Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Cake

I was looking at a Taste of Home magazine a few weeks ago and learned about Fondant. I thought they had created some really beautiful cakes and true to my nature - I said "I can do that". What I needed was a subject and people to eat the cake. I wanted to make it, but I did NOT want it sitting in my house waiting to get eaten, because we know it would have been and nobody here needs all that sugar.
The perfect solution worked it's way into my imagination - Billy was heading back to school. He would be starting his very first full year of teaching and I figured some sugar would start it off nicely, plus there would be a whole group of people up there to eat up the product.
So begins the tale of The Cake. A little inspiration, a few ideas, and people to try it on. The project actually started the weekend before when I made the Butter Cream Frosting. I had never made that either and wanted to make sure it turned out okay and since it stores in the fridge so well, I made it early and even practiced frosting by using up a cake mix that was kind of old. That turned out fine so I waited for the real test.
In the beginning there was a chocolate cake and some yellow cupcakes for the people who don't care for chocolate. They were baked with the purpose of becoming a teacher's desk top and some apples. I baked them all on Wednesday, it was soooooo hot in that kitchen. Temps have been over 90 and the late afternoon sun heats up the kitchen side of the house, add in the oven at 350 degrees for dinner and then two loads of cupcakes and then a cake! WOW not often do I want an air conditioner, but this cake project just about pushed me over the edge.

The next day started the frosting. First I trimmed off the top of the chocolate cake to level it into a desk top. Then I sliced the tops of the cupcakes off and used the butter cream to 'glue' them together into roundish apple shapes. I used a couple of the bottoms stacked one on top of the other to make a pencil holder. Then I frosted the desk top. You can see the extra cake pieces in the plastic container, way to many of them!
The next step was by far the messiest and most amazing mess I ever made that actually turned out looking like it was no problem. Billy was there to witness what happens when you melt a package of mini marshmallows in the microwave and then pour in 2 pounds of powdered sugar... and then pour the whole mess onto the tabletop.

It was a HUGE mess. See you are supposed to Crisco up your hands and the table top before getting started. I forgot about the table top. Powder was everywhere! I didn't know where the whole thing was going, but I just kept kneading and kneading until it all somehow turned into a soggy ball of marshmallow and sugar. Luckily dinner was ready about that time so I left the soggy ball sitting in the middle of the mat and put the mixing bowl on top to keep anything from floating into it while I was gone. About a half hour later I came back up and was absolutely amazed to find that the soggy had disappeared. I don't know, but can only assume it was needed deeper in the ball and just soaked in because what I was left with was a perfect mound of fondant. You can see in the picture that it looks like bread dough. Perfect for what I needed. So I split it into pieces and started adding color.

Color is the biggest thing I need to work on if I do this again. I have 8 colors, but how do you make brown for a wooden desktop? I didn't think to look at a color chart before hand and didn't want to fool with it once I got started so I added color and kneaded. Added another color and kneaded. Added another color and kneaded. It finally worked out okay so I rolled it out and cut the size I wanted, it had a beautiful wood grain look, I picked it up and it stretched. Balled it back up, rolled it back out and lost some wood grain, messed that one up too. Balled it back up, rolled it out and most of the wood grain was gone, but I managed to do it right this time. I laid it out on the cake and then started the other pieces.

I added some color to the desktop leavings and wrapped that around the pencil holder. Added a different color to another lump and made a grade book. Got some unused fondant and made a half of a blue ink pen, with cap. Some more and made half of a pencil, with eraser. Then I put toothpicks in the bottom of the halves and stuck them in the top of the pencil holder. Then I rolled out a full pencil, added the eraser, and a bit of lead. Then I added the candy numbers and did some writing on the different pieces.
I ended the day with this. One desktop and a plate full of sorry looking apples. It was an idea that needs some refining. I frosted them with butter cream and used canned frosting with a leaf tip to add leaves and then put some green food coloring on the leaves. Next time, I think I will just let the cupcakes stand on their own. Frost the tops and go on.
The next morning while Billy was in the shower I added some graffiti to the student's side of the desktop. The Athens mascot name is Trojans and I thought a little SC + BC in a heart would embarrass him a little and make the ladies laugh. He thought it was funny too when he saw it.
I dropped the cake and cupcakes off at the school on my way to work Friday. Billy said it was delicious, everyone was surprised, and there was very little left at the end of the day.
Will I do another cake? Yes. Will I take requests? Not too quick. It was a lot of work and really takes some creative motivation. It was also expensive, because it took a lot of time to learn different things and I made too much fondant. Next time I know better how much I really need and with more knowledge I can make a better construction and color plan too.


  1. WOW! You did a fantastic job!!! I've always wanted to work with fondant, but am always intimidated by it. Can't wait to see what kind of creation you come up with when we see you at Christmas!!!

  2. Thanks for the compliment, now I have a challenge too! By the way, I saw some teachers over the weekend, they loved it. One said it tasted like her Grandmother's frosting! They mentioned getting spoiled with cakes... I told them not to worry there won't be too many!