August 4, 2008

A Piece of Cake!

Here’s my practice cake for my Grandmother’s birthday party in November. One of my good friends happened to be visiting KC and I used a belated birthday celebration as an excuse for a practice cake! I’m glad I did because I definitely learned what I need to do for next time. Listed below is my preparation timeline & learning:
  • Making the fondant flowers: On Sunday, I made about 400 Fondant Blossom Flowers, which took about four hours to complete, from coloring the fondant, to rolling out, to cutting out the blossoms, and giving them dimension!
  • Getting the right fondant color: I had a lot of trouble getting the right color, I was going for a fuchsia or raspberry color, so I mixed pink and red thinking that would give me a richer pink…no such luck. I kept adding other colors to try to correct, instead it turned out like baby vomit. I ended up having to start over with fresh white fondant. I would recommend to test the color in a small amount first, then move to the larger amount. I never could get the color I wanted and ended up with the bright bubble-gum pink shown, but I practiced the violet and it turned out perfect. I used about ¼ box of Wilton Rolled Fondant, which yielded twice as many flowers as I needed, I am freezing the rest to use later. My fear was I wouldn’t have enough and then colors wouldn’t match…
  • Drying the fondant: I let the blossoms dry for about a day and a half, then placed them in an airtight container. While I was working with the blossoms, some were cracking, but nothing a zap in the microwave couldn’t fix. The blossoms set up better than my 4th of July stars, this time I rolled out the fondant on cornstarch (instead of confectioner’s sugar) and didn’t mix any additional flavoring to the fondant. The blossoms were also much smaller, therefore they took less time to dry.
  • Baking the cake: On Wednesday I made the cake. I let it cool for about 15 minutes in the pan after baking and for about an hour outside the pan before I scoured the rounded tops, to make finished cake more level. I left the cake covered in the fridge until I was ready to frost it the following evening.
  • Frosting and decorating the cake: Thursday afternoon I made the Rich Chocolate Frosting and frosted the cake. I used the same frosting for the filling between the cake layers and created a crumb coat of frosting on the cake, it was about the perfect amount of cake to frosting ratio. I may do a more formal finished frosting layer for my grandma. When I was satisfied with the look of the frosting, I placed the flowers, starting in the middle top, to make sure I wouldn’t run out of flowers and cascading down from there.
  • Other: I made two 9” layers of the chocolate cake for this practice run, but it evident that I will need at least three, if not four layers for the real deal, to give the cake height and make the cascading flowers more dramatic.

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