To glamp, or not to glamp? That is the question. Actually, the real question for most people might be, 'what is glamping, anyway?' For those of you who don’t know, glamping is, quite simply, glamorous camping. You can find lots of luxury resorts that offer glamping experiences which include everything from plush beds to fancy indoor plumbing, all conveniently located inside your tent (if you can still call it a tent at that point).
Glamping has also become a popular party theme, especially for little girls. And what's not to love? You've got all the makings of a great night: your best pals, s'mores, and glitter. So much glitter. It's a win. If you're a grown-up, you've also hopefully got wine.
I was recently asked to make a cake for a glamping-themed birthday party, plus a small mini cake that coordinated with the larger cake. I struggled a bit conceptualizing the design for the glamping cake, but thankfully, Pinterest saved me. Good ol', Pinterest.
Most of the cakes I saw on Pinterest involved miniature fondant tents and camper figurines atop cakes made to look like a tree stump. Cute? Sure. My style? Not really. I wanted something that felt outdoorsy, yet ethereal--but not cutesy.
I opted for the tree stump for the foundation, but covered the top of the trunk with wafer paper flowers (you can read about those here), gold leaves, and delicate gold cake lace butterflies rather than fondant figurines. The inside was double chocolate cake with a toasted marshmallow buttercream to evoke the flavors of that quintessential camping treat, s’mores; you can find the buttercream recipe below.
I used two different techniques for the top and the sides of the tree stump. The top was all freehand work; I followed the instructions from this Zoe's Fancy Cakes video. To begin, I colored Satin Ice fondant light brown and let it rest for a bit to allow the color to fully develop, then moved on to the top of the cake. After applying the "wood" to the top of the cake, I worked on the sides of the tree stump. Using a Karen Davies mold to create the contours of the bark, I applied all the panels to the cake and worked with a Dresden tool to mask the seams.
Once I had covered the cake with the fondant, I used a large, fluffy brush to apply edible chestnut brown petal dust, with a few highlight colors to add depth and dimension. I then applied the wafer paper flowers, cake lace butterflies and other metallic accents like the gold horseshoe and flecks of gold leaf all over the stump.
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Does it say "glamping" to you?
Gah! I almost forgot. The mini cake! This celestial sidekick cake was meant to compliment the glamping theme; I was thinking of glamping under the stars. It's vanilla cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, dyed with Americolor gel to mimic the color of twilight. The drips are white ganache painted with edible gold dust, and I made the little stars by applying gold leaf to wafer paper (adhered with a tiny bit of piping gel) and then creating the star shapes with the appropriate hole punches.
This cake duo was too cute for words. It was fun to take a break from traditional sugar flowers, but I'm excited to get back to those beauties this week.
What do you think of the glamping theme? Are there any themes you'd love to see come to life in cake? Tell us in the comments!
Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream Recipe
(Adapted from Craftsy)
1. In a small pan combine granulated sugar and water.
2. Bring to a boil at medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Let it cool completely.
3. Add sugar/water mixture and meringue powder to a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip on high speed until full peaks are formed (8 to 10 minutes).
4. Turn mixer off and brown meringue with a brulée torch until the top surface is golden brown.
5. Turn mixer on low and spin until white again.
6. Brown again and repeat the same process about 5 more times. Taste the mixture. If it tastes like toasted marshmallow, then you’re ready to add the butter. (If not, brown the meringue with the torch a few more times, always mixing between brownings.)
7. With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter in walnut size chunks, incorporating after each addition.
8. Last, add the vanilla and mix on low until fully incorporated. until smooth.