The vase cake I have chosen to demonstrate is an incredibly difficult shape to master. Our most senior artists find this cake one of the most challenging shapes to cover due to the height and the sharp angular edges that taper down. The airbrushing design on the cake is a complex technique that requires a steady hand and even pressure on the nozzle to achieve a light gradual colour. The mosaic pattern is time consuming as it requires each piece of the pattern to be handpainted and the flower petals are individually handcrafted and woven together to form a beautiful lotus flower to complete this design.
WHAT TO DO
Stack three cakes in descending sizes and taper with a serrated knife to resemble a vase shape. Start with the smallest cake on the bottom; use a rich dark chocolate ganache in between all of the layers to stick the cake together.
Apply the ganache around all the sides and on top of the cake. Using a long, heated knife make all the edges completely smooth until you have completely sharp edges
Cover the top of cake first and cut excess icing with a clean knife. Measure the height and circumference of the cake and brush it with syrup. Roll out the icing according to the measurement plus some extra – about three millimetres thick. Roll the icing onto a stick rolling pin and wrap it around the cake. Starting at the back, trim the layers that are on top of each other at the back with a clean knife. Remove the inner layer of icing; place the clean join together and smooth. Trim the top edge with a clean knife.
Smooth all the edges of the cake using two flexi-smoothers together and enhance the sharp edges.
Airbrush the cake starting with a darker base, graduating lighter to the top of the cake. Decorate the cake using fondant icing. Make a mosaic template out of paper and cut the shape out of fondant. Apply to the cake using a little water. Indent the waves with a flat tool to make a mosaic pattern and hand paint the tiles in varying shades of aqua. Paint the grout effect using a light grey food colour and finish with some scattered bubbles piped on with royal icing.
Take a walnut-sized piece of yellow flower paste and shape it into a cone. Insert a hooked 20 gauge wire and create indents with a number two nozzle. Take a bunch of yellow stamens and wrap around the centre. Roll flower paste in a pasta machine or by hand quite thin and cut 28 petals in five different sizes using a template or a lily cutter. Dry the petals in an apple tray. Starting with the smallest petals, place petals evenly around, securing with dental floss as you go. Repeat this step until all the petals are used up. Use Stem-Tex to wrap around the exposed wires.
Assemble the flower with a lotus pod on top of the cake, inserting the stem of the flower into the cake to secure it in place.