Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category
There are some cakes that just speak to me. I have an entire folder of favorite cakes that I save in hopes that someday I can use them for inspiration. This month I had a request for a rainbow themed birthday cake. I must say, I was over the moon because I have saved up several cheery rainbow themed cakes. Probably my favorite is this rainbow heart cake by Wild Orchard Baking Company that I discovered on Half Baked. My second favorite is the new trend of covering the entire cake in rainbow sprinkles. Sprinkles just bring out my inner 5 year old. I was torn between these two styles of cake and so was Molly’s mom. On a whim, I thought why not make them both in one rainbow, heart, sprinkle cake.
Time for the nitty gritty. How did she do that:
6 inch chocolate cake(bday girl’s favorite) top tier
10 inch rainbow vanilla cake bottom tier
6 and 10 inch cake boards
Supports of choice for tiered cake – I use the Single Plate System(SPS) by Bakery Craft
12″ Round Cake Drum
Rainbow food colors – Christmas red,orange, lemon yellow, leaf green, sky blue, violet, pink
Fondant - 5-6 ounces of each color is enough for the hearts, balls and name
Sprinkles – 6 ounces of multi-colored nonpareils (fancy word for round sprinkles)
2.5 batches of white buttercream (a single batch is based on 2lb of powered sugfar)
Letter Cutters- FMM Funky Tappits and FMM Script Tappits were used for Molly’s name
Small heart cookie cutter
Large heart template – I created this template on a Cricut to cut out a 4 1/2 inch George(cartridge) heart.
#12 Wilton piping tip and a piping bag
Small offset spatula
Heart Tier Instructions:
The number of hearts needed will be dependent on the size of heart cutter you use. I lucked out and happened to have a heart cutter that fit exactly 14 (2 sets) of the rainbow hearts on each row. Officially a rainbow has 7 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.) I replaced indigo with pink for a little extra variety.
Use a couple of pieces of paper and outline your hearts to figure out how many will fit. I even labeled them with colors to help me test how many of each color I would be using. For a 6 inch cake, you need to cover a rectangle that is approximately 4in(height of the cake) X 20 inches(circumfrance of a frosted 6 inch cake).
For my cake, I needed a total of 42 hearts (6 of each color). Roll out each color of fondant to 1/16 inches thick. Cut your hearts and keep them in a ziplock bag so they stay soft. You can do this a couple of days in advance as long you keep them sealed. I made 1 extra of each color just in case.
Fill and frost your 6 inch cake. Starting at the front of the cake place the first 3 hearts vertically. If your frosting has crusted, apply a small amount of buttercream to the back of the hearts before you apply them. Add the next column of hearts to the left, then add the column to the right. Continue adding hearts left and right of the center. This makes sure any “adjustments” you need to make will be in the back. When I was 2/3 of the way done, I recalculated my spacing between hearts to ensure they would all fit nicely on the cake.
Sprinkle Tier Instructions:
For this tier, I wanted to carry the rainbow from the outside into cake. I baked individual layers to create the internal rainbow effect. I used only 6 of the 7 colors of the rainbow for the inside. I didn’t want the top tier to be super tall. I used just under two batch of vanilla cake. You want the tiers the same size, so you want to weigh or meause the amount of batter you make of each color. For the 10 inch cake, I used 2.25 cups of batter for each layer. I separated the batter and used the same gel colors I used for the hearts to color the batter. To make sure the color would stay bright, I added enough food coloring to achieve the color I wanted then added an extra dab. Bake each layer at 300 to 325 degrees. You want to bake these thinner layers at a lower temp so that they do not dry out and they do not dome. I did not have to level these thin layers. Once cooled, wrap each layer to keep them moist while the other layers bake. Freezing the layers for 15-20 minutes will make it easier to stack them later on.
Place a smear of buttercream on the 10 inch cake board and place the purple tier onto the board. Load your buttercream into a piping bag with a #12 tip. Pipe a layer of frosting over the entire layer and smooth it with a spatula. Add the next layer of cake, repeat layer of frosting until you complete your cake rainbow. Then frost the outside of the tier using your normal method. Smooth the front portion of the well where the white heart and name will go.
Applying the Sprinkles:
Before I applied the sprinkles, I took my large heart template and placed it on the cake. If you let your buttercream crust up a little you can attach your template with a little shortening around the edges. There numerous suggestions on how to apply sprinkles. So people say to use your hand and kind of press them into the cake. I tried that first and made a massive mess in just one handful so that was a total failure. Half Baked did a blog post where she chilled her cake and rolled the edges in sprinkles which would work great for a small cake or cupcakes but there is no way I could do that with a 10 inch tier. When researching sprinkle cakes, I came across a post on how to apply sprinkles to the side of a cake and since I was out of options, I thought I would give it a try and to my total amazement, it WORKED! Cut a strip of wax paper. I did best with strips around 2X 4 inches and place it on a deep cookie sheet or baking pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Literally sprinkle the sprinkles onto the sprayed wax paper. Shake it around a bit so the sprinkles form a single layer. Lift the wax paper and gently place it onto the side of the cake. Lightly rub your hand over the wax paper to transfer the sprinkles from the wax paper to the cake. Lift the wax paper off. if there are any sprinkles still on the wax paper, just move it to a bare spot on the cake and rub light over that spot. Do not press too hard or the buttercream squishes out between the sprinkles. Repeat until the cake is covered. I’m not saying you won’t have sprinkles bouncing around your counter but it is much cleaner and easier to do than trying to press them into the side. Don’t forget to pay special attention to the area around the heart template so that you get a very well defned sprinkle outline around the heart. Gently remove the template.
