This is a cake for the more committed decorator… the cake is coated with royal icing, then decorated with piping and animal runouts. Make a simpler version by coating the cake with sugarpaste and omitting the piping. For fuller details on runouts.
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- 30 cm (12 inch) round cake
- 1.25 kg (2½ lb) marzipan
- 1.25 kg (2 ½ lb) royal icing
- assorted food colourings
- 125 g (4 oz) modelling paste
- selection of petal dusts
- 90 g (3 oz) pastillage
- 30 g (1 oz) flower paste egg white
- 36 × 30 cm (14 × 12 inch) oval cake board
- numbers 0, 2, 22 and 42 piping tubes
- paintbrush and palette
- veining tool
- patterned rolling pin
- foam pad and pieces
- blossom cutter
- small ball modelling tool
Cut the cake into a pointed oval measuring 30 × 23 cm (12 × 9 inches). Cover with marzipan and leave to dry thoroughly. Apply three coats of white royal icing to the cake. Coat the board separately with pale green royal icing. Leave to dry.
Photocopy the ark and Mr and Mrs Noah, enlarging to 105%. Trace the animals, Cover with non-stick baking paper. Secure on a smooth, flat board with masking tape.
Half-fill a piping bag with royal icing and pipe all the outlines with a number 0 piping tube and white royal icing. Outline two of each animal, but only one giraffe and one elephant as there is one of each already in the ark. Flood the sections with round-consistency royal icing, using a selection of food colourings to tint the icing and trying to keep the colours as natural as possible.
When thoroughly dry, remove the runouts from the paper and turn them over. Flood the backs (note that the backs of the monkey, lion, penguin, Mr and Mrs Noah and the ark are different from the fronts). Paint in the details when dry.
Trace the design for the doves and bow, covering it with non-stick baking paper and securing with masking tape over a curved surface (such as an oval tin). Complete the runouts in the usual way. When dry, paint in the detail.
Attach the cake to the board with royal icing, setting it back almost to the back edge of the board. Pipe a shell border around the top and bottom with a number 22 piping tube and pale green royal icing.
Paths, ramp and base
Trace the templates and cut out two paths from brown modelling paste. Mark paving with a veining tool. Dust with various shades of brown, cream and skintone petal dust.
Cut out the two parts of the ramp from thinly rolled out light brown pastillage. When dry, dust stripes across the pieces, using the colours used for the paths.
Cut out a base for the ark from the template from white pastillage and, when dry, cover with green modelling paste, textured with a patterned rolling pin. This makes a stronger base.
Trace the template, cover with non-stick baking paper and secure on a board with masking tape. Pipe the outlines using a number 0 piping tube and white royal icing. You will need five trees. Flood the tree trunks with brown runout consistency royal icing, but pipe the leaves with a thicker consistency green-tinted royal icing. Leave to dry, then remove from the paper and flood the backs. Paint the trees with shades of green and brown when dry.
Pipe a row of eight shells in the centre of the ark base with a number 42 piping tube and pale green royal icing. Stand the ark upright on the base and support with pieces of foam. Leave to dry.
Secure the paths, ramp and ark on the cake and board with royal icing. Using petal dust, lightly dust blue sky and green grass on the sides of the cake, and dust grass on top of the cake. Attach the animals and people by piping a small amount of royal icing on the underside of the feet and standing them in position. Support with foam until dry. Pipe royal icing on the base and back of the remaining trees and place around the cake.
Cut out many blossom shapes in pink, white and yellow flower paste, cup on pieces of foam with a ball tool and arrange in position around the top of the cake and the cake board. Secure with royal icing and pipe a white dot in the centre of each blossom with a number 0 piping tube.
Roll thin sausages of green flower paste to make grass. Fold each piece in half, put two together and attach to the cake and board with egg white or edible glue. Finally, pipe a green snail trail around the edge of the board with a number 2 piping tube and pale green royal icing.