Monday, February 27, 2012

Stand-Up Electric Guitar Cake

I am so excited to share with you all my new favorite cake! :)  I am so happy with how this cake turned was better than my expectations and I am thrilled that even though there were plenty of challenges, the Lord was faithful and gave me the wisdom to move forward at every road block!!  Praise be to His name!
For instructions on the internal structure, click HERE

 It all began when I got the invitation to put a cake up for auction again at my husband's school's grand auction that happens yearly.  They raise a ridiculous amount of money for their school because of all the generous parents and supporters...we're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars!  It's truly amazing!  So, I was happy to be  included in the event!  Here's a peak at the cover of the auction book...
The theme was "Rock the Red Carpet & Celebrate our Stars" - the stars being the teachers and kiddos!  I immediately thought an electric guitar cake would be fantastic!!  The only trick was that it needed to be viewed by 250-300 people...and that meant it needed to stand up!  I thought, no problem! :) - haha!  So, I did a little research months ago on guitars and saw that most of them said they served 25 people.  However, they were all laying flat...I could only find two that were standing up.  I didn't think there would be a difference and went ahead and filled out the paperwork and sent it into the auction office.  A few weeks ago I started the planning phase.  If you want to read the story and see how the internal structure of the cake came together, see this post: Click HERE.  That's when I realized it wouldn't serve 25 people because of all the internal structure!!  I was luck if it served 12!  That's when I decided to add the Amp sitting off to the side of the cake to make up the extra servings I needed.  I had been thinking of doing it anyway, but this gave me an "excuse"!  My poor husband! :) - one more cake on top of the giant one I was already making!  He thought cupcakes would have been better!  I would have kept me from staying up till midnight a few nights! - but not as cool! :)

Here are some close ups of the guitar
 I just love this cake! :)  The invitation to the event was all white, red and black and had a big silver glitter star on the front.  There were lots of stars at the event, so I wanted to make sure to include some of those on the cake.  Plus, in the auction book, they called it a "Star-Studded Electric Guitar"!

Click here to see the construction.
 The neck part was 1/2" plywood wood covered in fondant and modeling chocolate.  I built up the back with fondant so it had a curved look like a real guitar.  The strings were the same material I used on the violin cake...silver craft string!  It looked so realistic!

A funny challenge came up while covering the cake in fondant.  I ran out of red fondant!!!!!!!!!!!!  After I had covered the neck and the back, I flipped the cake over and went to roll out the fondant for the front.  That's when I realized there wasn't enough to cover the sides.  I almost started to cry because it was 10pm the night before the auction!!  I couldn't make more and didn't want to wait until the next morning.  My husband said, "Cover the front in black!"  But, I didn't want to do that.  However, his comment gave me the idea to cover the sides in black and then add the white detail edge.  I had just enough for the front, so I knew it would work!  Whew! - thank you Lord!!  It took a lot longer than if I would have had enough red, but I actually thought the guitar looked so much better!!  I liked it with the black edges and the white trim!!  So, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes our challenges actually work out to be a blessing!! - like this one did!!

I used a new recipe to make the black and red fondant.  Click here to see it.  The recipe is a bit misleading...I used a 10oz bag of marshmallows, and needed to add almost two pounds of powdered sugar to get the right consistency.  To make red fondant, I added red candy melts and red coloring...and it worked the same way.  This recipe made almost 3 lbs of fondant.  It was great!  Although, I probably would just add red or black coloring to my marshmallows next time and not do the chocolate.  But, I didn't have any issues with, that was great!  MUCH cheaper than buying red and black fondant! - so I'll be doing that again!

 The details are what MADE this cake!!  The knobs were mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups covered in fondant.  The silver bridge piece was hand molded modeling chocolate painted with silver luster dust.  That little silver piece was all cut/formed by hand.  It took me almost two hours to make the bridge!  But, seriously, it looked just like the real thing...almost! :)  I really wanted it to be as close to the real thing as possible!!  The details became really important to me.  
In order to get the strings to stay in the cake and be tight, I triple knotted the ends to some large sewing needles and slid them into the holes on the bridge.  The holes were so little that anything larger would have made the modeling chocolate crack.  For some reason I hadn't thought through that part of the cake well enough.  Instead of using needles (which is obviously dangerous) you could use tiny straws (like stir straws) to tie the string to and insert those into the cake, but I didn't have anything like that here at my house and it was down to crunch time.  Obviously straws would be a safer option than needles, but my husband was going to be there at the auction and continued to tell me that it would be fine and that he would baby-sit the cake when it was being cut to make sure to get all the in-edibles out of it! :) - so, don't was all good!  But, if you can't be there to baby-sit the cake, then slide the strings into little straws, double knot the ends so it won't come back out of the straws, then insert the straws into the cake.
The other in-edible item I used was push pins at the top to hold the strings onto the cake.  Again, I needed something I could put into the wood that would hold the strings tight.  I made some washers and nuts out of modeling chocolate, then stuck some silver push pins into those, and then into the board.  I then tied the string around the push pins several times just like a real guitar!!  They looked like the real was amazing!  The tuning pegs were another challenge!  I actually made them too big, but didn't realize it until I was attaching them to the cake.  If you look closely they wouldn't actually work! - they would bump into each other if you tried to turn them!! :)  LOL!  Oh well...I figured only those crazy guitar players would notice!!  In order to make the pegs, I cut out thick circles and impressed a design on them with a cap.  I then rolled out some ropes and used the same circle cutter to cut a little bit from the rope so when I attached my circles, they would have more surface to connect to.  I used melted chocolate to attach the ropes to the circles.  I then inserted a little wire into the rope, added a little melted chocolate, then added the knob part that you would hold onto to turn the tuning pegs.  I hope that makes sense.  So, there was a little wire in each one to get the knob to stay on the rope part.

 The amp ended up being 8 layers of cake and stood 10" tall.  It was huge! :) - not a small cake at all!!  To see the amp cake crumb coated with ganache, click here.  Here are some pictures of the amp.
 In order to get the texture on the front panel, I painted it with silver luster dust and while it was still wet, I pressed on a clean piece of shelf liner paper to the front and pulled it away, thereby pulling away some of the silver paint.  It worked great!
The amp was four layers of chocolate mudcake with vanilla buttercream and 4 layers of vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.  It was tall - 10"!
The knobs might look familiar! ;)  They are mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups painted with silver luster dust.  I hand cut out the black base for the fender logo, then hand painted the text with silver luster dust.  I LOVED the logo! - sooo fun!!  I chose not to write any text on the top of the amp because I thought I'd ruin it! :)  I wanted it to be really clean and thought less was more.

 The wood grain on the board was all fondant which was embossed, scored and painted to look like wood with a little brown gel food coloring mixed with vodka.  It took almost 3 lbs of fondant to just do the board!!  CRAZY!

When we got down to the hotel, we attached the guitar onto the board before taking it inside and up the elevator.  We had several people stop us on the street to ask if it was a cake! - they were hilarious!  Their mouths wide open in amazement!  It was so fun! :)  I was smiling from ear to ear!  People asked me what company I worked for and when I told them, "OH, I just do this for fun!" - they looked at me like I was talking in a foreign language!  When we got it up to the ballroom, we found out that the cake would be sitting up on the stage front and center until after dinner when the auction started and until it would be removed to be cut for dessert.  I was soo flattered!  Here's a pic of it on the stage...although, you can't really see how big the room was! - I'm SO glad it stood up and was so big!  

We got there pretty early, so not a lot of people were there yet, but everyone that was in the room came over with their phones and cameras and started taking pictures.  My husband was sooooo cute...he was beaming! :)  It was such a fun experience!!  Later on when my husband was with the pastry chef of the incredible hotel, he said everyone in the kitchen was gathering around while they were cutting into the cake and that the pastry chef kept saying, "I've never seen a cake like this before!"  My husband said he made cakes himself but was still so impressed!! :)  I was so happy with how everything turned out and was so glad the cake made such a statement!

Now, you're probably wondering, "So how much did it go for?!"  Well, considering this purse cake from last year went for $1400, and the year before that my first auction cake, the Latin Lady, went for $600, I was expecting this to go for at least $1000 or more.  However, we found out a few days before the auction that this cake would be the very first auction item of the night.  The purse cake last year was auctioned well into the evening (after everyone was "warmed up") ;)  right before they served dessert.  So, once I found out the guitar would be first, I lowered my expectations quite a bit...but of course was still hopeful.  When I chatted with my husband after the cake was auctioned, he said it took 15 min. to get everyone quiet enough after dinner and drinks to start the auction and he wasn't even sure how many understood it was a cake.  So, it was sold for "only" $450.  I know $450 is still a great amount and it is all going to a wonderful school!!! - so it's not that bad at all!! :)  I was a bit disappointed because all the time I spent on it didn't amount to as much as I'd hoped for the school.  However, I was SO happy with the cake that it made up for it.  It really came down to a timing issue...I know if it would have been auctioned off later in the evening, it would have done better.  And, just because it went for $450 doesn't take away for the fact that it was a great cake!!

Here are some fun stats on the cake:
It took 2 mudcake recipes and 1 vanilla cake recipe to make this cake happen
It took 9+ lbs of fondant (3 recipes) and a pound of modeling chocolate to cover the cakes
It took 2.5 lbs of buttercream to fill the amp
It took 4 lbs of dark chocolate to make the perfect amount of ganache to fill and crumb coat both the amp and guitar
It took 5 mini Reese's peanut butter cups to make the knobs! :) - and lots more that were consumed in the process! :)
It took LOTS of hours of planning and pre-planning and a few great friends to pull this off

Thanks for looking!!  - and happy cake making!



  1. That is incredible. You do amazing work. I only hope one day my cakes are as good as yours!!

  2. Amazing!! God has blessed you with an incredible talent!

  3. Simply perfect and FABULOUS work! Congratulations!!!

  4. More incredible than I expected! I'm totally blown away!

    PS What did Duane think LOL?

  5. Amazing! Awesome! Incredible! perfect! Out of this world! I can go on and on.. you've done a really fab job here. Congrats

  6. This cake is AMAZING!! A jaw dropper--my jaw has officially dropped to the floor! I'm going to stare at it for a while longer :0) Congratulations, you are a true artist!

  7. This is an incredible cake!! Awesome work and such perfection!

  8.!!! That is one awesome cake! I would feel so bad making the first cut into it!

  9. Seriously a phenomenal cake! You could have sold that thing for BIG bucks! But I think it's wonderful that you donated it :)

  10. This is amazing! All of your cakes are wonderful, but this is flat-out impressive. The details are perfect, too. Congratulations!

  11. THAT is AWESOME! You are truly talented. It looks like a real guitar. You need to have a bakery like Cake Boss or Duff. Seriously! And when you do, can I work there? lol

  12. Wow, this is seriously impressive! :-)

  13. This cake is more than amazing - outstanding detail - nothing left out! How wonderful of you to share so much helpful information about the structure and your tips.

  14. Hi Jessi!
    when you take the Mud cake from the freezer as I will need to let thaw or is ready to carve.
    thanks :)

  15. Anonymous: I let it thaw enough to be able to cut it. As long as it's cold, the mudcake cuts beautifully!

  16. Wow you are an artist, beautiful work, thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  17. WOW, that is amazing. I was watching and Kara mentioned you in the video regarding the cakes. So I came to sneak around and I have to say it is truly amazing what you can do. I would love love love to give my fiance a cake like this. He is a musician and this would definitely blow him away. You have an AMAZING gift!!

  18. INCREDIBLE! Like one other said, I would not have even had the guts to attempt this!

  19. Ma'am, you've got fantastic hands !

  20. Your cakes are incredible! It's really a waste you do not sell your cakes. So that makes your friends and family really lucky people to have you make them cakes! :)

  21. Having made a stand up guitar cake--i feel your pain and can appreciate all the blood, sweat, sugar and tears that went into this work of art!! fantastic. I, too, will ONLY use ganache under my fondant. Honestly, i do not know how people do it with buttercream. I know its not something that is popular in the "states", but I'm sure glad I came across the technique on CakeCentral-and will NEVER go back. I've done white chocolate ganache before with the 3:1 ratio--I used the Ghirdelli bakers chocolate (i think they come in 4 oz bars) without any problem. I always use dark though too :) you can also check out; they sell any kind of chocolate you can imagine. i love the Callebaut dark chocoalte callets for ganache. sooo yummy too!! cant wait to try your wax paper method--genius!! thanks for sharing your cake journies and tips! -Kelly/Caketopia from chicago

  22. Hi Jessica, This guitar cake is a MASTERPIECE. Just my kind of finishing on a cake. Well detailed, neat and so realistic. And thank you very much for sharing

  23. This guitar and amp is amazing. Thank you for explaining how it is done.

  24. Wow, amazing...I was thinking about this for my husband. But yes like you said..they were laying flat..and this is the best I ever saw. Thank you again.