joycake Posted 8 Jan 2014 , 5:46pm
post #1 of

Hello everyone, this is my first time posting so I'm bit nervous and excited at the same time! I have been baking for about 7 years now, but am a just a couple of years into cake decorating self-taught so I'm learning slowly, but surely. 

 

I am making a sea themed baby shower cake that will feature light blue/aquamarine and white coral branches, the white will be standing independently behind the cake. I've looked at many threads here about how to make coral, but the type of coral branch/sea plume I will be making is not talked about on any threads (at least that I have seen) nor if I google/google image what I am trying to make do I find anything, at least anything edible. I have also not find a mold that will be suitable for what I'm going for. I am not that great at logistics so I need help with what might be the best materials to make by coral branches.  The white coral branch will probably stand 12-14 inches tall.  I need a sturdy enough material for the branch to stand alone. I have a wooden circle drum purchased from my local Home Depot as my base with the thought of needing to drill into the drum to create a sturdy base for my coral branch. I can over complicate something in a minute, so if you have any ideas bring 'em on! 

 

My idea is to find the thickest workable wire I can find,form my branches, bind the wire with floral tape, then mold with RKT for thickness factor, then cover with modeling chocolate or 50/50 fondant gumpaste or fondant with tylose. Then I'd stabilize the branch by drilling a hole into my wood base, anchoring the branch with some kind of metal reinforcement (I foresee another Home Depot visit!), then covering my stabilizer with fondant to hide everything.

 

So any better/simpler ideas?

 

Here are pictures of what I will be drawing inspiration from to make my coral branches so you can get an idea of what I'm wanting.

 

 

 

 

 

      

27 replies
joycake Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 3:25am
post #2 of

A little disappointed that no one has responded, BUT I've figure it out!

howsweet Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 3:49am
post #3 of

I'm not quite sure how I'd do it. Probably wire and modeling chocolate. What did you decide?

 

But you know that last coral you posted is a dead coral skeleton and live coral is not a bright white like that? Almost anyone familiar with coral is going to be sensitive to your imitation of dead coral, especially considering the over harvesting of the reefs and other environmental reef problems. As a reef aquarium enthusiast, when I see a coral like that, it turns my stomach and I'm reminded of the sickening stench of the necrotic tissue of a dying coral.

Coral reef:

 

 

Dead coral skeleton

 

 

Live sps coral close up - they have soft "flesh". This is what your white coral might have looked like when it was living/

MBalaska Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 4:45am
post #4 of

joycake: there are many reasons that there was not a response, first comes to mind that a person who has done it has not been online.

or like me, they have made silly little Royal Icing coral branches that are below the skill level needed in your  request.

Chocolate fondant, candy shells, RI coral

howsweet:  I'll put some tint of color in the coral next time.

howsweet Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 4:56am
post #5 of

That's a really pretty cake.

 

Sorry, I know not everyone sees it this way. I know when you go to the beach, the shops all sell this stuff and it all seems so pretty and I used to see it that way, too. But I just get creeped out because of keeping corals as pets for so many years. They are fascinating, active, aggressive animals that compete to live. It doesn't help that everything was destroyed by a 2 week power outage after Hurricane Ike. It broke my heart.

 

Empty shells on the beach don't bother me, but it makes me ill to see a shop full of shells or dead corals I know were harvested for ornamental purposes. Much of it illegally.

enga Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 5:37am
post #6 of

What about pastillage or isomalt as a medium for the coral?

 

morganchampagne Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 6:21am
post #7 of

AIsomalt is definitely an option. I've used hot sugar before and was pretty but turned cloudy after a while, as sugar will do.

joycake Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 3:02pm
post #8 of

Yay, I got some responses!

 

Howsweet: Thanks for the ideas! I am using the wire, covered with masking tape, then modeling chocolate. I had no idea that the last picture was of dead coral and tried to find the picture I initially found again, but I have unsuccessful in trying to track down the source and actual circumstance of that coral. 

