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.

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