When I was a little girl my Mum made all our birthday cakes. Among many I have vivid memories of a castle with turrets and chocolate doors and windows.
I’ve always been interested in food but I’m really not a fantastic baker. I’ve just always been more of a cook a fantastic dinner sort of girl. Saying that, I’ve made an effort to try and make cakes for my stepson’s and I made Jayden’s 1st and 3rd birthday cakes (we were in Bali the day he turned 2) 1 for his party and 1 for the night of his birthday. The 3rd birthday cake I made Jayden was a Ninja Turtle cake tin, cake. Iced pretty well for my first time icing to a design instead of freehand. I was so proud of it and Jayden was pretty happy with it too!
Anywho …. so there was me. Happy to make cakes for my kids and loving to get the piping bag out but definitely not a cake decorator or cake fanatic.
Then someone on my Facebook page ‘liked’ Sandy’s cakes. I stopped by to have a look and was instantly inspired. Her work looked amazing and I decided – my kids were going to have cakes like hers for 2012….
My very favourite cake of Sandy’s is
this one. It just blew me away.
I was imagining all the training she must have had when I came across her Blog link and could not believe it when I read ‘I made my first fondant cake for Easter this year, 2009. I have had no formal training but have learned through watching YouTube demonstrations, reading and practice.’
INSPIRATION COMPLETE – I CAN DO THIS!!!!
So off I trotted to YouTube which to be honest I’d never really even thought about looking at before. I’d assumed it was all piano playing cats and dogs riding jet ski’s? Apparently not. I did a lot of fondant surfing and then also found a recipe for fondant on this website which had, had rave reviews. http://thecookduke.com/fondant-recipe/ My first batch of fondant came out REALLY well. This recipe calls for corn syrup which I wasn’t able to find here, so I made the sugar syrup as suggested. I mixed it a bit in my new MIXMASTER a present from my hubby and kneaded it out by hand after it came together. I think after working with it, it may be a tad dry but I will adjust that next time.
I decided to make a cake for one of the activities I do with my boys, Mainly Music at the Salvation Army. So I had a week and a half to figure out what I was doing and put together a cake.
My first problem was that I really don’t have any cake making supplies, and not being sure if this was going to work out AT ALL, I didn’t want to buy a whole heap of things I’d never use again. I did however have some brown, green and red gel colour from Jayden’s turtle cake, and some liquid colours so I decided to just stick with that.
My very first creation was this little snowman….He’s not great – but he really gave me an idea of how much I needed to knead out the fondant, how pliable it needed to be. The way it absorbed the colour. And how to use water to attach it all together. Pretty informative little guy really. I wasn’t sure how to do eyes so I dotted a toothpick in the colouring and into his eyes…. I also wasn’t sure how to store the fondant and after popping him in the fridge his eyes ran…. Poor frosty. He didn’t make it onto the cake in the end, I made a new snowman. It turns out the best way to store fondant decorations is to pop them in a cardboard box with those silica things still in the box. WHO KNEW?
I found a useful YouTube video on using scissors to create the fronds of a christmas tree and I made a jolly little santa claus out of my head which I was pretty happy with. Years of playing play doh with my boys really started to pay off here.
The day before the party I cooked a marbled green and red butter cake. It came out well. I got my hubby to trim it and then let it cool. I had read somewhere (my head is a sea of fondant and cake decorating info at the moment) that you should do a crumb coat and that buttercream icing was a good icing to use…. mmm I had just made these tasty little morsels … and I had the green icing leftover … MISTAKE!!!
Back to that in a minute…
So once I was sure the cake was cooled, and also once I was sure that the boys were both happy with their Dad so I could do this uninterrupted. I sifted out some cornflour on my work space and got to work on the fondant, I microwaved it for 15 seconds to warm it, kneaded it a bit and then rolled it out. Lay it over the rolling pin like I saw in the YouTube clips… took a DEEP BREATH and… lay it over my crumb coated cake.
Now to be honest I had expected to absolutely screw this up first time, but it went on really well. I smoothed out the bumps that I could…. trimmed it up and it looked bloody fantastic! Smooth and shiny and pretty great really. …. Then I noticed that the green buttercream icing that I hadn’t bothered to whip up again in plain white (I HATE waste!!) had come back to haunt me… it was just visible around the bottom of the fondant. GRRRR…..
In the middle of the night it came to me – holly! In the end the holly leaves were just going to be too difficult without a cutter so I made normal leaves with a toothpick to make the indentations and that worked out well enough for me…
So here is the finished product… MY FIRST FONDANT CAKE!
Although I’m definitely not going to have Sandy Quality Cakes for my boys birthdays but they’ll have cakes made by Mummy and that should be good enough?
Until next time …