Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mermaid Cake Tutorial

I live in the best neighborhood.
You know how normally you have that one neighbor that you just can't tolerate?
Not here...everyone is great!
Every February one of my neighbors asks me to make her daughters birthday cake.
This year she picked a mermaid/sea theme with a large starfish for the top of her cake.

For years fondant ruled the cake scene but now buttercream is making a big come back.
Buttercream may not be as versatile in my opinion, but there is something wonderful about it.
Back before fondant was big, buttercream was just buttercream. Now the key is to make the buttercream look like fondant.
It's not as hard as you might think.
Before I get started with the decorating tutorial I will show you how I get smooth buttercream.

After my cakes settle, I pipe buttercream on the top of my cake first. Circle the top, make sure it goes right to the edge.

Next pipe buttercream around the cake sides.

To smooth this I dip my spatula in a mug of boiling hot water.

First I smooth the top of the cake.
Next, hold the spatula straight up and down, make sure you have it perfectly leaning of it will taper your cake.
While holding the spatula with one hand, spin your cake on the turntable with the other hand.

You may have to stop a few times to wipe off the spatula and dunk it again in the boiling water.

After the first time around, I dip my spatula again in the water and give it a final smooth.

To level the top, scrape towards the middle of the cake.

Once you have the top level, allow the cake to sit a few minutes and let the buttercream firm up a little.

Once my buttercream crusts slightly I use Viva paper towels and my spatula to smooth out any imperfections.

On to the decorating.
This cake is for a 15 year old so using Ariel from the Little Mermaid would not work.

I used a 8 inch 2 layer cake for the bottom tier and a 6 inch 2 layer cake for the top tier.
The bottom tier is my mermaid tier.
To decorate this I mixed up 3 shades of aqua fondant and a small batch of light purple.
With my 1 inch round cutter I cut circles in every color.
Start placing these around the bottom of the cake in a random color pattern.

Offset your circles for the next row and work your way evenly to the top.

Once I had my circles all in place I brushed them with some Wilton pearl dust to give them some mermaid shimmer. I wish you could see how pretty these sparkled in this photo.

Insert some poly dowels for support, and put a dab of buttercream on top to glue the top tier on.

Here is the tedious part ( and you thought it was placing all those circles ;)
Roll a strip of each of the shades of aqua fondant you used to make the circles ( scales) .
Using 3 different size circle cutters, cut a lot of circles and roll these into balls.
I used a round Wilton tip, a drinking straw, and the wide end of the Wilton tip for mine.

Start with the largest balls and work your way to the smallest as you go.

Keep them in a random pattern to look like bubbles.

Here is my finished mermaid / sea themed cake.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WWE Cake Tutorial

Let's get ready to rumble!
My first try at a WWE themed cake. When I got the request I had the deer in the headlights look.There really isn't much out there in  the way of cake and cupcake decor with the WWE theme. 
It's actually quite surprising based on how popular it is.
At the last minute I decided to make a cake that looked like the ring.

For the cake I baked 3  - 8 inch square cakes.
I filled and stacked these before letting them settle overnight.
While those were settling I made the posts out of poly dowels covered with black fondant.

For the ropes I used bucatini pasta painted with red food color.
First I tried licorice laces, then I tried wooden shish kebob skewers. Trial and error brought me to the bucatini which worked perfect!
Paint these and allow them to dry along with the posts.

I made the # 12 using the WWE RAW font on dafont. Make this at least 2 days in advance so it will be nice and stiff when it comes time to stick the numbers on top of the cake.( I didn' t get a photo of this but you can see it in the final photo.)
I admit, I have an obsession with John Cena and I'd LOVE a little sugar version of him on this cake. Unfortunately this was a last minute order so I opted to use a number topper to populate the ring.

In the morning I iced the cake using black fondant over vanilla buttercream.

I covered the top of the cake with a square of white fondant.
I printed a WWE logo with my edible image printer for the center of the ring.

I had planned on drawing it on the mat with edible pens, which if you do not have an edible image printer , will work beautifully.

Using the same WWE Raw font I made a template to cut out the " Raw" logo and the name. I cut everything in reverse so I can just wet the backs and stick to the cake. Then all I have to do is peel the wax paper off and my accents don't stretch or tear.

I attached these to the sides with water.

I cut circles of black fondant with a large drinking straw.

Attach evenly to posts and insert the painted bucatini.

Next I stuck a post to each corner of the cake with some water.
Insert the  # 12 topper and it's done.

All ready to rumble!