August 27, 2013

Japanese Beetle Bug Cake (Tutorial)

Realistic looking Japanese Beetle Cake on a 16 inch cake board

My daughter's friend had a bug themed party and when asked to make a cake, I got super excited to have a chance and make a cake that resembled his favorite bug, the Japanese Beetle Bug.  He's massive and sits on a 16 inch round cake board and his body measures 12x6 inches...and it's all cake!  Here are photos of the process in making this creepy and realistic looking bug cake.
The bug's body is carved chocolate cake and crumb coated in chocolate ganache.  The beetle's body is decorated in fondant that has been painted with gel colors and piping gel.  Below are the step-by-step photos of the process in making the cake.

Beetle bug cakes baked and ready to be carved
Baked 2, 8-inch square cakes plus a cupcake for the bugs head.  Using a white cake board for the base, cut out the beetle outline and use it as a template to carve the basic shape of the beetle.

Outline of Japanese Beetle Bug Cake carved in chocolate cake
Basic outline of the beetle carved out of chocolate cake.

Carving the beetle shape out of cake using a paper template as a guide
I used a paper template from a coloring page of a Japanese Beetle to get the features just right on the cake.  Further carved the sides of the cake to give it dimension and shape.

Shaping and carving the beetle body out of cake
Removed the paper template and eyeballed the rest of the features and carved out the roundness of the beetles body.

Carved beetle cake covered in chocolate ganache
Covered the carved cake in chocolate ganache and let it set.

Adding the first few details in fondant on the beetle bug cake.
After the ganache has set hard, I like to pop the cake into the fridge for about half an hour to get it firm so that it can be handled better.  I propped it up over a container so that I could wrap the fondant details up under the cake to give it a more 3D look rather than have it sitting flat on the cake board.  I lightly drew out the details on the cake with a scoring tool so that I can get a better feel of what I need to make from fondant.  The cake does form a small layer on condensation as it comes back to room temperature and it works to your advantage and helps the fondant stick to the ganache without needing to add any sugar glue.

Adding green fondant to beetle cake for its body
Keep adding the details on the bug section by section.  As you can see from my photo, the cake is propped up over a rectangular container that fit under the bug's body.

Adding fondant wings to the beetle cake
The wings were the most difficult to get just right.  I must have spent a good hour shaping them.  I then let the cake rest for a few hours so that the fondant could dry and harden a bit before painting in the details.

The wings were painted with piping gel that I watered way down with vodka: I used a mix of chocolate brown, bright yellow and white gel colors.  I also painted the body of the bug the same way using a little bit of yellow to give it some texture and dimension.  The piping gel dries up leaving behind a glossy, dry shell.  For the piping gel recipe, visit the bottom of this post, Wine Bottle in a Crate Cake.

front view of the finished, realistic looking, Japanese Beetle Bug Cake

How to make the beetle legs using straws and fondant
I used the coloring page as a reference to sculpt the beetle's legs with.  The legs are straws wrapped up with black fondant.  I used the same technique to create the tentacles.

All 6 beetle legs made with fondant and plastic straws
Here are all 6 of his legs left out to dry overnight.  The tips of the straws are sticking out and will be used to insert into the cake.  I used sugar glue (Tylose powder mixed with water) to help hold the legs into the cake.

Once the cake was assembled, I used white royal icing to brush the "fuzzy hair" around the sides and back of the bug.

 And that's it.  Hope you like it and didn't get too creeped out by it.

Japanese Beetle Bug Cake
(a view all around)
A 360 view of the Japanese Beetle Bug Cake

A view from all 4 sides of the Japanese Beetle Bug Cake

1 comment:

  1. This is one cool cake. Any little or big boy would love this. Thanks for sharing.