The Original Brain Dead sculpture by: AKIHITO IKEDA
Screams Halloween and well of course Edible! They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Well I hope Akihito and Elite Creatures Collectibles thinks so. From start to finish this fondant and red velvet cake sculpture was a dream challenge, An A-Z project. It even has a Zap code I created from Zap.works so that you could watch a video of Brain Dead in action and information on Akihito and the company that sells the sculptures.
The zap code was placed on the cake as an edible necklace.
Because of copyright law here is a link to the Brain Dead in action video, mine was on the cake for the event.
Why this and why Cake? Well why the heck not. Perfect candidate for red velvet cake, being Halloween and all.
Is your brain Dead? Mine sure was after working on this.
Every year here at the Lake, the fall season is amazing. Really lends itself to Halloween. This year instead of making costumes I wanted to create a cake to raise money for the Healing Box Project, so they decided to have an event at a local winery.
My mind raced, Cake and Chianti, hold the Fava Beans. This was perfect!!! A Creative fundraiser, music, wine, cake and a great way for people to donate to our Veterans.
Before creating a 3D cake, I always get nerves, but then I quickly realize it’s just cake, and I just need to do it or I will never know if I can or not.
Yes, I have wonderful gifts and I am so thankful, but you do as well and if you do not take that first step, no matter how scary you will never know. Instructables has given so much to me and others by providing a platform to not only share but to learn. If you love it, do it!!!
Shall we proceed?
Step 1: Everything But the Kitchen Sink! Sorry, Need That Too!
The reference material ( In this case Akihito Ikeda’s bust called Brain Dead )
Round wood display board 24”
Metal 1/2” pipe flange
Pvc Threaded adapter
1/2” PVC pipe( wash all pipes and fittings with soap and water)
Large working area
Lots of patients!!!!! Just take your time and give it a try ,art is in everything and joy in the making!
Food grade mold making material
Large cake drum or board 1/2 inch thick for torso to sit on.
large rectangle cake board
Hot glue gun
5 batches of rice crispy treats
2 pk Vanilla almond bark
4 Red velvet half sheet cakes
Around 3 gallons of Buttercream icing(maybe more)
4 pounds black fondant
8 pounds white fondant
Edible gold leaf,silver leaf and gray pearl dust
Corn syrup for glossing up the eyes and body.
Gel food colors brown,black,green,yellow
Vodka for painting and gluing fondant
Paint brushes dedicated for food
Sculpting tools dedicated for food
Foam mannequin head or plastic
Edible eyeball Instructable
Isomalt (optional for eyes)
Don't forget the kitchen sink!!!
Step 2: It’s All About That BASE!!!
The Base is really the most important part of the design process.
Cake is heavy and sometimes awkward. Time spent thinking about the weight and the transporting is priority. This cake will be 27” tall and need to travel on curvy roads for about an hour. Let’s get it done.
The base is a 24” wood table top
After I researched my reference material, I determined the shoulder width needed to be 19” across.
I measured over 21” this will keep the shoulder away from the edge. I didn’t want it centered, but you can. I didn’t do the Samurai Sword for this cake because of the distance we had to deliver the cake.
Next, I split the measurement in half and centered the flange, pre-drilled and screwed it down tight. Then the PVC fitting was screwed into flange.
At this point I was ready to calculate the pedestal height of the torso. It is an hour glass shape and will get constructed out of aluminum foil and rice crispy treats. It was 5” tall and 5” at top and 10” at bottom.
So, I used a pipe cross fighting to allow for side support and hold the torso support board. I split the difference
Cut 2 pieces of 1/2 " pvc 6" long. These get placed in the sides. Cut another piece 4" long it if pushed into the adapter piece and into the cross piece. See picture. I use hot glue and very quickly press in all fittings till tight.
The last piece of pipe is the upright piece that runs through the whole torso and head. this piece will be around 21" long. You can cut off after you get the pedestal and the torso finished. Just in case your cake is thinner or thicker. The cake board is cut to fit the dimensions of a torso oval with a flat front edge.
This is a 1/2' thick cake drum I cut down to a 7" x 14”, the body tapers downward. Aluminum foil is formed around the bottom section to help save on the amount of Rice crispy treat needed.
Step 3: Sculpting for Food Grade Molds( Optional)
This process takes time and is optional.
You can sculpt all your pieces out of fondant, modeling chocolate etc. if you like. I like to create molds so when I do another project like or similar I have molds to use. Worth every penny. The clay for the master can be any just check with your mold material requirements.
I used Sculpey clay and Amazing putty for this project. The outfit that Brain Dead is wearing has 3 styles of trim and knot button closures. I felt that I could use these in the future. Time for sculpting.
One thing I have learned over the years is that the whole of something can be more intimidating than the little bits of something. So, I take my reference material and make copies of the enlarged areas. This helps me focus on only that portion making it much less of a distraction.
I first took measurements based on human scale. Then made tiny snakes of clay and twisted it, making several pieces that were then formed like the picture. I baked the clay to harden (follow your clay’s instructions).
With all my pieces sculpted I take the 2-part amazing putty and mix like directions say. Press the clay onto the sculpture piece pressing into crevices (be careful) need to work quick the mold material cures fast.
after the mold material is cured, I simple remove my master and wash with soap and water.
Now it’s ready for casting with fondant.
