Sunday, January 8, 2012

Football Cake

Touch down, goal, home run, it's all the same to me.
But for the football fans at my father's office it's SERIOUS business.  One of his employees is turning 50 and I was asked to make a cake for him. Taking into account I don't know much about his interests, one thing I  do know is everyone at the office loves the New York Giants. Everyone but me that is, I am a Detroit Lions fan, for what it's worth. I have a jersey, I know it's Detroit's  football team, I don't think they have been to a Superbowl in my lifetime, and ~yeah, that's about it.  Go Lions!
I did google A LOT of tutorials on how to make a helmet cake and found a lot of great information. I took it all in and pulled out the pieces I felt would work the best and this is what I came up with.

For Christmas I bought myself a clay extruder ( and an Agbay, a blade to cut fondant in my Silhouette, numerous cutters, molds, and gadgets ) but, only the clay extruder has been brought out of my secret shopping closet so far. ~If I bring things out one at a time I avoid a lot of  'senseless' questions =)

So I decide to give my extruder a try on the face mask.  I piped out , or 'extruded' 7 ropes of 100% gumpaste. Make sure to keep these sealed up in a Ziploc while you work , they dry VERY fast.

Then I created my layout on a piece of waxed paper.

 Once I had that I set the paper on a Crisco Can to form it into the correct shape ( or so I hope ). I did this 4 days in advance so it would be completely dry in time.

Time for the cake board, I decided to make it look like a football field. If I needed more servings I would have made the field out of a sheet cake.
I covered the board in green fondant and cut strips of white fondant for the lines on the field.  Make sure these are thin, too thick and they will create ridges in the jersey ( how do I know this?? My finished product, complete with ridges ..uuuggh! )

For the jersey I decided on the away jersey seeing at it is basic white with red.
I rolled out a T-shirt 'ish shaped piece of white fondant, placed it at an angle over the cake board, and added the lettering. This time I used red sugar sheets in the Silhouette cutter ( Thanks for the idea Jenniffer! ) .

I had planned on folding the sleeves back and making it pretty fancy but that just didn't work out so I just trimmed the edges and rolled out a small strip of white fondant for a collar and placed it on top.

Back to the helmet. When I decided to make this cake I thought " a football helmet, simple, fast , impressive " . I now think " football helmet, never again, ever!"

I stacked my 2 -9 inch rounds filled with butter cream and then another layer of buttercream and a Wilton soccer ball 1/2 cake on the top for the dome. 

With a very sharp knife I ran it around the sides to cut off any crisp , uneven edges and make it smooth.
I slapped on a layer of buttercream to crumb coat and froze it. 

I read somewhere that it's easier to carve frozen cake. I am now pretty sure that nothing makes carving cake easy.

I make my 1st cut with a sharp serrated knife at the angle shown.

Next I shape the bottom. The helmet needs to tip back a bit so it required more "rounding" than I imagined it would. Once my carving was done, I crumb coated all the newly exposed cake and chilled again while I rolled out the fondant.

Before covering in fondant I use the Viva paper towel method and smooth the buttercream. remember, lumps will show through the fondant, it's important to smooth it out 1st .

Thank you NY Giants for having a ridiculously difficult color blue for your helmet. I could not find fondant in that deep of a blue and I could not find gel color in that shade of blue. What I ended up doing was buying some Wilton ( easy to work with, tastes horrible ) light blue in the 1lb size and mixing in almost 1/2 of a jar of Wilton Royal Blue paste. 

Nice, it came out the perfect shade of Buffalo Bills blue. THAT would not do for a Giants fan, so I ended up painting the fondant once applied with a vodka/ royal blue mixture to get the proper color.

I had rolled out some black fondant , trimmed it up and attached it with a little water to the front of the helmet to give it the look of depth.

Transfer the cake onto the board, position it so that it is not on the jersey too much ( unless you want it that way ) and drive a sharpened dowel through the top and into the cake board to hold it in place. 
I cut a stripe of red fondant and placed that on top of the helmet , making sure to cover the dowel hole.

I cut the NY out of white fondant with my Exacto knife using a template printed off the Internet.
The food color was sticky enough still that the NY adhered to the helmet without any help.

I knew these guys would be looking at details, and ready to critique my work, so I added the 'Riddell' Logo to the front of the helmet.
Almost done...
The next detail was the chin strap. I made this out of 2 long strips of white fondant/gumpaste, and a thicker rectangle with rounded edges as the 'pad' ( I have no idea what the proper terminology is for the anatomy of a helmet .)

I made 4 of these things out of small rectangles folded up at the ends and put these on the straps to look like the things the attach the straps to the helmet ( great description~ haha!)

Attach to the helmet with a little gum glue.

I then added the Riddell to the strap, I advise doing this before placing it on the helmet. Sometimes I get ahead of myself and trying to stick 1/2 inch little letters on an angle is not advised.

Time for the face mask, the 1 detail that has me saying NEVER again.
Those simple steps I outlined in the beginning on how to make the mask, worked great ! I had a perfectly molded, even, strong mask
...that was about 2 inched too narrow to fit on the cake. 
Fortunately my son was not home when I discovered this so I didn't add any flowery words to his budding vocabulary. 
Looking back, I should have measured the cake first and then made the face mask.
I found forming it over one of Brandon's big protein powder cans worked perfectly ( now that I had not nearly enough time for the gumpaste to dry ).  I ended up having to run some wire through the gumpaste ropes to make sure it would hold it's shape.
For the Giants I needed a grey mask so I quickly applied some silver petal dust mixed with vodka. You can use vanilla extract, but it was a vodka kinda night for me.
This was NOT a pleasant experience, but had I measured better it would not have been an issue.  I can only blame myself for the added aggravation.

...and done!
( see the ridges ? uuuggh! ) 

The recipient liked this cake so much he didn't want to cut it. He finally did , down the middle, and they would only ate the back side of the helmet. 

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