Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fondant Covered Cake: Covering the Cake

It's become an accidental tradition that on my good friend's birthdays, I bake them an awesome cake. As I was unable to find a simple guide to my liking for working with fondant, I've decided to write my own.

I dyed the fondant, baked the cake, and assembled & decorated it across three days, spending a total of about 12 hours. This is the third and final post of the series, where I show how I covered my assembled cake in fondant.

Covering the Cake

This is most likely the most time consuming of the steps (if you don't include waiting for the cake to cool on day 2). You'll likely want to pull out your apron, start up some music, and get ready for a few hours of crafty time.

Supplies:
- Your pre-dyed fondant
- Your assembled cake
- Parchment paper
- A rolling pin (fondant specific or otherwise)
- Powdered sugar
- A sharp knife
- Some water


For this cake, I wanted to make it look like the gray "underwrapper" of the Pez was actually under the rest of the wrapper. To accomplish this, I rolled out the gray and applied it first.

When rolling fondant, it's a good idea to do it on parchment paper or a baker's mat, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar underneath. You can kneed the fondant by hand first to warm it up a bit (but not too much!) and then roll it out with your pin. You may need to coat the rolling pin with powdered sugar first. For thinner fondant, roll until it's about 1/16th of an inch thick. For a more robust fondant, go for a thickness of 1/8th inch.

To make the end caps of the cake, I rolled out a large bit of gray fondant and then cut a straight edge onto it. Then I used the fondant pin's measuring rings to ensure the fondant was the thickness I wanted.

For the end caps, because part of them were meant to be layered and I wanted to make it look like it was under the rest of the fondant completely, I rolled the fondant to 1/16th of an inch thick.

Carefully pick up the fondant and lay it gentle across the cake, making sure not to stretch it accidentally as you do so. Line up a guiding edge and lay it on the cake according to that.
My guiding edge was the top of the cake, where I wanted the gray to end.

Let the rest of the fondant drap down and then stretch it nicely around the corner. This isn't like working with wrapping paper - you want the fondant to hug the cake's corner, like a fitted bed sheet. Once you've got the fondant pressed onto the cake where you want it, carefully cut off the excess.

Cutting fondant that is already on the cake can be tricky. Make sure your knife is sharp and trace a line where you want the cut to be. Then make a second pass with the knife, cutting just the fondant and pulling gently at the excess. It should pull away along the line you traced.
My knife wasn't very sharp for this edge, but I wasn't worried about it because it was going to be hidden under other layers.

Cover both ends of your cake to make the wrapper looked like it's on the full cake.

Next, figure out where you want your stripes to lie and then mark that on the board. Start with one color and roll out the fondant to the thickness you want. For this layer, I rolled my fondant to 1/8th of an inch.
Notice how much thicker this fondant looks from the gray?

Once you've rolled out the fondant cut the stripes to equal width.
You don't need to worry about the end of the stripes if you're confident you'll have long enough stripes to drape over the cake and then some.

Then, gentle pick up your stripes and drape them over the cake, similar to as you did with the gray fondant.

Continue this for the rest of the stripes as well.
I tried something with the orange stripes. I wouldn't recommend it.

Once you've got all your stripes on the cake, smooth and press the fondant gently smooth against the cake. You can shape the cake a bit through the fondant, just don't press too hard. If you have something flat and smooth that you can use, that helps a bit.

After you've pressed the fondant onto the cake, cut off the access.
I found that tucking the edges into the base of the cake with the knife made for a nicer edge, and make it look like the cake was actually wrapped.

To make the Pez writing on the top of the cake, I first traced out the logo in the size I wanted onto parchment paper. Being able to pull up the logo on my iPad and trace directly from the screen helped a lot.

Once you've traced out the shape, cut the letters out and double check the sizing is right for what you want.

After you verify the size of the lettering, finish cutting out the letters and roll out the fondant for the shading.

Cut out each letter's shaded area, as close as you can get to the paper.

Next, cut the shading from the paper stencil, roll out the white fondant, and cut out just the white areas.
I found that it was easier to cut out the main shape and then go back and cut out the details. Be careful when working with white fondant, it picks up color easily!

To attach the top layer and the base, use a small amount of water as adhesive. A little really does go a long way. If you have a food brush, it can help making sure you only get a little water on the fondant. It's hard to wipe off excess, but it will dry out eventually.
Another tip is watch out for color transfer. Wet fondant can easily dye your fingers or other fondant, as the color can bleed.

Check your placement first, and then attach the letters to the cake with a small amount of water as adhesive.

Bam! You've made a fondant covered cake, with rockin detail! Dye some spare frosting, toss it in a bag and pipe on your message.
Realize you're a bit crap at piping and you should have chilled the frosting after you dyed it.

Embellish the cake board with something more interesting than plain cardboard, and then step back and listen to the compliments. You just made and decorated an awesome cake.

For this cake, we decided that slicing it like a loaf of bread was best, and it really showed off those layers.

I hope if you've made it this far through the series, you've found at least parts of it helpful!