Friday, February 19, 2010

Birthday Cake Part 4 - Putting it All Together

Yeah, so here it is, the end! A few months ago my son told me that he wanted a GI Joe birthday party. I was planning on just ordering a cake, but no, my son (who turned 5) wanted me to make the cake. Arg, I'm not experienced at cake decorating, I can cook and bake really well, but making it pretty, and using fondant, is a new concept. So, that's what this blog is for! Learning as I go, and maybe my mistakes and success will help you on your cooking journey!
So, I'm just going to give you the rundown on how I put it together.
It starts with making all the flavors cake from the previous 3 entries, grab a 12-14 inch cake board, some Fanci-Foil  to cover the cake board, camo ribbon, some food coloring  (I used, green, brown and black), a smooth rolling pin, a large mat (I love the Wilton Roll And Cut Mat that I got as a Christmas gift), candles, marshmallow fondant and some GI JOE action figures.

First, you want to cover the base of your cake board with the fanci foil. You'll cut a piece out big enough for the round board, then segment the extra to tape to the bottom of the cake. Or you can buy the pre-covered board.

Second, You'll want to place your bottom layer (for mine the 10" Chocolate Cake) on the cake board and ice the center. Now you can either use icing on the top and sides of the cake, or melted and strained apricot preserves brushed over the cake to help the fondant stick. (The preserves really don't add or take away from the flavor of the cake a whole lot)

Now, take your room temperature fondant and place it on your roll and cut mat, make sure it's dusted with powdered sugar, you can roll out your fondant. If you'd like to color your fondant, now is the time to do it. I looked online for an 'army green' coloring, but the directions I found, didn't work at all, I wound up using a mix of green and a little black, but it was not exactly what I was going for, but it works. You will knead the color into the fondant, like you would knead bread. It works into the fondant pretty well, add the amount of food coloring to get the desired color. Roll your fondant about a quarter inch thick large enough to cover the cake evenly.

I rolled it to the 14 on the roll and cut mat (sorry, I wish I had taken pictures of the process) then laid the fondant over the cake. I then smoothed the fondant and cut the excess off leaving just a little to tuck under the cake.

You can use a cake separator plate between each layer, to make them easier to take apart, but I didn't. Repeat the process with the middle cake. After you've placed the top tier onto the cake, you can choose whether or not you'd like to use a dowel rod or two. I used 3 dowel rods, because I was moving the cake. If I wasn't transporting it, I would have just left it as is. I put the dowel rods through the cake prior to putting the top layer of fondant on the top tier.

Then, you can add the ribbon along the bottom of each layer of cake if you use water along where you would like to put the ribbon, it acts like glue. I did this to each layer. However, I decided I was board and decided to "paint" a camo pattern on the middle layer of the cake. I did this with a decorator's paintbrush (never used and clean) black, brown and green food coloring in random patterns.

So here is my biggest mistake on the cake, I thought I'd write in my son's name on the top layer of fondant. I didn't like how it looked, so I "erased" it with water which makes the top layer wavy and not pretty and you could kind of see the imprint of his name.

On the day of the party I placed the candles and the Joe's. I used my son's GI Joes, that I washed, and placed sitting (trying to hide the wavy top layer) on and around the cake.

So, that's the cake! Good luck if you try this, I hope it works well for you. Hopefully, I'll have learned something and can improve the next one!

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