Bas-relief in cake decorating is rather like applique in sewing or decoupage in card making – it’s a method of building up a flat picture to give a three-dimensional effect. The name bas-relief actually comes from sculpture and carving but is a common technique in cake decorating.
I spotted Sonic the Hedgehog which I remembered from computer games of the 1980s (though I never had any Sonic games) – my boyfriend is into computer games and while these days it’s more Call of Duty (and Lego Marvel Superheroes which even I like playing!) I thought Sonic might be a good birthday cake topper to make for him one day.
We mixed a little tylose (CMC) powder into the sugarpaste to stiffen it; you don’t need to use expensive flower paste as you don’t need to roll it out that thin, but you do need the icing to be a little harder than regular sugarpaste or fondant.
Bridgette had helpfully given me a sheet with exact quantities I needed of each colour so I added gel colour to my icing and weighed out the right amounts.
I started off with the head, and cut out Sonic’s head from the template with a pair of scissors. I laid that on top of my blue sugarpaste/CMC mix and cut around it with a knife.
You can put the bas-relief straight onto an iced cake but mine was going onto a cake board which I had already covered with fondant.
Place the head on first then cut out the other shapes and place them on top, to build up the layers. The flesh-coloured portion around the mouth was actually rolled into a sausage shape and flattened slightly, rather than cutting out a flat piece.
For the white parts on the arms and legs, roll some small sausage shapes, cut to the same length and bend over to make an arch.
I think he looks pretty good, don't you?