The Gnome Cake

Oh, how I love gnomes. It's not quite an obsession, but I have very particular ideas about what a "real" gnome should be. They should NOT be extremely cute, with happy animals frolicking around them. They should NOT have butterflies or birds on their shoulders...You get my drift.
What they should be is slightly disturbing and mysterious, like they're up to something that they don't want you to know about. Maybe this viewpoint comes from reading the Noddy books when I was little. Big Ears the gnome was always lecturing Noddy about something, and was usually in a slightly rotten mood.

After a good amount of time looking for one, I finally found a garden gnome that fit my qualifications, and all he needed was a new coat of paint. Then, because I am the suspicious type, and used to live in Boston, where anything not nailed down would be taken by the morning, I didn't want to put him outside. I keep him in the kitchen, where he holds a whisk and some measuring spoons. His name is Jurgen, to go along with the German gnome tradition, and to honor Jurgen Prochnow of Das Boot, one of the best actors-who-usually-show-up-in-bad-movies of all time.

So when my friend Carrie called and told me that she needed a gnome cake, you can only imagine how happy I was to oblige! This one was for her brother, who was being deployed soon, and it turns out that their family has something going with the gnomes, too. They're planning on dressing all of the babies and toddlers in the family like gnomes for Halloween, for example. Pretty awesome.

Here's the progression of the gnome cake, which I looooved.

Still in the pans and ready to go, then stacked and shaped, ready for the crumb coat.

Crumb-coated, with Jurgen in the background for inspiration, and then he gets pants!

Rice Krispie arms and the hat, and shaping the face.

Added some hair and grass to the hill he's sitting on. Also dogtags, an army pack and on the right, the cigar in his mouth (all items to represent Carrie's brother).

And the final product after I painted the face and added the hat.

I used a combination of modelling chocolate and fondant to decorate him, and food coloring and petal dusts to put the details on his face.
I got a phone call last night from Carrie's brother and sister-in-law, thanking me for this cake. They loved it, and told me they'd send pictures of their faces when it was brought out.
I'm glad it went over so well, I certainly had a good time making it!

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and