Posts Tagged ‘fondant’

A Winter Wedding Cake…

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography

December is a month full of activities.  Holidays, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and if you have children, well they are home from school for half the month.  This past December I took on a new task, one that was not only stressful but also worthwhile as it would test both my organization and baking abilities…I signed on to do my first wedding.

Weddings are a whole other department in the baking world.  This isn’t just someone’s graduation cake or birthday cake…this was someone’s WEDDING!  Most brides want it to be the most perfect day of their entire life…that’s a lot to live up to. 

The bride and I met back in April for a cake tasting. She sampled the four flavors of cake I had so skillfully prepared…Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Butterceam, Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream, Funfetti with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Strawberry Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

Along with eating cake we discussed her vision for the wedding.  One thing that remained an unchanged constant was the wedding cake.  She brought me a photograph from Real Simple, the cake was elegant and understated…quilted white fondant with silver floral and pearl accents – perfect for a winter wedding. 

Fondant that has a quilted effect and pearl accents.

Fondant that has a quilted effect and pearl accents.

The wedding cake was going to be used simply for display and the cutting ceremony; whereas, the cupcakes were to be served as the actual dessert. The bride wanted each guest to receive three mini cupcakes, in three different flavors: chocolate, spice and funfetti.  Each cupcake would be decorated with a gum paste flower that would mimic the flowers on the wedding cake. 

The wedding cake consisted of three layers, each a different flavor.  The bottom layer was Funfetti Cake; Funfetti being the bride’s favorite cake flavor from her childhood.  The middle layer was Chocolate Cake…who doesn’t like chocolate?  The top of the wedding cake was Spice Cake; her fiancé’s personal favorite.

Once the month of December hit, my stomach went into knots.  I found myself thinking about it day and night.  Was I up to this challenge?  I found my mind racing at night while lying in bed.  “How much butter?”, “How many eggs?”, “How much gum paste is needed for 650 daisies?”. 

Gum Paste Daisies, 650 of them...

Gum Paste Daisies, 650 of them...

One thing I knew for certain is that I needed to organize myself by creating a timeline.  The timeline was crucial for staying on task. Baking is the easy part in my eyes.  The real time comes in the decorations and details. 

The gum paste flowers for 650 mini cupcakes were definitely the first order of business. The next step was figuring out how much butter, sugar, flour, etc. I would need.  I did this by breaking down recipes and with a couple of calculations…viola, the list was together. 

The week of the wedding came and I had briefed my family on the rules.  There was to be no whining, no hanging out in my work space, no friends over, and we would be doing a lot of carryout meals. 

The kitchen became more of an assembly line on certain nights with my good friend Bridget and my husband Tom working the line. They were incredibly helpful…love you guys!  Somehow it all came together just in time.  I officially have a wedding under my belt, and boy am I proud of myself and my work.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography -

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography -

Special thanks to photographer, Joshua Wood, for the use of his gorgeous photos of the cake and wedding.

Deep Dish Pizza Cake

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
It's, it's a Pizza Cake!

It's, it's a Pizza Cake!

A hot trend in cake decorating right now is creating a cake that mimics something from everyday life.  Food shaped cakes are some of the most popular. 

My brother-in-law, Joe, just celebrated a birthday… and what better excuse to bake a cake than for a birthday!  Joe, like everyone else in my family, has a love for great food.  He and my sister have traveled and ate their way around the globe.  However when it comes down to the basics, pizza is his go to food.  With that information in hand, I decided a pizza cake was the best bet for him.  This was a fun cake to make simply because…who doesn’t like pizza? 

I started with size and shape.  I knew the cake would be round, but how just how big of a round?  I opted for a 12” round not because there were going to be a ton of guests, but because I thought it would be the most realistic size for a pizza shaped cake. 

Cake baked, cooled, and sliced; I needed to get busy with my plan for decorating the cake to look like a pizza. It had to look realistic. So I started with the obvious…crust first.  In order to give the cake a great crust, I piped a very thick wavy line of buttercream all around the edge of the cake.  After the buttercream was piped, I placed it into the fridge to set up while I worked on the fondant.

A thick, wavy piping of buttercream helped form the "crust"

A thick, wavy piping of buttercream helped form the "crust"

I have been making my own marshmallow fondant for some time now and find that it works well for me. Plus, the cost of making your own fondant compared to purchasing fondant is like night and day.  Not to mention, marshmallow fondant tastes much better than “regular” fondant – which is normally inedible. 

Once the fondant was rolled, I brought the cake out and went to work covering it.  The crust of a pizza is a multitude of colors and shades. To give my pizza cake this illusion, I watered down some brown gel food coloring and started sponging it on with a crumpled paper towel.  The crust ended up turning out great; it looked just like a Papa John’s pizza crust.

Sauce was my next task.  I chose strawberry preserves to which I added a dash of red food coloring.  I spread the “pizza sauce” edge to edge. 

The pizza "sauce" is strawberry preserves.

The pizza "sauce" is strawberry preserves.

On to the cheese – most people’s favorite part!  I have seen cheese done several different ways, my way was to melt white chocolate and drizzle it in a caddywampous pattern over the top. Then, it was back to the fridge to set up.

Now on to the toppings!  So many to choose from, where do I start?  Of course I chose pepperoni, the classic pizza accompaniment.  Since Joe is a meat lover, chunks of sausage made sense.  I added black olives for their round shape and unique color.  And finally, green pepper, to add a hint of green which rounded out the overall look. 

