Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? Then you probably know about the Eye of Sauron (you can google an image of it if you don't know what it is). I won't go into all the details of life in mythical Middle-Earthdom (because I don't actually know), but let's just say Sauron is a super evil dark lord bad guy who wants to rule Middle Earth. The flaming eyeball in the movie belongs to Sauron and could see everything, especially the whereabouts of the One Ring, which had dark powers that were tied to Sauron. As long as the One Ring continued to exist, so did Sauron, and of course, the good guys figured out that if they wanted to live in a happy hobbit-y world, they would need to destroy the One Ring or be dominated by the will of Sauron forEVerrr. Or something like that.
Recently, my dear friend Naomi asked if I could make a Lord of the Rings cake for her son Taylor's graduation party. Naomi and I first met when our boys played select baseball together years ago. We sat through many baseball games together and became close friends along the way. She is a caring and loyal friend who has worked hard to raise her son on her own, and let me tell you, she turned out a great young man. So how could I resist her request? When Naomi showed me a picture of the Eye of Sauron and asked if I could make it a cake, I sort of shrank back all Gollum-like and whimpered something like, "That looks kinda hard. I'm not sure I can do that, Preciousss." I like making free form pretty-ish cakes and don't really do character theme cakes, but then I figured, it's a flaming eyeball, how hard can it be? (answer: kinda hard). AND, it was for Taylor and Naomi, after all. I heard myself saying, "Oh hell, why not? I'll give it a shot." So I did.
Here's how I made this cake in case you're ever inclined to make your own Eye of Sauron cake:
1. I started with a basic yellow 2 layer cake and chocolate buttercream frosting because that's what Naomi requested. I think devil's food or red velvet would be awesome for this, you know, just to carry out the evil dark lord theme even further in sweet cake form. I smoothed on the frosting as best as I could to give me a smooth surface to work from. I'm not a big fan of the taste of fondant, so whenever I can use good tasting frosting instead, I do, but if you want to try making the eye with fondant, go on with your bad self. I do use fondant on the side to make the ring, which you'll see next. Before moving to the next step, cover the cake with a cake cover to keep the frosting from drying out.
I saw some other Eye of Sauron cakes online where they had written the inscription from the One Ring right on the side of the cake. I thought it would look really cool to make a gold ring to go around the cake and then add the inscription onto the ring, so I learned the Elvish language and alphabet to get it accurate. Not really. I just googled it and found the actual Elvish ring inscription on Wikipedia:
Oh, you don't read Elvish? Here's the translation in case you're not fluent. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably already know this:
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,3. To make the ring, roll out fondant to 1/8-1/16" thick and a little more than 2 inches wide. Make it long enough to fit the diameter of your cake, then use a ruler to cut each edge straight, making it about 2 inches wide. You could make one long fondant strip to go around the cake, or divide into two for easier handling, which is what I did and then just pieced them together on the cake. Once I cut out the fondant, I used Wilton's Color Mist food color spray in gold to coat the entire strip of fondant and let it dry.
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
4. After letting the fondant dry out for about an hour, I used an edible black color marker like this, made some tick marks to help me keep everything lined up, then pretty much free handed the inscription onto the ring with a printout of the inscription right in front of me to use as a guide. Once the ink is dry, carefully apply and smooth onto the side of the cake.
Apparently I put the ring on the cake upside down and I didn't notice it until I started looking at these photos. DOH! Oh well, only elves would know that, right?
5. Stick the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes just to get the buttercream to set. I found this really helpful so the chocolate buttercream didn't easily get mixed into the other colors I was applying for the eyeball.
6. For the eyeball, I had about 1/2 cup or so of frosting for each of the following colors: red, orange, yellow, black, and just a small amount of white. You could make your own frosting and color it, or you can use the colored decorating icings in a tube, they work just fine. Using a toothpick, I lightly scratched an outline of the eyeball parts across the top of the chocolate buttercream to use as a guide for color placement. Even though the cake is round, I made the outside perimeter of the eye oval-shaped.
7. I started with piping on the yellow buttercream using a plain circle tip, filling in the area from outside the black pupil slit and up to where you'll put the orange and red rings on the outside periphery of the eye. Using a small spatula or food grade paint brush (I used a combination of both), smooth out the yellow frosting. I found using the paint brush really helpful and used a light brush and patting motion to smooth.
8. Next add a ring of orange frosting around the periphery of the yellow. Using the spatula and paint brush, smooth it out and blend the edges in with the edge of the yellow.
9. Add a ring of red frosting around the outer edge of the eye and smooth it down with the spatula and paint brush and blend the edge with the edge of the orange frosting. Then using a leaf tip, add more red frosting to make the edges look a little more flame-like.
10. Moving back to the center of the eye, fill in the black pupil slit using the black frosting and a small circle tip. Use a small spatula and paint brush to smooth it in. I outlined the black pupil with a thin white line of frosting using a small circle tip like a #2, then put a little blob of white to make the "twinkle" of Sauron's eye and smoothed that down too with a brush. Since I had some edible white glitter, I added a tiny bit of that onto the white blob to make it sparkle a little.
11. To make the red iris of the eye, use a small circle tip like a Wilton #2 or 3 and pipe the outline of the red iris then pipie the inside in using a back and forth motion until the eye is pretty much filled in. Using a spatula and paint brush, flatten and smooth out the red frosting. Then pipe the black veiny lines in using a #1 or 2 circle tip and a paint brush to flatten and blend the veins into the red.
With a small food grade paint brush, lightly pat and brush the frosting over the eye one more time as needed to finish up the blending and smoothing the way you like it.
This cake was a real departure from what I usually make, and that made it both fun and challenging. I enjoyed making this because I knew Taylor and Naomi would appreciate it, and they did. We had a fabulous time at Taylor's graduation party last night and he loved his cake. Congratulations, Taylor!