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This Roman gladiator themed birthday cake was one of the most challenging cakes I’ve ever made. The customer’s bespoke cake brief was for her history buff husband’s 40th birthday. She wanted the cake based on the iconic colosseum, and include a fat gladiator cake topper in our signature style.
I wanted the cake itself to be the colosseum. To do this, I decided to bake a curved cookie and ice it to wrap around the 6 inch sized cake. It proved to be the biggest part of the challenge as baking a curved cookie of that size wasn’t quite cookie-cutter straight-forward!
I started by measuring and drawing the cookie template. I made a classic gingerbread dough and rolled it before using the template to cut into shape for both sides of the colosseum.
Since I needed the cookie to wrap around the 6” cake, I used a 6” cake tin to bake both main components of the building. The outer main building was baked on the outside of the tin. The doorways were baked on the inside of the tin for some ‘give’.
After a few failed trials, re-measuring and re-baking it all I finally got my cookie colosseum!
Now that the cookie wrap was baked, I started decorating them with royal icing. Using both flood and piping consistencies, I piped the doorways and different levels of the balconies on the main building. I also used some gold lustre and gave the icing some texture to mimic the weathered effect on the building. This whole cookie baking and icing process took over two days. I was a bit nervous about it being all a waste if it didn’t even fit the cake once baked! And the moment I find out is going to be the day before delivery as the cake is always baked fresh.
I modelled the fat gladiator out of fondant and modelling paste and let him set overnight. His fringed skirt and sandals are my favourite features!
D-day comes along and I’ve baked fresh layers of chocolate sponge for the birthday boy. I used vanilla and chocolate buttercream to keep in theme with the colours of the colosseum cookie. I also added some real gold leaf for some extravagance. Holding my breath, I placed the cookie colosseum around the cake...
And it FIT LIKE A GLOVE!!! I could’ve done a happy dance but with such fragile work around me I had an internal gloat and carried on with finishing the cake. Fat gladiator sat on top and I piped the birthday message across his cape.
The cake was packed carefully (as always) and delivered safely to the customer’s home in Clapham. I shared the process on Instagram stories and it got such a positive response - I’m so pleased it went down well :)
If you have a bespoke cake enquiry for a special event in London, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll need at LEAST two weeks notice but the more the better as we get fully booked so far in advance. Also, please let us know your budget because bespoke cakes take so much more time and tend to be far higher in cost than our usual range. I’m not trying to catch you out by asking hommach cash monies you’ve got! I just don’t want to waste anyone’s time if bespoke isn’t possible on the budget when we may have a perfectly suited cake in our birthday cake collection.
Lots of love,
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