March 31st, 2010
We spent the entire month making the components for a fondant cake, so I decided to roll that into one blog, since it wasn't as intensive and varied as the previous courses. Week two and three were spent making animal sculptures and flora/fauna for a jungle themed cake. Week four was spent putting the whole three tiered cake together.
The cake gals showed us a photo from their portfolio. It was of a jungle themed cake. This is what we are to work towards.
The body of the animal is a rice crispy treat, molded into an oval. That saves weight, because fondant is heavy. It will be less likely to sink into the cake. It also saves money, because fondant is pricey.
Based on the reactions I've gotten from friends who ate my cake, a lot of people think fondant is too sweet, but I'm guessing they'd be more OK with biting into a rice crispy treat - if they choose to even eat the sculptures. The whole thing is skewered onto a dowel or a wooden chopstick, so that you can poke it into the cake to help it stand.
The fondant always comes white, so you have to color it using gel paste. You knead it and work quickly or else it gets dry and cracks. It's a somewhat intuitive process to put together the animals, but still not as easy as it looks.
The flowers are made from cookie cutters, then given some shape and dimension using various fondant tools. They're dried in eggshells to help them hold their shape.
In class number four, the teachers brought out three cakes. Two were six inch rounds, the third was an ten inch round. We iced the cakes, hammered them together, and topped them with the decorations. Again, a little more to it than I expected.
Firstly, we used two cardboard bases for the bottom cake because it's so heavy. Secondly, the smaller cakes are supported by a six inch round cardboard, too. Thirdly, there are six dowels cut to exactly the height of the big cake, inserted to support the weight of the six inch cakes above.
Lastly, there are two huge dowels with pencil-sharp points, driven through the entire cake and out through the bottom cardboard. That's to prevent it from slipping around in transit. Nothing else has made me care more about fixing our potholes.
The sculptures and big flowers are adhered to the cake using buttercream frosting. The smaller flowers, with water. Transport with the sculptures off or else they'll start wobbling and leaning and making holes in the cake.
It's hard to get it right. The smaller the cake, the more ruffles there are at the bottom, and it takes a bit of practice to learn how to make it all smooth. Hence, you see my yellow cake is all wrinkled at the base.
The pros do it all in minutes, but to give you an idea, it took us novices almost three hours to cover the cakes with fondant and then put the decorations on. I finished first, but here are some photos of other people's cakes in progress, that I photographed before I left:
Eat and enjoy!
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