Feb 2, 2009

Fire Helmet Cake Shield & Bugles

This is part 4 of a 4 part series on how I did the white ops-chief's fire helmet cake for my hubby's promotion. As mentioned, it was a surprise and I had asked him repeatedly (without being to conspicuous) what his "new chief's badge number" would be. Technically, it should have been "102" since he was promoted to ops chief, or second in command. However, he kept telling me he would "always" keep his original badge number. So that's what I did (just in case you're a firefighter and you even noticed LOL)

For the MMF shield, I also found a picture on a fire equipment site to use as a pattern, however, it helped that I knew what a real leather shield looks and how one is made. I copied the picture in photoshop and made sure it was the exact height from the base of the brim to just under the eagles beak. This time, I printed the shield picture onto paper. Then, I taped a piece of acetate (computer transparency film) and cut out the shield with an exacto knife. I also cut out where the red blocks are showing and also the numbers. This served as a guide later on when I did the placement of everything. I cut one shield and left it solid for the base of the shield.

For the top black piece, I laid the acetate shield onto rolled out fondant, (about 1/4" thick) then gently rolled again to get an "imprint" of the cutouts, which served as a guide for placement of the badge numbers later.

I placed thin red strips in between the two black pieces, sandwiching them. Using the imprints as a guide, I cut out only as deep as the first shield layer, revealing the red underneath.

I really wanted the "stitching" to look like it was done with white thread as the traditional shields do, so I made an imprint with a serrated pattern transfer wheel, then rolled out small pieces of white fondant, placed it in the fresh "track" and went back over with the wheel, being careful to hit the same holes. (too OCD?) It was a lot of work, but well worth it. When the shield dried, it looked as though it was sewn leather.

I cut out the lettering and numbers with an exacto knife, using the picture pattern paper. (easy, but time consuming) Once all the pieces were cut, I then slightly dampened the back of each letter with water and placed on the shield. (this is where the number imprint came in handy!) I made a curved shaped cardboard form and dusted it with cornstarch to lay the shield on while it dried. (hindsight, I should have laid it on plastic wrap then placed it on the form, it did stick a bit to the cardboard) It took about 1 1/2 weeks for the shield to completely dry and be solid (because of the thickness) You really wouldn't want to skip on the time here, it was heavy and would have surely cracked otherwise.

For the bugle medallions, I shaped each bugle out of yellow MMF, detailed them with an exacto knife and arranged them in the criss cross pattern and let dry for a day or so on an index card. Then I painted them with gold luster dust mixed with vodka and when dry, applied them to the red fondant discs with a dot of water. I used these as little accents on the cake board. My hubby was pleased with the fact that I had done my homework and got the number of bugles right. (yes, he noticed EVERY detail LOL)

So you're probably wondering how long this took? (everyone asks) I made the shield and bugles in a couple of hours, however, in all fairness, I did already have the fondant made and colored and that also doesn't include finding and cutting out the templates. The second shield that I did (for the banquet) took me even less time as the prep work was (patterns) already done.

This has been one of my favorite cake projects, and, probably will be for all time. In spite of all of the work that went into it, the time spent was well worth it. I truly hope you've enjoyed the journey with me and mostly, I hope that you found this tutorial helpful!

Part 1- Fire Chief's Helmet Cake
Part 2- Fire Helmet Cake Brim
Part 3- Fire Helmet Cake Eagle
Part 4- Fire Helmet Cake Shield & Bugles


Jacoby said...

I love your cake! You did an incredible job. I would love to get a copy of your outlines if that is still possible. jacoby.stieler@gmail.com
Thank you again for your inspiration

Shayesmomma said...

What an absolutely amazing cake, DDPie! That's from a fire captain and his cakeoholic wife. Not only is your cake meticulously researched and crafted (the eagle is PHENOMENAL) but you were SO kind to document the process! The work that goes into these sugar passions is rarely recognized by the general audience :) Again, amazing work... I'm certain you will have excessive interest as people find your site! Kudos!!! C

Anonymous said...

Okay that is impressive, Now I need you to make me one for my husband for his 30th birthday, lol! He is a Captain and he has the whit helmet exactly like that one!

wenlu4 said...

Wow!!! You do amazing work! I too would like to get a copy of your outlines. Thank you for your time.

Brittany@twocrazycupcakes said...

Awesome! I was looking for images to make a cake with the exact eagle and found your blog. Thanks for documenting! Beautiful work!!!