Pets aren’t just for Christmas. ¡Merry Christmas!
I’m finally writing my last post of 2019, a year full of unforgettable experiences. I won’t enumerate all of them, as I don’t want this post to be an endless list.
During this last year I had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.
At a professional level, I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to 14 different countries, where I’ve given a total of 50 classes and I’ve passed the passion I have for my job to a total of 500 students. Putting it into perspective, the numbers freak me out! From the bottom of my heart, I cannot be more happy about it.
I’ve been able to visit the other side of the world, meeting new cultures and making friends in each one of the cities I visited. Planes have been my best friends this year, and everything suggests that they will continue to be next year.
At a personal level, I’ve also had some changes, because at the beginning of this year Nino and Oprah entered my life. My two rescued greyhounds. A pair of dogs that change my life entirely. Moreover, I’m immersed in my new house and studio renovation, which makes me really happy.
To dismiss this year 2019, I bring you a short step-by-step tutorial of a charitable cake I made for SOS Galgos a few days ago, in order to collect some money for a leg’s surgery of a newly rescued greyhound.
Step by step
First, you will need a dummy ball and a threaded rod for the structure. Screw the threaded rod to a wood base and isolate it. In this case, I didn’t isolate it because the upper part of the cake wasn’t going to be eaten, as it was to be kept for a charity auction. As it is a real size greyhound, I didn’t look for some pictures online this time, but I used my two precious dogs as models!
For the creation of sculptures I always use modelling chocolate. You can make it yourself with my modelling chocolate recipe. If you’re kind of lazy, you can buy it instead of making it, but it’s more expensive.
Let’s begin with the shape of the head: put the eyes, already painted, and cover the ball with modelling chocolate. Give it a pointed shape in order to make the snout of the dog. Provisionally place the ears (they will serve as a guide to define the head).
Once you’ve placed all the elements, it’s time to start determining the shapes of the jaw, the eyes and the snout. It seems easy, but the head of a greyhound is, in fact, a bit complicated, specially if you try to place the facial elements as in a human face. It may seem like a truism, but the sculpting instinct may get you to use the human face as a reference. I used the modelling tools by Cerart, the best tools in the market for chocolate sculptures.
So as not to fall into error, consider these next points:
- The eyes are the most distant parts of the horizontal axis. They’re really prominent, unlike human eyes, which are under the eyebrows and surrounded by flesh.
- Greyhounds have a split line in the middle of the face, as a result of the nasal septum. In addition, they have big muscles on the cranium, divided in two, like the cerebral hemispheres.
- Their lower jaw doesn’t bulge out on the sides, but it goes inwards. That will make you draw the lines from the eyes inwards, unlike in a human face, where the lower jaw is put on the same level as the cheekbones.
After defining all of the details on the head, you can continue with the rest of the body. Believe it or not, greyhounds have a really long, narrow neck. This becomes more evident when they sit, so don’t be afraid to make a really long neck. I took the opportunity to model a little bit open mouth and a tongue, with a little bit of lip-smacking.
In order to make the legs, I decided to put a pair of toothpicks and end the legs in the base. Due to the final design, I could allow myself to do it. After finishing the entire body, you need to add some fur texture. It’s really difficult to make a realistic fur texture, as they have really short hair. I chose to use a shoe brush (it was a new brush!).
The next step is painting. You need to be really careful at this point, because you can ruin the sculpture if you do it wrong. I did ruin a sculpture or two at this point. I recommend you to go slow and to use a really diluted colour. Start with lighter colours and finish adding all the shades that you want.
Wait until the paint dries and then you can start making the upper part of the chimney. To do so, you can use either dummies or real cakes, whatever suits your design best. Cover the sides with grey fondant and the insides with black fondant, in order to give it profundity. Then, make some bricks with red fondant and glue them, always keeping the same distance between them.
In order to make the legs, I used a pair of rods and I folded them. You can cover them with modelling chocolate, shaping them as a leg. Think that it’s not necessary making the fingers properly, as they’re going to be covered by the mittens.
For making the mittens, I used a Karen Davies mould, which is wonderful and very realistic. In order to make the collar, use ruby and white fondant.
Once the upper part is ready, focus on assembling the cake. I did a cube of 30x30x30cm, filling it with dark chocolate ganache. Use a ganache with a 3:1 ratio, that will help you covering it with fondant. If you have any doubts on how to use ganache, you can check my post on how to make chocolate ganache. I used a total amount of 10 kg, counting the ganache for the filling and the ganache for covering the cake. It was crazy!
Finally, use the grey fondant again to cover the entire cake and then glue the bricks. Let your imagination fly and make all the details you want. Christmas cakes decorations offer a variety of possibilities. I used this cake to send out the message that SOS Galgos asked me to: it was a great opportunity to communicate that animals aren’t just a Christmas present. They’re living beings, they feel and suffer (maybe not just like us), but it’s certain that they have feelings and we must treat them right. In order to write the message “Pets are not just for Xmas” I used the Sweet Stamp letters, which are brilliant and stylish.
I’d like to finish this post with an overall balance of the blog statistics for this year. The truth is that I spend so many hours writing the blog. Sharing my knowledge is something that I really like to do and it’s my particular way of giving back all of your love and support you’re giving me day by day.
Data from January 1st 2019 to December 15th 2019
- 105.253 users
- 226.518 seen pages
- 140.622 sessions
- 3.868 different cities
- 154 different countries
- 14 free step-by-step tutorials
- 8 posts with tricks and advice
Results have tripled regarding the same period in 2018. So I just want to say THANK YOU!
See you all next year with more posts and with recharged batteries to deal with a 2020 full of new challenges.