There are many beautiful and amazing cakes out there that have been covered/decorated with fondant. I am sort of a fondant hater. Mainly because it tastes horrible! I have bought fondant and made (marshmallow) fondant from scratch with the same outcome. The cake tastes great but the fondant has to be picked off and thrown away.
Now, if you don't have kids you might not think this is a big deal but when they don't like the taste of fondant and you have to take it off of their cake and all the frosting goes with it.......well, there are many, many unwanted tears to deal with!
So, in an attempt to satisfy my little birthday boy I tried my best to smooth out buttercream frosting instead of using fondant. A usual event for me when making cakes. With that said, there is no better way to create characters and/or graphic decorations than to use fondant. All of the dots and characters on this cake are made using store bought fondant.
To make this cake you will need the following:
two - 9 inch square cakes of your choice
buttercream frosting - white, green and blue
two #3 decorating tips
toothpicks, misc. tools
cake board/cardboard for putting the cake on
fondant and some creativity!
Get out fondant. Add food coloring of your choice and knead until the color is uniform throughout. I like using Wilton icing colors because the color turns out so rich. I have tried using the cheap liquid drop version with less luck. The color just isn't as vibrant in my opinion.
Years ago in painting class I was told to never use the paint right out of the tube. The paint should be mixed in some way with another color. I would recommend this when using food coloring just so it's not so typical. I understand that a color might be perfect so don't change it if you don't have to, but it's fun to experiment and get some new colors that you've never tried. Optional, of course but you might surprise yourself. Don't be afraid!!!
The hard part is sculpting characters and decorations you need. Try and try again is the best method. Using tools can be helpful. A knife, toothpicks, ceramic tools (clean please), cups, glasses, cookie cutters, etc.
Use your fingers to smooth out the fondant making sure there are no visible cracks. Use a tiny bit of water to get pieces to stick to one another. If you need very thin pieces roll out fondant between pieces of waxed paper coating the fondant lightly with cornstarch so it doesn't stick. When I cut out the green circles I left them out for a while so they were stiff and easier to work with. Once they sit on the frosting a while they get soft again so don't worry about having crispy pieces on your cake!
I will try to briefly explain how to make each character/design:
Om Nom - I decided after Om Nom was complete to enter this cake and start taking pictures so I don't have good pictures of the process to make him. He is two separate pieces. I started with a basic half sphere and then made the top of his head a little more pointed and indented the bottom part so his head would sit well on the base or bottom half of his body. Make a small little snake shape, rounded at the end for the top of his head. Use a dab of water to stick it on. For his eyes I just pressed out some white fondant but you could roll it with a rolling pin if you want. Get the shape you want and again stick the pieces on with a dab of water. Make two tiny black dots to complete the eyes. To make the bottom of Om Nom start with another half sphere. Using a table knife cut a square out of the front to make his front legs. You will have to shape them and smooth out the fondant where you cut. Make two cubes and stick them on the sides to make his back legs. Make four wide rounded triangles and put them underneath the top piece to make his teeth.
Stars - If you have a star cookie cutter that is the right size it would be great for this. I shaped them with my fingers since I don't have a cookie cutter and rounded the points. Make a small thin white shake and press it down flat. Edge the stars with the white to give them detail and add white dots.
Balloons - using light blue fondant make a circle that is somewhat rounded and not completely flat. Add a small triangle to one of the sides for the air spout. Using dark blue fondant make rounded squares and add to the center. Cut more rounded squares in half and put four on each side of each balloon.
Candy - Make a ball with yellow fondant and press it down to make flat sides. Make long red triangles and adhere four of them with points meeting in the center.
Spiders - Make a circle out of black fondant. Using a toothpick make indents all around the edge. Press out white circles and black dots for the eyes. These are simple!
Spikes - Using brownish fondant roll a thin snake and press it down flat. Make several gray diamonds and stick them along the brown snake.
Circles - To make the green circles I rolled the fondant out as thin as possible and cut them with the top of a small shot glass. Let them dry out to make them easier to stick on the cake.
I have modeled this cake from the Fabric Box from Cut the Rope which includes: om nom, stars, candy, spiders, air balloons and the spikes that breaks the candy. Don't skimp on the details. It will take longer but the outcome will be well worth it!
Step 2: Layer Cake
While cakes are cooling make frosting:
1 c. butter, room temp - you can substitute vegetable shortening if you prefer a firmer texture
1/2 c. water
1 t. vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar
4 T. butter, melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, water, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add melted butter and continue to beat until smooth - scraping down sides as needed.
After both cakes are baked and cooled, cut each top off to make the cakes level.
Place the bottom cake on a cake base of some kind. Mine was a reflective cardboard square. Cut thin strips of waxed paper to put under the bottom edges of the cake as to not smear frosting all over the base. Spread a generous layer of buttercream frosting on top. Place the second cake upside down on the bottom cake.
I always use white frosting for the layers and then mix the frosting color for the outside. That way I know exactly how much is needed for the middle instead of guessing and having way too much white left over. You want to make sure you have enough to cover the entire cake.
Mix the remaining frosting with desired food coloring(s) and place in piping bags if necessary. Spread main color evenly and smoothly on all cake sides using a spreading knife.
Step 3: Decorate
Place fondant green circles in an alternating pattern on the top and sides. Cut in half if necessary to go on the edges.
Using a piping bag with a #3 piping tip and white frosting pipe small lines on all edges of the cake to resemble stitching.
Add on the rest of the desired decorations and fondant pieces where you want them. I used many toothpicks to stand pieces up to give the cake some dimension.
If you are not serving the cake immediately let the cake sit uncovered about 30 minutes to make sure the frosting is stiff (so plastic wrap won't stick). Then cover with plastic wrap to keep the cake fresh.