Barcode Cake

My husband’s company hosted a 25th year anniversary party and they asked me to do the cake. I was super excited and they gave me free artistic control over the design. I was able to experiment with a lot of new techniques and ideas. The supply list for this baby would be way to long so I’m just going to focus on some of the highlights on this cake.

4 tiers – top and bottom tiers were classic white cake and middle tiers were chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream filling
Frosted in buttercream with fondant decorations
Tier sizes – 6 inch round, 9 inch round, 12 inch round and 14 inch square
Feeds approximately 150 people

The Topper:

Many fondant decorations can be made in advance including the topper. The topper is black fondant with tylose powder added for stability. I printed off the font and size of the numbers on my computer. I placed the computer paper under a sheet of wax paper. Using my clay extruder with the largest round disc, I made a long fondant snake. (You could roll these by hand but I like the consistency of the extruder).  I rolled the ends thinner than the rest of the snake. Using the print out as my guide, I formed each of the numbers. While the fondant was still soft, I inserted 3.5 inch skewers into the numbers so I could insert them into the cake once they were dried. As always, make 2 of everything to plan for breakage.  As long as you make 2 you won’t break anything:)

Curlie Qs  were also made in advance, out of fondant with a bit of tylose powder. Using my fabulous fetticini attachment for my Kitchenaid, I was able to roll out pieces of orange and yellow fondant about 1/4 inch thick and run them through the pasta attachment. This created many strips of fondant. I then wrapped them around a 1.5 inch diameter wooden dowel. You can wrap the dowel in press n seal wrap and then dust it with cornstarch before wrapping the fondant around a dowel. Use a dab of shortening on the ends to keep it on the dowel while it dries. Let the curlie qs dry on the dowel for 24 hours. Carefully remove them from the dowel and let them finish drying for another day or so. 
Quick tip – If you don’t have a ton of time to dry your fondant decorations, place them on a lined cookie sheet in the oven. Be sure the oven is  OFF but turn the oven light on. The oven light produces a small amount of heat that will dry the decorations faster.  

The honeycomb was a bit of an experiment for me. I knew I wanted it to be edible but I was having a hard time coming up with how to create the honeycomb effect. I kept looking for impression mats, chocolate molds anything that would work. Then while I was wandering around my favorite cake supply store, I saw a candy mold that would make hexagon jewels. Turn the mold over and the back is a perfect honeycomb. Now for the fun part… playing with molten sugar. You can use real sugar or isomalt to create sugar art, however I wanted something easily accessible and tasty so I decided to use butterscotch. I melted several pieces of butterscotch in a glass measuring cup in the microwave. WARNING – when working with sugar be very careful not to burn yourself or the sugar. Always melt sugar in very small increments of time.    I sprayed the back of the mold with a light coating of non-stick spay, then gently poured the sugar onto the back of the candy mold. Let it set up for about 10 minutes then it just pops right off the mold. I sprayed a sheet of wax paper with non-stick spray and placed the honeycomb pieces on the wax paper in a bakery box. You can use a variety of hard candies with this method, Jolly Ranchers, Butterscotch , life savors. Be sure your molds are for working with hot sugar. Many molds don’t tolerate the high heat.

Logos and Barcodes:
The logos are all hand cut fondant. Like the topper, I printed off each logo the size I wanted them to be. Then I cut out each letter or logo. Roll out a piece of fondant and let it air dry for an hour or so. Then using a very sharp knife (or exact knife dedicated to caking only), cut the letters out of fondant and set them on parchment or wax paper to dry. The QR codes (small square barcodes) are edible images placed on fondant plaques. These QR codes were scannable and included messages including the names of the business units (Wasp Barcode, System Id and Barcode Trading Post)  as well as Happy Anniversary.

Wasps on Wires:
One of the business units logo is the wasp so I decided to do little wasps flying around the cake. Using tinted fondant I cut thick circles, decreasing in size,  out of alternating yellow and orange fondant. The heads are just shaped into a fat triangle. Using gum-glue (gum-tex powdered dissolved in water) I glued the bodies and heads together. After the glue had dried, using the smallest circle disc on my clay extruder, I extruded very thin black snakes. Placing a small amount of water along the seam of each body segment, I wrapped the black snack. I left the wasps to dry for a few hours or up to a day. Eyes are edible candy eyes by Wilton also attached with gum glue. The only non-edible part of wasps is the antenae and the legs, and of course the wires they’re flying on. The antenae and legs are made from black flower stamens. I cut them to size and dipped them in the gum glue before inserting them into the wasp. Fondant this thick takes a while to dry. Using the cake wires by Duff, I shapped the cake wires into spirals and inserted them into the bottom of the wasps and inserted them into a piece of styrofoam. While the wasps continued drying, I made sheets of clear gelatin. There are gelatin specific texture sheets that you paint melted gelatin on and once the gelatin dries you can cut it into any shape you want. I cut out gelatin wings and mounted them on tiny pieces of fondant. Once the wings had attached to the fondant, use the gum glue to attach the wings directly to the wasps. Always remember it’s not safe to put wires directly into the cake so you can use coffee stirs or plastic lollipop sticks to keep the wires from coming in direct contact with the cake.

It was a really fun cake to do with all the little details.

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  1. Cristy, that cake rocks! I know everyone must have been so impressed! I love how the honeycomb turned out, and the butterscotch idea was brilliant!

  2. Haha! I love your cake! how did you get the barcodes? I scanned one with my phone for the fun of it, “Informatics” Do you generate these or was it something you gut copied? Too cool!

  3. Awesome cake! Genius idea with the QR codes!

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