Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked October 17th 2015

Sculptured fruit cake

hello, I have been asked to make a tractor with fruit cake is this wise or will it not be doable?


hello, I have been asked to make a tractor with fruit cake is this wise or will it not be doable?


Hello Mrslloyd3288

It’s do-able but it will be a bit of a challenge because the cake has to be prepared before it can be covered. I’ve left a link at the end which will help with prep work.
What needs to established first, is how quickly the cake will be eaten. If the cake will be consumed within weeks rather than within days, ganache cannot be used as the crumbcoat to hold the structure together. Next thing to consider is will you be baking the cake yourself or will it be a bought cake. If you’re baking it yourself, I would suggest that the fruit is chopped down a little so that once baked, the texture of the cake is more compact. Normally fruit cake is left to mature for a few months. This helps to break down the fruit evenly in the cake so there are no big pieces of fruit sticking out of the surface. If you have a food processor it will be the ideal thing in which to whizz the fruit around. Only chop the fruit enough to make it a little smaller so it doesn’t give your problems when you begin the carving/shaping. Luckily there isn’t that much carving to do on the tractor but there is shaping and rounding off corners. The cake will carve/shape better if it’s chilled or partially frozen first.
A knife with rounded serration is better for shaping rather than one that is spikey which will tear the cake. Using a sawing motion cut out the pieces. Make small cuts, little by little when shaping the various sections of the tractor. Gently massage the cake with your hands for moulding and rounding off any sharp or jagged lines.
If ganache is not being used, boil some clear apricot jam in brandy/spirit and use it as the adhesive. If you don’t have clear apricot jam use normal jam and seive through first to remove any bits. The jam will hold the pieces in position but will not set fast like ganache. To prevent any slipping or shifting of the structure, it is safer to dowell all the pieces down. I did this with Santa in the chimmey cake (fruit cake).
Once all the pieces are safely secured, the structure will need to be covered with either a layer of marzipan or a first layer of sugarpaste to create a smooth base. This base layer does not have to be thick, just enough to hold everything together before you start the main decoration. Leave the marzipan or sugarpaste to dry completely (overnight) before continuing.
Once your shape is established you can go ahead and complete the decoration as per the tutorial.

Paul has the goldfish cake tutorial which is carved from fruit cake. It isn’t a 3D cake. However I would recommend to view it for guidance in the initial prepartion of the cake.

Goldfish Cake

I hope some of the above helps, but if you need any more information please post again.