The birthday girl is on her school's dance team, and it turns out that black and gold (and white) are the colors of their uniforms, so I incorporated the triangle-diamond pattern the girls wear on their wrist cuffs into the cake.
Then I made some test feathers with gumpaste (and a little fondant mixed in). I consulted my client on which look she liked best before starting to make all of them.
Katie made some fondant stuff with me as I worked on the feathers. I like it when my kids want to join me.
A few days before the cake was due, I baked the cake (chocolate chip vanilla cake, which was delicious and I still have the trimmings in my freezer to eat when I need cake).
I had a bit of trouble covering these cakes. I couldn't get the fondant smooth enough, so I had to uncover it and re-cover it two or three times. It was so frustrating!
Once I was happy with their fondant cover, my favorite part began: decorating. I made the wrist cuff pattern with fondant that I cut and let dry for a little while before sticking on each diamond.
And I used a thorougly washed Play Doh extruder to make the ropes that surround each diamond. It worked great!
Lastly, I stacked the small cake onto the large one and arranged the feathers around the cake. The pattern on the feathers was made with yellow petal dust and black food writer.
Here are a few more views of the final product.
Since it had to take a trip, I made a spare top feather just in case and placed the cake snugly in a box for transport.
Now that that's done, I do have another cake-related project planned, but it's not needed for another month, so in the meantime, I have been working on this, which is not edible but will make an awesomely fun Christmas or birthday gift for my son. Any guesses what it might be?