One of my sisters requested a "Night Circus"-inspired cake for her birthday this year. Since her birthday falls between Christmas and New Year's, she typically gets the short end of the stick when it comes to birthday celebrations. She is also gluten-intolerant so I typically make your basic flourless chocolate cake. Delicious? Yes, but hardly visually stunning.
"The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance."
I did the black and white stripes to reference the circus tents. The stripes are black royal icing that is filled in with black sanding sugar. In retrospect, that was mistake. I should have gone with fondant; the royal icing was hard to pipe and the sprinkles had a tendency to stick to everything except the cake. The ruffled piping is supposed to be reminiscent of all of the fancy dresses that Celia wears in her magic act.
The flowers are pulled sugar. The golden sugar piece represents the bonfire at the circus (which plays an important role in the story). The whole thing is sprinkled liberally with edible gold stars for extra glamour and glitz.