Thursday, February 4, 2016

Frozen Snow Globe Cake

Frozen continues to be one of my niece's favorite movies, so for her fourth birthday, she asked for a Frozen cake.  This being the third Frozen-themed cake that I have made, I wanted to make it different from the others.  Also, I had been hoarding glass globes from the Dollar Tree for over a year, in hopes of making a snow globe or gum ball cake, so I finally got the opportunity to use one.

I wasn't originally planning on creating a tutorial for this cake, so I didn't take many pictures during the process (sorry!), but I will explain to the best of my ability.

There were a few non-edible items that I bought for this cake: the glass globe (floral bowl) from the Dollar Tree, which is about 6 inches in diameter at its widest point and 4.5 inches in diameter at the base; an inexpensive gold plated tiara from Amazon; an Olaf figurine from the Dollar Tree; and Elsa and Anna Christmas ornaments from Wal-Mart.  I also picked up two tutus from the Dollar Tree that I glued around the base of my cake board.

I used an eight-inch base tier and a six-inch top tier of cake on a ten-inch cake board.  I covered each tier with a layer of white chocolate ganache and white fondant, and then I airbrushed each tier before stacking them.  The colors that I chose to use were Americolor sky blue, mixed with a little bit of leaf green and a few drops of silver, which gave it a kind of shimmery effect.   My goal was to make the color dark at the top, and then gradually get lighter so that it was white at the very bottom, so I sprayed the most color around the top of the cake and then worked my way down.  After I finished painting it, I brushed on some white luster dust.  You can't really tell from the pictures, but the cake is sparkly (like new-fallen snow!).  You can kind of see the sparkles in the picture below, but for some reason, the luster dust doesn't really photograph well.

After painting the tiers, I stacked them and then added the snowy borders.  Luckily, I did take a couple of pictures of this process.  I started by taking a 12x12 inch piece of scrapbook paper (cardstock) and I traced the circumference of my 8-inch cake pan.  Then I drew some smooth bumps around it and cut it out.  I also cut out the center so that the fondant in the middle wouldn't get wasted.

Jessica Harris created a great tutorial for her "wax paper transfer method" which I use almost every time I make a cake.  All you need to do is spread a thin layer of shortening (Crisco) onto a piece of wax paper (with a brush, your hand, or a paper towel).  Then roll your fondant out on top of it.  Lay your template down on top of your fondant.

Next, use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of your template and remove all of the excess fondant.  Your fondant design should remain stuck to the wax paper. If your knife did not penetrate through the wax paper in the center, go around it once more so that you can remove the center circle of wax paper.  Then brush some edible glue, piping gel, or a sugar/water mixture onto your design:

Cut a slit in one side so that you can open your circle, and then wrap your design (wax paper and all) around the top of the eight-inch tier of your cake, so that it meets the bottom edge of the six-inch tier.

Once the fondant is stuck in place, peel off the wax paper.  The layer of snow that covers the top tier will need to be solid (no hole in the middle).  You can follow the same procedure as before, but do not cut a hole in the middle.  Once it is cut out, brush on some edible glue, and stick it to the top of your cake.

After I added the snow to my cake, I pressed the open end of the glass globe firmly onto my top tier so that I could see the outline of where I wanted to put my trees and the Olaf figurine.  Then I made my trees.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures during the tree-making process, but the good news is that I have already made trees for a previous tutorial, so I will cut and paste the instructions into this tutorial.  The difference is that the trees for this cake were made out of white fondant, not green.

To make the trees, I rolled a piece of fondant into a cone shape, poked a bamboo skewer up through the bottom, and made several triangular cuts in the fondant with a small pair of scissors.

Once all of the cuts had been made, I curled the ends up with my thumb.

When I made the trees for this Frozen cake, I didn't curl the tips up quite as much, because I wanted them to look like they were being weighed down with ice and snow.  To make the flat-backed trees around the base of each tier, I followed this same procedure, but then I removed the skewer and cut each tree in half vertically.  I lightly misted each tree with my airbrush, using the same color mixture as before.  Then I attached the trees to the cake.

For the trees under the dome, I just poked the skewers down into the top of the cake.  Then I put a little bit of piping gel on Olaf's feet and pressed him down into the fondant in front of the trees.  I added a few little snowballs because I felt like it was missing something, and then I dusted the top with luster dust.  (You can see how hard I pressed into the fondant with the globe earlier!)  I left the globe off of the cake until morning, so that the trees would have time to dry/harden.