Anyone order a pepperoni, sausage, black olive and green pepper?

Anyone order a pepperoni, sausage, black olive and green pepper?

All toppings where made out of marshmallow fondant and then hand painted with gel food coloring. A more random arrangement worked best when it came to the toppings.  The end result was a super realistic pizza cake which everyone adored.


Marshmallow Fondant & a 21st Birthday Cake

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Autumn's 21st Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Fondant

Autumn's 21st Birthday Cake with Marshmallow Fondant

My friend violet called me with a quick birthday cake request over the Memorial Day weekend.  As I see it, I was already going to spend the weekend baking what was one more cake?  Her niece Autumn, was turning 21 and needed something girly to commemorate this special birthday.  Autumn wanted a marble cake with white buttercream…simple and to the point.

I dressed the ¼ sheet cake with pink, green and gray accents, and of course a cosmopolitan martini.  Up until recently I have been buying Wilton Fondant to decorate cakes with.  This time around I used a homemade marshmallow fondant and love it!  It’s quick and easy, plus has a much more palatable taste…give it a try!

Marshmallow Fondant

What You’ll Need: 

  • 1 bag of white marshmallows (8 oz)
  • Water (2 tbsp)
  • Icing sugar sifted (1 to 2 pounds)
  • Crisco
  • Heatproof bowl
  • Spoon
  • Sifter
  • Food colors or cocoa powder
  • Flavoring optional


1.) Heat marshmallows and water in microwave for 2 minutes.

2.) Remove and stir with Crisco greased spoon.

3.) Add desired color and or flavoring.

4.) Stir in sifted powdered sugar until it looks dough-like.

5.) Turn fondant out onto powder sugared work surface and knead until well mixed and not too sticky.

Note: Use this marshmallow fondant right away or rub with a bit of Crisco and store in air tight container.

That’s One Big Nose Spray…Cake!

Sunday, April 26th, 2009
Afrin Cake for Miss Vicki's Birthday

Afrin Nose Spray Cake

My girlfriend Vicki has a love affair with Afrin Nose Spray, let’s just say they’re stuck like glue.  I thought it would be funny to present her with one giant Afrin shaped cake…for the ultimate relief!  

I used a 9×13 pan to create the body of the Afrin Nose Spray.  After frosting the cake I proceed to cover it in white fondant.  I created the tip of the spay bottle out of the remaining fondant and used a bit of gum paste to detail the rest of the nasal tube. 

With a toothpick I mapped out where I would paint the details on the base if the cake.  I used gel food coloring as paints for the cake  and a bit of shimmer to give it that pearly shimmer!  The cake was hilarious and Vicki loved it!

Yellow Cake

What You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract  
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk


Nurse Themed Cake

Monday, April 6th, 2009
Nurse Cake with Fondant Stethoscope

Nurse Cake with Gumpaste Stethoscope

This cake was created for a girl who recently passed her nursing exam. I was concerned this cake wouldn’t come out all that well due to the fact it was last minute.  However, I am coming to realize some of my best work is spur of the moment.

This time around  I decided I would try my hand at decorating with gum paste. The nurses cake is decorated with several “nurse related” items.  The stethoscope, pill capsules and bandages are made out of gum paste.  I baked a very basic 1-2-3-4 cake and filled it with apricot.  The frosting, swiss meringue buttercream, is my all time favorite!  All in all I think the results were good!


Spongebob Squarepants Cake For Alex

Friday, March 20th, 2009
Spongebob Cake

Spongebob Cake

This year for my son Alex’s 7th birthday I decided to take on the task of creating a Spongebob Squarepants cake.To Alex the cake is always a very important part of the Birthday process. Weeks before his actual birthday we scan websites on the Internet for different cake ideas. I was truly amazed at the work people were doing from their own home…Bravo! 

After lots of looking, we decided that Spongebob was what we would go with. Who doesn’t love Spongebob?  He’s kind, colorful, and just plain funny. Spongebob started as a 9×13 basic yellow cake in which I shaped in order to give him that special spongy shape.  I chose to fill and cover Spongebob with a simple pineapple cream cheese buttercream due to the fact he lives in a pineapple under the sea.


Baby Shower Cake for Miss Amy’s Shower

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
Amy's Baby Shower Cake

Amy's Baby Shower Cake

Early I signed on to handle all things cake related for my friend Amy’s baby shower. I should add I’ve been tooting my own horn amongst my non-baking friends about how good I have become at this whole cake thing. Let’s just say the expectations were a bit high and I have lost a tad bit of sleep over the whole baby shower cake. Prior to this cake, all cakes I have ever baked have been for my immediate family or a single close friend.

This cake was different. Not only did it have to be 2 tiers it also was to be displayed in front of a gathering of women. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cake had to be chocolate…my sworn enemy.

Chocolate cake and I have had a long history of not getting along. I would say a good 80% of the recipes used have come out DRY!  The kind of cake that looks and smells great while baking, but when it comes to eating it is more of a disappointment.

I spent the weeks before the cake scouring the Internet for just the right recipe. There are thousands of recipes to look through so which one would I choose? I look for a couple things: Who’s recipe is it?…Is the recipe overly complicated?…What kind of feedback has the recipe gotten? These three steps generally make my selection process a whole lot easier. Ina Garten otherwise known as “The Barefoot Contessa” is who I borrowed this chocolate cake recipe from….I’m not sure I’ll be giving it back!