Cut out your letters in the rainbow colors. I used the Funky Tappits for the M and the Script Tappits for the rest of the letters. Roll out a fondant snake and create the swirl accents. Leave these items to dry. Roll out the fondant balls for the border. I made 8 fondant balls of each color and had a few extras. Attach the letters with buttercream and attach the fondant balls to the cake drum with melted chocolate. Don’t forget to add a ribbon to your cake drum and you are all set for a whimsical rainbow, heart, sprinkle cake.
I call this a “whimsical” peony because it’s not a true peony. I did not wire the petals, use the special “peony” cutters or anything fancy like that. Basically I just winged it using the cutters and materials I had on hand.
Gumpaste – white
Pink or Red Petal Dust- I used Poppy Red petal dust. When applied lightly it makes a hot pink.
Stencil brush or stiff paint brush - dedicated to cake decorating
Small rolling pin
Paint brushes – dedicated to cake decorating
Pasta attachment for KA – optional but helpful
Corn starch puff
Foam piece – I use the one that came in the Wilton Gumpaste flower kit
Gum glue – gumtex powdered dissolved in hot water
Begin by deciding what size flower you would like to make. This will determine the size of the center of your flower and which size 5 petal cutter you will need to use. In my case I used the 75 mm FMM 5 petal cutter but any 5 petal cutter will do.
Step 1: Roll a ball slightly bigger than the center of your 5 petal cutter. I accidently rolled the ball a bit too big and struggled to get the petals to wrap all the way around to the top (you’ll see my make shift solution to this later on). Let the ball dry. In a perfect world you would let it dry overnight. I didn’t have that much time so I used the tip below:
Tip of the week: To dry fondant or gumpaste cutouts and figures quickly, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and turn the oven light on. The oven light makes just enough heat to dry out the gumpaste or fondant but not melt your figures. Just be careful noone turns the oven on while you’re drying your items.
While the ball is drying, roll out a piece of remaining gumpaste very thin. I use my pasta attachment on a setting 4 for flowers. This makes very delicate petals. Using the 5 petal cutter, cut out one layer of petals and place the remaining gumpaste under plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Place the petal cutout on a thin piece of foam, and using the ball tool thin out the edges of each petal. This is done by running the ball tool along the edge of the petal (with the ball being half on the foam and half on the petal). If your ball tool sticks, tap it on your corn starch puff and try again. Peonies have very ragged edges so I was really really hard on the petals. I kept thinning them until they were ruffled and ragged. For the first few rounds of petals I also applied the ball tool in a circular motion, to the center of the petal cutout. This makes the petal cutout have a wider center. To attach the first layer of petals, paint a very thin amount of gum glue on the center and up the sides of each petal. Place the gumpaste ball in the middle and gently pull the petals over the top sides of the ball. Leave a little bit of the ball exposed so it looks like the Peony is opening. The petals should overlap one another in the beginning. Be gentle when pulling the petals up…they are quite thin. It’s ok it they rip because the next layer will cover most of the mistakes:)
Repeat the above with another two layer of 5 petals. As I continued to apply petals, I realized that my ball was too fat for the size cutter I was using. Because of this for the 3rd and 4th layer of petals, I actually used individual petals. I made them the same way as above but after I ruffled them, I cut the 5 petals apart and placed them on plastic spoons to dry a bit. This helped them hold their shape. Because they were individual petals, I could place them exactly where I wanted them to help the petals look like they were opening up. I placed them a little lower down the ball and made sure to ruffle the edges outward.
I set the partial peony in a bowl to set up while I worked on the next layers. Because I wanted the rest of the flower to be more, I created the next layers separate from the ball. Using the same petal cutter (a larger one would have been better but I didn’t have one handy), I created a new layer and ruffled the edges and expanded the center just a bit. This layer will be the bottom of the flower so I had to be more gentle. I placed that layer into a bowl that would help hold the shape of the flower. Be sure and dust the bowl with a bit of corn starch before placing the bottom petals in. Put a small dab of gum glue in the middle and apply the next layer of petals. Be sure that each layer is placed so that the new petals are between the previous petals (just like when you make roses). I applied 3 layers of petals directly in the bowl. Then applied more gum glue to the center and placed my partially complete peony into the middle. At this point the petals are still quite soft and will want to droop. Take a small amounts of wax paper, parchment paper or saran wrap and place it between the petals to give the flower the shape you want. (Don’t use paper towel or tissue as it tends to stick to the gumpaste). Leave your flower to dry overnight.
Once the flower has completely dried, gently remove it from the bowl.
Using a stencil brush or stiff paint brush, dip your brush into the petal dust and tap off the excess. I dusted the center just by running my stencil brush in a circular motion of the center of the flower. For the individual petals, gently scrape the edge of the petals with your brush. These petals are quite fragile so be gentle. It is better to apply multiple light coats than to have too much dust on your brush because you don’t want dust to goes everywhere. And now you have a whimsical peony.