 

When given the order for this cake, I was given creative freedom, but also used the mom to be's pinterest board for inspiration, which all pins contained different sea/ocean/beach items. The design for the cake is a modern "sea" themed design, but sticking to her colors of light blue/aquamarine-ish and white, which is why the coral I'm making is white. One centerpiece she pinned was of white colored manzanita branches, part of the inspiration for my coral. So when looking for how to accomplish this look, what I found in any coral with branching similar to the manzanita branch were those soft corals (you're right) that had dichotomous/lateral branching. The design is somewhat mimicking acropora tortuosa/acropora granulosa, but with limited frags/branching. In order to build the coral, my structure will of course include the frame of coral, which does lend more of a skeletal look.  So yes, my coral design is more of an artistic/exaggerated interpretation that pays more homage to the structure of coral branches rather to the intricate detail and natural beauty of coral frags. 

 

Mbalaska: I think your royal icing coral branches are great! Every cake that has been ordered from me is something I've never done before so I am always learning on the job!

 

Enga & Morganchampagne: I have not ventured into the isomalt world as of yet, but did find that option while researching, but the medium of isomalt will not achieve the look I'm trying to achieve. Thanks for the idea! Enga, I'll have to look into your pastillage idea.

 

Here's a pic of one of my smaller coral branches, but is not the big one I needed help with:  It is just shy of 5 1/2" tall and is 6" wide. I covered the floral wire frame with masking tape because it helped keep all of my wire pieces together without having to wrap or loop the wire too many times. It also allowed me to add small "branches" without time consuming looping/wrapping. The base was secured with some random round black plastic screw cap that had a hole in the middle.This will later be covered with modeling chocolate, then detailed with various tools. Now onto my working on my big branch!

enga Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 7:16pm
post #9 of

I don't know if this will help or not I found it last night but didn't post because I wasn't sure it was the direction you were going for. Hers is a tree but I think it could be modified. Here is the link if you are interested.

http://www.hotcakesbylori.com/blog/

Good luck with your cake and please post pics!

joycake Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 8:43pm

Enga, THANK YOU! That definitely give me direction in how to secure the coral to my wood base! I will post pics!

MBalaska Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 10:11pm

Looking forward to seeing the sculpture and the cake when your done.  I'll share the best that I have done. After making several coral-sea cakes I decided to 'branch out' :P and make the Royal Icing coral more three dimensional. I didn't even know that silicone fondant molds had been made for this (at the time!!)  I do Now.

 

Here's the baby shower gift I made for baby "Blaze".

Nemo & Dora cake for a baby shower,  (ps: the baby's name is "Blaze")  This was a Swiss Meringue Buttercream cake with Royal Icing coral and fondant decorations.

joycake Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 10:25pm

Super cute! yeah I looked into the molds, but they still weren't what I wanted. The ones you made look great! Let me know when you start using the molds how those turn out for you. And I will definitely send pictures as the sculpture comes along!

MBalaska Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 10:33pm

Goodie, You could do a photo tutorial of your progress along the way.  This is how we all learn.  And what you have to keep in mind is that once you have posted and shared your information...........It becomes part of the CakeCentral .com forum library.  Hundreds of people may read and learn from you posting your photos and tips, for years to come.   Pretty darned cool !!!

 

ps: Thanks, Small town hobby person only here.  silicone mold coral comes next.  Woo Hoo more cakes to bake.

howsweet Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 11:32pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by joycake 
 

Yay, I got some responses!

 

Howsweet: Thanks for the ideas! I am using the wire, covered with masking tape, then modeling chocolate. I had no idea that the last picture was of dead coral and tried to find the picture I initially found again, but I have unsuccessful in trying to track down the source and actual circumstance of that coral. 

 

When given the order for this cake, I was given creative freedom, but also used the mom to be's pinterest board for inspiration, which all pins contained different sea/ocean/beach items. The design for the cake is a modern "sea" themed design, but sticking to her colors of light blue/aquamarine-ish and white, which is why the coral I'm making is white. One centerpiece she pinned was of white colored manzanita branches, part of the inspiration for my coral. So when looking for how to accomplish this look, what I found in any coral with branching similar to the manzanita branch were those soft corals (you're right) that had dichotomous/lateral branching. The design is somewhat mimicking acropora tortuosa/acropora granulosa, but with limited frags/branching. In order to build the coral, my structure will of course include the frame of coral, which does lend more of a skeletal look.  So yes, my coral design is more of an artistic/exaggerated interpretation that pays more homage to the structure of coral branches rather to the intricate detail and natural beauty of coral frags. 

 

Mbalaska: I think your royal icing coral branches are great! Every cake that has been ordered from me is something I've never done before so I am always learning on the job!

 

Enga & Morganchampagne: I have not ventured into the isomalt world as of yet, but did find that option while researching, but the medium of isomalt will not achieve the look I'm trying to achieve. Thanks for the idea! Enga, I'll have to look into your pastillage idea.

 

Here's a pic of one of my smaller coral branches, but is not the big one I needed help with:  It is just shy of 5 1/2" tall and is 6" wide. I covered the floral wire frame with masking tape because it helped keep all of my wire pieces together without having to wrap or loop the wire too many times. It also allowed me to add small "branches" without time consuming looping/wrapping. The base was secured with some random round black plastic screw cap that had a hole in the middle.This will later be covered with modeling chocolate, then detailed with various tools. Now onto my working on my big branch!

That looks awesome! Very impressive. May I ask what type of wire you used?

joycake Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 11:54pm

Okay, here we go! For the smaller coral I used 20 gauge floral stem wire purchased from Michaels. For my taller coral I used  16 gauge floral stem wire (Michaels), which is some great sturdy stuff and should be able to handle the weight of my modeling chocolate, It should also hold up well for any fondant/gumpaste combinations as well. Some of the smaller branching on the tall coral were pieces cut and shaped in a "v" shape, bent according to whatever shape I wanted, then taped with masking tape into place. I used masking tape to hold all of my pieces together and to shape my frame, which will also help me use less modeling chocolate in the long run. I bent all of my wire at the bottom at a 45 degree angle so my frame could stand on its own. Tape again helped me to a form the bottom so that the frame would stand. Once I had my stems taped I could bend them to whatever angles I wanted. Here are pics of the progress:

 

 

 

 

 

The tall coral frame is 14" tall at its highest point and 13" wide at it's widest point at the top.

howsweet Posted 15 Jan 2014 , 11:58pm

What a nice thing to do - Can't wait to see the cake!

morganchampagne Posted 16 Jan 2014 , 4:27am

AAh! I do apologize I had not read that you had a specific look you were going for. Looks like you got some great ideas!!

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joycake Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 9:27pm

Cake due Feb. 8th, still working on the coral decor. Didn't get my modeling chocolate on my tall coral branch as smooth as I liked. Anyone have any ideas on getting it more smooth. The smaller coral, looks different now because I've added modeling chocolate waves to it ti give it a different look. Will add that picture later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

enga Posted 31 Jan 2014 , 9:41pm

Oh my goodness joycake they look great so far! I'm afraid I cant help you with getting the modeling chocolate smooth but I'm sure someone will pipe in.

sCrumbtiousKake Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 8:43am

ANice work, like you each cake is a new experience never done coral before but will remember this for when the time comes for me to do so :)

Claire138 Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 9:44am

These are awesome!

joycake Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:22pm

End product done during a move! 

 

 

 

 Excuse the turntable! That cake was HEAVY, my new kitchen was pretty much setup with what I needed just for this cake, and my normal photo station had yet to be set up.

enga Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:28pm

joycake you did an amazing job!

joycake Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 3:45pm

Thanks enga!

enga Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 11:50pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by joycake 
 

Thanks enga!

;-D

sCrumbtiousKake Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 12:49am

ANice work...really well done :)

milkmaid42 Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 1:18am

Oh my goodness, I feel like I am looking into an aquarium! I half expect to see tropical fish float into view! Beautiful job and so very well done!!

 

Jan

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