When my good friend asked me to make the cake for her bridal
shower I have to admit that I was a little terrified.....
A bridal shower is so special and the cake should be extra special too. I met with her sister to discuss the theme for the shower and see if I could come up with any ideas that would fit the theme (that I would feel comfortable making). The theme was Paris and the color was "Tiffany Blue"... so I started googling away for ideas.
The only cake ideas that I found (that I liked) all involved fondant... *sigh* I've never worked with fondant before. I've had fondant at weddings and always thought it was nasty... so why learn to work with something that tastes so gross?? I've always thought that the main reason for using fondant was to get that perfect looking cake and I've always tried to make sure my cakes tasted good/moist first and looking cute was the secondary priority. But if I'm going to attempt this cake for my friend then I should do fondant ... which means lots of research (and a couple of trial cakes).
The first trial cake I did was my daughter's birthday cake (the Ariel cake shown in an earlier blog post). I did two tiers, fondant to cover the layers and used buttercream to pipe the accents. I learned a lot doing that cake and thought, "I can do this!". Then a friend of mine suggested that I try marshmallow fondant since I'm not a fan of the taste of fondant. I found a recipe for marshmallow fondant and it turned out to be really easy and it tastes great. Super/sickly sweet, but good.... much better than the store bought fondant. The recipe I used can be found here: http://candy.about.com/od/fondantcandyrecipes/r/mm_fondant.htm
I found it easy to make and easy to tint... you just add your tint to the melted marshmallow before adding the powdered sugar... then you don't have to worry about it being uneven. So the next 'trial' cake was a simple two layer chocolate cake covered with marshmallow fondant (just to try out the recipe and try working with it). It was a hit... the kids (who don't like regular fondant) ate it up!
Next came the research (how to stick fondant accents to the fondant covered cake, etc..) and making the cake topper. From the ideas I found online for a Parisian themed cake a lot of them had Eiffel tower cake toppers. Not only did I not want to spend upwards of $30 on a cake topper, but the cutest one I saw was a hand made/craft item. It seemed easy enough.. so off to the store for supplies.
I got black scrapbooking paper, some Tiffany Blue ribbon to make bows and some stick on sparkly beads for 'bling'. Ben Franklin crafts was nice enough to give me an Eiffel Tower traceable cut-out, but it was smaller than I thought would look good on the cake. I took that cut-out to Kinko's and just made a couple of larger copies of it for tracing. After tracing the Eiffel Tower onto the black paper three times & cutting those out I just glued them together to make a stand up Eiffel Tower. Then I made the bows & added the bows & bling to the tower:
Now time for the cake. The research I did steered me towards using clear vanilla extract to adhere any fondant accents to the fondant covered cake, so I tried that. I worked well, the only thing I will do next time is hold the accents onto the side of the cake a little bit longer to make sure they don't slide.
Here are some of the things I learned while doing this cake:
- It's always better to make extra fondant. I was trying to be conservative and barely had enough Tiffany Blue to cover the cakes. It would have been better to have made more so covering was easier.
- Accents that you would like hardened (to hold their shape... like bows) are best if made as early as possible (even the night before).
- Buttercream works well to adhere things in tough areas (like the fondant balls around the base of the cake)
- Measure, measure, measure... when the cake is 4 inches on the side and 10 inches across... you really do need your fondant circle at least 18 inches wide if you want it to reach the bottom of your cake! LOL
I feel more comfortable/confident working with fondant now... I will not be making this my new specialty by any means .. it's super time consuming (at least for this beginner)... but I will not be scared to try it again if the cake design calls for it!