Joshua John Russell Makes His Dream Birthday Cake

This guest post is brought to you by Atlanta cake artist and 15-time Food Network challenger Joshua John Russell, instructor of the popular Bluprint classes Modern Buttercream, Modern Piping and Fashion-Inspired Fondant.

When Bluprint first asked me to guest blog, I was super excited! Then, I found out I would be making a birthday cake for myself…still excited…and totally stumped! It’s like asking a hair stylist to cut their own hair (which I know some of them do). But I have never made a birthday cake for myself. I am always the one to make the cake for my friends and family.

Over the past few years, my friends have taken turns trying to make me the most ridiculous birthday cake possible. This is one that my friend Heidi made for me a couple years ago…..

Joshua John Russel Cutting a Mini Birthday Cake

Tiniest birthday cake ever! I put it next to an 8″ round so you can see just how little it is.

So what to make? Well there are no rules here (at least I don’t think), so I have decided to go in a different direction. As a blogger myself at The Fashion Caker, when I get inspired by a runway show or magazine shoot, I come up with an idea and make a cake that reflects the inspiration.

Now, I am not a fashion designer (maybe one day!), but I have always dreamed of making a collection. So that is exactly what I am going to do…only in sugar!

Hey, it’s my birthday cake, right? If I am going to spend my birthday making a cake, I am going to make something I love, not something that simply says, “Happy Birthday Joshua.”

I decided to start with one of my favorite things in the fashion world: windows!

I love seeing windows dressed for the season. Alexander McQueen, of course, is one of my favorites. I’m a bit obsessed! Here are a few:

Book Cover of Alexander McQueen Book

Alexander McQueen Fashions

More Alexander McQueen Fashions

Beautiful and haunting at the same time.

I am going to start by making the forms for the clothes.

I want them to look as realistic as possible, so I need a little help from a well known model: Barbie!

Barbie Dolls in Packages
I am going to use the dolls as dress forms and gum paste as my fabric.

Barbie Dolls Laying Next to Wood Board

Using Barbie Dolls to Make Molds

Yes, I had to tear some of them up. Sorry Barbie!

Now that the clothes are started and drying, let’s work on the cake.

I am going to cover a 1/4 sheet cake (6″ tall) with a dark gray fondant and then do some texture work.

Imprinting Fondant with Small Circular Cutter

Continued Imprinting, Embossing

I started by using a few small sizes of round cutters, embossing multiple times.

Continued Imprinting, Embossing, Using a Small Decorating Tip

I even used the top of a #5 tip for smaller detail.

Cake Covered Entirely with Embossing

So I ended up with this. I know it looks busy, but this is only the first layer for the background.

Now, for the top tier, I hand-cut with bone pattern.

Cutting Top Tier of Cake with Small Tool

Continued Cutting of Top Tier

It’s like crocodile skin magnified!

Here is the base cake with a small separator:

Tiers Stacked

Looking good!

With the clothes off the forms, I am going to add some embellishments.

Molds Created from Barbie Dolls, Dried

Adding Lace Detail to Doll Folm

I made this rose mold from lace (a technique you can find in my Bluprint class Fashion Inspired Fondant). It makes the perfect top to this dress!

And of course, we need some sparkle pants. A little piping gel and sprinkles mixed with edible glitter should do the trick.

Adding Piping Gel to Doll Legs

Adding Glitter to Doll Legs

I stood the looks up against the cake to find the right placement and then secured them using melted white chocolate.

Completed Doll Forms Standing Up Against Cake

How about that croc skin cape? It’s my favorite!

Completed Doll Forms with Further Details, Attached to Side of Cake

Oh, BTW, chopped coconut totally looks like fur…I mean faux fur…I’m an animal lover!

Torso Shape Next to Glitter

Here they are, all ready for finishing touches. It’s got that hauntingly beautiful look I was going for.

More Complete Forms Added to Side of Cake

I added a couple extra details, like the bottom to this dress. I rolled the gum paste through the pasta machine to the last number, so it was as thin as possible.

Gum Paste Rolled out on Metal Surface

Adding Further Details to Figures

…a little chaos to this dress.

Further Details of one Dress Form

Painting onto Figures

I also roughed up the edges with some black and gold paint for a dramatic effect.

View of Molded Figures, Nearly Complete

Adding Glitter Details to Figures

We are looking good!

Now, I need a logo. I figure, in honor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, I should create a logo for my line.

I am going to use the two Js in my name (Joshua John) to draft an insignia by hand.

I started with the size square I needed out of paper and marked the centers.

Materials for Drafting an Insignia

Then, I created the frame and back-to-back Js using circle cutters.

Using a Cutter to Create Drawn Characters

And then I cut it out of gum paste and allowed it to dry for a couple hours.

Paper Mold on Top of Gumpaste

Cutting Logo Out of Gum Paste

Now, I secured the logo with white chocolate and added gold details.

Adding Logo to Top Layer of Cake

And I think we are all set!

Here is the finished cake. Drumroll please!

Competed Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday to me! Seriously this was one of the coolest projects I have ever done. Thanks to Bluprint for letting me be a part of their blog! Bye.

About Joshua John Russell

Headshot of Joshua John Russel Joshua John Russell learned baking and pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University, but his elegant and detailed cake designs are all his own. A finalist in Last Cake Standing, he has appeared on the Food Network Challenge 15 times, showing the world cake artistry that is by turns ornate, over-the-top and seriously cool. He continues to live and work in Atlanta, focusing his creative energy on making modern wedding cakes that look as good as they taste. Catch up with Josh at

What’s your dream birthday cake?

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