July 13, 2011

Running Sneaker Shoe Cake (and ABC Recipe)

Sneaker Running Shoe Cake

I have wanted to make a shoe cake for a while and jumped at the opportunity to create this one for a friend.  The shoe measures at about 11" L x 5" H x 4.5" W and is carved entirely out of cake and covered in MMF.  It's modeled after the New Balance MR817 men's running shoe.  Here are some photos of how the cake was made.

I baked a 10x10 square cake, cut it in half (5x10) and stacked it to create a rectangular block to carve the shoe out of.  Using a picture of the shoes footprint as a template, I carved the outline of the shoe into the cake then eyeballed the rest of the shoes shape.

Covered it over in American Buttercream (recipe is below) and set it aside for a bit to dry and crust nicely.  You can speed the process up by putting the cake in the fridge for 1/2 hr.  After it has crusted, you can lay a dry, paper towel over any spot on the cake and lightly smooth out any imperfections with your fingers.

I was so nervous to starting on the details and must have spent at least an hour trying to figure out how to piece everything together and which piece to do first.

Tip:  I find it easier to decorate a cold cake.  You don't have to keep it in the fridge overnight, only an hour is needed to harden the BC.  The recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  I then used pieces of parchment paper lightly pressed over each individual section of the shoe to sketch out the shape I needed to cut out of MMF, put the cake back into the fridge to stay chilled, prepped and trimmed out each piece of MMF using the sketch on the parchment paper as a template, removed the cake from the fridge, lay the MMF piece in place on the cake, double checked the fit, removed the MMF if needed to trim it if needed (as long as the BC is cold hard, no dents or smudges will be left behind), then once you have the perfectly sized piece, place and smooth the MMF into place.  Repeat a couple dozen times until the entire cake is covered in fondant =)

Once I got the first couple of pieces on there,  the shoe took shape and everything else came together slowly and perfectly.

Total time spent on carving and decorating it...12 hours (not counting the baking, making the MMF, and covering the board) but well worth every minute of it!

For the fabric/mesh print on the shoe, I used a piece of a plastic/silicone drawer liner that had the perfect pattern on it as an impression mat - thank goodness!  I spent a couple days trying to figure out how I was going to recreate the mesh pattern.  I used the same mesh pattern on the name, "Bino!".  The entire shoe is put together using 4 colors of MMF (click for my recipe):  White, light grey, dark grey, and orange.  The light grey panels were dusted in white pearl dust to look shiny and "reflective".  The stitches were made with a sewing stitching wheel.  I also used the stitching wheel along the "50th".  A piece of tulle was used to make the fabric print on the orange part along the inside of the shoe.  For the shoe laces, I used a veining tool to score the various thread marks on it - I love bringing out all those little details =)

Sneaker Running Shoe Cake (back)

The cake board was covered to look like a track field floor.  I used a dish cloth as an impression mat against the board to create the little bumps that you find on a track floor.  I was going to dust it over with some brown petal dust to add some scuff marks but it looked a bit more like dirt and opted to not do it - although you can see my sample patch in the photo above on the left corner).

Sneaker Running Shoe Cake (Top)

I just wanted to slip my foot into it and go for a run.  Can't wait to tackle another sneaker cake again - I really enjoyed creating this one!

Below is a crusting buttercream recipe I have used a few times.  Once the buttercream has dried a bit and developed a thin crust, and it's no longer sticky to the touch, take a paper towel (one with no imprinted designs on it), and lightly press it against the cake to smooth out any ridges or imperfections.  Using a fondant smoothing tool over the paper towel works wonders to give a nice, smooth surface.

This buttercream can be easily flavored to your liking.  Cream cheese is a delicious addition to this recipe and pairs lovely a variety of cake flavors (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet cake).  If you choose to can omit the cream cheese, use 1/2 Cup Shortening and 1/2 Cup Butter.  If the weather is a warmer, and since butter melts easier, bump up the shortening and use 2/3 Cup Shortening and 1/3 Cup Butter.  See additional notes below.

American Buttercream (ABC) Recipe with Cream Cheese
Yield: 3 Cups

1/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/3 Cup Cream Cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon Meringue Powder
1 Teaspoon Flavoring Extract (my favorite combination is half vanilla with either almond or cream cheese extract)
4 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted (aka Powdered Sugar)
2 Tablespoon Whole Milk

In a large bow, with a paddle attachment, cream shortening, butter and cream cheese on medium speed until incorporated.  Add flavoring extract and the milk, and mix until just combined.

In a separate blow, sift powdered sugar and meringue powder to remove clumps.  With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar mix, one cup at a time, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl often.

If the buttercream is too stiff, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency.

Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth until you are ready to use it.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 week, or freeze up to 6 months.  Bring it to room temperature then beat on low speed to bring it back together to a creamy consistency.  You can use a spatula or wooden spoon, and manually whip and slap the buttercream around the bowl to make it thick and creamy.

Do not overwhip or mix the buttercream on high speed.  You do not want to add air into the icing.  Your goal it to make a nice, smooth, and creamy buttercream with no air bubbles.

For pure white buttercream, you can add a very tiny drop (smidgen) of violet food gel coloring into the buttercream.  Violet will cancel out the yellow tint from using butter.  Insert the very tip of a toothpick into the gel coloring, scrap off any excess back into the bottle, then dip the toothpick into the buttercream to add the color, mix the buttercream thoroughly and if needed, use a new, clean toothpick and repeat to add a tiny bit more. 


  1. AnonymousJuly 14, 2011

    god this is so so so perfect, so cool thanks thanks for this great tutorial


  2. This is a Master piece!! What a beautiful work!! I think I could never put up such a beautiful cake...

  3. OMG - that is a masterpiece - absolutely brillante.

    Scrolling back now to have another look. :)

  4. You make it look so easy,thx for the great turourial.

  5. This is AWESOME! I can't believe the hours spent on this cake... I wish I had your patience and trouble-shooting skills!

  6. This is amazing! Perfectly executed. You've truly inspired me to take on a sneaker cake. I have made one this year, but will be tackling another one this week. I stumbled upon your work on CC, and thought 'wow, those look sooo real!!'

    Well done xo

  7. Wow! Congratulations on making such a great cake! I'm making a pair of converse hi-tops next week and hope I can pull them off half as well as you have :o)

  8. OMG! Your cake is so detailed and SO perfect! I'd like to try to make this cake for my grandson's birthday - with your tutorials it may be possible. Of course it won't come close to yours amazing creation but I'll give it a try. Are the shoe strings pieced on each side of the eyelets? They look so real! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Odesa =) For the shoe strings, I pinched the ends and shoved them into the eyelets so that they'll look like they're going completely through. Good luck with your grandson's cake =D

  9. How many people does a cake like that serve?

  10. I have been looking for a tutorial on how to do a running shoe for the anniversary of the running club that I am a member of as they asked me to make a cake for the raffle so thank you very very much for sharing this. It has helped me immensely and I have bookmarked your blog so will definitely be back. Great work and so neat and tidy - hope I can do it justice :o)

  11. Wow - what an amazing cake - the detail is incredible and it is so neat and perfect - beautiful work :-)

  12. That looks Great!! good job!

  13. Your cake is amazing! I love all the details. I'm very new to baking even newer to decorating but would like to attempt a running shoe for my running group's upcoming potluck. Can you tell me what tool(s) you use to get the crumb coat so smooth, especially around the edges? Also, I noticed that your tennis sneakers were done in IMBC but you used a shortening/butter recipe for the running shoes. What type works better? Thank you!

    1. Thank you Vanessa. Either IMBC or BC - it really depends on the cake flavor, who's eating it, the weather and the mood I'm in - I switch between IMBC and BC all the time. As long as you keep the cake cold while your work on it, either one will work - that way you can lay the pieces of parchment paper against it to trace out the templates and not lift off any of the BC. To smooth it out, I use an offset spatula. With the BC, I used a paper towel and smoothed it out more. With the IMBC one, I smoothed it out as much as I could with the spatula, let it chill then carved off any major bumps with the edge of the offset spatula (with the 2nd shoe, I figured it didn't need to look really smooth since you're piecing the fondant on it and the tiny little bumps or ridges isn't noticeable and adds to the character).

  14. Hi Angela, thank you for your reply. This is really helpful. I'm excited to try the techniques.

  15. One more question--you used the shoe to carve the sides first, after stacking the two halves of the 10X10? Or did you start by using the bottom of the shoe and carving the sides and top after? Thank you!

    1. I carved the cake from the top view first to get the general outline of it using the sole since that would be the widest the cake would be then I carved the sides off second. Once the general outline of the shoe was done, you can start carving the rest of the shoe into shape. I'm OCD and very "precise" when I do things. In the photo of the real shoe, I measure out every section of the shoe with a ruler then scale it up for the cake so that proportionally, it's correct. For example, in the printed picture of the real shoe, if the shoe is measuring 10" long and 4" high from the back heal up to the ankle opening and my cake is 11" long, how high do I need my cake to be? I do cross multiplication to figure out the height (4x11 = 44/10 = 4.4 inches high). I do this for all the features - how wide and long is the ankle opening, how high is the front of the shoe, how long do I need to make the orange sole? - it's all math calculations (LOL!) Hope that makes sense.

  16. Complimenti, bravissima!