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Musical Mice

This cake was made on styrofoam dummies so it could be entered into the 2009 That Takes The Cake! Austin Cake Show, in the Adult Intermediate division, Novelty/Special Occasion Tiered category. It won both its category and division! It was also featured in an editorial in the March 2009 issue of American Cake Decorating Magazine, where the editor said he and Roland Winbeckler spent a lot of time as judges appreciating all of the detail.

The mice are all made in basically the same way: first a body is allowed to harden on a toothpick. Then I build on whatever torso costume is needed. Then I shape a head and let it become firm but not dry. I attach the head and let it dry thoroughly. Then I add ears, any hair or hats, eyes, arms, any musical instruments or other held objects, and lastly the nose. These photos show the making of the Beatles (which I called the Rattles to extend the Beatles name-pun to mice). I have taught this technique at meetings of the Capital Confectioners cake club in Austin, TX. If there is sufficient interest, I may make the handout from those lessons available for a nominal fee to the general public.

Here are photos showing how the Beatles (or, in this instance, the Rattles) were made and placed:

Musical Mice - In the Making Musical Mice - In the Making Musical Mice - In the Making Musical Mice - In the Making Musical Mice - In the Making d

The tiny piano was the most complicated and challenging part of this cake. I started by rolling out black fondant and cutting the shape of the piano and let it dry completely. Then I cut a similar, smaller shape in mixed brown/yellow to look wood-like and affixed it to the black shape. Then I added a strip around the sides and a black beam across the mid-front. I cut some strips of the brown/yellow mix and put them in on their sides, roughly positioned based on photos of pianos I found online. Then I cut a strip of white fondant to size and put it on the front, and used the edge of a small knife to make indentations for the right number of keys (yes, this piano has a proper count of both black and white keys). I piped on the black keys and piped in some strings (it does not have anything close to the right number of strings). I put in some yellow bits around the back interior edge as well. Then I turned the whole thing upside down to put on the legs, which were clipped bits of toothpicks wrapped in black fondant, pushed into two layers of cut-out rectangles of fondant on the base. For the lid, I cut out a shape to match the bottom piece and let it dry completely. I wrapped a toothpick in some black fondant and let it get firm but not dry, then put a ball on either end and smushed those into place to hold the lid open. I decided to omit pedals due to time and complexity.

Miniature Piano - In the Making Miniature Piano - In the Making Miniature Piano - In the Making Miniature Piano - In the Making Miniature Piano - In the Making d

For Elton John's glasses, I tried a new technique - at least, it's new to me. I experimented with different size drips of gelatin (one packet in 2 oz water) on a silicon mat, one part greased and the other part not. I discovered that the drips on the greased part spread further and dried faster, but curled as a result. Those on the non-greased part took a long time to dry and sometimes stuck a bit to the mat, but formed nice little "lenses". I wrapped two in fondant and put them on Elton's nose.

Making Miniature Glasses d

Here are the drums before the mice were put on:

Musical Mice - Drums Before Mice d

The completed cake from several angles:

Musical Mice - Back Right

Musical Mice - Right

Musical Mice - Front Right

Musical Mice - Back Left

Musical Mice - Left

Musical Mice - Front Left

Musical Mice - Bottom Tier From Above

Musical Mice - Top Tiers From Above

Musical Mice - From Above d

Detail closeups of some of the mice:

The Beatles (aka The Rattles)

Musical Mice - Beatles aka Rattlesd


Musical Mice - KISS Musical Mice - KISSMusical Mice - KISS d

Elton John in Feather Costume

Musical Mice - Elton John in Feather Costumed

Hippies or Folk

Musical Mice - Hippies or Folk d

The Biscuit Brothers and The Supremes

Musical Mice - The Biscuit Brothers and The Supremes d

Mariachi Band

Musical Mice - Mariachi Band Musical Mice - Mariachi Band d

Two Elvises Arguing, Plus Digeridoo Player

Musical Mice - Two Elvises Arguing, Plus Digeridoo Player d

Barbershop Quartet

Musical Mice - Barbershop Quartet d

The Three Tenors

Musical Mice - The Three Tenors d

Phantom of the Opera sneaking up on Brunhilda/Fat Lady

Musical Mice - Phantom of the Opera and Brunhilda or Fat Lady d

Sax/Blues Player and Disco John Travolta

Musical Mice - Sax or Blues Player and Disco John Travolta d

Wizard of Oz

Musical Mice - Wizard of Oz d


Musical Mice - Mozart Musical Mice - Mozart d


Musical Mice - Choir or Gospel d

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Page last updated March 8, 2010.

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