This cake was for a woman leaving her job to go back to college. She likes bees (don’t ask me why) so her coworkers asked for a beehive cake. The beehive was made a few days ahead of time so it could firm up. The bees’ parts were made in advance and then assembled the night before delivery.
The beehive was easy to make. I was lucky that I was making this cake around Easter time so I just happened to have a giant plastic egg sitting there begging to be covered in fondant. I used the top half of the egg and cut a piece of cardboard cake board to fit the bottom. I rolled the fondant out thicker than usual because it kept sliding down the egg otherwise. The extra weight kept it in place. I also rolled out the piece much larger than the egg to make it easier to work the wrinkles out to edges. I painted some piping gel on the top and around the bottom edge to keep the fondant attached to the egg. I used food safe markers to draw the wiggly lines around the hive and then set it aside to harden and dry.
Next up was to make the bees and I started with their wings. I made them out of gum paste because it dries harder and firmer. After many attempts to cut them out free hand, I used the exclamation point from an alphabet set of cookie cutters. I think that cutter worked out quite well to make the wing shape I wanted. As usual, they were made a few days in advance and set aside to dry and harden.
The bee bodies were made a day in advance. They didn’t need much drying time, other than for the wings to meld with the bodies. While I was coloring the yellow fondant, I added a small bit of gum tex to make it harden up a bit. I didn’t want their stingers drooping later! I pinched off a piece of fondant about the size of my index finger and maybe an inch long. (Some bees were bigger, some were smaller. I thought different sizes would add more visual interest.) After I had a smooth round piece I cinched in a neck/head area. Then I rolled the other end between my fingers to make a pointy stinger. Then it was time to add the black bands. They were just black fondant, rolled out thin, and attached with a quick swab of vanilla extract. Once the bands were attached and dry, it was time to add the wings with a dab of vanilla extract. I wadded up a bunch of paper towels to make a nest like area to set the bees in to dry. The lumps and bumps of the paper towels gave me different heights to set the wings on so they’d dry upright.
** If there’s just one piece of advice I can give, it would be to buy pre-colored black fondant. Please! It takes so much gel coloring to get a good shade of black that the fondant ends up a gross, sticky mess. It’s way too hard to roll out smoothly and it bleeds all over everything. Make your life easier. Buy it instead. ***
Now that all the parts are ready, it’s time to assemble the cake. It’s a half sheet of white cake with white buttercream icing. I colored some fondant green and rolled it out to fit. I measured the cake from side to side and top to bottom, added four inches to each measurement and rolled the fondant to that size. Once I had the size I wanted, I rolled over it with a spiral texture rolling-pin, rolling some areas lighter than others. I draped the fondant over the cake and smoothed everything down. Once all the wrinkles were worked away, I trimmed the fondant to fit and attached it to the cake. I painted a thin bead of piping gel around the bottom edge of the cake to stick to. I colored fondant and cut out the whimsical flowers and attached them with a dab of vanilla extract. The bees were attached the same way. Vanilla extract was also the adhesive of choice to keep the beehive in place.
This cake is all about creative thinking. Plastic eggs for beehives. Punctuation for wings. And holes in boxes for safe transportation.