Friday, April 25, 2014

Penguin Party: The Cake

I've only decorated a handful of cakes with fondant (pictures here, here, and here). I haven't made them for every birthday because they are pretty time consuming. This year I had a lot more time to plan my daughter's birthday so I decided to tackle a penguin themed fondant cake. I thought it would be cute to make a cake with four penguins (in honor of her 4th birthday) on an iceberg.

I made the cake over a a couple of days. First I made the penguins. I bought a 2 pound tub of Satin Ice brand white fondant (I prefer almost anything to the Wilton brand), and a four pack that included 4.4 oz of black fondant and three other colors. I was advised not to mix my own black fondant. Because I had a limited quantity of black I used the other colors in the pack as the base of the penguins' bodies.

I rolled the fondant into fat little bowling pin shapes then rolled out a small (hand size) sheet of black and draped it around the base. I continued to roll it into the bowling pin shape until the black was smooth. I used white fondant (cut with an X-Acto knife to make the white fronts of the penguins. I mixed my own yellow (using Americolor brand coloring) to make the beaks. I discovered that the best way to mix color is using my kitchen aid and dough hook attachment.  This also helped to soften the fondant (making it easier to work with). I bought the little sugar eyes at a baking shop in Wheaton, MD called Little Bitts. If you live in the DC area its worth a visit. 

I let the penguins dry and harden for a couple of days. I made the actual cake the day before the party. I always use Betty Crocker Super Moist cake mix. It works well for cake decorating and tastes really good. I made two cake rounds using my 8" X 3" inch round cake pan. I used a bread knife to level off the tops after baking. I cut a ramp (see illustration into the first piece (bottom) I carefully removed it, keeping it intact and flipped it over to continue the ramp on top of the cake. I cut out the other round to fit the ramp and placed it on top of the take. I used butter cream icing to level out the ramps and to make a smooth base for the fondant.

I rolled out a large sheet of white fondant (enough to cover the cake) and carefully laid in over the cake - smoothing it to "hug" the ramp. I used my knife to trim the excess fondant. Be careful not to trim to close too the edge of the cake. The fondant can retract a bit, once excess weight is cut off, and may expose the cake underneath the fondant. I used purple fondant dots to make a decorative trim along the bottom of the cake (I formed these by hand but would have used a cookie cutter if I had one). Finally I placed the penguins on the cake. I used more purple fondant to make a little holder for the candle.

My daughter loved the cake and my son was drooling over the penguins - he begged me to let him eat one. The hardest part about making the cake was having to destroy it to eat it :(.

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