Next, I attached the flat-back trees to the base of the cake with some piping gel, and then dusted the whole cake (again) with luster dust... Can you tell that I LOVE glitter? :-)

After all of the trees were attached, I cut out the letters of Lily's name and the number 4 using the Funky Alphabet Tappit Cutters.  Before applying them to the cake, I sprayed the bottom of each letter/number with a light mist of color.  I gave them a few minutes to dry, and then I attached them to the cake with piping gel.

I cut out a few snowflakes with my snowflake cutters.  Then I let them dry for about ten minutes before attaching them with piping gel, because they are fairly delicate.  I attached one under Lily's name, and then made a few more to put around the back of the cake.  I also decided to use my clay extruder to make a cylindrical border around the base of both tiers, just to cover up some little gaps.

After I added the border, I stuck the characters to the cake with some piping gel.  I ended up pressing them into the cake a little bit, just to help them stay in place better.

The last piece I worked on was the topper.  Since the open side of the globe was down, the flat bottom of the globe was on top.  In order to make it look more rounded, I took a handful of fondant and rolled it into a ball, then I flattened it out a little bit and pushed it onto the flat part of the globe.  Then I pulled down some of the edges to make them uneven, like dripping snow.  I left the fondant fairly thick on top, since I knew that I wanted to push the crown into it for stability.

That brings me to another point... The crown, though it's the perfect size for this cake topper, is relatively brittle.  When I received it, it was broken into two pieces (near the center of the base) and the comb part had already broken off.  The good news is that I was able to push it fairly deep into the fondant, which held it together, and I think it worked out better without having the comb attached. (You can see in the picture how thick the fondant is on top.)

So, that's it!  I finally got to make a snow globe cake! Oh, and I forgot to mention that I dusted the whole cake one more time with luster dust.  What a surprise. ;-)

And here is the BEST photo that I took... My sweet little birthday girl!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Maine Maple Leaves... Made out of Fondant!

Fall in Maine means chilly, sunny days and beautiful colors... a perfect motif for a cake!  I recently received a request for a fall-themed wedding cake, so I dug out my cookie cutters and my airbrush to make some simple fall leaves.

Materials Needed:
* Food-Grade Airbrush (If you don't already have an airbrush and you're considering purchasing one, I got my airbrush for less than $60 from Amazon, and it came with the airbrush, compressor, and four basic colors.  It is a useful tool for practically any cake project, and it is definitely worth the investment!)
* Food-Grade Airbrush Paint (I used the Americolor Amerimist Cake Colors that came in my kit) red, yellow, and green - brown would also work, if you don't have green.
* Yellow Fondant or Gumpaste (I used Wilton Decorator Preferred Fondant mixed with a small amount of Gum-Tex tylose powder to help it harden)
* Maple Leaf Cookie Cutter
* Leaf Impression Mat or Impression Mold
* Egg carton (or something similar) to help shape the leaves

Tint fondant a golden yellow color.  I used Wilton "golden yellow" and added a tiny bit of brown to tone it down.  Then roll out your fondant onto a confectionary sugar-covered surface until the fondant is just thin enough to be able to see through it.  Use the cookie cutter to cut out leaves.

Press each leaf onto the impression mat.

Place the leaves in a random arrangement on the egg carton.  I pinched each of the stems to make them narrower, and I curled some of the edges of the leaves with my finger.

Next, use the airbrush to paint a layer of red on the leaves.  I painted the tips of the leaves, and then lightly sprayed random wisps of red on each leaf.  At this stage, the leaves look almost neon orange.

For the last step, either mix four or five drops of red with one drop of green paint, or just use brown.  Spray around the outside edge of each leaf, and then go back and spray the contours.

Finished Leaves (Sorry for the poor lighting... This picture was taken under fluorescent lights.)

Note - If you would like your leaves to be brighter, or have more contrast, just add more red!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Sleeping Beauty (Aurora/Maleficent) Cake

Recently, someone asked about a tutorial for the Aurora/Maleficent cake that I made for my niece's third birthday in January.  At the time, I just didn't have time to create a tutorial, but I've got a few extra minutes now, so here it is! :-)

This cake is a three-layer, six-inch vanilla cake with vanilla frosting.  I purchased most of the fondant pre-colored from Amazon.  The purple is Fondarific Purple and the other colors are from Wilton: hot pink, black, and white.  The Aurora and Maleficent toppers are part of a figurine set that I also purchased from Amazon.


Bake, cool, fill, and stack three six-inch layers of cake (this cake was about 4.5 inches tall).  Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting and then use a knife to mark the frosting where you want the two colors of fondant to meet (approximately in the middle of the top and sides).

