Sketch to Cake: Kitty Waters Bernini Inspired Apollo and Daphne Wedding Cake

Kitty Waters @kittyawill

of Oh Crumbs Bakery in Nashville, TN produced an otherworldly wedding cake for the Bernini issue of Cake Central Magazine Volume 8 Issue 1. Kitty’s magical, dynamic wedding cake was inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's statue of Apollo and Daphne.

Photography By Abigail Volkmann Photography

The story of Daphne attempting to elude Apollo and then calling on her father, who turned her into a tree to save her, is a classic in Greek mythology.  The idea of capturing the moment of transformation, when desperation, hope, and agony are combined in magic and dynamic movement, was irresistible.  The Bernini statue depicting the scene fascinated me, especially its with the leaves growing from it.  I found the the look of agony in Daphne’s face riveting, but mostly I loved the sense of movement and twisting I saw in the sculpture.  I wanted to recreate that dynamic sense of agony in my cake.

I looked at pictures of the statue from all angles, and decided that Daphne demonstrated most of the emotions I wanted to focus upon for my work.  So I skipped Apollo (he was the villain in this piece, after all) and imagined the moment of transformation when Daphne is turned into a tree.  A strange moment to convert into a cake, which are usually focused on so much happier moments, but the unique subject was a challenge.

I started by stacking and carving my dummy cakes.  I carved the hips-torso region first, to create as much of the twist as I could.

I followed the sketch and pictures of the statue as much as possible in the beginning to get my proportions to feel correctly.  Getting the angle of her head was where I diverged from the sketch and went with the pictures.

The head and neck were made of modeling chocolate and were quite heavy.  The neck started cracking and the head almost fell off after I added her hair, so I had to let everything dry while propped against a support.  I was convinced I would come back to her the next day and find her head on the table!

I used a Hot Wire Styro Foam Cutting Pen Knife I had never used before, which was great for slicing but was not as sturdy as I had hoped. The knife was better at cutting the dummy without tearing chunks of the Styrofoam out but wasn’t strong enough once the icing and angles became harder.

I also made the bark as Rachael Teufel does in her Craftsy class, which was incredibly simple and effective.

I had to bring the bark up her torso more than I had intended because the twist effect unfortunately made her hips look much thicker than would make sense.  So by adding bark to that region of her body, I hoped to plausibly argue that the thickness was from the tree trunk and not her lithe body!

I absolutely loved making Daphne.  As a cake, the subject is quite different from what I usually make, and the change was refreshing.  I plan to take on similar challenges, and they can teach one so much!

Comments (5)

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Love that the movement you described was captured in your piece. Graceful with the extended arms and outstretched fingers, also the upward motion of her gravity defying hair. Loving the leaves entwined in her hair.