Here’s Part Three of my posts about decorating cakes. Last September, I had the best time decorating a cake for a fellow writer and friend of mine. She’s a big fan of the How To Train Your Dragon movies (so am I! Love that Toothless) and I was excited to see what challenges this cake held for me.
Since it was a movie-inspired cake, I wanted to use scenes from the movie to give it that something extra. Etsy is a fantastic place on the web to order pre-printed sugar sheets featuring popular movies and characters and they’re less expensive than you’d think. I got these sugar sheets (printed on special printers using edible ink) from EdibleCustomPrints and they’re round to be used as cupcake toppers but I thought they’d be perfect to use on the sides of a cake. After I ordered them, it occurred to me that cakes are indeed round and these sugar circles were flat. Since there was no way to flatten them onto a rounded cake (at least none that I knew of where I wouldn’t risk breaking them), I decided to solve that problem using hexagonal cake pans. The shape of the pans creates flat sides for the cake and would perfectly feature the sugary scenes from the movie. I couldn’t wait to try it!
I used gray fondant for the cake to simulate the mountains in the movie and it was nice not to have to make the fondant perfectly smooth on the bottom, it could jut out like rock formations tend to do. I also liked how the gray was a neutral background for the edible movie scenes. The cake topper, however, was not edible. It’s a toy figure of Hiccup riding Toothless and it was just the right size for the cake (there was no way I was going shape Toothless from fondant! I’ll save that project for another day.).
I knew I wanted to incorporate the icy shards from the icy-breathing Leviathan dragon but rock candy is heavy. Cake wouldn’t have been sturdy enough to hold the rock candy in place and fight gravity at the same time so I made the top layer of the cake out of Rice Krispie treats. It was easy to insert the rock candy into the layer but difficult to get them close together. Ultimately I was happy with the way they came out, although it would have been nice to have more of them but I didn’t want to push my luck. Toothless Rules!
In October, my dad requested a ‘polka dot’ cake for his milestone birthday celebration. He decided to have a Halloween-themed cake which was awesome because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I used brightly-colored cake pops for the ‘polka dot’ cake layer and the orange, neon green and purple couldn’t have been more spook-tacular. I really had fun with the twilight blue fondant and decorating the cake with all the sugary ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, fall leaves, candy corn and bats. Most of them I bought at the grocery store but I did take the time to make the witch hats, black spiders, ghosts, and leaves from fondant. This cake was extra special because my nieces and nephews got to watch me assemble the cake and add all the decorations to it. Their awe and enthusiasm was utterly contagious!
Frozen. Anyone who has spent any times around kids under the age of 10 knows about Disney’s Frozen. My daughter knows every word to every song in the movie and she can sing “Let It Go” in Spanish (that’s not her first language).
I’ve known for about eight months prior that there was a Disney’s Frozen-themed cake in my immediate future. My daughter specified that she wanted Elsa’s crown on the top of the cake so I printed out an image of the crown that was the size I wanted, outlined the image in food coloring, laid the fondant on top of the print out and transferred the outline of the crown to the fondant. Then I cut it out my hand. While the food coloring was a bit messy, I got the desired result. I sprayed the crown with edible gold spray (they sell just about everything at the craft store these days). The small snowflakes I used an intricate gum paste cutter but I enjoyed the challenge of cutting the giant snowflake out by hand. My daughter, aka, Queen Elsa, loved the cake and she’s busy planning the cake I’ll be creating for her next birthday, lol.
This was the food table I decorated for the Frozen party. I’m always in awe of the party decorations featured on Pinterest and it was fun to go all out with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling (taken from my Christmas decoration stash), silver and icy blue mesh draped from the light fixture, an iridescent curtain (my daughter called it a frozen waterfall) hanging in front of the window blinds and fake icicles hanging from the table.
For months, my husband had been encouraging me to decorate a Thomas the Train cake for our train-obsessed son but I was still recovering from the trauma of my Ducky cake beheading itself before my eyes to attempt another 3-D cake. Instead I gave myself some time to get used to the idea and scoured the internet for any ideas on how to go about doing a Thomas cake.
Luckily I found an awesome step-by-step tutorial to follow so be sure to check out all the behind the scenes fun there. The key is to freeze the cake after it’s been baked and cooled so that it is dense and sturdy enough to stack and carve. While piping on the butter cream icing didn’t take as long as I thought, mixing the colors took quite a while.
I used my son’s train coin bank as my model. I had to let my squeezing hand recover an hour or two before doing the thin red stripes and other detail work because my hand wouldn’t stop shaking. But I was happy with how it turned out and it held up well in the refrigerator overnight.
I added the fondant face the morning of the party (it took two attempts to come up with a decent face) and my son was thrilled to see his favorite toy train character as a birthday cake.
All the kids had second helpings of the white cake and it was a hit. Definitely worth all the good memories!
My friends often encourage me to go into business making creative cakes but I’m not quite ready for that. Each cake I decorate is very personal and created specifically for my family and friends. Making cakes for money would take the magic out of it for me and I don’t want it to turn into a chore. For now, I’m content to keep it as the creative outlet it is.
Now that I’m all caught up on sharing my most recent cake photos, I’ll be taking a short break from cake making but that just frees me up time to scour Pinterest for more visual inspiration! I hope I’ve inspired some of you to try your hand at creating your own fondant cake or amazing confection. You might be surprised at how easy it is and how much you enjoy it!