The very first Dora the Explorer cake I made was the very first "occasion" cake I had ever made, plus it was my first attempt at creating a tiered cake. At that time, I thought that I did myself a disservice by "tracing" figures and making them flat as opposed to making them 3D. Boy was I wrong! LOL. It is MUCH more difficult to make Dora and Boots 3D! Not because of the detail involved...that part is just fun. It's because I'm somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my own art, and I was sorely disappointed that I couldn't get them to look EXACTLY like the real deal.
However, I absolutely loved making them. Dora's attire was at the request of the recipient. She had recommended a flat version, like the cake I had previously made, but I wanted to make the cake special, so I decided to turn the flat version (see it by clicking here) into a 3D version. I had originally planned to make Dora standing, but I new supporting her could be an issue, so I decided to just make her dress long so that it could essentially hold up her body on the cake. However, I measured the torso wrong, and it looks more like she's on her knees or sitting down. So, my story is that she's on her knees and you just can't see her legs under her dress...lol. I thought about adding some shoes sticking out from under the back of the dress, but her dress had already dried and I was afraid to move it.
The idea for boots is not my own. I found a cake topper on Etsy and attempted to make one like it. However, I didn't make enough of the face color, so his mouth/nose area ended up being a LOT more flat and misshaped than I had hoped. Plus, I also forgot to set aside some fondant for Boots' body, so I had to try to use some purple that I had already colored, which made Boots look more purple than light blue/gray/purple.
The recipient had also mentioned that she liked the idea of Dora and Boots being together, but because I feared I couldn't the get poses right from the first cake top she showed me, I thought I'd try something like this photo (click here). So, if you'll notice on my cake, Dora has her hand on Boots' back and he has his tail wrapped around her arm.
All of the characters and decor were made with fondant. It had been so long since I had covered a cake with fondant that I couldn't quite remember how to do it, so it actually took me three tries...lol. I really need to write down instructions for myself! The cake design came from a mixture of the top of this cake (click here) and the name and stars of this cake (click here). Both were requests of the recipient; however, when researching cakes to see what I want to make, I do typically combine different elements of different cakes just like was done with this design.
The cake is a devil's food sheet cake with chocolate buttercream icing. Yes, a sheet cake. I still haven't found the perfect cake recipe yet, so in lieu of having me use box cake, the recipient gave me a recipe that is loved by her family. The instructions suggest baking in a shallow pan, to make the "sheet". But, I needed 10" rounds and I didn't know how it was going to cook in my oven. So, I just poured enough into my 10" rounds to make 10" round "sheet" layers to see how it baked in my oven. Then, for the next two layers, I increased the batter in the pans and increased the baking time. So, the cake actually has four thinner layers of cake, all with thin layers of icing in between...thin because I didn't want the icing to overpower the taste of the cake, since I know they really like that cake recipe.
This cake was a lot of fun; it had a lot of simple little elements and the challenges (which I also enjoy) of the well-known figures, a new cake recipe, and more. But, the best part for me was getting to see the little one's face when she saw the cake! Art is putting a piece of yourself into something you enjoy...showing off God-given talents; so, it excites me to have my cakes bring a smile to the face of others...especially the children!