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.
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.
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.
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!
The main focus of this class was adding Gum Tex (tylose powder) to fondant to make it stiffer/harder/sturdier. That’s allow the decorations to be free-standing. The directions from Wilton are to add 1 teaspoon of Gum Tex to 12 ounces of fondant. When you’re making gum paste this way, you need to work fast because this stuff dries very quickly and hardens quite well. It can be reworked by adding lots of shortening and/or water but avoid that if you can. Work in small bits!
As always, I started working a few days before the cake was needed. Time for the decorations to dry thoroughly, you know. (4 days in this case) The first thing was to make the coffin. I kneaded a small ball of fondant until it was soft and pliable then started adding brown gel color until I got the shade I wanted. Then I sprinkled a small bit of gum tex on the it and worked that in. I’m not big on measuring so I usually sprinkle a light dusting of powder on the fondant and work it in. I don’t worry about adding too much because no one’s going to eat these decorations so who cares how it tastes! I used a cookie cutter to make the bottom of the coffin and the lid. Then I measured around the edge of the bottom and cut a piece of fondant to use for the sides. I like to use vanilla extract for my adhesive so I brushed it on the base and set the sides on it. It’s just one long strip that I pinched on the sides to make the coffin shape. The gum tex makes it sturdy enough to stand on its own. The little skeleton was a plastic decoration I found at the craft store.
The next bit to do was the ghosts. They’re fondant and gum tex kneaded together just like the coffin, then rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter. When I work with cookie cutters, I end up with a little ragged edge on the bottom. I like to use the at edge of an offset spatula to rub it away. You can’t really see the ragged bits but you can tell when they’re gone! So I cut the ghosts out, stuck a toothpick in the bottom so they could be inserted in the cake later, and laid them out to dry. I turned them over every day so they would dry better. Repeating the fondant/gum tex combo, I made the tombstones. After rolling out the fondant, I traced the tombstone shape on paper and then cut it out of the fondant. They went next to the ghosts for drying. The bats were made with a cookie cutter. I put them in the flower former trays from Wilton so they would dry with their little wings curving up.
Three days passed and then I baked, iced, and covered the cake in fondant. The tombstone inscriptions and bats facial features were piped with royal icing and set aside to dry. I colored some fondant gray and rolled out the edge/border for the round cake. The ghosts got stuck into the cake and the tombstones got attached. The bats were a bit trickier to attach. I used vanilla extract as my adhesive, brushing it on the decoration with a small paint brush. I dabbed it lightly on the bats and then held them in place until the extract was completely dry and the bats were stable. Then I packed it up and went to class to show off!
I don’t remember why hubby was having a Halloween luncheon at his company but they were so I made another cake for them. I recycled the ghosts and bats. I made new tombstones because I didn’t like some of my piping on the old tombstones. Perfectionist. Nit-picky. Obsessive. Pick one, they all apply to me! Other than the edge border being green instead of grey, everything else was done the same as the first cake.