It’s been a while since my last post (thesis research is ramping up, so while I’m still baking, I’ve spent a little less time on it this month), so I thought I’d include two cakes. A two-for-one deal. These are both cakes I made in the last two weeks, and they represent my first attempts at decorating with fondant. I’ve stuck pretty consistently with buttercream in all of my decorating adventures so far.
I’m still not entirely sold on Fondant. While I love the smooth look it gives cakes, I’m not quite as pleased with the flavour. It’s not unpleasant, but not my favourite flavour either.
The first cake I did was for my school’s dance recital, which was on the 19th. There’s a dance called the cakewalk, which is a couple dance that we’ve spiced up over the years with some silly themes (including: I’m too sexy, featuring a chicken and a peacock; can can; Legally Blonde; and a two-female Single Ladies version). The winner gets a cake, so I figured it was only fitting that we have a small cakewalk competition with an actual cake at stake.
For the inside of the cake, I tried a Zebra cake, which I did a few years ago for a friend’s birthday. This time, I have better food colouring and, most importantly, black food colouring, which gives a better colour contrast in the stripes. I chose an alternating pattern of turquoise and hot pink zebra stripes:
I liked the idea of the stripes being slightly different on each layer, so I alternated the order of the colours in each pan.
To decorate the top, I first covered the cake in a vanilla buttercream and smoothed the sides and top to give a nice flat cake layer. I used Cake Boss fondant, which is perfect for me because it specifies on the label that it contains none of the major allergens (wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, among them). I did a solid layer of white fondant, then added stripes in three colours: black, lime green, and purple:
I tried to keep the lengths of the stripes fairly random to make it look more natural (or ad natural as possible; we’re talking about a green and purple zebra here), but aimed to keep the stripes in bunches aligned in similar directions, as they would appear on a real zebra.
To finish off, I tinted my leftover buttercream purple and fitted. Piping bag with a small round tip (Wilton #6). I piped a small border of purple dots around the bottom, to hide any imperfections in the bottom edge where the fondant met the cake board.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win the cake, so I don’t have an inside picture to show you!
The second cake was for a birthday party last weekend. I had a request for a cake in the shape of a drum, and I thought that fondant would give me better results than buttercream here in terms of realism.
I started with a small, 6″ vanilla cake, and vanilla icing (the birthday guy likes his vanilla). I smoothed out the cake fairly well, but if I do this again I would add more buttercream to the top of the cake and make a sharper edge around the top border; the fondant ended up a little rounded once all the decorations were on.
I was asked to make a blue drum, to match the drum set owned by the recipient, so I dyed some fondant blue using my royal blue food colouring. I used this to cover the cake, which isn’t go quite as well as for the zebra cake – some of my fondant ended up cracking! I’m not sure why that happened this time and not last time, but I did notice that this batch of fondant was much stiffer than the last one I bought, and it didnt loosen up as much while being kneaded. I ended up doing a few fondant patches, which worked out alright but didn’t look as good as a smooth layer of fondant would.
For the top of the drum, I cut a 6″ circle out od my white fondant and centered it on top of the cake. This left a distinct edge between the white and blue, but I had a “metal” layer to add around the edge so this wasn’t a concern.
I had some leftover black fondant from the zebra cake, so Ioxed this with my leftover white to make medium grey. For this, I needed two long strips, one of them about 1/2″ by 19″, the other roughly 1/4″ by 19″. The thicker of the two was wrapped along the top edge of the cake, with half of the fondant along the top edge of the cake and half along the side. The thinner length of fondant was wrapped around the bottom edge.
I added 6 pairs of small, grey rectangles equally spaced around the edge of the cake as the screws holding the drum together.
To finish off, I made two drumsticks to sit on top of the cake. I used my remaining white fondant with two drops of lemon yellow food colouring and one drop of chocolate brown. I mixed the brown in well enough to give a pale wood colour, but didn’t mix it in entirely. This left a few streaks of darker brown, which gave the effect of a wood grain.
I split the brown fondant in half and rolled out into a tube roughly 5″-6″ long. To get the look of a drumstick, I took the handle of small paintbrush and pressed it lightly into the tube about 1/2″ from the end. When I rolled out the tube under the paintbrush, this made a small indent and defined the head of the drumstick.
You can see in the photo I added one extra detail, which was the recipient’s name. I was working from a photo of his drum set, which had the brand “Pearl” along the edge, and I thought it would be fun to write his name on the cake in the same font. Luckily, “Phil” and “Pearl” have two letters in common so it was easier to copy the style. I drew the outline first in my black food colouring pen, then filled in, being careful not to press too hard into the fondant so the surface remained smooth.
I’ve added a closer pic below so you can get a better look of the logo and of the wood grain effect in the drumsticks.
I had a lot of fun with my first fondant cakes, and I’m excited to do more fondant cakes in the future. I feel like my buttercream decorating skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the past year, so if I stick with fondant I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish!