A friend of my dad's recently turned 90 (!) and their group of guys decided to host a special celebration. As he is a huge music fan, they hired some chamber music players to entertain, and my dad asked me to make a music-themed lemon cake. He gave me a lot of latitude on the design, and I thought it would be fun to do piano keys around the side of the cake. I thought the look would be really clean and elegant.
Little did I ever envision how often I would need to use the area and circumference of certain shapes in baking. I calculated the circumference and height of the cake to determine what size to cut the strips of fondant for the piano keys. I wanted to keep the black and white keys proportionate, but I didn't want them to stick up too far over the top of the cake (in case they started to curve), so I actually measured the keys on my piano and scaled the measurements down to fit the size of the cake. Geeky! I also tried not to worry that the keys weren't perfectly snug against each other - there needs to be enough space between them to depress them. (Striving for perfection - ain't gonna happen - it's sugar!)
The cake was lemon, filled with homemade lemon curd, and decorated with vanilla frosting.
I couldn't figure out how to do the treble clef exactly, so I eyeballed it and did it freehand. The fondant piece underneath made it easier to lay it on the cake.
Happy 90th birthday, Gordon!