First cake of the year!

Starting January with a bang!

Eager to start on my journey to becoming a better cake decorator, I started the year with a cake well outside my skill level!

Fondant you say? Topsy turvy you say? Panic you say???!

You see, one of the biggest problems I face when I decorate, is self inflicted. I have no idea why, but for some reason when faced with a request for a complicated cake I have never ever attempted, I say….

“Sure! I can do that! :)”

I skip merrily away, and hours later realize that I have most probably bitten off more than I can chew.  My experience runs to light sponge cakes, with soft piped decorations (and for a while in my youth – generic ice cream cakes for the local Baskins).  Fondant is the great unknown for me. It scares me. I don’t really get how it behaves, or how to work with it. I’m much more at home with meringue and soft icings. In my head though, I can work out how to do things. In theory, I know how. I can see it in my mind, and break it down, so whatever it is that I haven’t done before seems very achievable.  But theory doesn’t always translate to reality.  The cake doesn’t always do what my brain thought it would.

So when asked by a co-worker if I could do a 30th Birthday cake for him & his wife, I happily said “Sure!”….. His lovely wife emailed me a couple of pictures of exactly what she wanted… A topsy turvy mudcake, covered with fondant, with ribbon decorations, in bright colours matching her party invitations. I was still confident… but somewhere, at the very back of my brain, I started thinking… “oh gawd… I am so totally boned”

The finished cake. A 30th celebration cake for a lovely couple!

In this case, I was really happy with the final result.  I got super organised, and planned, planned, planned! I did not want to get to the day of the party, and have a topsy turvy train wreck on my hands! I researched a gorgeous moist mudcake recipe, and went through my kit to make sure I had all the right tools on hand.

The cake toppers - Modelling paste 30 & twisty ribbons.

A quick breakdown of the cake:

  • Base: 3  x 10″ Dark Chocolate Mudcakes
  • Top Tier: 2  x 6″ Vanilla & Jam Cakes
  • Covered & filled with vanilla bean buttercream.
  • Rolled fondant with sugar decorations.

The finished cake weighed close to 10kgs. It was an absolute monster. I have to mention that on the really big cakes, I am lucky enough to enlist the help of my long suffering boyfriend.  Lucky for me, he is a retired chef, so his help is always invaluable.  It is so great to be able to get someone to do the grunt work when trying to carve an angle on 4kgs of mudcake. 😉

As you can see, there is a pic of the final cake above, and some pics of the details. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pics of the steps involved or the assembly. I was too wrapped up in getting it right.  At the end of the day, it was a huge learning curve! But I did fill the request of the birthday girl, and she was so happy with it!

So it seems that I have set the bar high for myself for the first cake of the year. Good thing I’m a pretty laid back chick, and wont be trying to outdo myself for the next one. Though I will be having fun trying out something new!

Until the next post, thanks for dropping by! 🙂

Wrapping it up with a lime green bow!

4 thoughts on “First cake of the year!

  1. Here is a trick for you rather than carving the angle. Cut the cake from the top right to bottom left. then take the flat top off, and flip it over on top of the cut angle of the bottom, then you have a leaning cake with a stable bottom 🙂 Hopefully you can picture this in your head…then you do the same thing to the next layer, putting it on top curves facing each other so it doesn’t lean to far over.

    I need to make some numbers like your 30 tomorrow, did you mix fondant with gumpaste?

    • Hi there 😀
      Thanks for the trick! That sounds like the technique I used.
      When I made the cake I used this clip as my guide:

      Such a great tute & I love the shape she gets (and the finished cake is just beautiful!) – though she makes it look too easy! For this cake I went with so many layers, because I wasn’t sure how big a cake I would need for 100 people. Thankfully it was enough with leftovers for the birthday couple!

      The 30 was made with gumpaste. I haven’t worked with a fondant gumpaste mix, as where I live it’s really humid, so I worry about something going wrong with my pieces. In the Central Queensland climate, for any cake orders, I stick with what I know is tried and true. Although when I get some time I would like to experiment with a mix and see how it goes. In all the articles I have read the consistency and texture is apparently better. 🙂

      • I haven’t see it done with the indent like that. Interesting. I’m honestly not sure of the reason for a fondant gum paste mix, other than gum paste is really expensive, and fondant can add to the bulk. But you can also add CMC to your fondant and get the same results as using a fondant/gum paste mix. I am slacking on the cake I need to do today and haven’t even done the 40 yet, so I’ll probably have to add the CMC to get it to dry in time. My personal opinion – I like the fondant/gum paste mix over adding CMC to the fondant. 🙂 Pics to come later of my cake.

      • Ohhh… I read your trick again… I think I get what you were saying about cutting & flipping the cake. I will look into that!
        Its interesting about the cost of fondant and gum paste. I’m wondering if its different in Australia? I use a little CMC in my royal icing for 3D decorations for added strength, but I haven’t used it in anything else. I think an experiment is definitely in order to see what the differences are for these. Experiments = fun!! 🙂 Can’t wait to see pics of your 40th cake!

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