My latest request has been for a cake for an avid knitter, for her 70th birthday, so a knitting basket was the obvious choice.
First I made an 8” Madeira, which I split then filled with jam/buttercream. I then covered the whole cake with buttercream as a crumb-coat, so no crumbs got into the sugarpaste.
I marbled some grey/white sugarpaste to use as the basket lining, which went over the top of the cake.
I then coloured more sugarpaste with different shades of brown for the basket, and rolled it out before cutting strips of two lengths, the shorter ones just higher than the height of the cake.
I then “wove” the sugarpaste, and tightened the weave using spacer bars. You then have to lift the woven paste very carefully to ensure it does not separate and attach it to the cake sides.
I used modelling paste for the knitting needles, and gave them almost a week to dry and harden before painting them with edible silver paint.
For the balls of wool I made 6 domes of Madeira, using stainless steel dessert bowls (very 70’s!), which I joined together using buttercream, after levelling the tops. Again I crumb-coated with buttercream and put them I the fridge for the buttercream to firm up slightly
To make the wool I actually used a biscuit gun – you have to let-down the sugarpaste so it is a very soft, but not runny, consistency- “letting-down” means adding small quantities of water to the sugarpaste to create a soft paste – it is used for piping or run-outs, but works well here too – I filled the biscuit gun with the sugarpaste and used a fitting which created thick strands. I covered the whole of each ball then added more strands across them to give the impressions of a ball of wool.
When they were in the basket I added more strands to look as though they had come loose from the ball, and also added a few buttons. Lastly I popped the needles into the middle, and the basket was ready for the knitter!!
You can see this cake and many others on my FB page – www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced,
or on my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk