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Starfish Mermaid Cake

Posted August 3, 2019 by Debbie Brown


Mythical mermaids are always captivating. This elegant figure in all her splendour is dressing her gorgeous tresses with her starfish friends.

You will need

  • SK Sugarpaste: 650g (1lb 7oz) Bridal White
  • SK Professional Paste Food Colour: Bluegrass
  • SK Sugar Modelling Paste: 5g (<¼oz) 50g (1¾oz) Rosy Pink, 10g (¼oz) Sea Blue 750g (1lb 10½oz) Snow White and 120g (4¼oz) Soft Beige
  • SK Essentials Edible Glue
  • Very small ball dragees, e.g. 100s and 1000s
  • SK Quality Food Colour (QFC): Blue and Pink
  • SK Designer Fairy Sparkles Dust Food Colour: Ice White
  • SK Designer Moon Beam Lustre Dust Food Colour: Ruby
  • Filled, round sponge cake, 15cm (6”) deep, crumb-coated with buttercream: 10cm (4”)
  • SK Professional Instant-Mix Royal Icing: 20g (¾oz) White
  • Round cake drum: 25cm (10”)
  • Round cake card: 10cm (4”)
  • Spare cake dummy, 7.5cm (3”) deep
  • Small pieces of food-safe sponge or kitchen paper
  • Non-stick rolling pins: large and small
  • SK Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers: Medium
  • 5 cake dowels
  • SK High-Quality Paintbrushes: nos. 2 an 6
  • PME Star Plunger Cutters: 7mm and 1cm (1/4” and 3/8”)
  • SK Modelling Tool: Petal & Leaf Shaper
  • PME Writer Piping Nozzle: no. 1.5

Top Tip

Make the mermaid and rocks in stages, allowing plenty of drying time in between. Drying time for delicate sugar sculptures can sometimes be as long as a few days. Once the model is complete, the cake can then be baked and decorated.

Making the Mermaid’s Body
  1. Knead 120g (4¼oz) each of Snow White and Soft Beige modelling paste together to make a very pale skin tone.
  2. Roll 200g (7oz) of the pale beige modelling paste into a smooth, round ball. Working quickly, roll the ball into a sausage shape approximately 25cm (10”) long with one tapered end. Round off the tapered end and smooth the final 2cm (¾”) flat.
  3. Roll your finger back and forth over the area 4cm (1½”) from the wider end of the shape to create a narrower section for the mermaid’s waist, then round off the hips. Smooth the front of the body and round off the chest. Pinch and pull gently at the top to create the neck. Use your fingers to smooth the shape, removing any imperfections.
  4. Bend the mermaid into a seated position (A). So as not to damage the figure once it has dried, push a dowel down into the neck and then remove it, leaving a hole. If the paste has distorted, carefully smooth it back into shape. Position the mermaid so she is sitting over the edge of the spare cake dummy and insert dowels and/or cocktail sticks into the polystyrene around the body to support the figure as it firms.
  5. Cut a cake dowel to a 10cm (4”) length. Cut the top of the neck straight then push the cut dowel down through the existing hole, leaving approximately 8cm (31/8”) protruding from the paste to hold the head and hair in place later.

Making the Mermaid’s Head
  1. Roll 30g (1oz) of pale beige modelling paste into a ball then press a large non-stick rolling pin across the centre of the face, rocking it from side to side to indent the eye area (B, C). Gently pinch out and smooth the chin (D).
  2. Place the head on your work surface. Roll two small ovals of pale beige modelling paste and attach them inside the indentation across the face to make the eyes. Attach a smaller oval shape of paste in the centre of the face for the nose. Use the tip of a cocktail stick to indent the nostrils. Attach an oval shape of pale beige modelling paste to either side of the head, level with the nose. Press the end of a paintbrush into the centre of each oval to shape the ears.
  3. Roll a tiny piece of Rosy Pink modelling paste into an oval and attach it below the nose, flattening it to create the mouth. Press a sharp craft knife into the centre of the mouth to divide it into two lips then extend the cut into the face at either end slightly. Press the tip of a petal and leaf shaper into the centre to open the mouth slightly then push up either side of the bottom lip to create a pout. Push the paste at the top of the mouth down to create the cupid’s bow.
  4. Roll two tiny pieces of Snow White modelling paste into thin sausage shapes. Use edible glue to attach one sausage shape above each eye, curving them to create the eyebrows. Allow the head to firm for approximately two hours.
  5. Once the head is firm enough to hold its shape, push it onto the exposed dowel at the top of the neck and use edible glue to fix it in place.
  6. Roll 40g (1½oz) of Snow White modelling paste into a teardrop shape. Press your thumb down into the wider end of the shape to create a well. Brush edible glue into the well then attach it to the top of the head to create the base for the hair. Bend the tip of the teardrop to give the illusion of movement.

Making the Mermaid’s Arm
  1. Roll 5g (<¼oz) of pale beige modelling paste into a long sausage shape. Pinch around one end of the sausage to round off the hand and narrow the wrist. Smooth the hand to flatten it slightly then lengthen it into an oval shape.
  2. Snip into the right side of the hand with small scissors to make a thumb.
  3. For the fingers, make a cut slightly shorter than the first in the centre of the hand then another on either side. Smooth and lengthen each finger.
  4. Bend the arm at the halfway point and pinch out the elbow on the opposite side.
  5. Use a little edible glue to secure the arm to the mermaid’s left shoulder. Angle the arm so the hand is close to the mouth. Insert a cake dowel into the dummy, rest a piece of food-safe sponge on the end and use it to hold the arm in position as it firms (E).