Roll out some purple fondant.  (Note: the Fondarific brand is a little bit softer than the Wilton fondant, so you may prefer to add a little bit of tylose powder or GumTex to stiffen it up, although it isn't necessary).  Use a rotary cutter or knife to cut a straight edge on one side of the fondant while it is still lying flat, then drape the fondant over the cake so that the straight edge goes across the top of the cake.  Press the fondant around the edge of the cake.

Use scissors or a sharp knife to trim away the excess fondant on the sides, and then use your rotary cutter or knife to trim the excess away from the bottom.  

Repeat this process with the pink fondant.  The seam and bottom edge do not need to be perfect because they will be covered later on.

 Next, create the divider image.  Print this template of the background images for Aurora and Maleficent.  If you are unable to open the template, you can print the following images:

 Cut a piece of cardboard to match the size and shape of the template images and then glue the images to the cardboard (ensure that the grain/ripples/channels of the cardboard are vertical).  Trim the divider/images, as needed, and then insert two skewers into the channels of the cardboard.  Here are some photos of the front and back:

To create the Maleficent side, roll several "logs" of black fondant (various lengths and widths) with one wide end and one pointy end.  Attach the black fondant to the purple with some piping gel, edible glue, or a small amount of water, and then use a small pair of scissors to make several cuts into the logs to create thorns. (I started with with the thicker pieces, and then added thinner pieces afterward.)  Use thorny vines to cover the seams on the sides of the cake and around the bottom edge.

I used a clay extruder to add a rim of black fondant around the Maleficent side of the divider and a pink rim of fondant around the rim of the Aurora side.  Once the black fondant had hardened a little bit, I brushed a thin layer of shortening over the thorny vines to make them shiny.  Here is a picture of the finished Maleficent side:

Unfortunately, I did not take many pictures while I was creating the Aurora side, but this side did not take nearly as long as the Maleficent side.  

To make the swags for the front of the Aurora side, mix a small amount of the hot pink fondant with some white fondant.  Then roll a small piece of the light pink fondant and drape it over some wooden dowels to create the pleats (the length doesn't matter, because you can cut it later).  Fold the top and bottom edges under so there are no "raw" edges, and then pinch the left and right ends together while removing the fondant from the dowel.  

Attach it to the front/center of the cake with some piping gel and then repeat the process to create the other two swags.  The edges where the swags meet do not need to be perfect, because they will be covered by buttons.  To make the buttons, I used a silicone mold, but you could use whatever type of design/mold that you prefer.  You could also use balls of fondant or flowers.  If your edges are neater than mine, you won't need to cover them up with anything. :-)

Next, create the drapes for the sides of the cake using the same process that you used for the swags, except you only need to pinch one end and then let the other end hang freely.  Attach them to the sides of the cake to help cover the seams.  You can either allow the drapes to overlap the swags where they meet, or you can allow the swags to overlap the drapes (I chose the latter).  Adjust your swags and drapes to your desired preferences while they are still pliable.  I dusted my swags and drapes with a little bit of silver luster dust, but later regretted it because it didn't cover as evenly as I would have liked.

Add a row of pearls around the top edge, if desired.  I used a small pearl mold, but edible pearls or small balls of white fondant would work equally as well.

To create the name plate for the front of the Aurora side, I used this template and adjusted it to the size of the name that I was using.  Again, if you are unable to view the template, you can use the following image and resize it to meet your needs:

Print the template (preferably onto cardstock) and then cut it out.  Roll out a thin piece of white fondant onto some wax/parchment paper, lay the template on top, and then use a sharp knife to cut it out.  Attach it to the cake with some piping gel.

I used the Funky Alphabet Tappits cutters to create the letters for Lily's name.  Then I painted the front of each letter with some edible gold paint.  At this point, I also decided to add a thin, light pink border around the frame using my clay extruder.  It was a barely noticeable addition.

To make the ruffles along the bottom edge, I used the same technique that I used for my princess cake tutorial:

Roll a strip of fondant to your desired level of thickness.  Initially, I rolled my fondant really thin, and it didn't hold the shape as well, so I ended up making it a little bit thicker.  Cut a long strip of fondant (length doesn't matter right now) that is about one inch wide.

Cut the strip into smaller sections (mine were about 3 inches).

To create the pleats, use your finger and thumbs to create three pleats (or more, if you want) in each strip.

 Pinch the pleats together at the top.

 Cut off the excess pinched portion at the top of the ruffle so that the ruffle is flat on top.

 This is what a finished ruffle looks like: 

Add some edible pearls, Sixlets, or some balls of white fondant in between the ruffles.

Lastly, add a strip of hot pink fondant (the same thickness as the strip that goes around the top) where the bottom of the divider meets the cake to give it a more finished look.

We're done!

And Lily loved it! :-)