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DIY Cake Craziness

Posted by Dani on September 2, 2013

crazy fondant cake
This is what happened at my house recently. Some cake craziness. It was an over-the-top graduation cake made by my 15 year old for her sister’s high school graduation. I can’t take much credit, but I’m here to tell you that if a 15 year old can make it, so can you.

It’s a fondant cake. For those of you who don’t know, fondant is a rolled sweet sugar dough that is used to decorate special occasion cakes like wedding cakes. It gives you a perfectly smooth, even finish. You can roll out a large sheet of it and press it down onto a cake for a perfectly seamless look. It’s made with sugar, corn syrup, and water. The recipe sounds a little complicated, and I’ve always been a little intimidated to give it a try.

crazy fondant cake

We recently discovered a major cake decorating secret. Fondant is actually easy to make, if you have the right recipe. And it handles just like play-doh, so basically any 2 year old can work with it. Which means that your child can make fondant decorations for your next cake. Imagine how cool your kid would feel to be the family cake boss. Why be a fireman or a teacher when you can be a cake boss? I see a new trend in toddler career choices if the word gets out on this blog post.

The secret you need to know to change your cakes forever is…MARSHMALLOW FONDANT. This is the miracle cure for all your cake decorating challenges. That, and having a kid handy to help you rock the play-doh moves.

Marshmallow fondant is made with marshmallows, water, and icing sugar. That’s it. No tricky candy thermometers needed. You basically melt the marshmallows with some water, mix in some icing sugar, and then turn it out on the counter and knead in some more icing sugar. You wind up with a ball of sugar dough that can be rolled out into a sheet or moulded with your hands into various shapes. Here, we made one batch in white to cover the cake, and a second batch for the cake decorations.

This cake was an elaborate effort thought up by my very creative youngest girl. The theme was childhood books, and Isabel decided to cover the cake with figures from all of Olivia’s favourite stories. To say Olivia is an avid reader is putting it mildly, and anyone who knows her knows that this is the perfect cake. Isabel made a big list of favourite books, including Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harriet The Spy, The Mole Sisters, and Olivia the Pig. Isabel and I then spent a few nights watching movies and playing with the fondant, until we had enough figures. Isabel made all of them, except Olivia the Pig, which was my contribution.

crazy fondant cake

We used a recipe for Rolled Marshmallow Fondant from Wilton which you can find here. And we used food colouring paste to create the intense colours. We had a big disaster when we accidentally turned on the oven with all our work hidden inside to keep it away from Olivia. That turned into a melted-tray, warped-fondant-figures, oven-cleaning ordeal that almost ruined the whole thing. But we MacGyvered a few fixes and it ended up working out.

This is a perfect cake craft to do with your kids. The marshmallow fondant is very forgiving, lasts for days, and doesn’t dry out. It’s easy to colour with food colouring, which you just knead in. You can mold it the same way you would play-doh, which makes your kid an expert. And the sky’s the limit in terms of ideas.

You can use this with any of your favourite cake recipes. We like to frost the cake with buttercream icing first, which adds a nice layer of flavour between the cake and the fondant. Here, we made a dark chocolate cake and covered it in coffee buttercream before adding the rolled fondant. We cut the corners off the cake to make an oval shape that fit our platter. And we decided at the last minute that the fondant figures would decorate the large rim of the cake platter, and that we would write Olivia’s name on the cake itself. It was pretty easy for Isabel to make fondant letters for her name, and some polka dots for colour. She’s become quite the expert now – make sure you read some of her fondant tips at the end of the post.

