While we always enjoy making our signature 12 Oaks cakes that you can order on our website, like the Sprinkles Birthday cake or our Bare Blossoms Naked cake, we LOVE when a client gives us creative control and trusts us to create a custom cake. Recently, a new client reached out and said they needed a cake for 40 people, with a mermaid theme, but the look and feel of the cake was left to us (So exciting!). Mermaid cakes, like unicorn cakes, are super popular in the little kid birthday circuit, and we must admit that we don’t mind this trend one bit. In truth, there are endless possibilities when creating a cake like this, in terms of color scheme and choice of decoration. For example, fondant molds exist for just about every underwater thing you could think of. We chose to focus on shells, mermaid tails and oysters, but you could also create an undersea world full of sea creatures or coral and wave-like glass pieces by using isomalt. But inspiration struck and we decided to take the opportunity to design a colorful under-the-sea landscape, creating texture with frosting techniques like rosettes, flowers and sea creature fondant figures.
Mermaid Cake for 40 People!
A cake to serve 40 people is pretty big, so we decided to make it tall and designed a two-tiered (9” and 7”) cake with LOTS of flair. The multiple tiers enabled us to create the dramatic, cascading cluster of buttercream flowers in rich jewel-tones. This technique is a popular one with wedding cakes especially, as it produces both a sophisticated and romantic look. With the mermaid cake, however, we felt that the placement of the mermaid tails conveyed a sense of whimsy that was perfect for a 9-year-old’s birthday party.
Cake Molds and Glitter
We make our mermaid tails and seashells using fondant and a silicone mold (be sure to buy this kind as they are much easier to use). We like to buy our molds on Etsy–LolliCakes is a great vendor–they create such fun designs and the molds are very easy to use. After some experimenting, we found that mixing fondant colors in the tail mold and adding a bit of iridescent sparkle by brushing on a special edible glitter finish makes for dazzling tails. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE using edible glitter! Of course, this was coupled with edible gold leaf to really up the wow-factor. It’s worth noting here that the gold leaf can be quite tricky to work with. It tends to easily stick to anything and then can sometimes crumble. If you’re working with gold leaf for the first time (or maybe it’s your hundredth), remember to be patient with it. And turn off any fans that may be blowing in your work space!
One of the design features we particularly liked with this mermaid cake was the placement of the mermaid tails around the cascading buttercream rosettes. This gave the impression of a group of mermaids swimming down through some gorgeous looking buttercream seaweed and algae. Sidenote: what should we call a group of mermaids — a flock? A school? Maybe a gaggle? But we digress…The finishing touch on the Mermaid cake was to create a few macaron “oysters” complete with their own candy pearls to top the cake.
This Mermaid cake was a joy to design, but seeing the birthday girl’s reaction when she saw it was the icing on the cake!
Katherine & Missy