Saturday, August 27, 2016

Star Wars TIE fighter cake

Husband's birthday was this week. In the practice of adults the world over we postponed the celebrations till the weekend. One of the things I like to do is bake. Since I've had kids I have been stepping up my game with cakes (Thomas the Tank Engine, A xylophone, Paddington's Suitcase, Paw Patrol's Lookout Tower). After a bit of prodding Husband said he would like a TIE fighter cake. A TIE fighter is a little fighter spacecraft used by the Empire in Star Wars. It looks like this...
...So he wasn't asking much.

It took a few days to figure out, but it all came together when I saw these bowls at the supermarket.They're 18cm in diameter and metal, so I could bake them. I could have bought proper cake tins, but hemispherical cake tins cost $20-30 apiece. These cost $5 apiece. Also the flat base worked in my favour for the front and the back of the TIE fighter where the windows are.

For this cake a used a tried and true chocolate cake recipe which has been the basis for previous birthday cakes. It's not too rich and holds together well. I think I got it off the back of the cocoa packet before Sprogs 3rd birthday (Paddingtons's Suitcase).

Cakes were baked and left to cool, and the next night I made the wings out of gingerbread. Gingerbread is one of my two "I'm gonna bake biccies, what recipe shall I make" standby's but it is also great for structural work. That's one of the reasons it's so good for edible houses (Midwinter Christmas 2016). To size the wings I folded a piece of baking paper into 6ths (halved, then thirds) and cut 9cm down from the point (half the diamter of my "tins". A real TIE fighter has wings way way bigger than the central ball, but that would be a structural nightmare, and a bad cake:gingerbread ratio.


That second night I also made a half batch of butter icing, dumped a bit of black in, to make it greyish, a bit much, then sliced the tops off and matched the two cakes together to make a vaguely spherical shape, remembering that the flat bottoms of the cake would be the front and back of the TIE fighter, then I crumb coated the cakes and the insides of the wings.  I used Chocolate fondant and gel colouring to make black fondant and cut out a large circle for the front, a small hexagon for the back, and 12 triangles to go on the outside of the wings.

Today was the rest of the challenge. Assembly and decorating. I made up another batch of butter icing, and added some black colouring. Interestingly a little black took the very slight yellow tinge from the butter away and made it look whiter. I added a little more to make it a light grey, then coated the ball of cake and the outside of the wings. Before the icing dried I stuck the black fondant triangles on. 

It was Widget's nap time, so we both had a nap, and when I came back the icing had stiffened a bit. I added some more icing and smoothed it out with a palette knife. I used a very very short jam jar to hold the cake ball off the platter. I put it at a slight tilt, then added the fondant windows, and piped the framing on using the leftover icing darkened ever so slightly. I held the wings up and approximated where, then stuck skewers through the cake to hold up the wings. The weight of the wings is on the platter, but they are held vertical by the skewers. Two skewers per wing. Then it was just a matter of piping on detail. My detail piping is not very good, but I started with the most important details and worked down till I ran out of icing. 

Front                                                                 Back

I really like the hexagonal lines on the inside of the wings, with the darker grey base icing. From a distance it makes the whole TIE fighter look come together. Also from a distance you can't see my messy piping :-) 

Husband had the biggest grin when he first saw it.  I'm just hoping it all stays together until his party tonight!