Here is the finished cake with the Peony topper.
Here is the tutorial on the Ruffle Cake
I have been wanting do this design for quite some time. I had the perfect opportunity when I hosted a small party celebrating life as a girl! It would also be a great design for a wedding or baby shower.
Your favorite white cake recipe
5 small bowls
6 inch cake pans
6 inch cardboard cake circle
1 batch of buttercream (a batch to me is a recipe based on 2 lbs of powdered sugar)
1 lb of white fondant (this is probably a bit more than you need but better safe than sorry)
Pink food coloring - I used the Wilton Rose color because it’s more of a hot pink than a baby pink
Pasta roller – optional but extremely helpful
Ball Tool – used for making gumpaste flowers
Thin piece of foam – used for making gumpaste flowers
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cake batter following the instructions. Evenly portion out the batter into the 5 bowls. Set one bowl aside. To the first bowl add a very small amount of the rose food coloring. Be very careful. My first attempt ended up being the brightest layer. A little coloring goes a long way. Gradually add a bit more coloring to each additional bowl until you have graduated colors across the 5 bowls. If you need to lighten a color, add some of the base batter to that color, just be sure you always have enough base color for the last layer of cake.
Prepare pans with pan grease or grease and flour your pans. Since I only have two 6 inch round cake pans, I could only bake 2 colors at a time. Pour each color into a separate pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Remember that you’re making 5 layers out of a recipe that is generally going to make 2 layers of cake. This means the layers will be thin and cook quicker than usual. These layers took 15-20 minutes each to bake. Cool the cakes as usual. Once the layers are cool, you want to level them so they’re approximately the same height.
Place a small amount of buttercream on a 6 inch cake board and place the brightest layer face done. Add a thin layer of buttercream on top of that layer and then place the next brightest layer on top of that. Repeat this from brightest to lightest until all 5 layers are stacked. Next time I would also trim the bottom of each layer to remove that slight brown coloring between them. Frost the cake as you normally would. You want the sides to be reasonably straight but the cake doesn’t have to be super smooth since it will be covered in fondant. The top is buttercream only, so after the buttercream crusts, I placed a Viva paper towel on top and smoothed with a fondant smooth. You can smooth over the paper towel with your hand if you don’t have a fondant smoother.
Once the cake is frosted, you can begin making your fondant strips. Measure the circumferencerete of your cake so you know how long to make each strip. For a 6 inch cake, my strips are a little over 19 inches long. Take white fondant and portion it out into small amounts. I wasn’t very exact with this. I took a chunk of white fondant, rolled it out so that I could run it through my pasta roller. I used the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid and I ran the strips through to number 4 . This is p thin. Using the ball tool from the Wilton flower kit and a thin piece of foam, I ruffled the edges of each strip. Because I was using straight fondant and rolling the strip so thin, the fondant strips were very flimsy. I found it worked better if I let them set up for a bit. So I would make and ruffle 3 strips at a time before attaching them to the cake. For each strip, add a tiny bit of Rose food coloring and ran it through the pasta roller. You want the color progression on the outside to mimic that on the inside of the cake.
To attach a ruffle, dust it lightly with cornstarch and then gently roll it up. This keeps it from stretching as you apply it to the side of the cake. For the first ruffle, I applied a thin bead of buttercream just below the top edge of the cake. Choose the back of the cake, and gently press the beginning of the ruffle into the buttercream. Slowly unroll the ruffle, pressing gently to adhere to the buttercream. Once you make it all the way around, you may need to trim the end. Kitchen shears are great for this. For the next ruffle, roll it up and then take a paint brush (used for caking only) and paint a small amount of water along the bottom edge of the strip currently attached to the cake. Again starting at the back, gently unroll the ruffle, pressing it to the base of the previous fondant ruffle. You want your ruffles pretty close together so I made sure the new ruffle was just barely below the first ruffle. It will seem too close, until you frill it back. To frill the ruffle back, gently run the small end of the ball tool between the two ruffles, gently forcing the top of the new ruffle outward. Keep applying ruffles using an increasing amount of pink color in the fondant. When you apply the final ruffle, you may need to use a pizza cutter to clean up the bottom edge. Just run it flush along the bottom edge. After all of the ruffles are applied, your cake is ready for a topper. This cake is so light and airy, I wanted a topper that would compliment the feel, so I decided on a Whimsical Peony. Whimsical meaning my knock-off version:) It is definitely not a realistic peony but it has a similar look and feel. Keep an eye out for an upcoming tutorial on How to Make a Whimsical Peony.
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
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.
