Tuesday, August 18, 2015

That time I made an edible colon...

Over the years, word has gotten around that I make cakes as a hobby and sometimes I get requests to make cakes for friends or acquaintances. If things align with my schedule and it's something that I think is feasible in terms of my skill set, I will try to do it. This cake request came at a really busy time in my life and at a time when I wasn't sure how I'd be feeling health wise (more on that in a future blog post) but I could not pass up the opportunity to make such a fun cake combining two things I love: healthcare and baking. Notice how I didn't say 'colonoscopies' and baking...because that would just be weird...who would want to combine a colonoscopy and a cake?? Ahem. 

This blog has primarily been about sharing my experiences making cakes. I think I have posted one recipe and I have not done any tutorials. The lack of tutorials is because I am not an expert at cake decorating and also because I am usually pressed for time and cannot take step-by-step photos. For some reason, I felt compelled to take step-by-step photos of how to make the colon for all those people searching the internet on how to make an edible colon. If by a minuscule chance you've arrived at this page by searching on edible colons, I hope you find this helpful. If you weren't looking for cake decorating information, I just don't know what to say. 

It has been over a year since I made this cake. Time has flown as always with other things on my plate and I also wanted to edit the names off of the front of the cake for this post but had no idea how. Please note that my photo editing skills are non-existent. 

Since the colon was going to be on top of the cake and was relatively small, it didn't make sense to carve it out of cake. Making it out of pure fondant, gumpaste or molding chocolate is too heavy and would also be difficult to transfer to the top of the cake. I went with good ol' rice cereal treats. As I've mentioned in the past, I find the prepackaged treats easier to use as I feel you can condense them much easier into the shapes you need and get a smoother surface versus freshly made homemade rice cereal treats.
Alright, so where does one start when making a colon? The first step was to make a template for the colon. I did an image search for a colon I was happy with (I think it was from a textbook) and printed it to a size to fit the top of a 9-inch cake. I printed it slightly smaller than I wanted the final colon to be as items tend to get larger as you add layers of fondant/chocolate (1).

I taped the colon onto a cardboard cake board and covered it with wax paper for my work surface. That way I could easily see the picture of the colon and also had a way of sliding the completed colon onto the finished cake.

Next, I rolled little balls of rice cereal treats to closely resemble the size of each distinct section of the colon as per the picture (2). Once I completed all of the pieces (3), I melted some white chocolate candy melts and used a small brush to attach everything (4). After that, I painted the entire colon with melted chocolate to be certain everything was secure and it makes it yummy (5).

The next step was to give the colon a bit more dimension. I used modeling chocolate to round out some sections and to adjust the size, as well as to shape the rectum (6). Once I was happy with the overall shape I used a flesh-coloured mixture of modeling chocolate and fondant to cover the entire colon. I added details using the same chocolate/fondant, such as the polyps and the appendix, and finished off by using various colours of petal dust to add depth to the colours (8).
I let the colon settle for day (covered in the fridge) prior to transferring it to the cake, and while I worked on the endoscope controls, the cytology brush and forceps. Now for my PSA: Cancer Care Ontario recommends all individuals over the age of 50 be screened for colorectal cancer every two years (Fecal Occult Blood Test or colonoscopy depending on your risk). Now before you start running, my cytology brush and forceps are not to scale! If caught early, colorectal cancer has a 90% chance of being cured. So get screened!
The forceps and cytology brush were made with both modelling paste and gum paste. I used small scissors to make the teeth on the forceps and the bristles on the brush. 
The "semi-colawn"
So there you have it. This is the closest post I have to a tutorial and it's about a colon. 

I had a lot of fun making this cake. After it was complete, I threw the printed picture of the colon (which had been severed by this point) into the recycling. The following week, my husband was leaving for work only to find the colon picture on our lawn. My husband sent me a picture and I laughed out loud all the way to my doctor's appointment. I had to phone my sister so I didn't look crazy walking down the street laughing to myself. His friends started making colon jokes like, "did you perform a colawnoscopy?" or "was it a whole one or a semicolon?". 
My husband said that I have a knack for making scary or gross things cute. I hope I achieved that with this colon cake! 
My next post (if I ever get to write it) will be about why I haven't been baking/blogging very much in the past year so stay tuned...


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