Tag Archives: sticking fondant to buttercream

Milestone Birthday Cakes

May was a big month for us. Brian had a birthday (but doesn’t eat cake), brother Tim turned 40, and my little man Ken turned ONE (And my niece Jade, but her cake won’t be made for another week)!!! As the official Ray Family Birthday Cake Chef, along with my Sous Chef mom, we had big plans!.

First was Tim’s cake. I wanted to really personalize it, so Brian and I came up with an idea based on his first tattoo, a koi with an “S” in waves behind it.

The base is a simple chocolate chip cookie cake. Ok, I threw in an extra bag of white chips too. The cake is from a cake pan shaped like a fish (an AWESOME garage sale find, thank you Brian!). We frosted him in yellow to start. I wanted the fish to have more texture, so the main part of his scales are made from cut pieces of candy orange slices. His tale was from peach rings. I really wanted to use orange colored licorice, but was wayyyy to lazy to visit multiple stores to find it.

See the resemblance?

The next weekend was also filled with a sugar coma, from Ken’s Birthday Cake. He’s a little guy, but he needed a big cake. So, four boxes and one batch of chocolate banana cake later, here’s what we got.

From far away, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. The family was a BIG help! Dad cut the dowels, Beckey, Tim and Brooke rolled and shaped the fondant, and Mom is an awesomesauce cake froster! But, here’s my critiques (on me, not my help!):
1. I WAY underestimated how much time it takes to build a cake. The cakes were all made and frozen the week before, as was the frosting (most of it anyways 🙂 ). But actually assembling the beast was a process.

2. Next time I will build the fondant shapes as I make the fondant. It took way to long to roll out (three colors!) that morning. I could have saved time and gotten it to the correct thickness (half of what it was) if I would have done it on the spot. Traveling back in time, I would have just stacked the shapes between layers of waxed paper.
On a positive note: My red and black were RED and BLACK. Yay!

3. Buttermilk makes a heavy cake. I cheated and used cake mixes. So sue me. But, I did sub buttermilk for water, which I blame for some of the heaviness. It doesn’t help that I had four layers on the bottom tier, three in the middle and so on. Those dowels and cardboard didn’t stand a chance.
Positive: Probly one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made!

Like, can you solve this Rubik’s Cube (cake)?

My friend Ashley had a totally awesome 80’s birthday party this weekend. She asked me to bring some ’80’s clothes and accessories (because I  regularly rotate leg warmers and giant hoop earrings in my daily wardrobe, among other things). The she sent me a link to a really great 80’s Party blog and asked if I would make a Rubik’s Cube cake. I’m still jazzed about the Elmo Cake, so I said yes. 

Previous Weekend:
Now, Rubik’s Cubes are smooth. I didn’t want to just make use a frosting tip to make the colored squares; and I’ve been intrigued by fondant for a few months. Michael’s sells Wilton fondant, and I’d been sitting on a small package of it for a few months.

This brick of fondant was not going to split six ways and into 56 tiles.

 Tuesday:
Once I saw the Rubik’s Cube cake, I started doing my own research. I kept going back to this website for ideas. The twisted layers look so fun! Tuesday was also the day I decided to make my own fondant. I used this tutorial to make it. The only ingredients needed were a bag of mallows, bag of powdered sugar, and some water. Also some Crisco for your hands. The instructions seemed too good to be true, but I tried it and it worked.

Melt the mallows in 20-30 second increments in a large, microwave safe bowl. While melting, Crisco your counter (if your counter is porous, use waxed paper). When your mallows are all melted, add in a bunch of powdered sugar. Stir. By now it should be cooled down a bit. Pour on to your surface, dump more powdered sugar on, now is the time to Crisco your hands like crazy, be generous. Now play. I’ve never made bread dough, so the link above doesn’t really help me. I more so just pretended I was 4 and playing with play dough. When it got sticky I would add more powdered sugar or wash my hands and re-Crisco them. Eventually it became the consistency I assumed it should be! 

Fondant Logs. Ready for color.

 

Three colors finished. Used liquid and gel food coloring. There is officially no more red gel coloring in my house. Also, they really peaked in color after they had sat about an hour.

 Fast Forward to Saturday:
The rest of the week was also spent in cake prep – making another small batch of fondant, coloring the remaining fondant into yellow and orange, baking cakes, mixing frostings. Ok – some of that I did ON Saturday – but I wouldn’t have wanted to do this entire project in one day.

Yes, this is FOUR layers of cake, with a thin glaze to hold the crumblies in.

Four layers? Zoiks. As you can see, I did not end up getting to twist one of the layers. I used this cute little 8×8 square pan. I completely overestimated how much cakes rise. Originally mixed a white box, and a chocolate box, and marbled it in the pan. I really thought it would raise more than it did. It turned out to be about half the height I wanted/needed. I also thought that two boxes would make three 2 inch layers. Not so much. So I ended up using four boxes of cake – trimmed the poofy tops, and slightly angled sides. Don’t worry about being perfect, that’s what frosting is for. 

Pretty pretty tiles.

Before I actually frosted the cake, I rolled out and cut all of the fondant squares. They are about 1/4 inch thick. There is quite a bit leftover, so I put it in my freezer and will make something else next weekend 🙂 

Once I assembled the cake (above), I cut a piece of paper the size of the cake, then folded it in thirds, and thirds again. Now I have a tentative tile size. But the tiles don’t touch, I cut it smaller. It worked out perfect to cut a rectangle (think one row of color) out of waxed paper, then press that on the fondant for a shape to cut around. I just used a butter knife, but if your surface is protected, you could also carefully use a pizza cutter. 

Note to self: black food coloring is NOT no-taste. This tasted awful. Horrible. But all of the party-goers were super nice and pretended that it was delicious 🙂

I had a read a few discussions online regarding attaching fondant to regular frosting. I wanted the cake to actually taste good, so having an entire cake of fondant was not an option. You can easily attach fondant to fondant, but there wasn’t much about attaching fondant to buttercream. I knew that I did not want the cake to “dry” before trying to attach the squares, so that is why the squares were cut before I frosted it.

Also read warnings about how if there are any imperfections on the cake that they would show through the fondant (any baubles or crumblies/chunks). That wasn’t so much the case – but perhaps it was just because my tiles were so thick. Maybe it shows through thin fondant?

And… Drumroll please…

Almost done!

The cake is assembled! I tried to scrape the frosting off the plate, but knew that I would miss some. So I had a can of sprinkles and used the remaining tiles to hide the imperfections.

Finished, on display on the cake/candy/toys table!

I liked the idea of modeling the cake from an actual pattern on a cube. 

The squares attached PERFECT to the buttercream/canned frosting! I only had a sliding issue on one tile, but nothing major. Also, the general consensus of the party was that the homemade fondant better than the store-bought.

Pretty jazzed that I could still fit into that dress; Ashley makes a great Madonna!