About a month ago we received a phone call from The Amsterdam Dungeon requesting a cake for their 10th anniversary. Now, as some of you might know, I have a background in art, specifically in painting and sculpting. I have been waiting for an opportunity to make something large and sculpted for a long time now, and as soon as Luc hung up the phone, he knew I would be hooked. They wanted a rat, a huge rat, for their 10th anniversary to serve to their guests. What could be better? I immediately started thinking about all of the fun details we could add into the cake, and couldn’t wait to get started!
The question was then, where to begin… The cake had to be big, but of course we needed to be able to fit it out of our studio door and in our refrigerators. We have industrial refrigerators, but unfortunately not a walk in (which is now my newest dream)! After some brainstorming and some measurements, Luc & I came up with a solution that wouldn’t compromise our integrity (with freshness of the cake and detailing) or the client’s wishes. Now we just had to build it.
In the end, this was a three-day project. The first consisted of buying the materials to build the frame and board, and putting it together. We have never had to build a frame before, as we have never had a cake this large, but it was definitely fun to puzzle it all together and of course it is always fun to play with some power tools!
Day two was a fun one, it included a lot of red velvet batter and a whole lot of buttercream. I can’t even remember how many rounds we baked, but it seemed like it never ended! Even our industrial mixer couldn’t catch a break that day. In the end, after all the cakes were baked, the building part was quite easy. This is what I love to do, take some cakes, stack them, and carve them into something different. The possibilities are endless. We had to build the rat in two parts (a front and a back) because our fridges weren’t deep enough. That added a fun challenge of making sure the parts matched up perfectly, but what’s the fun when there is no challenge?
Day three is where it all came together. With any carved cake, there is a point where you’ve been staring at it long enough that you just start to say to yourself “I hate it, it doesn’t look right!” This is usually when the cake is built but not yet covered in anything, but once you start adding all the pieces together, it really does start to look like something! Luc mixed a perfect dark grey/brown for the rat and also had the pleasure of rolling it all out, and as soon as we got that on the cake it already started to come together.
After the skin came on, we got onto the more creepy parts of the cake. Marieke happily volunteered to take over the hands and feet, which I was thankful for as they creeped me out, and she even went to far as to add some dirty nails (yes, nightmare material). I was excited to make the enormous tail for the rat, but once the texture was done on it, it did feel a bit gross when I had to touch it to move it. You think living in New York City would have calmed my nerves towards rats, but I am pretty sure it just made it worse…
I could go on about details forever (we love details!), but the last one that we had a blast with was the cobblestone backdrop. We marbled tile and cut out the pieces, and then (mustering up all of our handiwork knowledge) we used chocolate to grout all of our stones!
The day of the delivery we finished up some final details and loaded up the van. Amsterdam is always a joy to drive around, and our concern the entire time was finding a place to park to deliver the cake. The entire road was closed leading up to The Amsterdam Dungeon, but miraculously a spot right in front was available!
The moment all of the actors saw the cake, it was so gratifying to hear their reactions. The cake was moved outside so the actors could pose with it for photos, and as they were out there, it was very amazing to see the crowd’s reactions! There were groups and groups of people crowding around to see the cake, and taking out their phones to take photos. It was such a rewarding feeling, our cake was a celebrity! All of our hard work had paid off, and now we got to watch the best part; the cutting of the cake!
All in all it was such an awesome project to work on! We had the creative freedom to do what we thought was best, and after a lot of thought and planning, we couldn’t have been happier with the results! We always love out-of-the-box challenges, and can’t wait for the next one to come!