Introduction: Mermaid Mother Cake
Runner Up in the
Edible Art Challenge
I organized a mermaid- themed baby shower with the colors teal and lavender. This instructable shows you how to make this themed cake.
I will list ingredients during each step of the decorating process. But here is the main list:
Neon color dye,
Rice crispy treat (single serving size is fine),
1 - 16 oz package of mini marshmallows
2 - 2 lb bags of confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 cups of shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
3 boxes of white cake mix (+ eggs, oil, water)
1/4 cup sugar
Light corn syrup
1 & 1/2 cup Butter
Wilton Shape-and-Amaze sugar dough
Wooden dowels or skewers
Cardboard cake circles
Cylinder of some sort
Step 1: Fondant
You can make some of the decoration pieces ahead of time. I started with the marshmallow fondant. Here we will be making scales that will be applied to the cake.
You can halve the recipe if you don't need a full batch. It stores well if you want to make something else within the next few weeks.
Neon food dye colors
1 - 16 OZ bag of marshmallows
2 lbs of confectioner's sugar (this usually comes in a 2 lb bag)
2 - tablespoons of water
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
1 - teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Grease the bowl and spatula with vegetable shortening. It doesn't hurt to grease the surface you'll be working on either.
Pour marshmallows and water into bowl then microwave on high for approximately one minute. Stir well for about one minute. Continue to microwave on high in 30 second intervals until all the marshmallows are melted.
Add water and vanilla to melted marshmallows
Add half the bag of powdered sugar and mix until it's mixed well. Then dump the blob onto a greased countertop and dump on the other half of the powdered sugar. Mix that like dough and it will start to form into a firmer dough that is pliable. Work in all the powdered sugar. You may have to keep re-greasing your hands with shortening.
Coat again with vegetable shortening and wrap up in two layers of plastic wrap and then place in a zip lock bag overnight to rest.
Step 2: Making Scales
You will not use a whole batch of your fondant but it keeps well and is good to have on hand. If you made a full batch halve it and store the rest for another day.
Take the half batch and split that half into thirds.
Dye each of those thirds with neon food coloring.
Purple = 3 drops of purple
Teal Dark = 4 drops of blue, 1 drop of green
Light Teal = 2 drops of blue, 1 drop of green
Work in the coloring (Use some gloves if you do not want your hands to be dyed) in each wad of fondant.
Start with one color and roll out into a smooth sheet (It is a good idea to rub shortening on the rolling pin and counter)
Using a 1-1/4" circle cookie cutter, cut circles and place onto wax paper sheet.
Repeat with other colors. Layer wax paper between layers of circles.
Now, my circles weren't stiff and didn't hold when I picked them up. It messed up one edge of the circle. That is okay because one side of the circle will be overlapped and hidden from view.
I ended up with a little over 100 circles. You may need more or less depending on the size of cake.
Step 3: Mermaid Topper
Sugar dough - Sculpt and Amaze is the key ingredient here.
You will need one rice crispy treat, Sclupt and Amaze in white, skewers, toothpicks, food dye, vodka, food markers, Styrofoam and Saran wrap.
Stack a few pieces of Styrofoam to serve as your base. Wrap in Saran wrap for easy removal later. Place a skewer through all layers of Styrofoam and adjust to the approximate height that you want your completed figure to be.
Use rice crispy treats to form the base for the mermaid body and make a small oval and a small sphere for the merbaby's head and torso. Form the mermaid head with rice crispy too to gauge the size of the head. The head and be applied and removed as needed up until the last part. Everything works easier if the mermaid has a rock to sit on. Use rice crispies to make a rock base form.
Mix in a small amount of orange food dye and work it in to get a skin tone color. You can add other colors to match whatever skin tone you're going for. For fairer skin, add more white sugar dough.
Mold a small sheet of your skin colored dough around the mermaid's torso and around the merbaby's head and torso. Try to eliminate seams by working them in or brushing them with some vodka. Add the mermaid's shell bra using a different color of dough. Use a toothpick to poke a hole for her bellybutton.
Mix up batch of teal dough with 2 drops of blue color and 1 drop of green. You will make this the tail so you need to make a generous amount, probably bigger than a golf ball. I started the tail by sculpting her rear end then making her tail out front and met the front and rear at her sides. Press to eliminate seams.
Make two tear drop shapes for the mermaid's tail and press onto the tail base. You can add colored lines with a food marker if you would like.
To finish making the merbaby, you will need to make a blue cone shape out of the sugar dough and hollow out where the body will be. Add a fin to the tip of the cone and put the merbaby's torso in the cone. Add some small flat shapes for hair or leave bald. I added a little purple flower for the mom and baby. The merbaby's arms are just small rolls of fondant and instead of making hands, you can flatten the end make one cut to be a thumb and curl up the flat portion to look like a little curled fist.
To attach the merbaby to the mermaid, use tooth picks. First add them to the merbaby and hold it up against the mermaid to gauge where they will go. Use another tooth pick to make holes that will meet up with the merbaby's toothpicks. If there any bits of the tooth pick that show through, you can cover it with a fondant blanket wrapped around the baby.
To make the rock, mix white and black sugar dough until it looks marbled. Wrap that around the rock base.
The mermaids arms are just rolls of sugar dough. The hands do not have to be perfect since they will be on the underside of the baby. Anchor the top of the arms to the mermaids shoulders and stick the hand area to the underside of the merbaby. You may need to add a little water between surfaces to get them to stick well.
To make the mermaid's head, form a rice crispy into a ball and cover with the skin tone fondant. Draw a mouth with food markers. Use small slivers of black sugar dough for the eyes (closed). Shape in a crescent shape to make them look like they are closed. You can sculpt the nose on the head if you want. Gently place the head onto the part of the skewer still sticking out above the body.
The hair is tinted sugar dough. Start by making a long thin sheet of the hair color and place it on top of the head and down the back. Then start adding strands of the same colored hair, anchoring at the hair line. Finally, make a piece for bangs that cover the hair line and finish off with a flower. My mermaid's hair kind of looks like dreadlocks but I thought it kind of came out cool.
Finish any little adjustments before the dough finally sets. Put somewhere safe to set completely until you are ready to use.
Step 4: Sugar Glass Waves
These glass waves will really make your cake topper stand out.
For this you will need:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup
2 tablespoons of water
Blue and green food coloring
Prepare for every part of this step because you will have to work fast. Be cautious!!!
Lay out a large silicone mat and then tape another mat around a ~6" round cylinder of some sort . Lay the wrapped cylinder on the other silicone mat with the seam facing down.
slowly heat up:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of corn syrup
2 tablespoons of water
Then slowly bring to boil on high until it reaches 300* F or hard crack. (You should see the your mixture turning crystal clear).
Tip: Make sure it is exactly 300 degrees and then remove from heat.
Immediately, add 3 drops of blue and one drop of green food coloring and stir. With a tablespoon carefully drizzle the teal melted sugar on the rounded silicone mat. Set down your pan safely.There will be dripping happening. Carefully take a toothpick and try to make wave shapes with the sugar before it sets.
Let cool completely.
To remove the hardened circles of sugar, slide out your cylinder and pinch the silicone mat to release the sugar. Gently set these in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. They may be sticky so don't let them touch.
Step 5: Icing
A good icing is a key ingredient to a good cake.
This recipe makes a nice fluffy icing that is easy to work with and has a smooth texture.
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 cup Vegetable Shortening
8 cup Powdered Sugar, Sifted
2 tsp. Vanilla Flavor
1 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Milk
1 to 2 tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
-Mix the shortening and butter until fluffy (can take up to 7 minutes) with a whisk attachment.
-Mix in the vanilla, milk, salt and corn syrup.
-Add 1/2 of your powdered sugar and mix in, then add the other half and then mix until fluffy ( about 5-6 min)
*This will make just enough for a double 9" cake and a double 6" cake
Step 6: Cake
You will need to make 2 - 9" cakes and 2 - 6" cakes.
These can be any flavor, mine were plain white cake.
You will need 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup of veg oil and 1-1/4 water for each box mix you make if doing white cake.
I used two boxes to make these cakes.
Make all four cakes and let cool completely. If they are severely dome shaped you might need to trim the tops flat with a serrated kitchen knife.
I rigged up my lazy susan for icing these. Place one 9" cake on a cardboard cake circle. Use your frosting to coat the top side of the 9" cake and gently place the other 9" cake on top. Smooth icing over the top of the double cakes and along the sides. Let set in the fridge.
Repeat with the 6" cake and you should still have some icing left over. (even if it was generously applied).
Step 7: Assembly
After your cakes are iced and set, you will need to add colored icing to them.
Mix about 1 -1/2 cups of purple icing (about 3 drops of purple food coloring + your butter cream icing)
Make a purple stripe all around the base of the 9" cake and coat the top in purple icing as well.
Repeat the same for the 6" cake except make it teal (2 drops blue, 1 green).
Start adding your scales and stager the seams on each layer. You will have to trim the scales once you get to the top layer.
Make the top look nice and neat by piping a ring of icing around the edges of the cakes.
Place your 9" cake on the cardboard cake base you will be using.
Place 3 dowel rods in the base 9" all the same length so they are just barely below the icing surface.
Add your mermaid figure to the top of the 6" cake. Break off pieces of sugar glass and place be hind her.
You can leave the two cakes separate for transport if needed. Or go ahead and place the small cake on top of the larger one.
Step 8: Done
Store your cake in a cool place until party time and then enjoy!
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