Monday, July 15, 2013

How to make r2d2 cake



I made this cute but large (50 cms high) R2D2 cake to serve 120 dessert portions, with the help of hubby Alasdair for our daughter's 40th Star Wars themed birthday party. I also made 250 Star Wars cookies to place on the guests' tables.
Star Wars r2d2 Cake
Star Wars r2d2 Cake
I have had great fun making all kinds of Star Wars cakes (see bottom of this post for details) but this one was even more fun as it was bigger and involved a sound module which Ali recorded quirky r2d2 noises on. If you would like to order a cake just email me on cutesweetthings@gmail.com or read on for templates and full instructions to make your own.
Materials
  • Templates 
  • 6mm thick MDF
  • Jig saw
  • 15" square polystyrene cake dummy (7 cm thick)
  • 8" round polystyrene cake dummy
  • Hack saw blade, coarse
  • Sandpaper fine and coarse
  • PVA glue
  • Glue gun (optional but better at sticking polystyrene to polystyrene)
  • 1 x Voice sound recordable module (cheap as chips on eBay)
  • White acrylic non-toxic paint
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Acrylic tubing for battery pack leads
  • 1 x 5" set up board
  • 4 x 8" set up boards
  • 1 x 8" cake board
  • 1 x 17" round cake board or larger
  • Wooden dowel at least 28 cms long
  • 3 x 8" round cake pans
  • 1 x 8" metal or pyrex bowl
  • Edible silver dust. I used 'Nu Silver' Lustre Dust from globalsugarart.com

To make the Dark Chocolate Mud Cakes for r2d2 BodyUse 3 x 8" round pans.
Below is the total amount of ingredients needed to achieve a total height of 23 cms once all 3 cakes have their domes cut off, filled with ganache and stacked on top of each other. (I didn't have 3 x 8" pans so I used an 8", 8.5" and 9" pans instead and cut off the excess. This is also much quicker than baking 3 cakes one after the other in the same pan as you have to wait 2-3 hours for each cake to cool)
  • 1,125g butter
  • 900g dark chocolate
  • 22g instant coffee powder
  • 6 cups warm water
  • 850g caster sugar
  • 900g SR flour
  • 135g cocoa powder
  • 9 eggs
  • 5 tsp vanilla
method:
  1. Grease and line base and sides of all three pans with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
  2. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of large mixer. My mixer bowl is 6.5 litres but I still had to mix ingredients in two batches, if your mixer is smaller you may need to mix ingredients in 3 batches. You can always add them to a huge bowl at the end and mix together all three batches as one before decanting into your 3 pans.
  3. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pans making sure each pan is filled to the same height. Use a skewer to measure the heights.
  5. Bake at 150C for 1 to 1.5 hours. Test with skewer. Cool cakes in pans.
To make the dark Chocolate Mud Cake for r2d2 Head Use an 8" round metal or pyrex bowl lined with greaseproof paper.
  • 430g butter
  • 345g dark chocolate
  • 10g instant coffee powder
  • 2.5 cups warm water
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 345g SR flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla
method:
  1. Grease and line base and sides of the bowl with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
  2. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of large mixer.
  3. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared bowl.
  5. Bake at 150C for 1 to 1.5 hours. Test with skewer. Cool cake in bowl.
To Make the Ganache to fill and cover r2d2's head and body (for more information on making and using ganache click here)
  • 2 x 600ml pure cream
  • 3,800g dark chocolate
method:
  1. Place pieces of chocolate in food processor and process till chocolate looks like coffee granules.
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.
Sugar-paste
  • 1,400g white sugar-paste for legs, base and battery packs
  • 1,200g white sugar-paste for body
  • 700g grey sugar-paste for the head
  • small amounts of blue, grey and red sugar-paste for decoration
To make edible glue
Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to a quarter teaspoon of Tylose Powder and allow the Tylose powder to melt. Don’t worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending. Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.
The glue should be a dripping consistency. If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a toothpick .
The edible glue should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
To apply the glue, use a good quality paintbrush and brush on to the area where you are going to be working. Leave until it begins to dry a little so that the area is just tacky to touch.
Getting Started
Check that you have all the materials gathered together before you start.
Cut a hole in the middle of all 8" round set up boards making sure the holes are a little wider than the dowel. Cut the dowel to 28cms and make a point on top. Make a smaller hole in the middle of the bottom cake board so that the dowel fits tightly with or without glue.
Download the templates.




