We asked Zoe to sketch and create a cake inspired by melon colors, and then tell us all about the process. Her sketch is so perfect, it actually looks exactly like the cake. Keep reading to hear about her inspiration, sketching, and decorating methods.
“The inspiration for this came from the wonderful floral trends that are so popular on the catwalk at the moment, and are promising to so be for the next few seasons, at least. I was especially drawn to the Christopher Kane, Georges Chakra and Dolce & Gabbana shows. I wanted to use these fun, fresh colors and to draw on the great fabrics, applique and lace work, from these shows to add texture to my design.
I often use pencil crayons on my designs as they are quick, forgiving and give great results, but I really wanted this design to be vibrant and so I used watercolor paints on this particular piece. I started with a black ink fine line sketch and then worked into it in color.
Because of my obsession with anything visual I am always collecting images, whether it be online or magazines, and this is where my design process starts. It always begins with a mood board , this probably comes from my years spent studying fashion design then fine art in my late teens. This really gives me an accessible, and concise starting point. From this I create a sketch of the design, which is usually rather haphazard as it gets drawn into and redrawn many times.
So for this design I looked to some great examples of applique work , this was for the base tier. These examples were where the color fabric cutouts were applied to a base of the same color giving a great tone on tone effect, something I wanted to emulate. I wanted to keep to this “fabric” theme so I added faceted jewels to the center of each flower.
The middle tier is of a painted fabric style, with large vibrant flowers and a lace trim at the base of the tier in a melon orange /pink . This lace theme is then continued on the top tier but instead of covering the whole tier it has left an area to fit a faceted jeweled flower.
I tried to follow my illustration as closely as I possibly could, only changing a few details, here and there. I first covered the three tiers a melon green paste that I mixed by hand to try to match up with my design. The top two being a smooth finish , with the base imprinted with a lace design. Then I moved on to adding the detail work. It was my first time using Isomalt and although the process of mixing and molding was easy enough , getting the perfect shade to match my design and shaping the jewels freehand certainly was not.
Although I have painted onto cakes many times before I had not done so onto such a strongly colored back ground. So, for the painted flowers I cut out the shapes of the petals from thinly rolled white flower paste , attached them to the cake and then painted them. I then added centers from melon green paste circles covered in tiny balls of the same paste. For the lace tier I used a method that I have turned to many times before, where I take a lace mold that makes separate pieces and then I cut these pieces into smaller pieces and place them together as you would a jigsaw puzzle. This creates a single large piece.
I do love the cake , though. I think that it translated well from the illustration which was really just a guide. It is a nice way to familiarize yourself with your idea before starting to decorate a cake and it is also a lovely keepsake for your client or your records.”