Birthday cake with fondant

I’ll be taking a little blogging break this week while we spend some time with family and friends. But I wanted to leave you with a few photos of the birthday cake I made for Miss Eight. She requested a cake “that looks like a present” (this is what comes of wandering the cake decorating aisle at Michael’s), so I finally overcame my horror of rolled fondant and took the plunge. Sort of like this:

First I baked and frosted a two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting. After chilling the cake for a couple hours, I covered it in white rolled fondant. I just followed the instructions on the package, but didn’t use any special tools–I found it easy enough to smooth with my rolling pin and fingers. Because I already had it in the pantry from another cake project, I used Wilton Sugar Sheets (colored edible paper) to make the decorations.

These things are so easy to use: cut out your design, peel off the plastic backing, moisten, and stick it on the cake. Especially for kids, who like bright splashy colors and designs, these are an easy way to decorate.

 

Miraculously, the cake survived the trip to the pool in 90-some degree weather (in a cooler full of ice), and the eight-year-old girls were lavish with their compliments. But after another hour of swimming and party fun, even the cooler couldn’t prevent the fondant from beginning to melt and slide off the cake. No matter–back at home I lifted the remaining fondant right off the cake and we ate the lovely cake underneath. I won’t be using fondant on all my cakes now–I still don’t like the taste, and most of the girls left it on the plate, too–but the ready-to-use package is a quick and relatively easy way to get a professional look.

 

And Miss Eight had a happy birthday, which is all that matters.

See you back here in a week or so!

Stenciled Star Wars Cake

You guys know I don’t have any actual training in cake decorating, right? Whatever I do is self-taught, and I’m always looking for ways to simplify. So when my best friend asked me to make a small cake for her Star Wars loving son because she couldn’t find one at the grocery store bakery, I gave it a shot. I scrolled through pages and pages of Star Wars cakes on Google Images, many of them elaborate sculpted R2-D2s or giant Millennium Falcon models. I knew I wasn’t going to drape anything in fondant or pipe complicated patterns. (Have I said this before? I don’t like how fondant tastes, so I don’t use it.) Then I saw this cake and this cake. I decided the cake needed to be blue and say “Star Wars.” Anything else would be the proverbial icing.

Luckily, I had some of this food color spray left from another cake, and I decided to experiment with a stencil. I printed out the Star Wars logo and cut it out with a craft knife. I laid it gently on the frosted cake, sprayed a couple light coats of blue, and very gently lifted off the stencil. We found a Darth Vader candle at the party store and called it good. (Oh yeah, there’s some sparkling sugar scattered there as “stars.”)

 

If you can find a graphic that you can cut into a stencil, you can put anything on a cake to fit the birthday boy or girl’s interests. Don’t trust your piping skills (or lack thereof)? Stencil it!