Andy submitted his PhD today. Aside from giving Nacho a comfy perch from which to disapprove...
This milestone represents a great opportunity to make cake, and eat (and possibly drink a little, too). But instead of just any cake, I somehow got the idea to make the cake in the shape of a butterflyfish, because that is the group of fishes he studied throughout his PhD. Andy was totally sceptical that it would work, but I received encouragement via Facebook and the tea room at work. So I forged ahead.
First, I traced the fish, Chaetodon plebeius, onto baking paper and then scanned it in and blew it up to pan-sized.
Then I used more baking paper to trace the shape and cut it out, to make my template.
The next step was to bake the cakes. I decided to do two rectangle cakes, so the fish could be swimming in a blue ocean.
Once the cakes were cool, I "glued" my template down with a bit of icing, to keep it from moving around, and then cut around it to get the fish shape right.
A thin layer of blue icing on the bottom, then I put the fish-shaped cake on top and coated in yellow icing.
Some tidying up of icing (tip from watching my mum: a butter knife or finger dipped in water is the perfect way to get a smooth icing finish), and then adding on of details like stripes, a blue patch, and a fin. All this was done before 10.30am, because I was super excited and couldn't wait!
Finally, I finished with the "black" (aka light brown and chocolate) stripe and spot, and used a little piece of strawberry for an eyeball.
A final tidy-up, and in the end we had to swap the strawberry (which was oozing juice and messing up the cake) for a dried cherry, but I'm pretty chuffed with the end result.