When I first started getting serious about decorating cakes, one of the first ones I ever did was a bustier cake for a wedding shower in honor of my friend Courtney. It was a simple little number, but everyone was really impressed and that cake encouraged me to keep going and keep learning. This weekend, I got to revisit that cake! Courtney asked me to replicate it for a friend of hers, but in all white.
When I did an internet search for others like it, I happened to notice they were all in fondant. Courtney's not a fan of the fondant and I was determined to go all buttercream on this one. I now know why all of the cakes I found were in fondant! Even though this was a white cake, parts of the cake kept showing through and it didn't matter how much frosting I threw at this bad boy, I could never seem to get the right amount all over to cover it properly. I lucked out in that the details helped to cover balder spots, but it was a nightmare. Considering the success of the train cakes, I was totally bummed and had to take several breaks to finish this. Just more proof that good bakers have their bad days too!
Ultimately, I am thrilled with the results and Courtney was too, which is all that matters. It was a good learning experience in several ways: first, I got more buttercream only experience. I'm getting better, but I can see where improvement is needed. Second, I have recognized the limits of certain designs. After this cake, my advice to other bakers would be to charge more for buttercream only cakes that involve lots of curves and nooks and crannies. Lastly, I've recognized my limits–no more than one baking project per week! I'm pooped!
If you're interested in doing a cake like this too, I wanted to share with you how I got the shape. I did not carve this one, actually. My original design used two heart shaped pans. You lop off the points at the bottom and then line the sawn off ends together to form breasts at the top and rounded off legs at the bottom. You can use the remainder of the cake to build up the breasts. Somehow I've lost my second heart shaped pan (grrr), so I used a 9" circle pan instead and carved out a piece of the bottom of the heart to make the round fit into it. The leftover pieces went to the boobs :o) Of course, you could carve it from a sheet cake, but I always seem to cut too much from one side or the other and then there's the crumb factor. The less unfinished edges you have, the happier the baker!