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I was asked to make a violin cake for a lovely girl name Molly. Molly is very special to me and I wanted her tenth birthday to be very special. Molly is a young gymnast, baker and also plays the violin. My immediate response was excitement, but I was also very nervous. To add to the pressure, I discovered that a lot of her friends attending her party also plays the violin. Molly requested a red velvet cake that was completely dairy free. Her sister is allergic to dairy and she wanted her sister to enjoy her birthday with her.
Nevertheless, I had my job cut out for me. The violin cake had to be as realistic as possible. I have never seen a violin up close, so I wanted to see the actual violin. Therefore… I visited my local music store. At the music store, I explained to the young man who was working there (who thought I was a tad crazy), that I was making a violin cake. He assisted me with the measurement of the violin, then he showed me the small 3D models. I purchased a 3D violin model and was on my way. Seeing the violin in person inspired me. It did not however make me less nervous.
There were four goals for this cake: (1) make edible strings (2) make everything dairy free, including fondant (3) figure out what to do with the neck and (4) make the violin cake stand up. With all this in mind, I gathered my equipment and my templates and went to work.
The edible strings were made ahead of time out of sugar. Edible strings… check. For the dairy free cake, I tested three different red velvet recipes to get the flavor profile I was looking for. The red velvet cake paired very well with dairy free ganache and dairy free Italian meringue buttercream (which I used for my filling). In addition, I made homemade dairy free fondant by replacing heavy cream with water, it was still very delicious. Dairy free cake, filling and fondant…check.
My next concern was the violin neck. After going back and forth, I decided to make it out of foam core board, because foam core board is light and the violin would not be top heavy. I covered the foam core board with fondant and screwed it into the base. In hindsight, I could have made it out of pastillage and it would’ve been fine. Violin neck… check.
Then it was time to put the violin cake together. Rice krispie treats were used at the base of the violin cake because it was going against gravity. I added the cake, then it was time to ganache and add fondant. The fondant was then painted with edible food gel color mixed with some vanilla extract… This was the hardest part… I had to wait for the paint to dry.
After the paint dried, It was time to add the edible strings. Once the strings were added, it was finally the moment of truth. Will the cake stand up? Will it be stable enough for delivery?
Well… I screwed the cake into it’s base very carefully. The violin cake was indeed standing up. I was sooooo excited. I had met all my goals. The next two challenges were: (1) delivery and (2) what will the birthday girl think? She absolutely loved it…. Everyone that came to the party could not believe it was a cake. I was very happy… This is one of best cakes I have ever made.