Dan is the biggest Archer fan I know! While the show isn’t one that I took to immediately, after having it play in the background while I did other work, it slowly grew on me and I am now very much a fan – just not as diehard as Dan. For those of you who don’t know about Archer, it is an animated show about a very dysfunctional intelligence agency and its missions.
One of my favourite characters on the show is Malory Archer, the mother and chief executive of the intelligence agency ISIS (yes, that is the name of it!), so hearing about the passing of Jessica Walters was a bit of a downer. I really do not think it will be the same without her.
Either way, I knew I wanted to incorporate the different characters from the show as well as Archer’s famous reference to “Danger Zone”, but not being one who is particularly good or familiar with drawing faces or sculpting figurine or working with fondant(only my second attempt), I needed to figure out something a little easier.
Thankfully Pinterest was more than helpful in showing me some ideas of Archer cakes, where others had very cleverly used the silhouettes of the characters from the opening credits. I was very much inspired by the cake below.
However, given that I am not a big fan of fondant. I decided to use modelling chocolate which I got from Sugar & Crumbs. This was a bit of a learning experience for me as the chocolate needed to be heated up to get it to a mouldable consistency and when adding colours to it – gel food colouring is the way to go – if I used ordinary colouring it took a lot longer to set, got quite sticky and had to cool down before I could use it. Meaning this took me quite a bit of time to do, as I did not factor any of this into the process. I have to say though, that it tastes a lot better than normal fondant, is something I will definitely use again and would recommend over regular fondant. It might be a little more pricey but it tastes better – like marshmallows!
For my silhouettes, a simple google search got me the characters I wanted. I then printed these out, cut them up and placed them on top of the rolled out fondant. I then outline them using a craft knife. It took a lot of patience, some icing sugar to make sure they didn’t stick but once they had dried up they were easy to stick on with a little water.
I moulded the gun freehand based on some cartoon drawings of a gun and am fairly happy with how it turned out. I then used a vodka and sugar syrup glaze to give it a bit of shine. These photos were taken before they could dry up properly, so they look a little shiny still. But once it dried up, it had a very even coat to it and looked good.
The easiest part of the cake was Archer’s face with Danger Zone over it. I found a colouring book image of Archer’s face online and inverted it, so it would look like this. As I am using a Mac I opened it on Preview, went on edit and flipped horizontally.
I placed that on a baking tray (sellotaped in place so it would not move) under some baking paper, then piped the buttercream frosting that I had coloured so I could trace the picture with the buttercream icing. I started with the outline, then filled in archers hair, face, then the words Danger Zone and so I could flip it easily without anything moving – added a blue background. I put this in the freezer overnight and just before serving the cake, I easily flipped it over on top of the cake and removed the baking paper.
Because my cake wasn’t perfectly flat (I did not trim my cake layers!) the top was a little round, which meant it initially looked like a square piece balancing on the top. However, after the buttercream came to room temperature it gradually fell into place nicely on the cake but if you don’t want to take any chances make sure to trim that cake properly so the top is nice and flat. If you look at the photo of the silhouettes and then the cut cake below, you will see the difference over time. In the initial photos, the buttercream was still frozen and very much a square piece on top of the cake. By the time it had come to room temperature and softened, it settled on top of the cake better. (See below)
Unfortunately, I did not take photos of the process this time around. It was mainly because I was working long day shifts and then day shifts, so all this was done late into the night without very much lighting and while trying to hide it from Dan. Next time I will try and get some photos of the process.
I hope this post has been helpful and if you are wondering, I made a chocolate cake. The full recipe for the cake will be up on the blog soon.