Reva Alexander-Hawk is a classically trained pastry chef based out of Atlanta, GA, USA. Reva’s focus turned towards cakes where she developed a glowing reputation as a high end cake decorator, supplying cakes the across the United States. Her efforts landed her on three seasons of the show, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Food Network’s Cake Wars winner two times over, featured cake competitor on Duff Till Dawn and a feature competitor of Food Network’s Haunted Hayride. Reva’s fun and whimsical style is the result of her personality, a true cake decorator whose goal is always to make people smile.
- Large spatula
- Large and small rolling pins
- Cutting mat
- Fondant smoother
- Wood grain texture mat
- Basket weave impression pin
- Craft knife
- Assorted paintbrushes
- Armature wire
- Wire cutter
- Modelling sticks
- Berry mould
- Assorted flower cutters
- Renshaw fondant: ivory, bright orange, chocolate brown, bright green, bright purple
- Gum paste: red, green, white
- Assorted Rainbow Dust colours
- Airbrush colours: green, brown
- Purple petal dust
- Lemon extract
- Piping gel
- Brown sugar
- Ganache or buttercream
- Cake boards
- 14”x14” square cake drum
- Top tier – 5”x4” round cake with bottom edges carved off to round shape
- Middle tier – 7”x4” round cake
- Bottom tier – 10”x2” round cake and 8”x2” round cake, carved to a 10” top, 8” base by 4” in height
- Pumpkin – 6”x 3” round cake (then carved to shape)
Bake and cool the cakes. Carve into the desired basket shapes. I carve my cakes upside down and chill them, then flip over and ganache the top of the cake.
Once iced, chill again.
Once the cakes are chilled and firm, cover the top two tiers in ivory fondant.
Starting with the bottom tier, place a piece of brown fondant over the covered cake, leaving the sides of the cake with only the ganache.
Using the wood grain texture mat, roll out tan fondant created by mixing ivory and brown fondant to the desired shade. Use a template to cut the wooden slats to fit the height of the cake. Set aside to firm up.
For the middle tier, use the basket weave impression pin. Use a mixture of ivory and brown fondant again but a shade darker than the bottom tier. Use a panelling technique to apply.
Create two small handles using wire and fondant, add texture and set aside to dry.
Create the handle for top tier of the basket and let dry.
For the top tier, insert the basket handle, making sure to cover the exposed wire edges in a food safe product. Use ivory fondant and create a long snake roll. Wrap around the outside of the basket, orking your way to the top of the basket edge. Use water to attach and then add some texture.
Attach the wooden slats to the bottom tier with icing. Add bands around the basket using brown fondant.
All the cake can now have the colour wash applied. Using a mix of lemon extract and a drop of brown airbrush colour, apply the colour with a paintbrush, being careful not to create any drips. Re-mix the colour wash as needed.
Add dowels to the cake tiers for support.
Cover a cake board that is slightly smaller than the cake to support all the items placed onto the tiers. Chill the cake tiers until you are ready to assemble.
For the top tier, create an assortment of gum paste flowers and berries. To save some time, use the berry mould with purple fondant mixed with tylose powder. Once unfolded, dust with a variety of purple petal dusts and attach to the cake. Paint with piping gel to create a glossy realistic berry.
For the middle tier, create a variety of vegetables using white, purple, red, orange, and bright green fondant and gum paste. To create the lettuce, add tylose to the bright green fondant, rolling out thin, cut with a poppy flower cutter and thin the edges. Colour wash all the vegetables.
For the bottom tier, cover RKT shaped into round mini pumpkins with orange fondant and add stems.
Do the same for the green squash that will be placed onto the board using a mixture of ivory, green and brown fondant to achieve a muted green colour. Dust and colour wash the pumpkins and stems.
Prepare the board and stack the cakes starting with the bottom tier. Attach the cake base to the cake drum with royal icing. Arrange the pumpkins and support piece to achieve the tilted effect of the second tier.
Stack the top tier onto the middle tier with a support piece to create the tilted effect for the top tier. Add any additional support you may need. Then hammer in a centre dowel through the whole cake.
Complete the cake by adding the dried and finished pieces onto the tiers. Add brown sugar to the board for a dirt texture. Finish the cake drum with ribbon. TIP: When I know I will be using a large amount of wired sugar flowers on a cake tier in a design, I will go ahead and use a Styrofoam cake dummy to avoid any heath and safety issues and to allow for extra support of the flowers. This also creates a wonderful keepsake.
Visit Reva’s website if you want to see more of her work!