My husband is a member of the local motorcycle club. The holiday dinner happened to fall very close to a member’s 60th birthday. I volunteered to make the cake, and his wife asked for a cake with a motorcycle on it. After kicking around a few ideas, I decided to make an edible motorcycle and lay it on the cake.
The cake was an 11” x 14.5” butter cake (recipe adapted for high altitude) with Whipped Vanilla Frosting. The frosting is from Sweetapolita, and is my newest go-to recipe for a sweet-but-light tasting frosting.
In the past, I have mostly used modeling chocolate for projects like this. I like it because it is sturdy, easy to make and work with, and stands up well without much support. Which is good when you are making a tarantula the size of a dinner plate. Because this was going directly on the cake for the party that night, I wanted a lighter material that could be easily cut as the cake was cut into pieces, so I went with fondant. I made this fondant recipe the night before, and it turned out really tasty and easy to do. I made it a bit on the drier side (heavy on the powdered sugar) because I knew I would be adding a fair amount of gel-based coloring to it, and that changes the consistency.
I was working from two pictures of different bikes, since I didn’t have a picture of the birthday guy’s bike. I also had considerable design assistance from my husband, who has actually seen the motorcycle in question. To begin, I colored two chunks of fondant, one blue, and one darker gray. Throughout the process, I wore gloves- no germs from me, no dye on my hands, and it helped keep the fondant from getting as warm as using bare hands would (Side note- my spell checker believes that that should read “bear hands”). I needed both black and chrome-ish parts for the motorcycle, so I wanted a color in the middle that I could paint. Also, black frosting or fondant tends to taste nasty, at least to me. I kept each chunk in a plastic baggie to keep it from drying out.
Each motorcycle piece was formed separately and then joined together. I am no fondant expert, so I was kind of winging it. Here are some of the pieces as I’m forming them. Sorry about the blurry picture- I was taking it with my phone in a hurry. The pieces were painted after they were formed, and then allowed to dry. I mixed up my “paints” using lemon juice. You can also use vodka, but I don’t have any on hand. Mixing gel food coloring with lemon juice made the blue and black paints. This gave the pieces a nice shine, and painting several coats hid most of my mistakes. For the chrome, I mixed lemon juice and edible silver pearl glitter in one container, and edible white glitter and lemon juice in a separate container. Each piece got two layers of silver, then two layers of white.
I started assembling the motorcycle, then realized that I would need a bottom piece to anchor the little bits. I rolled out a piece of white (without changing gloves, which left little blue flecks in it), and used it so that the bike would not fall apart when I moved it to the cake. Once again, I had design input from my husband when the bike didn’t look quite right to me. The pieces were joined using water, and then the paint was touched up where needed.
The handlebars were worked up last, around a piece of wire. I wanted them to stick up off the cake, so they needed more stability. I also anchored the tank to the rest of the bike with a section of toothpick, because it wanted to run away. The finished bike was carefully placed on the cake, touched up, photographed, and taken to the party. If I had to do it again, there are a few things I would do differently. It would have been much easier to work from a picture of the actual bike. The handlebars did not handle transport well, and using thicker wire or a thinner coating of fondant might have helped with that. Also, the fondant piece that I anchored the bike to would have been much less noticeable if I had rolled it thinner. The cake was a big hit, though, so I’d say it was a success. Now to figure out what to do with the 2.5 pounds of fondant that are left over…