Friday, January 7, 2011

Cakes and Architecture- The IBEW Cake Part 1

Making building cakes, or any scale model of anything, can be a challenge. If you don't get the proportions right the whole thing looks wonky, and for things like cars and animals that can be really off-putting visually.

The building cake that I made for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers annual party was challenging because of the size of it, but also because the building itself is deceptively simple. When you first look at it the design itself doesn't seem very complicated, but the more you examine the design the more things that you realize are distinctive about it.

 I started by taking pictures of the entire building by walking around it and making sure that I got a good look at how each wall was designed. The building has overlapping sections on each wall, and each section has different heights. I needed to get a good look at how each piece related to the others. The two sides were the same, but the front and the back were different.

The next step was to get a good look at the actual proportions of the building. For this I thank Google Earth for spying on everyone via satellite. It's creepy when you see a picture of your own house, but extremely useful when you want to get the scale of a building right. I pulled up the address and got a picture of the shape of the building and the parking lot, then used a ruler to figure out the proportions assuming that the cakes were going to be 4" tall.

Once I figured out the size of the footprint that cake would have on the board, I started on what the sections of the walls should be. When that was calculated I made a checklist of how many pieces I'd need of each part so that I could make sure to get everything done.

One thing that I didn't think about at first, but which dawned on me as I was doing the dimensions, was the size of the board that the cake would go on. My car is a station wagon, so I have a large flat surface when I lower the back seats, but there's always a limit to how wide the boards can be. I didn't want to have a Cake Boss moment where they're all standing there like a bunch of dummies yelling at each other that the cake doesn't fit  in the truck. I figured out my strategy for that issue before I bought the plywood base, and I had them cut it to fit my car then scaled the cake to that.

Coming Monday: Part 2, creating the wall sections.

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

No comments: