Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cake Decorating 301

The first cake I sat out to make as a married old lady looked dazzling in my mind.  It's Lego-ie goodness would set a precedent for every cake made thereafter.  However, my first "Lego" cake never reached it's dream of being a Lego cake and settled for a snow mountain instead.  After that followed a host of other cakes which taught me a very valuable lesson.  I can't make cakes.  This thought was unsettling. I had to prove that I could make something beautiful, just maybe not with frosting.  So, I began digging through fondant recipes and tutorials to see if it was something I could do.  Paul started getting suspicious. "Why do you want to do fondant so bad," he asked one day while I was shuffling through fondant images on Google.  I don't recall what I answered but it was something noncommittal.  He was, after all, interrupting some deep thoughts.

Remember this?  That was ancient history and I'm talking Stonehenge kind of ancient.  I was determined to never again make such juvenile mistakes.  I learned that the key to making the perfect cake is to make it at my mom's house.  She actually owns two round cake pans and an oven with slightly more accurate temperatures.  So, I started my Tuesday morning by gathering pre-purchased ingredients in a Wal-Mart sack and driving across Orem.

I baked my cakes until a toothpick came out clean and not a minute more. That kept me from repeating this.  The round pans were lined with wax paper and cooking spray and flour to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Too much?  Absolutely not.  It worked.  The cakes came out effortlessly and beautifully. I laid them out to cool and began preparing some butter cream frosting which I used to stick my layers together.  So far so good.

The next step was to crumb coat.  I have no fond memories of crumb coating, but  this crumb coat would be covered by, what I hoped would be, beautiful fondant, so I didn't think I needed to spend sleepless nights worrying about it.  And wouldn't you know it.  The most beautifully smooth frosting that I ever spread on a cake had to be covered up.  Oh well.  Here's a picture to document the occasion.

I rolled out my fondant before realizing I hadn't colored it. And I wanted it it colored.  One internet tutorial said to color fondant after it was a dough.  However, this takes about twenty minutes of kneading in order to get a solid color.  That was the hardest part.  The main blue fondant I left just slightly swirly because it was pretty.  Rolling out the fondant again I picked it up and laid it on the cake.  Then I started hyperventilating.  I had never gotten that far in a cake making process without an egregious mistake, and I was waiting for a catastrophe.

I trimmed off the excess fondant. . .

and smoothed down the sides. . .

and trimmed some more.

My mom oohed and aahed at the smoothness.  My confidence was growing by the minute.  Maybe I could make a cake.

I added a border and smoothed it with a rice paddle.  Most tutorial artists that I went to for guidance had fondant paddles.  I couldn't afford such a thing, but this rice server worked really well.

I added circles cut with biscuit cutters.

I was satisfied with the effect but didn't feel done decorating.  It was like going to a theme park as a child and being told it's time to go home when you still have rides to experience.  Just one more ride, Mom!!

So I added a bow, completing my analogous color scheme.

And waa laah!  My beautiful marshmallow fondant, mistake-free cake.
Paul's birthday is in two weeks and you can bet I'm using fondant instead of frosting.


  1. Does that mean you will be back? And could you come on a manmade day this time?????

  2. Looks Good! I have a friend who made a cake that looks almost exactly the same! except with different colors and no bow. Maybe you both went to the same web site.
    How do you like the taste of fondant? I've only tried it once when I was really little and I remember not liking it. But maybe it's not as bad as I remember.

  3. It is a pretty simple design and I saw pictures online of similar cakes with circles. It's pretty versatile because almost everyone has biscuit cutters or upside-down cups.

    I made a marshmallow fondant that tasted like marshmallows. I looked up recipes for "real fondant" but it uses glycerin looked really hard. I think the glycerin fondant is pretty icky tasting.