My friend Karen gave me this great book Cake Pops by Bakerella. I saved the tops of my leveled cakes and some left over buttercream and we decided to have a play date and make cake pops. This was very “ad hoc”…meaning we just used what we had handy for decorations. It was great:)
Cake – any flavor
Frosting – any flavor (store bought is fine)
Candy Melts or dipping chocolate
Styrofoam to hold finish pops
Various sprinkles and sugars for designs
I had read a lot about cake balls and cake pops on the internet. The most common problem seemed to be using too much frosting. So although the official instructions call for quite a bit of frosting per cake, we just mushed up the cake and added a few tablespoons of frosting until the consistency would hold a ball. The first few cake balls we made, we just grabbed a hunk and rolled them up. But then I grabbed my handy cookie scoop and that gave us more even proportions for the cake balls. We rolled several in advance and chilled them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Do not freeze them too long or the chocolate will crack…trust us…we learned from experience:)
Melt the candy melts in a microwave in a deep narrow container on 1/2 power. I used a 2 cup measuring cup. This was a nice amount of chocolate to work with and easy for us to move in and out of the microwave. It is easy to burn chocolate so always melt it in small increments on medium heat. The book says “you may need to add shortening to thin out the chocolate”. Using candy melts, it was absolutely necessary to add shortening to get the coating consistency just right. I added 2 heaping tablespoons to the one bag of candy melts and that worked well.
You have the choice of making cake balls (not on a stick) or cake pops which are on a stick. The rules are basically the same but if you do cake balls you need to place the ball in the chocolate using a dipping fork or a regular plastic fork with the middle tines removed. This lets you remove the ball without damaging the chocolate on bottom. Place the cake balls on parchment or wax paper to set up.
For cake pops, you dip the end of the stick in the melted chocolate and then press gently into the naked ball of cake. Let it set up a bit and then you should be able to pick up the stick and the cake ball will be attached. Too much frosting and the ball will pull away. If they are not chilled enough you can have the same problem but generally for us it was a frosting issue.
Dip the cake pop into the chocolate and swirl gently until the entire ball is covered in chocolate. Lift the pop out at an angle and let the extra chocolate fall back into the container. You want to make sure the chocolate is thick enough to coat but thin enough to cover..so it’s a bit of learning curve until you get the chocolate just right. Once the cake pop is covered place the stick into a piece of styrofoam to let it setup.
Various decorating ideas:
Karen did one of my favorite design which was a swirl pattern. She dipped the pop into white candy melts, then using a toothpick applied dots of red. Using the toothpick she created patterns with the colors directly on the pop.
Sprinkles - I have a pretty big assortment of sprinkles and dragees. Rolling the cakepops in sprinkles got a solid covering. If you just took a pinch of sprinkles and literally sprinkled them on top of the cake pop you got a much more open pattern The dragees gave a fun modern effect of spots. Place each dragee separately to get a nice even placement.
For shine I had both pearl dust and a luster spray so we decided to do a side by side comparison.
The only design we did directly from the book was the cupcake pop which we loved. I can’t wait to try other designs for her book. To make the cupcake press the bottom of the ball into a small round or flower shaped cutter to create the base of the cupcake. Dip the bottom of the cupcake in one color and lay it face down (non chocolate side down) and insert the lollipop stick.
Once the chocolate has set, use the stick to dip the top of the cupcake in a another color. Apply designs and sprinkles at will. We used red gobstoppers as our cherries but you can use whatever red candies you have handy.
We were shocked at how many cake pops you can get out of a small amount of cake so be prepared to be dipping for a while!
Also my friend Ari posted a great thread on making the apple cake pops
http://letsgetcaking.blogspot.com/2009/08/chocolate-apple-cake-pops.html. They came out super cute.
I made this cake for Mari and Jeff’s 3 year old son Antonio. As you can see, the theme was the Disney’s Cars movie. Jeff and Mari did a great job designing the cake.
6 inch and 10 inch tiers
White Almond Sour Cream Cake
Buttercream Frosting (double batch using 4lb of powdered sugar)
14 inch cake drum
2 lbs black fondant
1/4 lb of red fondant
small amount of yellow fondant
small amount of white fondant
brown, copper, green and blue food coloring
1 lollipop stick
black ribbon (1/2 inch width) to edge the cake drum
Wilton Square Cut-Outs
Makin’s Clay Extruder
Piping gel or water
Small paint brushes
Piping tips 32 and 233
FMM Funky Alphabet Tappit Cutters
Number Chocolate Mold
Red and yellow candy melts
Template for Cactus and Sign
Roll out a thin round of black fondant to cover the 14 inch cake drum. Apply piping gel or water to the drum, and place the black fondant on top. Trim the fondant to the edge. Let this dry for a couple of days. Do not store in an airtight container or it will not dry.
Next make the chocolate 3. Melt the red and yellow chocolate melts in separate containers. Remember to always melt chocolate at 1/2 power to avoid scorching. To get the multiple colors, mix a small amount of yellow and red chocolate together. Fill the bottom of the mold with red, then the middle with orange and then the yellow. Using a toothpick mix the edges where the colors meet to create a smoother transition. Tap the mold to remove any air bubbles and let set. Once the chocolate is complete set it should easily pop out of the mold. Depending on the temp between 30 minutes to an hour.
Frost with white frosting and smooth. Place a dab of frosting on the black cake drum, and place the bottom tier centered on the drum. Roll out the black fondant to about an 1/8 inch
Using the medium square cutter, cut out several squares. Avoid cutting too many in advance or they will get too dry.
