Now, this is a gigantic cake...to give some scale, the base of the grad cap is a stacked 8" round cake! It was ordered for 75 people, so should be plenty. The cake is a chocolate fudge sour cream cake with oreo cream filling, covered in buttercream frosting, with fondant/gumpaste accents. The grad cap board is covered cardboard, but everything else on this cake is edible. The entire grad cap is covered with modelling chocolate.
It didn't actually take 3 days worth of labour. One of these days I will have to time how many actual hours go into a cake like this, but here's how I break it down:
Design Stage-browse internet for ideas, sketch a plan, confirm with graduate's mother, browse recipes, check supplies, order supplies if needed because I live in the middle of nowhere, make up grocery list, buy ingredients, pick up supplies from the post office. (?several random minutes over a week, I'll estimate 2 hours)
Day1-bake the cakes (There are four 9x13" and two 8" round in this one, 20 min mixer time and 4-5 hours oven time but I was also doing laundry) Plus cleanup.
Day 2-make filling and fill and stack cakes. Also make icing and crumb coat cakes (maybe 2 hours) Then make fondant and gumpaste accents (while watching TV...probably 3 hours in the evening, and let accents dry/harden overnight) Plus clean up.
Day 3-do top smooth coat icing, add all the accents, pipe the borders (approx. 2 hours), swear 800 times when I smudge the smooth coat with my boob and have to fix it (if you look real hard at the 2nd picture you'll be able to see where), swear another 200 times when I realize that the cake drum board flexes when the cake is moved (causing icing to crackle!) so hunt for another cake board to support weight, swear some more when the second board won't fit in the fridge and have to find another...pause to have an adult beverage and think...find large cutting board that will fit and slide it under the first one without wrecking the cake...get the whole thing into the fridge without wrecking it...have a second adult beverage while staring at the mess that is my kitchen. Then 5 min making a sign for the fridge that says "Open this door and you die" to keep everyone out (I have a second fridge in the garage for extras that I use for my cakes, but the popsicles and beers are in there and it's summer) So...Day 3 was pretty much all cake related, but if you subtract time spent swearing and drinking...maybe 4 hours actual cake labour) Plus clean up.
Rough total: 3 days of kitchen chaos, 15 hours of work plus clean up time.
It's the clean up that I hate the most. Anything that touches the buttercream icing is very greasy to wash off, and there is usually icing sugar everywhere. I have a rolling cart that I store all my cake decorating supplies in, and it is usually strewn all over the kitchen and needs to be sorted out and put back.
I enjoy doing this for family and friends, but I don't think I could make this a career. Too much to clean up, and way too much swearing and drinking going on :) And, I would need to do this at Cake Boss level to make any money at it. For now, it will be another one of my messy hobbies that my family has to put up with. They don't mind too much, I let them lick the bowls when I'm done.
Happy Canada Day!