For Halloween 2010 I made this evil clown sculpted cake. This cake is a specific evil clown, Spoils the Clown from The Haunt House in Caddo Mills, TX (made for the man behind the clown.) It was a surprise for him and he loved it.
Depending on your artistic skill, this could be hard or easy. I'm an artist, fairly new to cake decorating and this is my 5th sculpted cake (self-taught) and I've been making cakes since August 2010 (and am in love with it!)
Total time spent on it from the start of baking to completion was about 12 hours over the course of 2 days. On one day I baked all the cakes and the next I did the rest.
This is all cake (I used chocolate Devil's Food) covered in fondant and then detailed and hand painted with gel food colors.
Here's a list of general supplies I used to make the cake:
• Cake pans for baking the cakes. I used two 10" rounds, two 8" rounds and two 6" rounds.
• General cake decorating supplies: Mixer, spatulas, turn-table, carving/clay/fondant/gumpaste tools, matt to roll fondant on, fondant rolling pin, gel food colors, knife, cake leveler, toothpicks, food-safe paintbrushes, small containers to mix food color "paints" in, 2 quarter sheet cake boards, tape, cake support dowel, foil to cover cake boards, etc. I used two quarter sheet cake boards stacked for this cake to help hold the weight of the cake.
• Ingredients to make cakes, buttercream icing, fondant and to mix food colors with (you will mix the food colorings with something like vodka or clear vanilla extract, not water.)
Here's the link to the alterations made to a box cake mix to make it a little stronger to better support sculpting. I used 3 boxes of cake mix to make this cake. With one box I made the two 8" rounds, another box for a 6" and a 10" and the last box for another 6" and 10".
Here's the link to how to make the marshmallow fondant, which is pretty yummy, although very sweet! Pre-made fondant can be bought if you do not want to make the marshmallow fondant but beware that some of the pre-made doesn't taste very appetizing.
Here's a simple recipe for the buttercream icing, a 2 lb batch. This uses shortening in place of butter. I'm in Texas and butter doesn't hold up as well still right now. If you don't have a stand mixer or don't want to make your own icing you can buy some pre-made.
2 Cups Shortening
2 lb bag Powdered Cane Sugar (or approx. 8 Cups)
4 TBSP Meringue Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (use clear vanilla if you want your icing to be white)
2 tsp Butter Flavor (use clear flavor if you want your icing to be white)
1 tsp Almond Extract
Sift together powdered sugar and meringue powder into large bowl. Set aside.
Mix the flavor extracts together in a measuring cup. Add enough water to the mixture to bring the amount to 1/2 a cup. Put this into a mixer bowl with the shortening.
Add about 1/4th of the sifted powdered sugar/meringue powder mixture to the shortening and flavors in the mixer bowl. Beat on a slow speed with the paddle beater and the slowly incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar mix into the mixer bowl as it's slowly mixing. Once it's all in there I usually turn it up a notch in speed for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes. Then it's done!
Keep it covered until you are ready to use it, as it will "crust" over if you are not ready to use it and leave it uncovered to the air.
Step 1: Stacking & Carving the Cakes
Level off your cakes, saving the parts you cut off of one of the 10" cakes to use as the hat brim later. You don't need to level off one of the 8" cakes, as it will be on top and will get carved away during the cake carving phase.
Stack your cooked, cooled cakes, with buttercream icing in between each layer. The two 10" cakes on bottom then the two 8" cakes.
Once that's done, grab a knife and begin to carve away!
I like to only cut away a little at a time so as to not cut away too much cake. I start with a basic general shape and then detail a little from there; carving out hollows for the eyes and mouth and shallower areas to define the cheeks and just a general shape of the nose.
It's good to save larger scraps in case you have to add some cake back to the piece, as I did with this cake for the bottom part of the hair. Just "glue" the pieces on with icing and once the fondant is on it holds them in place.
Step 2: Adding the Fondant Face
Once you've got your basic shape carved it's time for fondant. I started with the face first.
First you need to put a thin layer of buttercream on the cake so that the fondant will stick to the cake.
Then roll out some fondant and apply it to the face area. I use my hands to smooth it into all the nooks and crannies and then cut away the extra fondant that overlap onto the hair area.
Once it's all smoothed out I begin the detailing. I use the various gum paste and clay tools to further define the nose and facial creases.
I added the fondant eyes, tongue, teeth and upper lip separately; using water to glue them to the fondant face. I dip my tools in a little water and use them (combined with the tiny bit of water moisture) to blend in some of the fondant pieces that I add.
For the eyes I first roll a ball of fondant then flatten it a little and apply it to the eye hollows. Then I apply the lower lid, using the tool/water to blend in the corners and do a little detailing. Then I added the creases/wrinkles around and in between the eyes. Then I add the upper lid the same way I did the lower lid.
For the mouth I put in the tongue first and then formed each tooth out of little balls of fondant and "glued" them in. Once they were in I added the upper lip and smoothed it into the face using the tools/water.
Step 3: Giving Him Some Crazy Hair.
I also added some fondant ruffles (before adding the hair) below his chin to simulate part of his outfit. Again glueing them in with a little water.
In these photos you can see I had already started painting his face. I kind of got into it and got carried away and started painting before I remembered to take photos of the hair bit. :)
After adding the hair I pushed a plastic support dowel through the center top of his head until it hit the cake board. Later I placed the hat on this and it helped hold it all together.
Step 4: Paint the Clown's Head!
I used Wilton Gel Colors mixed with vodka. You can also you everclear or clear vanilla extract, anything with a high alcohol content. You don't want to use water, as that will make the fondant gummy and kind of melt it away. The alcohol evaporates, leaving behind your "paint."
I mix my colors like paint. Some were "watery" color washes, some were a lot thicker, depending on part I was painting. In all I had about 12 different mixtures of colors.
Step 5: Make and Paint His Hat
I used the top scrap that I saved from leveling my cakes as the brim. I covered it with a thin layer of buttercream and the wrapped it in fondant and formed it up into a brim shape and put it on his head.
Then I took my two 6" cakes, stacked them (with buttercream in between the layers) and then covered them in buttercream and then fondant.
Then I just stuck them down over top of the brim onto the support dowel.
Next I painted the hat blue and applied a fondant "ribbon" and then painted that in the rainbow colors.
And he's done!