Attach squares using buttercream. To evenly space the squares, place the square cutter gently next to the black square on the cake and apply the next square. While the cutter was still in place, place the next black square above the cutter to create the checkerboard pattern. Next, roll out about 1 lb of black fondant to 1/8 of inch. Using a 10 inch cake circle as a guide, trim the fondant so that you have a 10 black circle. Lightly dampen the back of the black fondant circle and place it on the 10 inch cake. Knead in a generous amount of shortening into a small amount of red fondant. Using the medium round disk, extrude a red rope long enough to go around the 10 inch cake. If you do not have an extruder, you can roll a simple rope.
Using a thin paint brush, paint water or piping gel along the top edge of the black squares. Apply the red rope around the top ledge of the squares. Roll out a small amount of yellow fondant and cut into thin strips. A Ribbon Cutter is great for this but if you don’t have one, just use a pizza cutter. Cut the strips into short pieces (just under an inch in my case). Attach the yellow pieces along the board and the top of the 10 inch tier to create the stripes in the road. For the name, I used the FMM Funky Alphabet Tappit Cutters . On a surface dusted with cornstarch, roll out red fondant pretty thin. Then place a piece of saran wrap over the fondant and pressed the letter cutters into the fondant. This is a great way to keep the letters from sticking. Paint the back of each letter with a very small amount of water and attach to the squares.
Fill the 6 inch cake (on its own cake board) with white frosting and cover tightly until ready to use. Tint 4 cups of frosting blue. I intentionally did not mix all of the color into the frosting so that it had streaks of white throughout it for clouds. Frost the 6 inch cake in the blue frosting. Smooth and set aside. Roll out a small piece of white fondant for the Route 66 sign (see template under Supplies). Cut out the route sign and let this sit for an hour or so to stiffen up. Knead in a generous amount of Crisco into a small amount of black fondant and place it in a clean clay extruder. Using the medium circle disk, extrude a snake that will be the sign pole. Place this somewhere to dry straight. Switch the disc in the extruder to the smallest circle and extrude another snake. Apply water around the edge of the Route sign and attach the thin black snake to create the outline. Use another thin snake to make the two sixes. Let the sixes dry before attaching them to the sign. Attach using a small amount of water.
While the sign is drying, cut the lollipop stick in 1/2 to be the base of the flags.
Cut 2 pieces of white fondant and attach to the lollipop sticks. Be sure the flags are facing opposite directions. Using a pizza cutter or ribbon cutter, cut strips of black fondant. Using the same width, cut the strips into squares. Apply the squares with water to the white flags to make the checkered patter. Let dry.
To create the desert rock formations, mix copper and brown food coloring into white fondant. Knead the color in until you get the desired effect. Roll this out very thin. Then just tear it into pieces of various shapes and sizes.
Using the paper templates and toothpicks, mark the front of your cake where the Route 66 sign will go. Then mark where you would like each cactus to be placed. Between each cactus, attach a desert rock formation using buttercream.
For the cactus, I added kelly green and juniper green food coloring to the left over blue frosting. Fill a piping bag with green frosting and cap with tip 32. Start at the top of each cactus and pipe down. Then add the arms to each cactus. Once done, place the 6 inch cake in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will make it easier to place on top of the bottom tier. While the top cake is chilling, assemble your support system. In my case, I use the single plate system (SPS). Insert your support system into the bottom tier. Once the top tier is chilled, remove it from the freezer and place it on the plate (or dowels if that’s your support structure). Attach the Route 66 sign and pole to the 6 inch cake using frosting or piping gel. Apply the flags to the top of the cake. Using a glue gun, attach the black ribbon along the base of the cake drum to cover up the rest of the silver foil.
The toy cars and number 3 were added on site.
This year my mom decorated her house in Red and White for Christmas so I created a cake to cordinate with her decor.The bottom tier is an 8 inch egg nog flavored cake. I made a traditional White Almond Sour Cream Cake(WASC) recipe and substituted egg nog for the liquid and added 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. The buttercream used Parisian Almond Cream coffee creamer for the liquid. You can use the powdered creamer, just heat the water and add equal parts dry creamer to water. That’s a tip I learned from Sharon at her Sugar Shack blog.
The top tier is a 6 inch chocolate cake with a cherry cranberry filling and ganache coating under the fondant.
Buttercream to ice the bottom tier
2 1/2 lbs Red Fondant
1/2 lb White Fondant
1/4 lb White Gumpaste (or fondant with gum-tex or tylose added)
2 jars of sparkling sugar (I combined the fine sanding sugar and chunky sparkling sugar because it’s what I had on hand)
1 jar small white pearls (Wilton)
2 6 inch cake boards
2 8 inch cake boards
1 large plastic cake board( larger than your largest cake)
1 cake drum (10 inches or larger)
A 1/2 sheet cake pan to catch sugar sprinkles
Texture mat or rolling pin (optional)
Large and small snowflake cutters
Diamond Cutters (Medium and tiny) Atteco Diamond Cutter has ALL sizes in one set
Long Wooden Skewers
Paint brushes for caking
3 cups Bakers Semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
I made the chocolate ganache for the top tier the day before because it needs to set. Since I was using the ganache under fondant, you want the ganache to be setting consistency (not pouring consistency). To do this use 2 parts chocolate (I used Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate squares) to 1 part heavy whipping cream. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Heat the cream to just before boiling and pour over chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and then stir to melt the chocolate and combine the cream until mixture is smooth. Cover tightly and let sit on the counter for several hours or overnight to cool.
