In case you've forgotten, the D7000 celebrated its 1-year birthday about a month back, and what's a better way to celebrate a birthday than with cake? With all of the bad news we've heard recently regarding the flooding in Thailand, hopefully this will brighten up your spirits for the time being.
I don't have very much experience making cakes, I've worked a bit on another camera cake modeled after my FE a while back, but other than that I'm pretty much a cake newbie. Going into this project with very little experience, I didn't know what to expect.
I started off by taking measurements of my D7000. I wanted the cake to be roughly twice life size, so I drew out a model and took measurements of my D7000 and 35mm f/1.8 lens life size, and then multiplied them by two.
Who knew that I could sketch?
Next, I decided to get the cake baked. For cake modeling, using a pound cake is generally the best. For best results, this has to be made from scratch, but in the essence of time, I simply used a chocolate-vanilla cake mix I bought at the grocery store. I made two mixes, each in a 25x35x5 cm (about 10x14x2 in) and baked them for some 30 minutes. After they cooled, I dumped them out of the pan and began to cut them. Unsure of how I wanted to stack them, I cut each cake into thirds, ending up with 6 pieces. However, I ultimately ended up cutting two thirds in half, ending up with a total of four thirds and four sixths. It was then that I realized that I should've just cut each cake in half.
Anyways, I stacked the cake into four levels, each consisting of one third and one sixth, meaning that each level was one half of a cake. Because I messed up cutting the cake (I'll admit that my math was wrong), I ended up with a few structural problems that I'll talk about later on.
To keep the cake together, I put a thick layer of buttercream icing between each layer on the cake, and another thick layer on top. I needed about two batches of my buttercream recipe to cover the entire cake, which had over 6 cups of icing sugar. I guess you can see how people get fat by eating too much cake
The cake at an early stage covered with buttercream icing. Shown next to a D7000 for scale.
Now, after cooling the cake overnight, it was time to start the modeling. I found the modeling to be quite easy actually, getting the fondant to stick to it was more difficult, something that I'll explain later.
I started out by making a thin line where I wanted to cut, and cut from there. The cake at this time didn't have the lens attached to it, or the hump at the top where the pop-up flash and the hotshoe sit, as those were made out of cereal treat (Rice Krispie squares), which I'll explain later. After cutting the cake, I shaped it out a bit more by slanting the area where the shutter button was, and curving the edges and the grip.
After shaping the cake, I made (yet another
) batch of buttercream icing to cover the cake.
Now, I made the fondant to cover the cake. In case you don't already know, fondant is a chewy, sweet, modelable substance that makes cake appear smooth and clean. Traditional fondant is difficult to make and doesn't taste very good, but for my cake I used marshmallow fondant, a fondant made of marshmallows and water that's easier to make and tastes better. Fondant is white when first made, so I needed to colour it black with food colouring. Unfortunately, fondant can't be coloured with standard liquid colouring, so I needed to get a black colouring paste made especially for fondant colouring. I also set a few bits of fondant aside that I coloured green for the top display, yellow for the AF assist light, red for the Nikon "swoosh" on the front and for the record button, blue for the back display, and I set a bit of white aside for various buttons and what not. Black fondant is difficult to make, as it takes a LOT of food colouring to make pure black. To colour fondant, you need to dip part of your fondant into the paste, and then knead the colouring into the fondant until it becomes an even colour. I needed to repeat the colouring process many times, but got the perfect colour after about two hours of kneading. I then rolled the fondant out evenly with a rolling pin until it was flat and ready to go onto the cake. However, right before I was about to apply the fondant the cake began to fall apart because of its uneven layers (that I explained earlier on), and I needed to stick it back together with the remaining bit of icing that I had left over from my previous batch. After it stuck back together, I put some supports onto each edge of the cake so that it could lean against something to prevent it from falling.
Unfortunately, the icing on the outside of the cake had already hardened and I couldn't stick the fondant on, so I needed to once again make some butter cream icing and spread it onto the cake. After it was spread, I stuck the fondant to the cake , but there were still a few bare spots that the fondant hadn't covered. Those areas I later covered with smaller pieces of fondant, but they don't look as uniform as the rest of the cake. After that, I finished by adding the buttons, displays and the smaller decorations to the cake.
Now, I made the lens and the hump for the flash up top. I made them both out of cereal treat (or Rice Krispies Cereal in this case). By combining the cereal with butter and marshmallows, it stuck together very well and I molded the hump and the lens. If I made the cereal treat again I'd leave out the butter, it seems to make it a bit easier to fall apart during the modeling process. To make the cereal treat stick well, I really needed to compress hard.
By the way, I used cereal treat as opposed to cake for these parts because it was easier to manipulate into shapes, and I knew it wouldn't fall apart.
Now, I made some more black fondant to cover the lens and the hump, and ANOTHER batch of icing to make them stick. I got them covered with fondant relatively easily, without the fondant ripping or leaving bald spots on the cereal treat.
With all of that done, I wrote "Nikon" onto the front of the hump and onto the lens representing the lens cap. I wrote on top of the lens and drew the focusing ring, drew on the hotshoe cover, drew on parts of the mode dial, the "Number of Shots Remaining" info onto the top display and little dots onto the buttons. I used "Scribbler" gels to write and draw on the cake, not only were they easy to use but if I made a mistake I could simply wipe them off and try again.
The lens cap wasn't supposed to be crooked, it's just the way that it turned out. I made a few mistakes writing it on, but I guess the crookedness gives it a sense of realism. Who puts their cap on right side up anyways?
I finally finished by sticking on the lens and the hump, completing the cake. As you can see, the final cake didn't include a lens cap as the original plan had, but I figured that it would be too difficult to make a lens hood that wouldn't fall off the cake. I somewhat regret not doing it though, why not show off our free lens hoods to the Canonians when we get the chance?
Here's some final photos of the cake. It tipped the scales at about 3.6 kg (8 pounds), about 4 times the weight of a D7000 with a 35mm f/1.8 lens. It used a total of more than 15 cups of icing sugar, 2 packages of marshmallows, almost a full box of Rice Krispies Cereal and more than two cups of butter. It's a good thing that I shared it with some friends, of I would've become quite fat!
From the front
From the left side
From the right side
From the direct side
From the back (oops, I forgot the viewfinder!
From the top
Compared to the D7000 with a 35mm f/1.8 lens
Compared to a D7000 from the top (excuse the quality, my compact camera isn't very good in low light)
The cutting of the cake
Hopefully this isn't what an actual D7000 looks like on the inside!
And what's a better way of eating the cake than out of a special, hand painted, D7000 bowl?
More photos and full sized versions of these photos available at My Flickr
Hopefully you liked the cake, it certainly was no easy task making it. Hopefully you also learned a thing or two about cake decorating from this post, that's no easy task either. I admire all the bakers that I see on the TLC show, Cake Boss
, who bake these for a living now that I've experianced how difficult cake making really is. If you'd like to see more cakes like this, feel free to send me a D700 and a 24-70 f/2.8 and I'll make a model of it, just for you!
The cake isn't perfect, but IMO still pretty decent for a first attempt. I definitely learned a lot from baking this, and I hope that my next cake will be even better.