This is our work setup. We watched movies while we created the figures. Here, we’re watching Walk The Line.

making fondant figures

These are some of the figures we made. Here’s Olivia The Pig and the wardrobe from The Chronicles of Narnia.

olivia the pig cake decoration

And the lamp post in the forest from Narnia:

lamp post and forest cake decoration

This is Harriet the Spy’s toolbelt and notebook:

fondant cake decorations

fondant cake decorations

Anne of Green Gables’ hat:

fondant cake decorations

The Mole Sisters and The Wavy Wheat:

fondant cake decorations

Harry Potter’s golden snitch, wand, and glasses:

fondant cake decorations

Before she left us, Olivia pulled a Flat Stanly and spent some time travelling around the house:

Olivia The Pig fondant figure

Olivia The Pig fondant figure

Olivia The Pig fondant figure

Olivia The Pig fondant decoration

 

Isabel’s Fondant Tips:
1. Buttercream is best under the fondant because other frostings tend to make it too sweet, but that is a personal preference.
2. Add as much icing sugar to the melted marshmallows as you can before it becomes too difficult to stir. The rest will be kneaded in.
3. Use butter instead of shortening to grease the counter and your hands.
4. Put a heavy layer of butter on the counter before you knead the fondant so that it doesn’t stick. You may have to re-grease your hands once or twice so keep the butter handy.
5. Add the remaining icing sugar to the counter, place the fondant on top, and knead together.
6. Stick your fondant figures to the top of the cake with a dab of buttercream. You can use toothpicks for the figures that topple easily.

 

30 Responses to “DIY Cake Craziness”

  1. OMG, this is absolutely adorable!!! I have a daughter named Olivia as well so this is getting pinned for future use. Tell your daughter that she did an amazing job.

  2. How lovely idea.

    My kid loves Olivia the pig (I on the other hand…)

    I wish I had the patience LOL

    Nadia

  3. I LOVE this, Adorable! Pinning your brilliance!

  4. GREAT JOB! Those little figures would have taken FOREVER! Truly an effort full of love! I use normal fondant for my figures and have never tried marshmallow fondant, but think I should definitely try – I hear it tastes much better!

    • Dani says:

      This stuff keeps – you can take your time and play around until you get it right. That’s why I recommend watching movies while you make these – it’s a fun movie/craft night!

  5. Bronwyn MayB says:

    Wow! That looks awesome. I used to make figurines out of plasticine, I bet fondant would be a lot better!!

  6. perhaps a future cake decorator, this is gorgeous, i love it

    • Dani says:

      a future cake decorator in the family would be handy. but she’d have to charge a fortune because these took a long time 😉

  7. Oh my gosh, that’s fabulous and I love your Olivia – she’s so cute!!

  8. Christine says:

    Love this cake…..What a great little sister!! It looks almost to good to eat….and instead use as a pretty display piece. 🙂

  9. OMG!!! Too much fun! Love the little pig! Crazy that you can make your own fondant!! This gives a whole new meaning to playing with your food!

  10. Your daughter is so talented! This is so creative. I’ve never tried fondant but I heard it’s not that tasty — so I like the idea of adding icing in between. Oh, and marshmallows. Yum!!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Janelle. The fondant tastes just like doughy sugar. Too sweet for me, so I mainly eat the insides of the cake. The fondant layer is pretty thin though, so it’s not a big deal to skip it.

  11. That is the cutest cake ever. As a children’s book publicist this cake completely melted my heart. I love it. Good job both of you!

  12. Heather says:

    OMG how creative is this!!???!! LOVE IT!

  13. Bahahahaha, “pool boy, bring me a drink”! I love this post! How much fun did you guys have, wow!?! Amazing, as per always! Thanks for the fondant tips, I think I could do this, I really do, you’ve both inspired me! xo

    • Dani says:

      You absolutely could. Think of the possibilities for a personalized cake for your hubby! I might have to make one for my pool boy, oops I mean hubby.

  14. Amy says:

    Wow! Impressive! There’s so much love put into this cake it melts my heart. I’ll have to pin this incase I ever need fondant in the future.

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Amy. Lots of love, for sure. Fondant is perfect for little hands. I’m sure your daughter would love to try it one day.

  15. jackie says:

    Wow! Your cake is just adorable! So much detail! I’ve never used fondant before, but you make it very tempting to try!

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