In addition to making the chocolate ganache the day before, you should make the gumpaste snowflakes for the toppers in advance so they have time to dry. You can do straight gumpaste, 50/50 gumpaste and fondant or fondant mixed with gum-tex or tylose. I used straight gumpaste because I had it on hand. Roll the gumpaste thin but not too thin because they will need to be able to hold themselves up once they dry. I cut out 3 large snowflakes. 2 for the front and 1 for the back (I like the back of my cakes to look pretty too). I then cut out 3 small snowflakes as well. I let them all dry overnight. You should make 1 or 2 extras in case of breakage.
After the cakes are baked and cooled. Tape the 2 6 inch cake boards together and tape the 2 8 inch cake boards together. I cover my boards in press and seal. If you’re not going to cover the boards, only use tape between the boards. Fill and stack the cakes on each board as you normally would.
Place the 6 inch cake on a larger plastic board (I buy mine at Hobby Lobby and they’re washable so you rarely have to replace them). The ganache should be peanut butter consistency. If it’s not, put a portion of it in a smaller bowl and microwave on medium power in 30 second increments until it’s just spreadable consistency. Ice the cake so that it’s smooth and set it aside so the chocolate can set up. I am always worried about dust getting on my cakes until I found these awesome food tents. They’re 14 inches and plenty tall. I use them to keep my cakes covered between steps.
Next, place the 8 inch cake on the larger plastic cake board. The larger board makes it much easier to handle the cakes. Frost the bottom tier in buttercream. Line the bottom of your sheet pan with wax paper. Place your cake in the pan. Grab a handful of sparkling sugar and place it directly on the cake, gently but firmly press it into the sides of the cake. Work your way all around the cake. The extra sugar will fall into the pan. Be sure and reuse the sugar that is dropped. Don’t forget to sugar the top of your cake as well. The cake should be very sparkly.
With the left over sugar in the pan, take the small snowflakes from the day before and paint piping gel on the front side of the each snowflake. Cover in the sparkling sugar. With the larger snowflakes, paint piping gel just along the edge of the snowflake. Be careful not to break them. I laid them (one at a time) directly in the pan with the sugar and just shook the pan until the sugar coated the edges. Set all the snowflakes aside to dry. Keep the sugar and pan handy,you may need it later.
Next you will want to roll out a small portion of the red fondant for the diamonds that go around the base tier. I used the Ateco 8 Piece Stainless Steel Diamond Shaped Cutter Set. I love this set, I may have to stock up on all the other shapes soon:) Roll the fondant about 1/8 inch thick. Too thin and they will be hard to place onto the cake, too thick and they look funny. Take an impression mat or a textured rolling pin and roll over the fondant with good pressure. I used an impression mat that had swirls on it. Cut out the diamonds and let them set up for a few minutes. To apply them to the cake, paint a thin layer of piping gel or frosting to the back of the diamonds. Be sure and get the tips or they will not stick to the sugar. Place the first diamond on the front of the cake. Place a few to the left and then go back to the front and place a few to the right. Continue this process until you get to the back. The diamonds rarely line up perfectly, that’s why they call it the back.
Roll out a small portion of white fondant and cut out the tiny diamonds that will cover the intersections of the red diamonds. Paint one side of the small diamonds with water or piping gel and place them in the sugar pan, shake gently until well coated. Attach the small diamonds to the intersection of the larger red diamonds. Place a dot of piping gel in the middle of each white diamond and place a pearl in the middle. While you’re still waiting on the ganache to set up you can decorate your snowflakes. Attach each of the small sugared snowflakes to the middle of the larger snowflakes using piping gel. Attach pearls in different patterns to each snowflake. I used piping gel but it didn’t hold as well as I had hoped on the dry gumpaste. Next time I will use frosting.
By now the ganache should be reasonably set. You will need to roll out the red fondant. To cover a 6 inch cake, typically you roll out 2 lbs of fondant and that gives you plenty of overlap to work with. If you’re careful you can save the scraps and use them later. Once the fondant is rolled out, apply the impress mat to the fondant. Apply piping gel or simple syrup to the ganache so that the fondant has something to adhere to. I use a paint brush and just paint it on.
Gently roll the fondant onto your rolling pin (trying hard not to squish the impressions) and apply it to the cake. Gently smooth the fondant down around the cake and trim off the excess. Again trying not to squish the impression out of the fondant.
Then roll out a 1/2 lb of white fondant.Trim the edge to look like snow fall. Use the bottom of a 6 inch cake pan to determine the size and shape you want. Apply piping gel to the top of the red tier and place the white fondant on top of it. Use your ball tool to adjust the shape if necessary. Once the white layer of fondant is applied. Using a paint brush, paint piping gel just along the edge of the white layer. Place the left over sparkling sugar in a zip lock bag or piping bag and snip the end off so that the sugar comes out easier but not crazy fast. Go around the edge of the cake with the sugar and it should stick to the piping gel but not the rest of the cake. I cut out a few more small snowflakes and attached them to the top tier.
