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08/04/15

                        Nice to see you again!!!
The Call

Running into Holborn underground station to get the central line to Oxford circus, my phone rings persistently – finally I give in and pick the call against my better judgment of missing the train and skewing my entire plan for the day.
On the other end of the phone was a customer who wanted me to create a shoe cake (cake made fully out of cake) for his girlfriend’s birthday.
I was initially excited as I had seen a few cakes carved as shoes. I assumed this was what he was after. I listened for a while – explained I was trying to get the train and promised to call him back as soon as I was off the train. Asked him to send me a picture of her shoe or any he had in mind.
While on the train – I got his email and there was the shoe as I expected, carved out of cake and laid on a cake board. As I reviewed the picture, it popped in my mind – “why not an upright shoe”.
After all my London business was concluded, I called the customer and funny enough he was thinking along the same lines. I promised him a price, luckily we had 3 weeks to prepare the cake.
 

Preparation
My greatest challenge would be to get the cake to stand upright. I goggled and found just one upright heeled cake that somewhat aligned with my expectations – there were however no details or hints (I really don’t blame the cake artist).
I went to my local cake shop and spoke with the lady, she hadn’t had such a request but came up with some suggestions for supports…. I however wanted the cake to be totally free standing. 
 
After much thought – U become an engineer in this instance – I concluded that the sturdiest sections of the cake would be the heel and the sole. The customer wanted chocolate cake and my best chocolate cake – the mud cake is heavy on its own and I would need loads of buttercream and fondant.
 
Getting the template right can take some time as you want to make the cake look realistic and also have enough cake to feed the guests.
 

the Heel.
There is no short cut to preparing the heel – this should either be made with modelling chocolate or modelling paste. I2 days before the cake was due , I coloured the modelling paste in black, cut out my sole template (made larger than a normal shoe so there is enough cake to feed the guests) formed my heel – 5.5 inches high – with reference to the sole template, I stuck dowels in the heel as I needed it sturdy enough to carry weight of the cake, buttercream and fondant without cracking.
I left the heel to dry for 12days as I wanted it super rock solid.


the Shoe Sole
 I decided on a sole size that looked appropriate above. To make the sole sturdy I used 2 firm food friendly corrugated cardboard boxes glues together. I allowed this to dry out for 3 days. I ensured that the heel of the sole aligned with the top of the heel.
I worked on bending the cardboard to the shape I wanted it to form.
On the day of cake assembly, I attached black modelling paste to the underside of the sole as adhering it any earlier could have led to the paste cracking.
 

the Cake
The cake for this project was my best mud chocolate cake --- extremely yummy cake paired with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. 
For the toes section of the shoe I baked 2 6inch tins and for the sole I baked an 8inch square. I always prefer to have more cake than not enough.
 
 

Assembly.
 
Assembling the cake was great fun; it was a great luxury I was home alone – no distractions.
I started with the front of the shoe, carved out the rounded shape from the 6 inch cakes, wanted a realistic look so went for 3 inches but next time will go a bit higher….we live and learn. I butter creamed this section and put it in the fridge to firm up.
I then worked on the sole, measured it and cut up my 8 inch cake into smaller chunks. I used the left over rounded parts of the 6 inch cakes for the heel portion of the sole.
While assembling, I didn’t want to put the pressure on the heel so looked for a container the same length as the heel.
I was nervous and excited during the assembling as I wondered if the sole would withstand the weight of the cake, buttercream and fondant. I think what greatly helped the sole was the modelling paste I adhered to the underside of the sole. I would not advice using fondant on the sole or for the heel.

Learnings
1. Ensure buttercream is as smooth as possible
2. Roll your fondant 1/16th or less if possible. Using a good brand like Renshaw helps
3. Will make the front much higher next time

#shoecake
All said - the cake was a success, the celebrant loved it........job done!!!!!
 

 
Lola