Black and white heart cake

Black&White~SCL

This was a birthday cake for a married couple who have the same birth date. Since they’re married, I thought they  needed something with hearts. And since it was for two people, I thought of black and white. And since it was for a small family dinner, only the top tier is cake.  It was three 8 inch layers of white cake with buttercream icing. The bottom tier is a 12 inch cake dummy

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A few days before the cake was needed I started with the dummy. I covered the dummy with Glad Press and Seal before covering it with fondant. The Press and Seal sticks to itself very well so I’m able to pull it and tug it and get it smooth and flat on the dummy. Once it’s encased in the wrap, I got busy with the fondant.

I’ve said it before, I’m saying it now, and I’ll say it again in the future…Buy premade black fondant. Don’t make it yourself! It takes too much gel coloring to get it dark enough; it takes too much work; it gets too sticky. Just don’t do that to yourself. Buy it! I started by rolling out a half circle of black fondant and draping it over the left half of the dummy. I ran a thin bead of piping gel around the bottom, sides, and top of the dummy, being very careful to stay on just the black half. Then I trimmed off the overhang off the bottom and cut away the excess fondant that went past the halfway point of the dummy.

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Then on to the white fondant. I rolled out the same half circle as before but cut a clean, straight edge to match up to the black half circle already on the dummy. I ran a bead of piping gel up the sides and across the top of the dummy then laid the white fondant up to the black and matched them up. It was a bit harder than usual to get the fondant neatly around the sides but it was possible. Once I had it smooth, I ran a bead of piping gel along the bottom to attach the fondant to the dummy.

I made the heart on top a few days before the cake was needed. I rolled out the fondant to half an inch thick and a bit wider than half the heart. I used a cookie cutter to get the side shape and then cut a straight line down the middle. I repeated the process for the other side, then pasted them together using some vanilla extract as the glue. (I find painting a bit of vanilla extract on fondant glues it together quicker than using water.) I set it aside to dry and harden.

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The day before I needed the cake, I baked the layers and set them aside to cool completely. The next day, I split the layers and iced them. I covered them in fondant using the same technique as covering the dummy. I set the covered cake on the dummy, matching the color halves, then added the heart, again matching the color lines. Easy, easy.

What I left out of the explanation at the beginning was that the cake was for my son and his wife, so my lumpy fondant wasn’t as horrible a showing as if it were for someone outside the family. Family can be so forgiving of lumps and bumps when they get to eat cake!

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Zain’s 1st birthday cake

ZainSCL

This was the cake for my grandson’s first birthday. Do you think that his name might be Zain? Good guess! Zain and his family live out-of-state so we travel there every year for his birthday. This was the first time I made a cake at their house so it was definitely a learning experience…what to pack for a birthday cake road trip. Considering the boy is now 6, maybe one of these trips I’ll bring everything I need. This first trip, I forgot my giant rolling-pin which explains the wrinkly fondant. The layers had been baked and frozen at my house so the cake thawed during the trip to their home.

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The bottom layer was for the grownups so it was chocolate cake with my grandmother’s peanut butter frosting. You can get the recipe here. The top layer was the smash cake for the baby so it was white cake with white buttercream icing.

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This was a very easy cake. I wanted a big difference in the size of the layers so the top tier was made from 6 inch layers and the bottom tier was 10 inch layers. Both tiers sit on cardboard cake rounds. Instead of dowels to support the top tier, I use drinking straws cut down to size. I just can’t deal with the thought of putting wooden sticks into cake that someone is going to eat. Not a good way to get more fiber in your diet!

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Since I was working out-of-town, I didn’t want to drag all my cake decorating stuff with me so I cheated and bought pre-colored fondant. A day ahead of time, I started the decorating process by making the layered stars for the top of the cake. Taking a bit of the fondant, I kneaded it to soften it then added a light dusting of gum tex to make it dry firmer. I cut out the biggest stars then put a metal skewer into them to stand up later. I cut out the letters and the white stars. I use vanilla extract as the glue for the fondant layers, so I brushed on a drop of vanilla then stuck the next layer and set them aside to dry and harden. The stars laying directly on the cake were made the next day so they would be soft and mailable.

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So the big day arrived and it was time to assemble the cake. I made the peanut butter and buttercream frostings, split the layers, iced them,  covered them in white fondant, and stacked them. (Oh, if it was only as easy to do as it is to write about doing it!) I rolled out a thin snake of fondant for the edges between the two tiers and between the bottom tier and the silver cake board. I used vanilla extract to attach them. I used a lot of vanilla to really REALLY attach the top edge because it served to secure the tiers together. I stuck the free-standing stars around the cake. I rolled out the rest of the fondant, cut out some stars and added them to the cake with the vanilla extract as my glue. This was a very easy cake to make and I think all the colors make for a great cake for a child. And the chocolate cake/peanut butter icing combo makes it great for an adult!

Ivory roses cake

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This was another cake from the Wilton’s fondant and gum paste classes-the third set of classes. It was also part of a failed experiment making chocolate fondant. I couldn’t get the cracks out, no matter how hard I worked or how many four letter words I used. One of these days I’ll get brave and try again but not yet! I’m still traumatized.

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I started by making the roses 4 days in advanced. That gave me lots of time for them to dry and harden. I like working with fondant and adding gum tex to it rather than working with gum paste. I think plain gum paste is just too sticky. I colored the fondant, then added a light dusting of gum tex. I worked all that in until everything was smooth and then added another light dusting of gum tex. I worked it all in until it was smooth and soft. I wrapped it up with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. It seems easier to work with after a day.

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Rather than going through all the things I did, Wilton has a great tutorial on their site so I’ll just put my two cents in after you go check it out. Wilton full bloom roses

Once I had my rosebuds formed on the toothpicks, I stuck the toothpicks into a at piece of styrofoam so they’d have room to dry.

When I had added all the petals and the roses were ready to sit and dry, I stuck the toothpick through a small cupcake wrapper to help hold the petals up.Then they went back on the styrofoam to dry. Some of the roses only have two layers of petals while others have three. They were more rosebuds than full-grown roses. I didn’t make a calyx because no one would see the bottom of the roses.

The leaves were made with fondant that had been colored and had gum tex added. I rolled it out and cut it with the cutter in the rose set from Wilton. I used the pointy end of the ball tool to add the veins, folded them in a bit and set them in the flower forms to dry.

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So now it was time for the actual cake baking and stacking. I baked the cakes the day before to give the layers time to cool completely. The smaller layers were put on a cardboard cake round to be iced. The large layers were iced directly on the silver cake board. I used strips of parchment under the edges of the cake to keep the silver board clean. Once the icing was smooth and set, I took the strips out then covered that tier with fondant. The smaller tier got iced and covered with fondant.

I don’t use dowels to stack layers; the idea of putting wooden items into a cake gives me the creeps. I use drinking straws instead, cut down to the height of the covered layer. I added a bit of icing between the tiers to act like glue then stacked them. I used buttercream icing to make the ruffled border and stuck the roses and leaves around. Then off to class I went!