Two more birthdays in our family this month – my mother-in-law and my nan-in-law (if that’s even a real term?!). My husband’s parents and nan came to see us last Saturday as it was his mum’s birthday on that day. I was originally going to make a joint cake for his mum, nan and his sister’s husband, but when his sister and husband couldn’t make it, it made it a bit easier cake-wise doing a joint cake for two females! It meant I could do something feminine rather than trying to incorporate three different people’s likes, male and female, into one cake!
I wanted to have a go at making roses. I decided that for the cake itself I would either make a vase/pot or a jug. In the end I decided on a jug, based on a plain white jug we have in our kitchen.
A few things didn’t go to plan on this cake… Starting with an exploding nappy (well not literally, but that’s the effect it had…) all along the side of our new sofa, which took FOREVER to clean up and make sure there was no trace of anything left (don’t worry, there are no ‘in progress’ pictures of that, although I couldn’t help myself and sent my hubby a picture to help him appreciate what a good deal he had being at work that day…! :-))
The next issue I had was that I’d planned to cover the cake with modelling chocolate, so that I could shape the spout out of it and blend in any join lines. I was going to make the modelling chocolate out of Wilton Candy Melts, but after 20 minutes of hunting high and low for the white candy melts I was convinced I’d ordered the month before, I checked my invoice and realised I’d never actually ordered them…
So on to Plan B, which was to make the modelling chocolate out of some white chocolate I had. I referred to Summer Stone’s post on her Cake Paper Party blog about ‘How to Make Modeling Chocolate and Fix Problems‘. I used the ratios in her blog for using real chocolate, and left the modelling chocolate to sit. She says in the post that real chocolate takes a lot longer to solidify than when you use candy melts. My problem was that it was now Friday afternoon and my hubby’s family were coming over on Saturday morning… By late on Friday evening the modelling chocolate was nowhere near solidifying. I tried kneading it, but it was so soft and oily, it was unusable. On to Plan C…
Plan C was to use fondant. I had some purple fondant left over from the Minion Cake I did the week before, but it’s home made marshmallow fondant which is soft and stretchy (so great for covering a cake) but not firm enough to stand up and keep it’s shape, so no good for making a jug. I had already covered the cake in dark chocolate ganache, so was not going to cover the top of it. Fortunately I had some Wilton fondant which is very firm, so not great for covering a cake usually, but great for making decorations. It worked a treat! I rolled out a large piece a bit thicker than I’d usually use to cover a cake, then measured the diameter of the bottom of the cake and the height I wanted the sides to come up to, and cut out a rectangle that size. I had tapered the cake so that it was a smaller diameter at the top that it was at the bottom, just like the real jug we have. This meant that when I wrapped the rectangle of fondant round the cake, there was an excess at the top, which was perfect for creating a spout! The Wilton fondant is so firm that the top part of the jug that wasn’t against the rest of the cake stood up by itself with no problem.
I shaped the handle by rolling a long tube of the Wilton fondant, flattening it at both ends and then shaping it and leaving it to dry over a Marmite jar covered in kitchen paper. This was the next issue I had… I left it to dry and firm up over night, and had to attach it to the cake Saturday morning. It really needed a few days to firm up properly, but having not planned to cover the cake in fondant, I hadn’t factored that into the timescales.
The handle was a NIGHTMARE to fix to the cake! When I’d attached the goggles to the Minion Cake the week before, I’d used water, left it for 30 seconds to get a bit tacky, and then held the goggles in place on the cake for a few minutes, and they stayed put. I did exactly the same with the handle, and it just fell straight off. So on the next go, I held it for ten minutes. And it fell straight off again. I then resorted to using edible glue, holding it for ages again… and it fell off AGAIN! My hubby kept saying “use cocktail sticks!” but I was worried about them cracking the fondant after it had firmed up. But eventually, after everything else had failed… I used cocktail sticks (cut down into smaller bits) and they worked… well done hubby!
I started making the roses on Wednesday night, to give them time to dry. I followed Shawna McGreevy’s tutorial on YouTube. I wanted to use Satin Ice gumpaste, but couldn’t get hold of any in time so used some petal paste from a Cake Shop. I would be interested to use the Satin Ice gumpaste next time to see if it behaved any differently. I’ve used it before, but have never made flowers out of it. I haven’t got any petal formers, so used plastic spoons for shaping the petals, and wrapped strips of kitchen paper round the bottom of each recess in my muffin tin and then covered it in cling film to put the roses in to dry once I’d made them. I coloured the petal paste pale pink and then dusted the roses with dusky pink petal dust just before I put them on the cake.
For the wood effect on the board, I used a technique I’d read about on the Craftsy blog, something else I’ve learnt from Lesley Wright of The Royal Bakery (I told you she was good ;-)) about how to give fondant a wood-grain effect. I then used a woodgrain impression mat on top to give it extra texture.
With so many things not going to plan, I’m really pleased with the finished result, and that I actually finished it!! The best bit was seeing my hubby’s nan’s reaction when she saw the cake. He asked her and his mum to go into the kitchen as we had something to show them, and pointed out the cake. His nan said “Oh that’s nice” so he said “Do you know it’s a cake, Nan?!” to which she replied “WHAT?! It’s a CAKE?!” which made my day!
We went out for a lovely birthday lunch and were all too full for the rest of the afternoon to eat any cake, so they took it home intact and I don’t have any pictures of the inside. But when they left his nan said “Don’t you want your wooden board back?” “No Nan, it’s not wood it’s fondant made to LOOK like wood!” “WHAT?!” 🙂