This is my most recent cake.
It was for a high school graduation party. (Yes I know that Congrats is spelled wrong OOPS! Don't worry it was caught before delivery. I scraped it off and rewrote it - just never took another picture.)
It is a chocolate cake with a custard filling. The cake is covered with buttercream and then fondant. The animals, leaves, and branches are made out of fondant.
I made this cake through out the week. It was really nice because normally I'm up all night for 2 nights straight because I was making the cake after work. This time I was able to make the cake and custard during one of the babes nap times on Wednesday. I made the fondant during a nap on Thursday and dyed it Thursday night after they went to sleep on a little tv tray table while watching tv with the hubs. During Friday's nap I made the fondant animals and after the babes went to bed I made the buttercream and then began decorating. *I would have made the buttercream earlier in the day but I was not too smart about it. I knew that they wanted a custard filling so I made that earlier in the week and totally didn't realize I needed the buttercream also...even though they didn't want that as the filling...duh I still need it for coating the cake.
I use the buttercream to make a dam around the edge of the cake. This way none of the filling will flow over the edge of the cake.
I make my own fondant. It's a simple marshmallow recipe that I got off of someone online.
I start with filling my large measuring cup full of mini marshmallows. Then I drizzle 2 1/2 tablespoons water on top and microwave it for 30 second increments. I stir it with a wooden spoon after each turn in the microwave. When most of the marshmallows are melted I sift a bag of powdered sugar.
I put as much of the sifted powdered sugar into the measuring cup as I can and stir.
I put the rest of the powdered sugar on the already greased table or counter top and poor my marshmallow/sugar mixture on top. Then I rub shortening ALL over my hands (front and back) and start kneading.
It gets super sticky. I normally reapply the shortening more than once. Eventually the fondant will look like this.
After I have all of my fondant made I separate it into different sizes and dye it. Once dyed I cover it in a thin coating of shortening and wrap it as airtight as I can in plastic wrap. Depending on how long I'm going to leave it in the fridge I will also put it in a plastic container.
For this cake I needed A LOT of green fondant. I also needed a bunch of different colors for the different animals.
When I'm ready to use the fondant I just knead it a little bit to get it back to the consistency that is needed.
I made a bunch of different leaves for this cake. I just rolled out some pieces of fondant and used a pizza cutter to make a leaf shape. Then I used a knife to cut the edges. After that I used a toothpick to make the veins of the leaf.
I also made little branches. All I did for them was roll some brown fondant like a snake.
When I was ready I cut and filled my cakes.
I don't have a picture but after I put the cakes together I cover the entire thing with buttercream. That way when I put the fondant on it has something to stick to.
Then I rolled out my fondant and covered the cakes.
I put little dowels in the center of the cake to make sure the bottom layer could handle the weight of the top layer.
I spread a little buttercream onto the bottom layer before dropping the top layer on top. Just to make sure it doesn't wiggle.
I chose the topper of the cake to be an elephant because the high school graduates favorite animal is elephants.
I think he was my favorite.
Last time I made 3-D characters I used gumpaste. This time I used fondant. I was reading that the gumpaste cracks as it dries. I did notice that on my last characters. I read that the fondant characters stay smooth. I thought I would try fondant. I loved the finish, however they never hardened. I made them Friday morning and when I delivered the cake on Saturday they were still soft. When I first finished the monkey he was tall and skinny. As he dried he ended up being short and fat.
I think next time I will make gum paste and fondant and use a 50/50 ratio. See how that works.
Finished cake. (It's not actually crooked. I was actually very pleased with how straight this cake was. However, the picture unfortunately makes it look like it's going to topple over.)