The purple hippo cake was for a little girl's birthday that liked hippos, the color purple, and dance, so, naturally we came up with a purple ballerina hippo. The challenge of this cake was support since the middle portion of the hippo would be the widest and would be resting on two smaller legs. Well, my husband came up with a great support structure to hold all of the cake in place. He made a support pole that ran through the entire cake for stability, and then plates of aluminum in between to hold the middle section and the head. The legs were made of rice cereal treats and formed around the center support pole all the way up to the first plate.
Then, the cakes were stacked, carved, and iced on top of the support plate. This process takes a little bit of precision; since the plate that supports the head needs to be screwed into the support pole, the cake needs to be carved to look proportional.
This picture shows the support plate for the head, in place, and covered in fondant.