Monday, May 03, 2010

My first fondant cake for a very special friend

One of the objectives I set for myself during this period of unemployment is to practice my cake decorating skills. For people who know me, they know how much I hate and suck at doing that. All the pipings, sugar flowers making and fondant work is my achilles' heel.I absolutely couldn't sit down to decorate cakes with buttercream and fondant.If given a choice,I would rather make cakes with multiple components anytime.

But cake decorating is such an important part of being a pastry chef, so I am determine to better my skills in this aspect.
baby shower cake
So when my friends Cindy and Rika asked if I could make a safari theme baby shower cake for our dear friend Grace, I said yes.

The first thing I did upon accepting the assignment was to look up the safari related pictures on the internet. The cakes that other talented cake decorators made, the shower invitation cards, party decoration materials and everything else. I decided to make something simple since I have zero experience in making a real fondant cake.

Since Grace is going to have a baby boy born in the chinese zodiac year of tiger, I decided to make a tiger gumpaste figurine, among other animals. Then I wanted to cut out some rolled fondant animals to put on the sides of the cake. They were monkeys, giraffes,hippo and elephants. Fairly simple animals to make.
in the making
A simple sketch was drawn as a guide.


Although the fondant animals I chosed were just some simple designs, it still took me a whole afternoon to make them. Then I went on to make leaves of different sizes.

016 copy

I was certain that I would have enough time to put everything together on Saturday night after I made the cake and filling. After applying a thin layer of buttercream coating I let the cake rest in the cooler. An hour later, I rolled out the fondant to cover the cake. I decided to leave the base white, which I regretted later. It looked like an empty canvas! OCT commented that the cake looked like an incomplete piece of work with the white base.

020 copy
But it's starting to get late and I was having difficulty smoothening the sides of the cake, so changing the base color was not an option. Up till this point, I have only covered fondant over cake dummies in school which were hard, solid and fairly tolerable to vigorous pressing and smoothening.

With a REAL cake with filling and all, I wasn't too sure of the pressure I could apply. And the thought of destroying the cake at the 11th hour was too stressful. So I tried to do my best and made more grass to cover the bottom of the cake.

animal figurines for baby shower cake
When OCT saw my gumpaste figurine, he commented that it didn't have the feature of a tiger. So I made another figurine after putting on all the fondant cut outs on the cake. It was already 2am when I got to that. And it took me a good 30 minutes to make the tiger. Since my first gumpaste figurine was not going to be a tiger, I turned it into a baby bear. Can you see the letter B on his chest? B = BABY also B = BOY! I let the second figurine dry overnight before painting  it.

his or mine?
The next day when we got up, OCT who claimed to be a better artist offered to add the details and paint the tiger. Now that we have 2 figurines, I couldn't decide which one to use. Clearly OCT thought his tiger was better, but I thought my baby bear was really cute too. So I put the two of them in a different container to let Grace choose which one she preferred as the topper. :)

baby shower final

In the end, both of them were put on the cake! It's a happy ending. :)

On hindsight, I should have added more details on top of the cake. But I was trying not to be over ambitious with my first attempt.

It was definitely a good learning experience and I am glad that I did it.:)


Unknown said...

Fabulous cake! My son has requested a batman cake. As simple as it is just the batman sign. It requires fondant which scares me as I have never tried it. Bless his heart tho he thinks his mommy can do anything

Jennywenny said...

Very cute! It always seems to take longer than you expect! I think you did a fantastic job, and I like the white fondant. I like to steer clear of too many colors, some of the dyed fondant tastes even worse than the regular stuff.

If you build your cake right, with a dam of buttercream to keep the filling in, then chill overnight then you should be able to put a lot of pressure on the cake to smooth it.

This is where having lessons from a professional come in, its really useful to learn from the experts!

Kitchen Corner said...

Your cake decoration is really really good! I don't know what to say... it's very nicely decorated. Very impress!!! It's even better than the bakery shop one! You're so talented!

thecoffeesnob said...

This is just adorable, Mandy! Could have fooled me if you told me you got it from a bakery! :)

Memória said...

I think the cake looks perfect! Wow. I've never even touched fondant. Good job!

liz said...

I love the white. I can't think of any other color that would look better. I think it sets off all that green perfectly!

bp said...

Hey Mandy, i think u did an excellent job, with this your labour of love! i like all your creative safari touches, your cute B bear and also OCT's charming tiger... both deserve top spots on your cake indeed, so wonderful they both made it!

best wishes to your dearest friend Grace n her husband as they embrace parenthood! do give me a headsup when it's your turn, ok? :)

Poires au Chocolat said...

I think it looks great! I've never tried fondant - I don't really like eating it which has put me off a bit, but it looks like a great challenge!

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Mandy,
Your safari is so beautiful! The combination of colours is truly pleasant too! It sure takes a lot of planning to come up with such a nicely decorated cake! I'm sure the receiver will be delighted! It's fabulous!

ann low said...

I think this looks really perfect!

Anne said...

For a first timer you did well... it's pretty!

Yummy Bakes said...

Wow ... first fondant cake and yet so beautifully done up. I bet it takes a lot of time and patience.

Anonymous said...

Wow amazing cake! I am sure your friend is delightful to receive this cake.

Plain Chicken said...

OMG! This cake is SO cute! Fabulous job!!

Manggy said...

Hey Mandy, I think you did a great job. I don't have any objections to the white fondant or bear or lack of frou frou on top. I dunno if it's because I'm a nearly 30 year-old man, but sometimes less is more for me :) I can't wait to see what else you have in store :)

Swee San said...

very cute and pretty :) Great job ;P

Mandy said...

I am sure you can do it. :)

thanks for the tips. ;)

kitchen corner,
thanks! I still have lots to learn.

awww,you are so sweet!


i will definitely let you know because i will need all the tips on how to survive motherhood in a foreignland!

poire au chocolat,
I know what you mean. I always remove the fondant before eating the cake. So i dont know how it taste either.

passionate about baking,anncoo, yummykoh, ellie,steph,

it has nothing to do with age. Although I surely wouldn't do something like this, if it's for your birthday. ;)

Swee San,
Thanks! you are the master in cake decorating. ;)

Anonymous said...

Would have never guessed it's your first time! My favourites are the giraffe and elephant -- too adorable! :D

Trendsetters said...

great attempt....lovely cake decoration...can you plz give more details like what the things needed and possibly where to find them...thk u

Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) said...

bravo.u r so so talenyrd and creative...the perect looking cake...giraffe/elephant so cute and adorable...congrats to ur friend...and lucky she got such a pretty cake on baby shower..
first time here...u have a lovely space...just started blogging..and love to add u in my list..
ur comments/suggestions r highly appreciated..happy blogging...following u>>>>>>


Cooking Rookie said...

Such a wonderful decoration! The white cake does not look like an empty canvas at all - it looks very happy and cute to me! I am reading a book on cake decorating now, and I'm so impressed with your cake: it looks just like those fancy professional pictures in the book! You're an inspiration for me :-)

tigerfish said...

Too cute to be eaten!

Eliana said...

This cake could not be more beautiful. You are incredibly talented.

Readers Without Peters - A Seattle Book Club said...

Wow, you are Really good at that. I love it. :)

Daniella Robin said...

The cake looks amazing. I always wanted to decorate a cake... the problem is I need to learn how to make fondant...

Keep it up!!!

Peace and Love,

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