If you've ever wanted to make a 3-d "American Gothic" painting inspired cake or you just want some tips on character modeling and 3d structure forming you've come to the right place!
Step 1: Forming the Fondant Farmer
My farmer is made out a mix of homemade marshmallow fondant and Wilton gumpaste. Gather your supplies, color your fondant/gumpaste and let the fun begin. Roll a log of fondant, shaping one end into a rounded head and cutting the other end into legs. Using a toothpick or knife draw on facial features then add tiny fondant balls for the eyes (use a tiny bit of water applied with a food only paintbrush if they don't stick, for this and any step). I painted his pupils on with black food coloring. Cut pieces of fondant for his shirt, overalls, coat, and lapels and mold them onto his body. Roll little logs for his arms and flatten one end for his hands. Use a knife to cut fingers. Cut a piece of fondant for his sleeves, mold to his arms and then attach his arms to his body. Make his pitch fork by sticking a toothpick inside a thin log of fondant and forming the tines out of the grey fondant. Oops the farmer has no hair or eyebrows! Fix that by cutting a strange little piece of fondant that fits around his ears and roll tiny logs for his eyebrows. Stand him up somewhere safe and let him dry. Isn't he cute?
Step 2: Forming the Fondant Woman
The farmer's wife is made similarly to him.
Make her body, adding a bit of a chest. Give her facial features and add hair. Cut fondant for her dress and apron and mold to her body (use a tiny bit of water applied with a food only paintbrush if they don't stick). Make her arms like you did the man, make sleeves, add fondant pieces for her collar, broach, apron straps (if you forgot them earlier like I did) and apron edging. Stand her up next to her husband. Don't they look good together?
Step 3: Carving and Decorating the House
I used a 12"x18" vanilla sheet cake. Before I cut the cake I calculated what size cake I wanted and drew a crude diagram to make sure I could get all the pieces of cake I needed from the sheet cake. I needed: three 6"x7" rectangles, two 6"x4" rectangles and one 6"x3.5 rectangle (leaving a little spare cake for forming the porch floor and roof).
I stacked the correct cakes, icing in between with my homemade lemon buttercream to form the basic house structure.
At this point I stopped and froze the cake for a few hours to make sure it wouldn't crumble when I carved the roof peaks.
After it was somewhat solid I used a sharp serrated knife to carve the roof of each section of the house and then roughly iced the whole thing.
Remembering the porch I cut scraps of the cake to the correct shape and attached and iced it. I then cut a piece of cardboard to the right shape for the porch roof and added a little bit of cake to it for height.
I rolled out thin sheets of fondant for the siding, cut it to strips and attached it in wide vertical stripes down the front section of the house. I then added very thin stripes on top of that. Then I did the same process for the other section of the house but horizontally. I did this all the way around the cake.
Next I cut a slit for the porch roof to rest in and holes for the windows and doors.
Then I filled in the window holes with brown fondant and details cut from white fondant. Doors were formed and then added.
I added the porch base board and then cut grey fondant for the floor. Using a knife I made lines in the floor to resemble boards.
To make the porch posts I cut skewers to the correct size and then rolled thin fondant around them. I rolled each post with another skewer to achieve the pattern.
I pushed the posts into the porch all the way to the cake board to support the roof. When adding the roof I used a little icing piped into the slit to hold the cardboard in place.
For the porch roof I rolled thin black fondant and cut it into strips laying the one closest to the front of the roof first. I used a knife to cut it to look like individual shingles once it was on the cake. I repeat this till the roof was done.
The "metal" roof on the back section of the house was done in a solid sheet of fondant with tiny stripes added for detail. Then I painted the whole thing with watered down food coloring to give it a weathered look.
The front section of the house roof was made with shingles just like the porch roof and painted.
The house is now done and just a few extras! I made the potted plants buy rolling balls of fondant and partially flattening them into pots and hand forming leaves and flowers.
Then I iced the cake board with the same color I'd use for grass. Then using a grass icing tip I piped grass to cover the whole board. Add the farmer and his wife and its finished!
Step 4: It's Done! Step Back and Admire the Hard Work
I had a lot of fun with this cake and so will you if you decide to make it. Feel free to ask me any questions you'd like!