Making the Rocks
  1. Split 500g (1lb 1¾oz) of Snow White modelling paste into five pieces weighing 320g (11¼oz), 100g (3½oz), 40g (1½oz), 15g (½oz) and 25g (>¾oz). Roll each piece into a ball then flatten them slightly with a rolling pin. Smooth around the shapes, using your fingers to create indentations and irregular forms.
  2. Stack the rocks in size order, with the largest at the base and the smallest at the top, securing with edible glue.
  3. Cut a cake dowel to a 15cm (6”) length and push it down through the stack of rocks to hold them together, leaving approximately 7.5cm (3”) of dowel protruding from the top of the stack to support the mermaid later (F). Use a sharp knife to slice away some areas of the rocks, creating different angles and textures.

Making the Tail
  1. Split 40g (1½oz) of Rosy Pink modelling paste into quarters. Roll each piece into a teardrop shape then roll them out to 9–10cm (3½–4”) lengths. Work the wider end of each shape into a rounded point.
  2. Use a petal and leaf shaper to indent fine lines in the length of each piece, following the curved shape (G). Smooth the lines with your fingers to soften them slightly.
  3. Use edible glue to stick the fins in place at the end of the mermaid’s tail, supporting them with dowels until they hold their shape.
  4. Roll the remaining Snow White modelling paste into long, thin sausage shapes of various sizes. Flatten the sausage shapes and glue them one by one over the hair form, running from the forehead to the point. Start with larger lengths to cover the form then add smaller strands to create texture and movement.
  5. Roll some very thin sausages of Snow White modelling paste and use edible glue to attach them around the hairline, curling the lengths to frame the face.

Making the Modelled Decorations
  1. Roll a piece of Rosy Pink modelling paste into a ball then flatten it into a disc. Cut out a star shape using the small star cutter. Repeat to create a total of 10 stars using Rosy Pink, Snow White and Sea Blue modelling pastes.
  2. Use a knife to draw a line from the centre of each star shape out to each point. Use the tip of a no. 1.5 piping nozzle to indent a row of small circles along both sides of each line.
  3. To make the clam shells, roll a small ball of Rosy Pink modelling paste into a teardrop shape and use the handle of a paintbrush to indent radiating lines coming out from the centre. Repeat to make approximately five clam shells in a variety of colours.
  4. Roll a small piece of Sea Blue modelling paste into a long, thin teardrop shape. Roll up the paste from the narrow end to create a spiral shell.
  5. Set all the modelled decorations aside to firm.

Finishing the Mermaid
  1. Repeat steps 1–4 from the Making the Mermaid’s Arms instructions to make the right arm. Use edible glue to attach the arm to the right shoulder. Glue a starfish in the palm of the hand and secure it to the mermaid’s hair.
  2. Brush the hair, cheeks, body and tail with Pink dust food colour, building up the colour in some areas to create a deeper shade. Brush a little Blue dust food colour over each eyelid.
  3. Roll a tiny piece of Bow Tie Black modelling paste into a very fine sausage with tapered ends. Attach the blue strip along the base of one eyelid to form eyelashes. Repeat to add lashes to the other eye.
  4. Brush a little edible glue over the mermaid’s chest. Use a very slightly damp paintbrush to pick up a collection of sprinkles then hold them up to the glued area to fix them in place. Continue adding dragee-covered areas to the mermaid’s body and tail until you are happy with the coverage.

Covering the Drum and Cake
  1. Knead a small amount of Bluegrass paste food colour into the Bridal White sugarpaste to make a very pale blue/grey colour.
  2. Brush the surface of the cake drum with a little edible glue. Roll out 225g (8oz) of the coloured sugarpaste to a 3mm (1/8”) thickness and lay it over the drum. Smooth the surface of the sugarpaste and trim away the excess from around the edge. Allow the covered drum to firm overnight.
  3. Roll out the remaining very pale blue/grey-coloured sugarpaste to a 3mm (1/8”) thickness. Brush the surface of the cake with a little cooled, boiled water and lay the sheet of sugarpaste over the top. Smooth the sugarpaste over the top and sides of the cake and trim away the excess from around the base. Before the sugarpaste is firm, hold the rounded-edge Flexi Smoother on top of the cake and the rectangular Flexi Smoother against the side. Applying medium pressure, run the smoothers around the top edge of the cake until a crisp edge appears. Continue working around the top of the cake until you are happy with the finish. Set the cake aside to firm overnight.

Finishing Touches
  1. Position the cake centrally on the cake board, securing it with a little royal icing or edible glue.
  2. Insert three cake dowels into the top of the cake. Mark the point at which each dowel exits the sugarpaste. Remove the dowels, trim them all to the tallest mark then reinsert them back into their original positions. Place a 10cm (4”) cake card on top of the dowelled area; this will prevent the heavy figure and rocks from sinking into the cake.
  3. Place the rocks on top of the cake card, covering it completely, and secure with a dab of royal icing. Glue a selection of starfish and shells to the rocks. Brush Ice White Fairy Sparkles and Ruby Moon Beam dust food colours over the rocks and cake.
  4. Push the mermaid down onto the protruding dowel at the top of the rocks and fix it in place using a little royal icing. Glue the remaining starfish into the mermaid’s hair. Brush the mermaid’s body and hair with the lustre dust mixture.

This tutorial by Debbie Brown is taken from Cakes & Sugarcraft magazine. Download the Cakes & Sugarcraft app on your phone, tablet or PC to get the rest of the project, and many more.

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