Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lego Cake Tutorial

I made this Lego cake for my co-worker’s son.  He loves the Lego Movie, so I was asked to make a cake based on a picture that my co-worker found on the internet, with some minor alterations.  The cake itself was chocolate with chocolate frosting with an eight-inch bottom tier and a six-inch top tier.  I ended up ordering a mold set for theLegos and the Lego man from Amazon for $10, but if I were to make this cake over again, I would not use the molds... I ended up doing more work as a result of the molds not working exactly as I had planned.

To start, I  made the topper and the cake board several days in advance (since I was planning on going camping for a few days!).  I used a 12-inch square Masonite cake board and placed a green piece of scrapbook paper over it.  Then I went online to download a free Lego font.  I printed "Cash is Awesome" on white paper, cut it out, glued it to a piece of yellow paper, and then cut it out again.  Then I glued the words onto the scrapbook paper and covered the whole board with clear contact paper.  (I love this method of covering cake boards because it's quick and it saves time and money!)

For the topper, I mixed my fondant with some Tylose powder so that it would harden.  Then I pressed the various colors into the mold.  When I removed the man from the mold, I didn't like the way it looked, so I ended up cutting the arms, legs, shirt, and head apart and fixing them up before reattaching them.  If I were to do this over again, I would probably just cut out a trapezoid for the shirt, and a rectangle for the pants.  Then I would cut a slit to separate the legs and make indentations/bends in the legs with the side of a paintbrush.  I would roll the head out in my hands and flatten the top and bottom, and then add a small circle of fondant to the top of the head, and a slightly larger circle for the neck.  Then I would roll two small cylinders of fondant in my hands for the arms.  The hands are just small strips of yellow fondant curved into a C shape and attached with piping gel.  The eyes and mouth were made from tiny pieces of black fondant, with a dot of white fondant on each eye.  I put a bamboo skewer up through the guy, put a candle in his hand, and laid him flat to dry.  When he was dry, I sprayed him with edible glaze to give him a "plastic-y" look.

When the cake was cooled, filled, and frosted, I covered the bottom tier with white fondant and the top tier with green fondant.  After measuring the height of my cake, I realized that my Legos would not be exactly the right height, so I added a strip of green fondant around the base with my clay extruder.

To make the Legos, I originally tried using the mold, but it was too deep, so I cut the textured portion out and used it to make impressions on a rolled piece of fondant.  Then I cut each "Lego" from the strip of fondant and attached them to the cake with piping gel, starting at the bottom.  If I were to make this cake again, I would probably just cut out Lego-sized strips of fondant and use a frosting tip to cut out dots to add to the strips.

Once I covered the bottom tier, I decided to add another strip of fondant, with the clay extruder, above the Legos.

I began the top tier with the 5.  I used the same Lego font to print out the number 5 onto a piece of cardstock.  Then I cut it out and used it as template to cut out a piece of white fondant.  I put the white 5 onto a piece of rolled-out yellow fondant and cut out around it.  I used my clay extruder to add a thin strip of black fondant around the white, then I attached it to a red square of fondant and attached the whole thing to the top tier.

Next, I cut dots from a strip of green fondant using a frosting tip and attached them to the top tier with some piping gel.  Though this part was extremely tedious, it helped to brush the piping gel onto a section and then add several dots at a time.

Lastly, I added another extruded strip of green fondant around the base of the top tier, sprayed the whole cake with edible glaze, and added the topper.  On a last-minute whim, I decided to add some candles.  I cut four squares of fondant and used a frosting tip to make dots for the tops.  Then I pressed candles down into them and attached them to the cake board with piping gel.

Here is the finished product:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dragon Cake Tutorial

I have seen tons of dragon cakes online, but I couldn't seem to find a tutorial for the type of dragon cake that I wanted to make.  I was looking for something 3-D, but not too complicated.  I found a picture of just the cake I was looking for on but, alas, no tutorial.  Oh well... it was a good excuse for me to create another tutorial. :-)

For this cake, I used a 12x18 inch (half sheet cake) pan with three chocolate cake mixes.  I put a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and then baked the cake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  While it was baking, I taped a few pieces of cardstock together to create my outline and then I cut it out.  I also prepared my cake board.  Instead of covering the board with fondant, I used black wrapping paper and covered it with clear contact paper.  This enabled me to work directly on the board, instead of completing the cake on a piece of cardboard and then transferring it to the cake board.

When the cake was cool, I placed my outline on top and used a serrated knife to cut out the basic shape of my dragon.  Then I removed all of the scraps and rounded the edges of the dragon while it was still in the pan.  Once it had the shape that I wanted, I transferred it to the cake board.  I covered it with a coating of chocolate frosting (which I had slightly melted in the microwave for smoother application).  Then I rolled out some red fondant and covered the body of the dragon.

Next, I covered the head with chocolate frosting and added strips of fondant around the cheek, above the eye, and around the nostril to exaggerate these areas.  Then I rolled out some red fondant and covered the head.  I used my ball tool to make the indentations for the eye, the smile, and the nostril.  Some of the fondant from the head overlapped the body, but I didn't bother to remove it because I knew that it would be covered by the scales.

I created the belly next by rolling out a strip of yellow fondant and cutting it into sections.  Then I overlapped the sections to create a new strip.  I cut the strip to fit on the front/chest of the dragon, and I attached it with piping gel.  I repeated this process to create the wider section of the belly that twists around the dragon.  Then I used a small amount of black fondant to create an elongated ball for the eye.

I used the same yellow fondant for the hair/mane and the tail.  I used a pizza cutter to cut flame-shaped segments, and then I scored them with the back of my knife.  I attached these pieces to the head and tail with a bit of piping gel.  Once the pieces were arranged the way that I wanted them, I used some edible gold paint and painted all of the yellow pieces.  (It ended up needing three coats... An airbrush would've been handy!)

Next I added the scales, which seemed to take FOREVER!  I used a frosting tip to cut out the scales.  I used the smaller end for the scales near the end of the tail and around the base of the legs, and I used the wider end for the rest of the scales.  I started at the tail and worked my way upward, overlapping the scales.  I used piping gel to attach the scales to the body.

Once all of the scales were attached (hours later), I added some tylose powder (to help the fondant harden) to the remainder of the red fondant and created the arms and legs.  I don't really have a tutorial for this part - I'm not much of a sculptor, so I just did the best that I could.  I used the back of my knife to create creases in the hands/feet, and I used a small frosting tip to give them some texture.  I used an edible marker to color the claws black.  I had a difficult time deciding where to attach them, since the dragon was supposed to look twisted.  After looking at some pictures of Chinese dragons, I noticed that there was a lot of variation in arm/leg placement, so I decided that it didn't really matter too much. :-)

The last thing I did was add some detail to the face.  I cut some small triangles of white fondant for the teeth, and I added a wavy strip of red fondant above the eyebrow.  I also painted some piping gel on the eye to make it shiny.

Here is the finished product: