My husband's boss, who previously had gotten me to make his wife's birthday cake, asked me if I would make a cake for their company picnic. I immediately thought of ants at a picnic and wanted to do it. I think it turned out pretty awesome.
This is the entire cake. It was made using three 8"x13" cakes. One was cinnamon, one was funfetti, and one was strawberry. The strawberry one was cut in half, and then part of the leftover half was used for the picnic basket. I covered the whole thing with a crumb coat of frosting and then added the colored frosting so the three cakes would look seamless.
Close-up of picnic basket from the side. This was the first time I ever tried to do the basketweave technique. It wasn't too bad once I got the hang of it. The handle is a piece of black licorice.
Close-up of the first plate. The plates were made using 5 orange Starbursts. The corn on the cob is a yellow Starburst scored with lines and emphasized with some yellow food coloring. The fried chicken (my favorite) was made using a white Airhead, covered with frosting, and then dipped in crushed cornflakes. The grapes are six grape Skittles with a frosting stem. The hamburger patty was made with chopped up Snickers pressed together and two Nilla wafers, with green frosting as lettuce and red frosting as ketchup.
Close-up of the second plate. The hot dog was made using a red Starburst and a Nilla wafer cut in half, with yellow frosting mustard and green frosting relish. Another hamburger. The pickle was made using a watermelon Airhead, then poked with holes using a toothpick and covered in green food coloring to make it dark green. The watermelon was made using a red Starburst and black frosting for seeds and green frosting for the rinds.
Close-up of ants carrying food away. All of the ants were made using two brown M&Ms and black frosting. The ant on the left is carrying a cupcake made using a marshmallow covered in cookie crumbs, and then topped with frosting and sprinkles. The ant on the right is carrying a piece of a hamburger bun (Nilla wafer).
Close-up of caterpillar on tablecloth. The caterpillar is three green M&Ms with black frosting. The tablecloth was made using red licorice to form the grid and then alternating red and white buttercream frosting.
Close-up of ant hill. The ant hill was made using scraps of cinnamon cake I had cut previously to level it with the other two cakes. It was then covered in frosting and cookie crumbs from Oreos and chocolate graham crackers.
Close-up of flowers and other bugs. These are flowers I have made several times before, made with mini Oreos and Nilla wafers. The ladybug and bee are red and yellow M&Ms respectively. The butterfly's wings were made using chocolate and orange melting wafers. This technique is in the book Hello, Cupcake. The face is an orange Skittle (we had eaten all the orange M&Ms).
A 3-D view from the side of the cake.
Another 3-D view because it's cool.
Finally, a picture of the cake at the picnic. I provided a list of all the candy I used for the different things because my husband said otherwise people would be asking me all day. If you look closely, you can tell that one of the ants has been smashed into the cake and his frosting legs flew off when a kid's ball came too close.