About Leigh Henderson

Leigh is a cake artist, theatre scholar, and auntie. Find her on twitter @leighanncakes.

Rainbow Unicorn Pusheen Cake

*2019-01-12 08.15.44-2What’s cuter than Pusheen? That’s right – Rainbow Unicorn Pusheen! Cute cakes aren’t generally my forte, so I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out.

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The cake is lemon butter cake with white chocolate ganache filling, in rainbow color. The horn, tail, and man are all royal icing.

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Dawnbreaker

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For Christmas, my niece requested Dawnbreaker, which is a sword from Skyrim. For reference, here is what it looks like in the game:

Dawnbreaker (1)

It’s made primarily of poplar, with sculpted details using a 2-part epoxy clay and leather grip.

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The magical glowing crystal in the middle is made of a clear plastic ring box, sprayed on the inside with a frost spray paint with a ball of LED fairy lights inside.

The orcs in our neighborhood don’t stand a chance.

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Castleton Door Hanger

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This is a joke that will be very difficult to explain to anyone who is not a member of our family. Suffice it to say that, inspired by an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, we decided to name our house Castleton. So I made this for my sister. It’s freehand cut and routed from poplar.

Mr. Men / Little Miss Cake

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I am not personally a fan of the Mr. Men / Little Miss franchise but my friend Isaac is.

The cake itself is layers of thin sponge and lemon mousse. The cloud pattern is baked into a thing cake, like you might for a roll cake. The cloud patterned piece is laid around the interior circumference of a springform pan, then inside of that are alternating layers of sponge cake and lemon mousse. On top is an apricot jam glaze colored with food coloring. I’ve never made this kind of cake before. It was both surprisingly easy to do and quite delicious.

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For the figures, I wanted to try stained glass isomalt. The black lines are piped with royal icing and then I dabbed the melted isomalt in with a toothpick. It worked really well except that I think you are supposed to then put a layer of clear isomalt over the back to hold it all together. Since I didn’t do this, the royal icing joints were definite weak points.

The figures are more or less just sitting on top of the cake, which looked great for a few minutes, right up until the royal icing began to dissolve in the glaze. I have had this problem before with royal icing and various other edible substances, but apparently I haven’t yet learned my lesson.

Fortunately, everyone got to admire the cake before we had a Mr. Men structural failure and we ate it very shortly thereafter.

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Frost Dragon Cake

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My creative brief for this cake was a frost dragon from Dungeons and Dragons. As far as I was able to discover, there is not actually a canonical frost dragon in D&D, but I found a photo of this figurine and my nephew deemed it acceptable so I set about transforming it into cake. *05-71495

The interior support structure of the dragon is made of foam core and 1/8” brass rod.

The landscape around the dragon is rice krispie treats covered with royal icing, which I applied with an offset spatula then textured with a damp paper towel.

The underbelly of the dragon is also made of rice krispie treats, as a result of which I was reminded of a valuable lesson – rice krispie treats don’t stick very well to foam core, at least not well enough to be used upside down, supporting the weight of a layer of fondant. The rice krispie treats began to separate from foam core, resulting in some big cracks on the dragon’s belly. *IMG_7490

Before it got any worse, I added a few more rock formations to support the belly and patched the cracks with royal icing.

About 2/3 of the tail is also rice krispie treats and the rest of the tail and body in chocolate cake, covered with fondant. The legs are a 50-50 mix of fondant and gum paste. I did all the scale texture with a highly sophisticated tool that I made by cutting a v-shaped notch into a piece of foam core.

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Before I attached the head, a 2-year-old friend who was hanging around our house told me that it looked like a dolphin. She’s not entirely wrong.

With the head connected, though, it began to look like a dragon. The head is made of gum paste formed over a mold I made out of foam core. *IMG_7496

The wings are also gum paste, over top of a structure made of wire. The wings were the part I was most nervous about attaching, but they turned out to not be a problem at all.

The treasure chest and the coins are also made of gum paste, with royal icing accents on the chest.

*IMG_7562Because no dragon is complete without a miasma of ominous fog, I ran a PVC tube under the cake board and up into the treasure chest. I hooked this up to a home-made dry ice fogger, which consisted of a 5-gallon bucket with 3 little fans I had lying around glued into a hole I cut in the side of the bucket and – voila! The fog didn’t last too long, because there was no heating element in the fogger, but it was cool while it lasted.

Guardian Skywatcher cake

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For his 9th birthday, my nephew asked for Guardian Skywatcher from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If you aren’t familiar with it, it look something like this:

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This was one of those cakes of which I just underestimated the difficulty. In retrospect, the difficulties should have been obvious. The shape of the Guardian Skywatcher is very undercut. It has pieces suspended off the sides by thin supports. The propellers are wide at the tips but narrow in the center. And the entire thing is flying. None of these things are easy to achieve in cake.

Yet I blundered into the project with big ambitions but minimal preparation. Long story short, it was almost, but not quite, a total disaster. Attaching the pieces on the sides was a nightmare. The propellers all broke before the party. Even the pink piping gel I used for the glowing sections faded before the party started. On the bright side, at least the entire structure didn’t collapse, which was a real possibility.

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Overall, clearly not my strongest work, but my nephew, who is among the sweetest people in the world, loved it anyway.

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Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Thunderspears

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My nephews are obsessed with Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so for Christmas I made the real-life versions of one of their favorite weapons from the game – the Thunderspear.

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The blade is painted poplar with inset EL wire embedded in resin so that it can light up like the spear in the game. The shaft is a Martha Stewart curtain rod.

Please enjoy their dramatic poses.

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Entbrat Halloween costume

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This is an Entbrat from a video game called My Singing Monsters.

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The headpiece is made of foam core and bristol board, with horns sculpted from crumpled newspaper wrapped in masking tape. The whole thing is covered in felt. Lips, tongue, and teeth are made of craft foam colored with marker. The feet are craft foam covered with felt and the rest of the costume is just store-bought shirt and pants with felt leaves glued on and a belly button drawn on.

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