Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My First (Real) Fondant Cake

My friend Nancy is getting married in a couple of weeks, and today we are tossing her a wedding shower at work. I've been really crunched for time, so I was just going to whip up some cake balls for the party, but I let my ambition (and my desire to get out of this stupid blog slump) get the best of me. I decided at the last minute to make a little 6" personal cake for her, in addition to the balls. She is a Hello Kitty FANATIC, much in the way my gingerific gal pal Sam is a GLEE fanatic.

"Hello Kitty"

Now, in my opinion, this is my first fondant cake. Jon seems to think the mini rainbow wedding cake is. That cake was not really for consumption, so I am counting this cake as the first. It's a bit of a philosophical disagreement in our household.

Anyways, the first thing I did was go out and get a 6" pan. I guess I'm getting serious about this because I am investing so much in equipment. I popped the first layer of chocolate cake in the oven. While it cooked I melted the candy for the cake balls and finished those up. (I had made the batter and formed the balls over the weekend and kept them covered in the fridge.)

After I had made, cooled, and leveled 2 layers of the 6" cake, I put a crumb coat of butter cream icing down. This helps the fondant adhere to the cake and not slide off, as fondant is wont to do. This layer doesn't have to be thick or pretty. Just enough icing to keep everything in place will do. Oh, and don't forget a little dollop of icing on the plate you are icing on to hold the bottom layer in place while you are icing.

Bottom layer's crumb coat after I put the top layer down and Jon said "Oops, I didn't get that shot. Redo!"
After the whole thing was crumb coated, I put it in the fridge for a few minutes and took a break. Cake making is exhausting. I wish I could have had a margarita, but alas no mix. Moving on.

Next, I used gel food coloring to dye some fondant pink, because Hello Kitty wears a pink bow. Always make more than you think you need, because you can never get the colors to match perfectly if you have to make a second batch. I also adjusted the image of Hello Kitty from above to the size I needed, and printed it from my computer to use as a template. I was not going to go hog wild and purchase a bunch of Hello Kitty cutters.

Using scissors, I cut out the template and set it aside. I then rolled out the pink fondant and used a toothpick to etch the outer part of the template (which was a heart). I used a sharp knife to cut it out. Don't pull the fondant or it will stretch your shape. You have to be patient and cut cut cut.

I put the heart to the side and then rolled out the base layer of fondant. From what I understand, you need to roll it out to about 1/8 of an inch. I don't know if made it that thin (I always feel like I make it too thick) but it worked out ok. You are going to have to make the circle of fondant much larger than the actual cake. I did not and had to do a little last minute stretching to make it fit. Roll the edge of the fondant over your pin, and drape it over the cake, unrolling gentle as you go.

"Damn! A little too small!" *streeeeech* (please don't tear!)*
Next comes the smoothing of the fondant, which I have to say is the part I haven't quite wrapped my head around yet. I understand the concept, which is to slowly, from the top edge around and down, smooth it up against the cake. At the same time you have to sometimes have to lift so that this is no ruffle/bend/fold. It never seems to work out just right for me. Probably because I am in a hurry and not patient enough. I did my best to smooth out and only got a mild crease at the bottom of one side. I had a plan to cover it though. More on that later. Use a pizza cutter around the base to cut off excess fondant. Remember, cut don't tear or you will stretch and tear the fondant.

Notice the fold there on the right! Got most of it smooth but still, Grrrr!
Now, to the sneaky covering around the bottom. I decided to make a pink ribbon around the bottom to disguise any flaws. I barely had enough pink to do it. (remember always make more than you think you need). I made a log of the left over pink and rolled it into a flat strip. Luckily, my mat has grid lines. I was able to use them to made a pseudo-straight piece of 1" ribbon. I swear I can't make a straight line, even with a ruler.

To get a piece of fondant to adhere to another piece you have to dab a small amount of water where you want to place the piece. I made a damp line all around the base of the cake and tried my darnedest to make it work. Alas, I stretched to much and it tore. Crap! I did the best I could to smooth it down and moved on.

I wanted the heart for HK right in the middle of the cake so I dabbled a little water and made a little sticky patch about 2" in diameter. You will notice the texture of the fondant gets kind of gummy when you do this. I stuck my heart on and prayed to God that it was centered. (Another thing I am not very good at).

Afterward, I cut the heart section of the template off and cut around the actually Kitty part of the shape. Again, I traced the area with a toothpick, this time on the white fondant, and cut it out with a knife. I dabbed some water on the heart shape and placed the kitty shape on the heart. (A little off center to my consternation. I didn't notice until it was set.)

HK got a little oily from all that handling.
 Now for the detail work. I laid the template over the cake and used a toothpick to punch a tiny hole where the eyes and the nose should be. From what I understand, making a true black fondant is hard work, so I chickened out and bought a black tube of regular icing. Unfortunately it was a little thin, it seemed to have separated a little. I guess I didn't squeeze the packet enough to make sure it was remixed. Oh well. I made the eyes, nose, and paw outlines.

Now, Hello Kitty is all about the bow on her ear. In some images of HK (particularly "wedding" Hello Kitty) she has a flower on her head instead. I had a tiny flower cutter already so I opted to use it instead of fighting my exhaustion for the bow.

After the flower was in place, I added the whiskers and a little ear fold details. One of the whiskers ended up running together a little on one side after the cake sat, but it's no big deal. Just be careful not to rest your hand on the cake or you will smear your detail work.

Black icing: "As soon as this photo is over, I will smudge into my neighboring whisker!" *Evil laugh*
At this point, I told myself I was done, but that damn tear in the pink ribbon was bothering me. You see, I wasn't paying close enough attention when I put the heart down, so the tear was front and center, instead of hidden in the back. I thought for a few minutes about how I could hide it, and then it came to me: a bow of course! HK has to have a bow.

Using the remaining pink 1" strips I had, I fashioned a bow to cover the tear. All you have to do is gently fold the strip in half and pinch the base flat-ish. Cut of any excess fondant and stick it to the cake. Two folded strips will make a standard bow. Make a disk to place in the center to hide your pinches. Then, use a toothpick to "fluff out" the loops of the bow. It was the perfect finishing touch. I couldn't have been more pleased with how the whole thing turned out.

Tear? What tear? All I see is an ADORABLE bow!
Thankfully, the cake made the trip to work without incident. I had to drive it alone this time. I think I'm getting pretty good at transport. Now we are just waiting for the surprise party at 1 o'clock. I'll post a picture of her with it later this afternoon if I can.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. GOOD JOB!!!
    I can has Hello Kitty cake too?


I don't hate comments! What's cookin'?