structure.
Step by step, add more and more details. Make their feet as well.
With a medium round piping tip, “cut” some feathers into the tails.
Add a few drops of lemon extract to white gel food color and start to paint the birds almost everywhere with it, excluding the beaks and the eyes. Then, make some blue-ish grey color by mixing a little blue, black and white colors with lemon extract as you need. Start to paint a second layer with the grey as you see in the pictures.
Mix up a little darker grey and start to give more texture to the feathers. Continue with black color. You can also use dark brown instead of black for the feathers. Use your reference pictures!
Paint the beaks with yellow and light brown.
I mixed up some dark pink with red to create my red feather color. With a dry flat brush, you can blur some details and wash together the different colors.
Then, highlight some small details with white color and make some deep shadows with black.
Give some color to the branch as well. Use medium brown as a base color, and then give some texture with white and dark brown.
You can tape a skewer to the support wires when you insert the topper into the cake to ensure that it will stay in place.
For this design, I added royal icing “snow” as a final touch on the branch once it was on the cake. It was also used to cover the support wires.
Zorica’s Cake Art
Toronto, Ontario, CA