Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eagle Project

My little brother has been involved in boy scouts for several years. He was a part of a group that started a troop at their church. There are several ranks in boy scouts: tenderfoot, second class, first class, star, life, then eagle. To achieve the other ranks, there are certain badges you must receive. You go to a book and it tells you what you have to do to get that badge. To receive your eagle, among other requirements, you have to create a project. Do all of the work yourself. And that's an understatement. There's a lot involved to complete these projects. The project must benefit a religious institution, any school, or your community. The plan has to be approved by whoever your project is for, the Scoutmaster, and others. And after you've finished you have to go in front of a board of review.

My brother decided to build a bridge behind our church. There's a park behind the building, but in between the parking lot and the park is a big ditch. This bridge he planned out is fantastic. No little, puny bridge. This is a serious bridge. 106 feet long! It took over 500 man hours and over 3 weekends to build. That's not even taking into account all of the planning and approval my brother had to do to prepare to build it! I'll go ahead and show pictures
 before pics

 in progress

 Barely getting started and it pours. There's not usually water in the ditch.
Isn't that impressive??

We think so. And we are all very proud of him. Fortunately, they were able to plan his Court of Honor, where he would be recognized as an Eagle, when my husband and I were in town!! I'm so glad it worked out! So weeks in advance I start planning this cake. I do sketches, get actual measurements, plan, plan, plan. I was going to have to make it while I was in town. No big deal, other than I was in my friend's wedding, which included a lingerie shower, bridesmaids luncheon, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, prepping for the wedding and the actual wedding. Along with seeing family while we're in town. So I figured out what I could do beforehand and made sure those details were done. 

First I worked on the Eagle pin
 Ha, I thought I'd try my edible pens. Awful, awful outcome.
That would not work so we went with colored fondant. Doesn't that look a billion times better?
Check it out! Just like ribbon! You just have to look really close, but it's there!
The eagle and top banner are from gray fondant that is painted with silver edible dust. The designs (eagle, BSA, Be Prepared, etc done with a toothpick)

Next, the bridge:


 My several attempts to figure out how I'd pull this off. Fondant itself would not hold itself up.
The only piece I ended up using out of all of those is the one in the last picture near the top of the photo. We took a trip to Hobby Lobby for some materials and came across styrofoam. Duh! That's what cake dummies are, why not use it for this! Ta-da!

Just throw some fondant on top and wrap it up! I did put that piece I had done before with the individual board look on top. I was going for a wood-grain look. Might be faint. Least of my worries.

Every step got harder.... on to the railings. The plan was to cover toothpicks in fondant. That's what I did.
 Rolled out fondant and cut it to a 2" width. That was suppose to help.... not sure it did.
Painted some piping gel on.

Put down the toothpick and rolled it up.
Then cut it (that wheel got super sticky, ha)
Squished together the sides
Yup, I made over 60 of them.
Stuck them in the styrofoam.
They were all uneven.
Trimmed the toothpicks. 
Stuck them back in.
Took them back out.
Trimmed the fondant.
Hours later, it all worked out and I was praying the top piece would stay on!

A little fondant boy.... oh goodness. 
This scared me. 
Somehow I managed to get it to look like this. That was definitely good enough for me. I need lessons on gumpaste/fondant people. His whole backside was flat, but I had to be ok with that... because I wasn't making another. It's funny because a few things I did on this cake, the first time around I didn't think things looked too good. Then after other attempts, that first try started looking pretty good, ha.

All of these things managed to survive the 400 mile trip, thank goodness!! Now to find time to bake and ice the cake...

Fortunately I had a good chunk of day to bake. And I bought another pan so it took less time. At some point I managed to stack and ice it.
My brother was there while I carved it. I kept asking what he thought since he worked on the actual location. He was like oh yeah, that's fine. Ha. Well I cover it in cling wrap for the night and test out the bridge. It's too long. No. Way. My husband suggest cutting off some of the bridge, but I was terrified it would fall apart! I get others' opinions and someone suggests to cut it and widen it. Ok, that could work. Sounds better than  cutting my bridge!
Measured out space. It won't be too long this time!

Cake implants
It was funny to me when I asked my dad about the bridge situation. He had several suggestions, but also some for the cake itself. The topography of the cake wasn't quite accurate. Now, I was trying to be pretty accurate, but sometimes I guess I settle. But I listened to my dad and he helped me shape the cake. I'm glad I did. I think it made a big difference and one for the better! My brother had made a model of his bridge before the bridge was built, so I liked to compare it to the cake. 

Now I had to ice it again. I put a nice layer around the sides, made grass for the ditch, put in a stream, threw in a few fondant rocks, inset the bridge, wrote Congratulations Allan, and I was done! I don't have any progress pictures for those steps. All went well mostly. I have the grass tip from Wilton and it kept getting clogged. Not sure why but I managed it. Might've taken longer than I preferred but it got done!

All we had to do was drive it to the church, about 5 minutes away. Eek. My parent's driveway is a steep hill. Nervous ride, but all arrived safely! 

Bridge sans Allan and pin
At home, just in case something happened on the ride
Just the same, right? :)
The finished product!

Next to Allan's actual pin.
Another Eagle in the family!!! My grandfather was an eagle, my dad, husband, and 2 cousins are also Eagles! Very impressive.

My brother is also a fantastic photographer and took some shots of the cake for me. I'll post those as soon as I get them.

The irony? We didn't even cut it. I saved what I had carved out when reshaping the ditch so we could serve. Then we never got around to cutting it. And usually I'm up for cutting the cake, but actually this time I didn't really want to. Fortunately, my parents didn't seem to mind that we never cut it. Now they just have lots of cake! Yum. 

I should get an honorary eagle for this, right??

1 comment:

  1. Whoa. That is such an intense cake. I'm very impressed. :)