Making a Garden Cake: Part 2
"By now you will have a selection of vegetables made, and if you want more, then just let your imagination run wild. And don’t be afraid of getting every detail perfect – people will know what they are!"
Step 4 - Making the vegetable and flower beds
To make the beds for the vegetables and flowers use some brown sugar florist paste or brown sugarpaste mixed with gum tragacanth, to make a modelling paste that will dry hard. Roll out the brown sugar florist paste (SFP) and cut out rectangular pieces which will form the sides of the beds. You will need 4 pieces per bed. Score the shapes with a knife or cutting wheel to make grooves and indentations – you are trying to make the shapes look like pieces of wood. Leave to dry.
The flowers are very easy – simply use a blossom plunger cutter and cut lots of flowers out of differently coloured sugarpaste. The cutter used was quite small – about 5mm, but you can vary the size depending on the size of the flower bed. Set aside to dry.
To make the gates, follow the same method as the flower/vegetable beds. Leave to dry.
Step 4 - Making the runner bean frame
To make the runner bean frame use 3 cocktail sticks or wooden dowels etc, and form them into a wigwam shape and secure with a little florist wire at the top to hold the shape. Roll out some green sugarpaste into a long tin sausage and wind up the wigwan shape. Mix up a little royal icing and colour a green shade, and using a small round piping tip, pipe up the sticks, adding little blobs of green icing as you go, for the runner beans. This piping is much easier to do when the cocktail stick frame is on the cake.
Step 5 - The wheelbarrow
For this you will need a small matchbox, Clingfilm, edible glue, cocktail stick, black colour paste, Liquorice allsorts ‘coconut round’ and brown sugar florist paste. Roll out your SFP and cut out a rectangle, mould this rectangle around the matchbox (which has been wrapped in Clingfilm). You don’t want to completely wrap up the matchbox, simply use the matchbox to create the ‘barrow’ shape. Use a knife or scissors to trim the edges, don’t worry if it is a little rough and ready – all well loved and used wheelbarrows are a little rough and ready! Ideally curl the top edges under a little to create a ‘lip’.
Set aside to dry while you make the handles, legs and wheels. Roll long thin sausage shapes from the brown SFP and bend into a ‘u’ shapes – you will need two of these. Make two small sausages for the handles which have a slight curve. Lastly, to make the wheel – cheat! Use a coconut ‘Liquorice Allsorts’ type sweet and thread a short length of cocktail stick through the centre. Lastly use a paintbrush and darken the outside of the wheel with the colour paste – any dark colour will do.
When the pieces have dried, assemble them together and glue to secure. You may find you need to support some of the pieces with rolled up kitchen roll or tinfoil while it dries.
Step 6 - Assembly
To assemble the cake, cover your fruit cake and the cake drum with Lincoln Green sugarpaste. While the sugarpaste is still soft ‘poke’ in the rectangular edges of the flower beds into the sugarpaste and secure with royal icing piped inside the beds. Fill the beds with Demerara sugar to create the soil, and place in your vegetable and flowers. Attach the fence in the same way.
If you have left over flowers from the bed, attach these to the sides of the cake, and pipe on stems and leaves with green royal icing. You can also add ‘grass’ details to the fence, side of the beds, wheelbarrow etc.
Other little details you can add are things like logs, rocks or plants pots – just have fun!