This week I had a daunting request. A friend of my mother-in-law wanted to commission a cake from me for her daughter’s baby shower. I haven’t made many fancy cakes (I’ve made one), so I was a bit intimidated, especially after spending a few minutes perusing baby shower cakes on Pinterest. The level of talent out there is incredible and I wanted to make something truly exceptional. Of course, truly exceptional is a ways down the road, both because I need to learn the skills and acquire the tools, but I think this is a good start. I am pleased with the results.
I decided to make the cake look like it was covered in a quilt of baby colors. I used fondant for the task because that seemed like it would produce the most authentic results. Rolled fondant is basically sugar in dough form, so you can roll it thin, make ribbons, sculpt little creatures, whatever you can imagine. I saw a few examples online where a quilt cake was done with buttercream, but of course it didn’t have any lifelike quality to it, it was just a piped-on design. Cute but not what I was going for.
The dilemma with using fondant, however, is that most people do not enjoy eating it. It is just sweet-tasting almost in a chemical way and it adds a chewiness to your cake that is undesirable. I figured that this could be overlooked because of the awesome things you can do with it and true, I think some people will agree with this, but alas…the lady I’m making the cake for could not. This cake was actually a prototype for the real cake I’m making later this week and when the lady discovered I was planning to use fondant she politely asked that I not. So…we’re going to eat this cake and do something completely different for her cake.
I’m not going to give you any recipes because I just made a simple chocolate cake (in fact, the one on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa can) and a Vanilla Swiss Buttercream recipe from Martha Stewart.
So here is what I did. I cut out roughly 2-inch squares of all the different colors and pieced them together on top of the cake. That was dumb. We later realized what I should have done was lay out a thin sheet of white fondant, piece the squares on top of that and then drape the whole ensemble over the cake. That would have been so much easier and would have looked neater. Then we (I say we because Noah, my husband, helped me oh so kindly) pressed the end of a paintbrush into the fondant to give the impression of stitches without over-busying the cake by actually adding “stitches”. Lastly, I cut out the butterflies, hearts and roses and pasted them on with a little water.
Having just had a piece of this cake, I can say it was delicious but I peeled most of the fondant off. So I can’t blame my customer (I have a customer! What?!) for requesting buttercream sans fondant. Here is a top view of the cake. I didn’t have the foresight to build it on a better background so please accept my apologies and please ignore the fact that it’s a cutting board for meat. Thanks.
Thanks for reading today and share my blog with a friend if you think they’ll enjoy it!
Have you ever worked with fondant? What do you think of it?