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John 4 Rocket Cake

I have never done a tutorial on this site. However, my dear friend Jennifer, the mother of John, asked me to.  She took a cake decorating class with me in June, and has come over to learn a few tricks, but wants to see more.  Both of us have a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  So scheduling time for us to spend together decorating is nearly impossibly.  She has been wanting to order a cake from me for months and finally did for her son John’s 4th birthday.  He is into anything that flies: Saturn 5 Rockets and super heroes. If it flies, he loves it.  His party was to be held last Saturday at the Bowling Alley and my girls were invited.  I was ready to surprise all our friends with my carving abilities.  Unfortunately John came down with a bad ear infection and the party was postponed until after the holidays.  I had baked the cakes and made the Swiss Buttercream prior to the cancellation.  We decided to go ahead with the cake in honor of his birthday and let them eat it during Thanksgiving with his family in Alabama.  I delivered it today and they were all impressed.  Especially John!

rocket-how-to-8

Click here to learn “How To” make this rocket.

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This was a fun project.  I got a call from a couple who wanted a birthday cake for their son’s first birthday, a dog cake to be exact.  They were a referral and have never met me or seen my work.  Trusting I know!  They wanted a chocolate lab in 3D; or just his head, done somewhat like a cartoon.  I thought about it and said “I do not think I am quite skilled enough to do a 3D cake, but a dog face I can do for sure”.  They agreed, and I got to work.  I found as many dog cakes as I could as well as pictures of people’s Labs online.  I pondered and drew. Then I pondered some more.  The face cakes did not cut it for me.  I had to do 3D.  After all, you only turn 1 once!

My rough draft was drawn.  Now how big do I make it?  We agreed that it would be at least the size of a 1/2 sheet cake.  I mapped out everything I would need to make, such as brown fondant for the ears and nose and white for rawhide bones.

Now for the scale; back to the drawing board with cake pans in hand.  This helps me calculate how much I would need to bake for the size dog I wanted on the board.  A little more sketching and I’m ready to start making my fondant pieces.

I made one large rawhide bone for the dog cake.  I was also making the birthday boy a small cake to eat himself, which of course would need to match the theme.  I also created twenty mini bones and a 3″ dog to hold up a #1 for his cake.  I was very happy with the dog. This was my first gum paste character.

The actual dog cake came together quite nicely although it took some time for piping.  It was about 90° on Friday and very humid.  My chocolate lab fur was melting faster than I could pipe.  In the end, with refrigeration, he stayed in tact!    Both cakes did very well in the car and were delivered in one piece!  The most tedious part of this process is the delivery!  This was by far the most creative cake I have ever made.  I thank my customer for the order and giving me an opportunity to practice and hone my skills.


As previously stated, I have been working on my Gum Paste flowers.  Two weeks ago my new niece was born and I was busy keeping her brother. My mother-in-law was busy at the hospital with her daughter and new granddaughter.  It was a perfect time to sneak in an Anniversary cake for her and her husband.  In the previous month I had sent out a number of questions about her likes: favorite color, flower, and fruit.  Papa Stan had no idea why I was asking such odd questions with everything else going on.  I got working on some yellow tulips.  I did make them a few shades darker as gum paste will fade with time.  They only took me about 2 1/2 hours total working time over about 5 days, to allow for hardening.  I did some hand painting on these with chalk dust and vodka, as well as a small amount of luster dust followed with steam to seal it all on.  The cake was a cinch, basic yellow with a milk chocolate icing colored like terra cotta.

However, the delivery was very hairy.  The cake itself was about 8″ tall.  I decided to deliver it when they were not home and leave a note.  So when they came home, the two love birds could enjoy the note and cake in each others company.  We had a tropical storm rolling through that day, August 20th.  We, Kaighty and I, made it and delivered it safely.  On the way home, a huge squall came through with a tornado warning.  It was pouring so hard that visibility was almost zero.  I was driving about 7 miles an hour in my Civic through 8″ of water.  It took us an hour to drive our normal 20 minute trip.  My knuckles were white when I finally pulled up in the driveway.  It was a close one!   Anyways, here are some shots of my handy work.  Enjoy.

I have been working on my sugar flowers a lot lately, trying to perfect them.  I had made some sweet peas the week before school started.  I decided to surprise Kaightlyn, my 4 year old, with a cake when she got home from her first day of school.  Now you may thing this is funny, pre-k, 3 hours a day, 3 mornings a week right?  A big deal?  Worth cake?  Well, here in the south, pre-k is full time, held at a regular Elementary school from 8am-2:45pm M-F.  It’s a big deal to us!  Luckally she LOVES it!  Really LOVES it!  I am getting off track, back to my story, I had also just bought some comma pans, which I really wanted to try.  So I decided to make a chocolate chiffon cake with buttercream filling and MMF topping.  This gave me an opportunity to practice my piping skills and gave me a place to put my sweet peas.  I think it turned out quiet nice.  She thought is was “amazing”! 

My very supportive (loves to eat cake) husband, rolled the fondant for the first ever homemade fondant covered Bonobo cake.  It surprisingly only took us two tries.  A little gel coloring and we had ourselves a very pretty cake.  We ate it at a family get together and man was it delicious.  This is a Chocolate Chiffon cake with Oreo Swiss Buttercream filling and Rolled Vanilla Fondant icing.  We were both very proud!

My dear friend Jennifer offered to watch my girls while her Mother-in-law, a trained sugar artist, taught me a few things.   Gaynor Ernest, of Wales, has crafted more than 300 cakes of her own and is a very talented sugar artist.  I was more than willing to accept this generous offer and spent about two hours soaking up all the knowledge I could.  This was the flower I built from fondant while “in class” with Gaynor.

Not too shabby for someone with no rose petal, leaf, or calyx cutters.  I came home and practiced using her advice with gum paste this time, for round two.  As well as some wonderful tips from a fellow wordpress blogger and her you-tube “how to” videos.  Thanks Donna!  What do you think?  I need your feedback.  Am I any good at making sugar flowers?  Please leave a comment!

Hello reader, this Blog is a real time biography for Bonobo Cakes. BC will become an official bakery sooner than later. For now however, we are closed. With the addition of a 3rd child, life is to important to stop and spend 24 hours strait on a cake. Although we love cake, it will be a while before we get back into baking on a large scale. Enjoy the stories and photos, but please ask prior to using any of our original information on another site. Thank you and Enjoy the blog as it was!