Guitar Birthday Cake

Remember the guy I made a tennis cake for last week? Well, it turns out his son has a birthday around the same time, so I got to make two cakes in two weeks for the same family!

The tennis cake was a little too mild in its chocolate flavour, so I went for a black devil’s food cake this time. To better compliment the rich chocolate flavour, this was paired with an orange icing (I did try some leftover lemon icing with the black devil’s food cake – it was not the best combination, so given a request for lemon or orange this time, I recommended orange for a better flavour pairing).

The design of this cake is perhaps a little eclectic, so I tried to keep one layer per hobby/interest. Just for fun, I’ve included my concept sketch below so you can see how closely it aligns with what ended up on the cake:

Cake Plan World and Guitar.png
Including the very helpful colour label of ‘brown’, in case you thought this was going to be a pink guitar cake.

The bottom layer is decorated to look like the Earth, and along the border I drew Olympic event pictograms in black with a small piping tip. The recipient of the cake is a world traveler who is currently living in Brazil working for the next Olympic games. I actually got a request after completing the cake to change it to just the world with event symbols (I had to make this cake a bit early – it’s tough juggling a master’s, teaching dance, and baking, so I really only had one day to decorate!), so this was my compromise – one Olympic layer, one guitar layer.

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The guitar layer was cut out of the cake, which was easier than I’d expected (this was my first carved out cake). I made the cake early and froze it, thinking this would help, and it did mean that the cake didn’t tear and crumbs didn’t go everywhere, so I think that was a good decision. I iced it in a light brown shade with detailing in black.

For the central hole in the body of the guitar, I pressed into the cake with a small circular cookie cutter. I filled in the central circle  with the black icing, then piped strings across in black, running them to where the neck cut off at the end of the cake.

For some added detailing, frets were made by lightly pressing a knife at intervals along the neck. I also took the fluted edge of a cookie cutter and pressed it into the top edge of the body (some guitars I looked at had interesting patterns around the edges, but I wasn’t sure I could perfectly emulate them with the black icing without making the cake look to busy).

The final touch was writing “Happy Birthday Nicolas” on the body of the guitar:

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So there you have it: a moist, chocolate cake with a bright, colourful design and a delicious smooth orange buttercream.

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