Body template
Body template
There are some helpful measurements on the templates such as 23cms high body. When the body prints out it may be smaller than this and you need to zoom it up in your printer e.g. if the body is only 18cms high then you need to zoom by 23/18 = 128%. Print out all templates before continuing and get a good idea of what they are all about.
Cutting the leg in half to make each leg 7 cms thick.
Cutting the leg in half to make each leg 3.5 cms thick.
Use the MDF as a template to cut out the polystyrene.
Use the MDF as a template to cut out the polystyrene.
Polystyrene attached to MDF with painted side up.
Polystyrene attached to MDF with painted side up.
Cut out the legs and base in MDF and mark right and left legs etc.. Paint inside of legs white and any other areas that may not get covered in sugar-paste like the lugs that fix the base to the body and the narrow edge around the base. Cut legs out of the 15" square of polystyrene using a hacksaw and smoothing with sandpaper and stick to MDF legs with polystyrene, leave to bond. Cut out the remaining polystyrene shapes for the feet using the front and side view templates to get the 3D shaping correct (or close). Stick with PVA glue or glue gun and leave to bond. Cover all sides of the legs with sugar-paste except the bottom of the feet and the inside legs. Brush the polystyrene with a little water to help the sugar-paste move into place and bond well with the polystyrene.
Cutting out the battery packs using the template.
Cutting out the battery packs using the template.
Cut out a large rectangle of sugar-paste and wrap around a battery pack remembering to brush the polystyrene with a little water first.
Cut out a large rectangle of sugar-paste and wrap around a battery pack remembering to brush the polystyrene with a little water first.
r2d2 blog_27
Use the battery template to cut out 4 battery end pieces and attach with a little water.
Download r2d2 noises from the internet and record them on your sound module. Attach to underside of base and glue down the wires and switch with the glue gun making a notched recess for the switch to fit snugly in.
Getting ready to record the r2d2 sounds onto the module and complete the base.
Getting ready to record the r2d2 sounds onto the module and complete the base.
Cut a large hole in your 8" round polystyrene cake dummy, big enough to accommodate the sound module making a similar sized hole in the 5" round card set up board. Look at the templates to work out the depth and slope to be hacked off the polystyrene to give you the correct shape. Once stuck and bonded cover with sugar-paste and add the 12 thin rectangles or struts also from sugar-paste.
Polystyrene has been shaped.
Polystyrene has been shaped.
Switch is recessed to create a flush finish.Switch is recessed to create a flush finish.
Base covered in sugar-paste.
Base covered in sugar-paste.
r2d2 blog_30
Once hardened use a little glue from the glue gun to join together the base and legs. I made all of this 2 weeks before the party as I had family coming to stay and I wanted to have the cake well advanced before they arrived.
Glue the base to the legs.
Glue the base to the legs.
Baking, Ganaching and covering with Sugar-paste
Make the cakes and ganache all of them on the same day and cover each cold cake in 2 layers of cling film and leave overnight in the fridge. Next day split each cake in half and fill with ganache keep measuring the height of the cakes as the 3 cakes for the body are to make a total height of 23cms when complete. You may need to increase or decrease your filling to aim for the correct measurements. Despite my best efforts I ended up at 22cms!!! Cover the top and sides of all 3 cakes with ganache before stacking them on top of each other. It is advisable to add 4 supporting dowels to each layer but I didn't bother and all was OK!
Base cake on cake board with wooden dowel and other two cakes on set up boards
Base cake on cake board with wooden dowel and other two cakes on set up boards
In order to separate the layers when cutting the cake, I insert a circle of greaseproof paper between the layers.
Making the greaseproof dividers
Making the greaseproof dividers
Two cakes stacked with a divider on top.
Two cakes stacked with a divider on top.
Three cakes stacked
Three cakes stacked
Fill and cover r2d2's head with ganache.
Fill and cover r2d2's head with ganache.
