Breast Cancer Survivor Cake aka “The Inappropriate Cake”
One of the ladies in our office got diagnosed with breast cancer about ten months ago and has since spent her time in the hospital, recovering from surgery, waiting for test results and undergoing chemo therapy. She finally finished 2 weeks ago and we got an office party organized for her. I looked through a lot of breast cancer survivor cakes but the pink ribbon, while inspiring, is not exactly fun. Now, from the beginning I knew I was going to have a hard time with my 9 year old, Sophia. While I love the fact that she has a sense of modesty I think she would prefer us all to be in Victorian dress around the house. Sure enough, she was totally mortified by the breast cake. She was sure the young lady in my office, Laurie, would hate and/or be offended. We heard the word “inappropriate: about 10 times over the last 2 days.
After chilling the cake I attached the breasts and carved the bustier shape. I decided to try Swiss meringue buttercream again with this cake as 1)I have really been turned off of American buttercream and 2) I just have to conquer my issues with meringue buttercreams.
The bosom was covered with skin tone fondant and the bustier was regal purple with lilac luster dust (added later).
I learned two new really cool skills with this cake. First, I was tired of buying either masonite boards or cake drums from my local cake supply store as they are so expensive so I finally bought some 1/2″ foam core board from Hobby Lobby and had my husband cut it with a utility knife. It was perfect! Sturdy and so much cheaper AND hot glue sticks on foam core (it does not work with masonite that well). I rolled out some black fondant with an embossing roller and shined it up with some shortening.
I also bought my first set of Tappits letter cutters which worked beautifully with modeling chocolate. It helps if you lightly dust the modeling chocolate with corn starch first.
So, about Swiss meringue buttercream. It worked much better this time but you really have to respect temperature when using it on your fondant covered cake:
1) Crumbcoat then chill until firm to the touch.
2) Frost the cake then chill for 2-3 hours (or freeze for about 15-20 minutes) or until really rock hard.
3) Roll out your fondant then pull the cake out and cover. Our house is normally kept at 77F so I turned it down and worked on smoothing the fondant until I felt it was getting a little too soft and then stepped away. I wrapped the whole thing in a couple of layers of saran wrap and chilled it overnight.
4) The next day I pulled it out and let the condensation evaporate for 15 minutes then decorated it. Once I was done I left it at room temperature but it was just too warm in our house for the cake. Either keep your room temp below 75F if you’re going to leave your SMBC cake out overnight or cover it up with saran wrap/put it in a cardboard box inside a large bag and put it back in your fridge until a few hours before serving. If you have modeling chocolate decorations on your cake they tend to form even more condensation than fondant. Keep the whole thing wrapped or boxed until the condensation evaporates from the outside. Even if you forget that part its alright — I watched my modeling chocolate pieces sweat once for about 30 minutes and then they looked fine.