I use the SPS (single plate system) as my support so at this point, I put the 6inch plate and pillars into the 8 inch cake and then placed my 6 inch cake on top of it. Other people prefer using dowels but I find SPS to be very easy to use. I then took a piping bag with a large round tip and piped “snow” around the top tier and around the bottom tier and of course added more sparkling sugar to the borders.
The last thing I needed to do was to attach the skewers to the snowflake toppers. I measured the height of the top tier and added a couple of inches to attach to the snowflakes and cut the skewers to size. Next I gently laid the snowflakes face down and laid the skewer over the snowflake. Then I took some fresh white gumpaste and using piping gel applied it to the back to completely attach the skewer to the snowflake. I did this for 2 of the snowflakes. I left the last one without a skewer because I wanted to lean it against the other two in the back. I let them dry for several hours.
I applied the snowflake topper after I arrived on-site and added a little more frosting to the base of the topper to finish the cake.
13X9 Oval cake pan
9 inch heart cake pan
Double batch of cake mix – (I used the White Almond Sour Cream cake. The recipe link is a double batch already)
Double batch of buttercream. (tint 6 cups of the frosting a medium brown). My favorite BC is Sugar Shack’s Buttercream. I do NOT recommend using store bought frosting for this cake. It is very difficult to get a smooth finish with store bought frosting.
10 store bought Rice Krispy Treats (for wings and drumsticks)
Brown Food Coloring
2 Tablespoons of corn syrup
2 Tablespoons of vodka
Large rectangular cake boards- doubled and covered in press in seal wrap
Roasting Pan – I used the largest size for this cake
Small travel hairspray bottle (new – only to be used for cakes)
How to construct the cake:
Prep the pan, using Homemade Cake Release (recipe found at the end of my Go to Chocolate Cake post) or grease and flour the pans. Fill the heart cake pan 2/3 full with batter. Place the rest of the batter in the oval cake pan. Bake the oval and heart cakes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. You can freeze the cakes before carving to reduce the crumbs. I did not have time to chill my cakes in advance. You can see in my pics that it still worked out OK. Level the oval cake so that it has a flat top surface. Do not level the heart cake. The hump on the top of the cake will add to the natural shape of the turkey.
Before constructing the cake, trim your cake board so that it fits into the your roasting ban. My roasting pan was quite deep so I taped several cake boards together and placed them in the base to lift the cake to the desired height.
Place a small amount of buttercream on the board and place the oval cake cut side down. Place a layer of buttercream on the top of the oval cake and place the heart cake in your desired location. Carve the large piece of excess cake from the oval. Do this in large chunks and save the cake scraps. You will use them later for the stuffing.
At the pointed end of the heart cake, cut out a small cavity to represent the turkey opening. Shape the cake to simulate the shape of the turkey. Be sure to carve along the sides so that the two layers don’t look like two distinct cakes. It does not need to be perfect because you can adjust the shape using extra buttercream.
Crumb coat the cake and leave it to set up. Crumb coating a cake is done by thinning down a portion of icing and rough icing the cake to seal in all of the crumbs. This makes icing the cake later much easier and gives you a crumb free final coat. While the crumb coat is setting up, make the drumsticks and the wings.
Use 2 1/2 Rice Kripsy Treats (RKT) for each drum stick. To shape the drumsticks, take 2 RKTs and smashed them together with your hands then roll them into the shape of a fat cone. Take 1/2 of another RKT and shaped it as a skinny log. Press your thumb into the bottom of the log to give it a stubby end. Then squish the log onto the cone, and using your fingers smooth the seam together so it makes a single drum stick. For the wings, take 1 1/2 rice krispy treats and shape into a longer cone shape. Make the tail of the cone a bit longer and pointier than you would for the drumsticks. Because the wings have sharper angles, press the edges of the wings between your two palms to get a sharper edge.
Place the wings and drumsticks along the sides of your crumbcoated turkey cake. Crumb coat the wings and the drumsticks so that the lines between the legs and wings are smooth with the turkey. Do not use too much frosting on the legs and wings or you will loose their definition.
Frost the turkey cake (including legs and wings) in the brown frostings. Notice I was not careful with getting perfectly smooth frosting on my cake. Since my heart cake had not risen as high as I had hoped, I built up the frosting to make the hump on the turkey’s back.
Once the cake is frosted, let the buttercream crust. This means you let the frosting setup so that it is not sticky to the touch. While the cake is crusting, cut the cake scraps you saved from earlier into small square to resemble stuffing. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10 minutes at 325 degrees or until they have bit more color to them .
Now that the frosting has crusted, to smooth the icing you will need your paper towels. Place the paper towel on the cake, textured side to the cake. Rub your hand over the paper towel to smooth out the frosting. Rub the cake with a gentle pressure, enough to smooth out the creases but not to actually shift the icing. If you lift the paper towel and the frosting sticks then the frosting did not crust enough and you need to let it set longer. Crusting can take anywhere from 10 min to 30 min depending on your recipe, humidity etc. By placing the paper towel texture side down, it leaves an impression in the frosting that helps mimic the turkey skin.
