I was so excited to make a Doctor Who cake that I practically hugged the woman who asked me to do it. Actually, in hindsight, I literally hugged the woman who asked me to do it. And I had so much fun that I think I'll try a Dalek for my own upcoming birthday.
I started with two 10 inch cakes. I was actually going for more accurate proportions but learned that you really can't stack my homemade chocolate cake 9 inches high. It's much too dense and heavy.
I used paper to gauge the size that I was shooting for. As you can see, what I wanted and what we actually ended up with were two very different shapes. I wanted tall and slender but ended up with short and not so slender.
I leveled the cakes...
Then I cut them into 4 and 1/2 inch squares.
And here is where I made mistake number two (mistake number one being that I should have used a mix or lighter cake). I sharpened a dowel using a pencil sharpener and stuck it in the cake board. I even went as far as to put some hot glue in the hole so it was good and tight. What I should have done from the start though was use three or four dowels. One was definitely not enough to support this whole cake.
I then started stacking the cakes with buttercream in between each layer. I had so much fun watching the cake get higher and higher that I completely forgot to take a picture of that stage. After all 8 layers were stacked, I put on a crumb coat. This is where it all started to unravel. The cake was just too heavy. It started to lean...BADLY. It started to sink.....also badly. The bottom layers started to compress and widen. All of a sudden, my dowel was sticking out of the top of the cake. It was a nightmare.
I put it in the fridge with the hopes that I could halt further damage. I had to prop it up at an angle to correct the leaning. And I waited. I was prepared to toss the whole thing and start over but I decided to let it sit overnight and see what I could do with it after it hardened.
In the morning I added two more dowels for support and trimmed the sides to make it more even. I decided to go ahead with it because I really didn't want to start over...
The next step was making the fondant sides of the cake. This is the first cake where I pieced the sides together (as opposed to laying a single piece of fondant over the whole thing. I was tense though because I've seen all too often on Cake Boss where fondant sides peel away from the cake and it all falls apart. I can't just run back to the bakery to fix something like that, so I came up with some plans to avoid it (which included me telling my friend that I couldn't guarantee it would hold up after it came down to room temperature).
First I measured the sides of the cake and drew a basic outline for the side panels...
Then I colored the fondant....
I cut out 8 side panels. Four were pretty sturdy and four were as thin as I felt comfortable working with. The thin ones were going to overlap the more sturdy ones after I had cut out the windows.
Next I started cutting out the windows on the thin panels...
Using water, I overlaid the window panels onto the thicker panels...
...and added details, like white squares to imitate light, the little strip down the middle to separate the doors, door handles, and a key hole (which I dusted with silver).
Never before have I wished so badly that I had an edible printer....or a friend close by who had an edible printer. But alas, that is a $300 expense that I really can not justify. Had I had a printer, I could have printed out the actual Police Box signs for the door. As is, I had to wing it. I thought the easiest thing to do would be to use strips of black fondant and just roll the letters with white fondant.
For the second sign, I used white fondant and a black edible marker. Yes, I know. I have horrible handwriting. But it was for a birthday party, not a wedding. It was good enough.
Once I had all the panels ready to go, it got really fun. Time to put it all together. I started by spritzing the entire cake lightly with water. The frosting was solid from the refrigerator and I needed it a bit moist to help hold the fondant on. I put on the first side and then started putting all the sides around the cake.
Notice the dowel sticking out the top? It was a good inch in the cake when I started...that's how much the cake compressed.
I noticed with past experience that once you bonded fondant with water, the fondant will usually tear before coming apart. I was counting on this as I plotted to keep this thing together. I wet each corner seam slightly and pressed them together the length of the wall.
In addition to that, I added a corner piece that had been wet to help bond the corner and hold it all in place and give it a bit more depth.
I added a square on top and the main body was done. Time to start the top...
I bought a keychain that made Doctor Who sound effects (online from Amazon) because I thought it would be really cool if I could make the cake make the same noise that the Tardis makes when it takes off and lands. I thought the easiest way to do this would be to conceal it in the thick top of the cake. So I cut out some thick slabs of fondant and put the keychain right inside them (after covering it in plastic wrap to protect it.
I cut out a thin cover for it and punched a hole (using a small circle shaped cutter) where the right button was...
And added the little light and it was good to go. The fondant muffled the sound quite a bit, but it still functioned so I was happy. I kept the top separate from the cake until just before the party. I didn't think it was a good idea to put the keychain in the cold... So I attached the top just before leaving to deliver the cake.
And here it is, all ready to go the the party. So much fun! Thanks as usual for reading my silly antics.