Beside the seaside cake - part 1

This fun bucket and spade cake by Zoe Burmester from Sugar Street Studios is an easy shape to carve. It's great for those new to cake carving!

Brought to you by Zoe Burmester

Oh we do love to be beside the seaside!

With it's great bucket shape and sugarpaste decorations, this might be the perfect summer cake! This fun bucket and spade cake by Zoe Burmester from Sugar Street Studios is an easy shape to carve. It's great for those new to cake carving!


For the cake:

  • round filled, sponge cakes: 2 x 15cm (6in) x 8cm (3in) deep
  • approximately 1kg (2lb 2oz) ganache

To decorate:

  • sugar paste: white (400g (14oz) coloured to sand colour, 800g (1lb 8oz) turquoise, 300g (10½oz) lime – I used The Sugar Paste™)
  • Sugarflair Paste: honey gold
  • Magic Colours Pro Gels: turquoise, blue, neon green, neon yellow, red, orange, chocolate brown, black
  • tylose powder
  • vegetable shortening (such as Trex)
  • rejuvenator spirit or alcohol
  • spectrum flow shell and shine or edible glaze spray
  • edible glue
  • piping gel
  • 1 x A4 sheet wafer paper: patterned or plain
  • small handful of white candy melts
  • 250g (9oz) modelling paste or modelling chocolate: white
  • crushed digestive biscuits


  • 1 x round cake drum 28cm (11in)
  • length of coordinating ribbon for above board
  • 15cm (6in) cake card
  • 10cm (4in) cake card
  • scalpel
  • cake smoother
  • smooth rolling pin: large and small
  • self healing mat
  • assorted food safe brushes
  • mixing palette for dusts
  • tri-tip chisel tool (or blade tool)
  • ball tool
  • circle cutters (approx 3.5cm (1½in) and 1.5cm (¾in) diameter)
  • wooden skewers
  • plastic straw
  • scissors
  • large star cookie cutter


Preparing the cakes and board:

Take approx. 400g (14oz) honey coloured sugarpaste, roll out and cover the 28cm (11in) cake drum. Set aside for 24 hours to firm up. Once firm, wrap the ribbon around the edge of the cake drum and attach using doublesided tape, then place to one side. Now stack your two filled cakes on top of each other. The total height should be 15cm (6in).

Making the cake bucket:

Images of steps 1 to 9 Images of steps 10 to 12

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  1. Place the 10cm (4in) cake card centrally on top of the cakes and secure in place with ganache. Now take a sharp knife and begin to carve an upside down bucket shape. The cake is upside down as it is easier to carve this way. Carve at an angle, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. Use the 10cm (4in) card as a guide and do not trim any away from the bottom of the cake.
  2. Once you are happy with the shape, gently turn the cake over and cover the whole cake in a layer of ganache, using a spatula and a plastic flexi scraper to help with those angled sides. Once set, the ganache will go hard, giving a nice firm base to decorate on. To speed this up you can put the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  3. Take the pre-coloured turquoise sugarpaste and roll out a top for your cake. Use the 15cm (6in) cake card as a template and cut round this circle using a scalpel. Spritz a little water over the ganached cake and place the round circle of sugarpaste on the top of your cake. Next, roll out a length of sugarpaste, and cut it to the circumference of your cake at its widest point. (This should be about 50cm (19½in), by the height of your cake). Gently roll the paste onto your rolling pin, stand it on its edge and carefully unroll it around the edges of the cake. Concentrate on keeping the bottom edge tidy, as you will trim the top edge.
  4. Once the cake has been neatly wrapped, use a scalpel to trim off the excess at the top. Don’t worry if the seam is not neat as this will be covered. Take a little vegetable shortening and rub it around the top edge of the cake.
  5. Roll out another strip of paste approx. 50x5cm (19½x2in) deep. This will form the top of the bucket. As before, roll it up on a small rolling pin.
  6. Unroll it around the top edge of the bucket, making sure that at least half is protruding above the top of the cake. The Trex will allow you to reposition the trim if you need to. Once attached, begin to curl the top edge with your fingers, then roll it down to create a rolled lip at the top of the bucket.
  7. Use a tri-tip chisel or blade tool to add in a detail line below the edge of the trim.
  8. Take the pre-coloured lime green paste and knead in ½ tsp of tylose powder. Roll out a long thin strip and cut with a scalpel to form the bucket handle. The length and thickness is up to you; I chose about 2.5cm (1in) thickness with the handle hanging about two-thirds of the way down the bucket. Add a dab of edible glue on each end and attach centrally at the top of the bucket, one end on each side. The handle should loop down. From the lime paste, now cut out two rings, using the two circle cutters.
  9. Take a small pea-sized ball of turquoise paste and roll it into a fat bullet shape. Use the tri-tip chisel or blade tool to mark out a line. You are aiming to create a little mushroom headed piece. Repeat for the other side.
  10. Slip the little mushroom piece into one of the lime rings, then place the whole lot at the top of one side of the cake to cover where the handle piece is stuck to the bucket. Hold it in place with edible glue. Repeat for the other side.

Adding colour and making the handle and windmill:

Images of steps 13 to 21 Images of steps 22 to 24

  1. I like to add a little more colour to my bucket for extra depth. Mix a little turquoise Pro Gel with some alcohol to create a watercolour type paint. Use a brush to apply this to the cake bucket. I also added in a little blue gel to give added depth of colour. Concentrate the darker painting towards the base of the bucket and under the rim. Remember, start off lightly by using a very diluted paint, then build colour slowly.
  2. Once the cake is dry, give the bucket a few sprays of edible glaze to give it a high shine and to make it look more like plastic.
  3. Roll the remaining lime paste to a chunky thickness and use a scalpel to cut the shape of the spade handle. Use the photo as a guide, or check online for spade shapes. Start with the outer shape, then cut away the middle section to create a handle. Dip a wooden skewer into edible glue, then carefully insert it into the base of the spade handle.
  4. Create a little scallop effect by pushing in the side of a skewer to the underside of the handle. Also add in a little line using your blade tool about a third of the way down the handle.
  5. Now leave the whole thing to dry for a few hours (preferably overnight), inserted upright into a polystyrene cake dummy.
  6. For the windmill you will need a 10cm (4in) square of double-sided wafer paper. If you would like a two-tone effect, cut two different squares and attach them together in the corners with the lightest amount of water. Too much water and the paper will disintegrate so be careful!
  7. Now fold the square from corner to corner to create a triangle and crease. Open it up, rotate it round and fold again in the opposite direction, creasing again. Open out the square.
  8. Using scissors, cut along halfway on each crease line.
  9. If you have two colours, turn the paper over so that your preferred colour or pattern is dominant. Now lift one corner of the cut square and bring it carefully to the middle of the wheel. Secure in place with a dab of water.
  10. Move around the wheel, repeating this move until you have four corners attached to the centre. Roll a little ball of sugarpaste, then place in the centre to cover the joins. If needed, use a little piping gel to hold it in place. If your wafer paper is too dry and cracking you need to add some moisture so wave it lightly over a kettle, then fold.
  11. Attach a plastic straw to the back of the pinwheel using some melted candy melts, then leave to one side.

To continue to part 2, click here.

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