All trim was created in this manner. The pieces are not very long so I can just put them end to end on my cake.
Step 4: The Pedestal!
Oh, what a treat!! Rice Crispy that is.
Now that the foil is formed, I use the hot glue gun to glue the cake drum onto the side supports. The drum has a hole so it can be feed down the support pole. Flat edge to the front, press firmly. I even added hot glue around the hole.
Test the stability by giving a good amount of pressure and see if it is loose. Fix it so it has no movement.
Before making the treats completely you will use some of the marshmallow like glue and spread some on the aluminum foil this will help glue the treats into place.
(Always do this when using treats, you will be glad you did.)
Now prepare rice crispy treats like the package or box says (mine is one bag small marshmallows to 5 1/2 cups rice crispy. Do not use butter. We also heat the marshmallow an additional 3 min, this will make the mm set up harder. Be very careful not to get burned or scorch the marshmallow. The pedestal took 2 batches.
Let rest a minute to cool some before handling, put margarine on your hands. Start compressing the treats around the foil forming the hour glass like shape more flared at the bottom.
I then take White candy melts and coat the base to help smooth everything out. Optional the treats are fine alone.
Step 5: Sculpting the Head W/ Fondant
This is where time should be spent.
It was the first part people would see and the most interesting. I started with a plastic head. You can form with rice crispy, aluminum foil, foam, plastic. Whatever works for you. I begin by coating the head with thin layer of fondant. Mark out the locations of eyes. ears, nose, mouth chin and brain.
I do not have step by step on the detail process just some quick shots. Lots of fondant snakes for mussel designs, eye details etc. It was layers and layers and a tooth pick to scratch the surface.
You can use an extruder to make snakes if you like.
Use Vodka and your finger to soften and blend areas. Great thing about this guy cracks are creepy and OK for the overall look.
Step 6: Bake and Stack the Cake.
I didn't have to bake cake for this but I used 4 - 1/2 sheet red velvet cakes.
Spread buttercream onto the cake drum and start stacking and layering buttercream in between. Stack firmly and check for level. With a long cake knife or bread knife you begin carving away the cake. the bottom section of cake is trimmed to match the cake drum which is 7" x 14" with front edge slightly flat. Measure the top cake to be 19" across and 9" from front to back. I mark with icing. carve to those dimensions.
Then coat the whole torso with buttercream.
The torso will get covered in fondant cloths so no need to be perfect. Cut another cake board to the 7" x 14" and place on top of the top layer of cake. This helps to support the shoulders and neck.
Spend your time on details.
Heat marshmallow and coat the pole, next make 2 batches of treats for the shoulders and neck, it will take 3 batches but test.
Press and form shoulder blades, collar bone and neck. Always look at your reference material.
Then I place on my head adding melted candy melts to hold it on. If it is too tall just cut down the center pipe.
Add more treats to finish out neck for scale.
Step 7: Finishing the Torso, Hand Head.
For the Neck, I took fondant and just started doing pinching details to create neck tendons. Then place a rolled-out piece of fondant down the front for the chest. Use vodka to adhere fondant to itself and other things.
Brush vodka on the front and apply layered tooth pieces to create chest plate. Top piece just had little curls added. Akihito's bust is very detailed and amazing, I just created it the best i could in the time span and with fondant. It can be heavily detailed or not.
The pedestal was just covered with fondant and I used the end of a paint brush to create hammered detail. then little snakes to for pattern.
Time for adding color to the body and head before putting on the clothing.
With a soft 1/2" paint brush, I took black food color gel and vodka and begin to paint all over the brain, making sure to get down into the crevices. Take a cloth wet with vodka and wipe off the surface, showing of detail.
Paint the eye or visit my edible eye instructable for making realistic isomalt eyes. These are just painted on with green and yellow food color and the end of a paint brush dipped in black and pressed into eye for pupil.
With the black color put into the deep areas of the face and body to create lots of shadow and contrast. wipe if too much on surface. Then take the brown color and vodka and cover all the body. Wipe off to create aged bone look.
For the base, I used edible gray pearl luster, this stays solid.
Step 8: The Jacket
I just eyeballed the jacket design but you can use a pattern.
By now you have taken your molds and created all the fondant trim appliques. Roll out the black fondant to cover the back you can trim the edges after it is put into place.
I purchased the black fondant you can make your own but was running short on time. add vodka to the shoulders and back neck area, place it on and trim.
Next roll out to lapel panels for the front cut the curve for the neck line. Secure with vodka, make sure the lapels are covering the edges of the chest plate. Attach trim and button knots for those sections.
Roll out two separate shoulder and sleeve panels and a collar, you will need to use vodka to soften and attach edges together. Just smooth out the best you can.
Next apply trim pieces to the outer jacket. Touch up any areas that need it.
Step 9: Finishing
I took little snakes of fondant, shaped into earrings and let dry completely, color with edible gold and silver.
Used tiny ball candies called dragee to create studs for nose, chin etc. Use vodka to put into place and then rolled out snakes for necklaces and attached. The one chain had a medallion on it that contained the Zap code.
The Zappar app allows me to create videos and other content that can be easily launched by scanning the code.
I printed my code onto edible image sheet then people could load the free app from Google or I tunes and watch as my cake came to life with information and videos about the Brain Dead sculpture.
Interactive FOOD for thought!!!
Hope you enjoyed.
Thank you! Peace