 Leave ganache to get quite hard before adding the sugar-paste. I decided to cover the body in sugar-paste in 2 stages, the back then the front, placing the joins behind the legs. I rolled out the icing and cut out a rectangle a little larger than needed 26cms high and 33 cms wide. I used a brush to apply a little water to the ganache surfaces then rolled the paste around a rolling pin and carefully unwound and pressed it to the back of the cake as I went. I cut the paste neatly down each side.
Body half covered in sugar-paste.
Body half covered in sugar-paste.
Cut off any excess ruffles on top and smooth flat.
Cut off any excess ruffles on top and smooth flat.
I then repeated the task for the front of the cake cutting away all the excess and using the warmth of my hands to help smooth the joins convincingly.
Smooth the joins with warm hands and finish off with a smoother
Smooth the joins with warm hands and finish off with a smoother
Cover the head with grey sugar-paste in one go, let it dry a little then using a dry brush cover the head with silver dust.
Brush the dust all over the head. The more you apply the more metallic it will look.
Brush the dust all over the head. The more you apply the more metallic it will look.
Leave head and body to firm up overnight.
Leave the head and body to firm up overnight. Cover with a lightweight piece of fabric such as muslin to keep off flies or roaches. This is Australia after all and one can never be too careful.
Leave the head and body to firm up overnight. Cover with a lightweight piece of fabric such as muslin to keep off flies or roaches. This is Australia after all and one can never be too careful.
Final Assembly and Decoration
Stick the body to the base using PVA glue.
Quite a bit of glue here, rubbed in with fingers!!!
Quite a bit of glue here, rubbed in with fingers!!!
Make sure the legs and base are resting on something low like a coffee table as it is much easier to lower the body down onto the base as it is heavy and the legs get in the way. Make sure that the joins in the sugar-paste around the body are concealed behind the legs. Next glue on the head with a little PVA glue (the spike will help position the head and support it) and lift the whole thing up and stick the feet to the 17" round cake board with the glue gun ( I now wish I had used a larger board as it was a struggle to add all the candles on).
Body and head in place.
Body and head in place.
Print out a real life size diagram of r2d2's body parts and cut out the rectangular pieces right on top of your print out.
Cutting out the decorations for r2d2's front.
Cutting out the decorations for r2d2's front.
Stick them on your r2d2 with edible glue or a little water.
To transfer the placing of the decorations just hold the print out in position against r2d2's body using a pin to make a tiny hole at the corners of each rectangle. Just do a few at a time so that you don't get confused.
To transfer the placing of the decorations just hold the print out in position against r2d2's body using a pin to make a tiny hole at the corners of each rectangle. Just do a few at a time so that you don't get confused.
For r2d2's head I looked at images on the net to work what goes where on his head and just made mine roughly similar. Attach the Battery packs with cocktail sticks and some Royal Icing made from icing sugar and water. I used a cup and some cardboard between the battery packs to help them stick to the legs and withstand the securing of the tubbing and the journey to the venue! The battery pack leads were made from clear plastic tubbing and cocktail sticks.
r2d2 blog_19
Use Royal Icing (mix together icing sugar and water) to stick the candles to the board. Keep the candles well away from the tubbing as the tubbing is flammable!
Click on the image above to  reveal the 120 fabulous Star Wars outfits that the guests wore.
Click on the image above to reveal the 120 fabulous Star Wars outfits that the guests wore.
Some more of my Star Wars Cake Tutorials.
Click on the images below to go straight to the corresponding tutorial.
Millennium Falcon
Lego Millennium Falcon Cake
Star Wars Death Star Cake
Death Star Cake
Jawa cake
Jawa Cake (tutorial not yet complete)

1 comment:

  1. This is unbelievable!!! Thank you for taking the time to give a tutorial. It's much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete