The Techniques of a Caker – Airbrushing (Mikey’s 60th Birthday Cake)

Last week I had the pleasure of making a fun pirate themed cake that also let me brush up on my airbrushing skills. My lovely Cacti friend Lizzie asked if I could make a cake for her big brother’s surprise 60th birthday party – the pirate theme was absolutely perfect for Mikey, a mad sailor with a heart of gold, and perfect for this baker/decorator, who had been wanting to make a pirate cake for ages.

Before you could say ‘Ahoy me hearties’, the idea for Mikey’s cake was born; a two tier design featuring an ombre wave bottom tier using my Not Just Cakes by Annie scallop cutters and a hand drawn and airbrushed map top tier, complete with a hand made pirate ship topper. Mikey spends some of his time as a builder in the beautiful Bahamas (yes, the Bahamas!) where cute wild pigs swim in the crystal clear waters, so I had to add some little oinkers to the board.

This cake was one of the most fun cakes to make. From the delicious chocolate mud cake with dark chocolate ganache to mixing the shades of blue fondant and then cutting, aligning and gluing the waves (this was repetitive yet strangely therapeutic). The map was created by wrapping the cake, then cutting and distressing the fondant to mimic an antique treasure map. I then hand drew the waves and islands and plotted the ships course. To add that extra special distressed look, I mixed yellow and brown dye and airbrushed the fondant. Finally I added details by hand painting over then hand drawn design. I also used my airbrush machine to create the gold coins – such a fun and effective technique.

Probably my favourite part of the cake was the handmade pirate ship topper. I cut the ship shape by hand and embossed the wood pattern into the design and then added texture with a dark brown petal dust. I cut nicks out of the hand cut flags to create a weathered look and painted a skull and cross bones. I loved that it looked both cute and rugged at the same time. I also used a similar technique for the Happy Birthday message planks on the cake board.

We had a great night at Mikey’s party and he was well and truly surprised. By the end of the night I was known as ‘The Cake Lady’ – has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

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Pirate Ship Collage

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