Next you will want to color the turkey so it looks more realistic. Most people use an airbrush, however I do not own one so I had to improvise. Take a new small travel hair spray bottle and fill it about 1/2 full with vodka. Then add a significant amount of brown food coloring. Add however much food coloring you think you need and then add more:) Add corn syrup to the bottle until the bottle is about 3/4 full. Place the cap on the bottle and shake well to mix the ingredients. Spritz the cake on all sides until you reach the desired color and look. It doesn’t take very much of the corn syrup mixture to get the desired effect. When you spritz the cake it has a tendency to go everywhere so I placed a cake board behind the cake as I spritzed it. You can see in the picture there is also a faint hint of color on the cake board. The board will be covered but I did use a dry paper towel to wipe off as much excess as I could. The corn syrup vodka mixture will add both sheen and color to your cake. The corn syrup will also be slightly sticky and needs to dry.
I left my cake in a cake box with paper towels over the top (not touching the cake) until we needed to leave. Next wash the romaine lettuce leaves and place them on a kitchen towel (or paper towel). Dry the leaves VERY well. Place the turkey cake in the roasting pan. Trim the lettuce and place it gently around the cake to cover the cake board. Take the toasted cake scraps and sprinkle them in the cavity opening and around the turkey cake to add to the effect.
Deliver your turkey to the dinner table…oops I mean dessert table!
Supplies used :
9 inch dummy cake (or regular cake)
1.5 lbs of fondant
Small rolling pin
Large rolling pin
Pizza cutter Pasta roller (optional)
Dry paint brush
Water to adhere panels (piping gel or gum glue would also work)
Fondant Panels need: 1 Front panel: Rectangle rolled to a number 1 on my KitchenAide pasta roller.
18 -20 side panels: Nine triangles for each side. Rolled to a number two on my kitchen Aide pasta roller.
1 – Back panel cut into a triangle with its top cut off. This I had to hand roll to get the width needed for the back panel.
Step 1: Roll out fondant about as wide as your pasta maker. Approximately 4 inches across. Run it through the pasta machine at level one. If you are not using a pasta roller, roll it just under your normal ¼ inch thick layer. Cut fondant to make a 4X8 rectangle for the front panel. This is slightly longer than it needs to be. Adhere to cake with water or glue. Smooth down. Trim the top to avoid too much bulk.
Step 2: To create the side panels, Repeat step one but this time run through the pasta machine to level 2. (This is slightly thinner than the front panel). Cut another 4X8 panel (this does not have to be perfect because you’ll be trimming the ends to avoid too much bulk at the top of the cake).
Step 3: Cut the 4X8 rectangle on an angle to create two elongated triangles.
Step 4: Gently roll up the angled edge of the triangle. This should create a soft rounded edge. Creasing it causes the fondant to look more flat and less like fabric so make sure you roll it gently and don’t press down on the rounded edge. I gently ran the edge of my hand along the rounded edge to make sure it was straight. When you roll up the angle side, part of the tip of the triangle is hanging over the bottom portion of the triangle. Trim the bottom of the triangle so that it is straight across and can be lined up with the bottom of the cake. Trim the top inch or so off the triangle to avoid bulk in the middle of the cake.
Step 5: Using a damp brush, apply a very light layer of moisture to the back of the panel. Place the bottom corner of the triangle in the center of the front panel already on the cake. Adjust the top of the triangle so it appears draped over the cake. This may mean that the bottom of the triangle does not lay flush with the cake. This is OK. Applied pleat to the cake. Trim bottom edge.
Step 6: Trim the bottom of the triangle so it is flush with the cake. Like you would any time you apply fondant to the cake. Run the dry brush along the bottom edge of the panel to remove any rough edges and help to adhere the tip to the previous panel. I preferred using a smaller dry paint brush for this job.
Step 7: Flip the second triangle over so that you will create edge the facing the opposite way of the first triangle. Roll the edge and apply to the other side of the center panel following the same method in step 3. You can play around with placement but for the first few panels, I liked the bottom points to come pretty close to the previous triangle point. This is strictly a personal preference on how you want the cake to look.
Step 8: Repeat steps 3-5 until you have panels that almost to the very back of the cake. Be sure and use the same number of panels on each side of the cake. I used 9 panels on each side of this dummy cake.
Step 9: Before you make the back panel, you will want to create a template to make sure you get the basic dimensions correct. Take a piece of paper or paper towel and place it on the back of the cake. Determine how wide the bottom will need to be and the angle that looks best with your last 2 panels. Cut your template as a triangle and cut the top off of the triangle to avoid bulk on top of the cake. For this cake, the base of the triangle was a little over 7 inches and needed a pretty steep angle on both sides to match the angle of the last 2 panels.
Step 10: Roll your fondant out on a mat to the same thickness as your panels. I was unable to do this in the paste roller because I could not get the width and I height I needed. Use your template to cut out the back panel.
Step 11: Gently roll each side of the triangle up. Trim the bottom so that it can lay flush with the bottom of the cake and trim the top to remove any overlap of the two sides.
Step 12: Lightly dampen the inside of the panel and apply the panel to the back of the cake. Using your pizza cutter, trim the bottom edge of the back panel. Using your dry brush, brush the bottom edge to avoid rough edges to ensure the points attach to the previous panels.
You may be able to do this cake in a such a way that the top comes out pretty but I knew when starting the cake, I was going to have a solid topper to cover up any mess I made. I made sure the middle section of the cake did not too bulky where the next layer would sit.