When I became part of Lets Do It With Fondbites team last month, I didn’t know how much I am going to learn from that awesome group. In two months I have learnt a lot about cake decorating which I hadn’t learnt in the past three years. The group is so helpful and they try to answer any query regarding decoration. There are also so many interesting discussions going on there and I should say that I am so proud to be part of it. When I first wrote to Subhashini my wish to join the group, I was not at all confident that I will be accepted there. The main eligibility was the member should know the basics of fondant draping and cake construction. I had made only two fondant cakes previously and I was not at all satisfied with the results. If you look at the members of the group, then you would know I was so afraid. There are so many professional cake decorators there and I know that mine would be the most simplest cake of all. And somehow I got selected into the group. I need to thank Subhashini for believing me. My first project was the black board cake last month. And as expected it was the simplest cake in the group. This time I wanted to push my limits and when the theme was announced, there was a whole lot of planning to be done before execution. Yes cake decorating is not cake walk. It needs a lot of patience, planning and so many details to be taken into account before execution. I will talk in detail about my adventure in the following paragraphs.
When Subhashini announced the theme as comics or fairy tales with fondant 2D cut outs with in depth painted cake, I wanted to select my daughter’s favourite toon Dora or Chotta Bheem. I even got the print outs for Dora and suddenly I had a change of mind. Why not do my favourite fairy tale. At least I have done her favourite for her birthday in the Frozen Butter cream Transfer cake. The list of my fairy tales ended with Snow white or Cinderella. And after so much of thinking, I finally decided to do Snow White and the seven dwarfs along with the evil queen, Prince Charming and the Magic Mirror. How grand it would be!! Some how the cake turned out as I expected and my daughter loved it so much. To make the 2D cut outs I used home made gum paste mixing my regular fondant with CMC powder. This mixture dries fast and makes a nice crisp cut out. If you use only fondant you may end up with a soft cut out.
My plan was to complete the cut outs, dry them, paint and then prepare the cake as the base. SO I started collecting the pictures from internet and took out print outs to suit the height of my cake ( you need to decide everything before hand). Then I used the print outs to make copies in a tracing sheet. After cutting out the designs from the tracing sheet, it was now time to make the gum paste cut outs. After the outline was cut, I just used my free hand drawing skills to trace the design on the gum paste. Then I painted them according to the theme and let them to dry. They were neat and crisp and I was so happy and then disaster happened. From the next day it started raining heavily.
If you know about fondant, then you will also be knowing that rain and fondant are not close friends. Fondant tends to become runny when there is lot of humidity in air. So all the cut outs which were nice and dry turned out soft and Prince Charming’s leg broke!! I was really sad on that day but still we need to find solutions for these types of problems. Other wise there will be no cakes during rainy seasons. Subha suggested I place the cut outs under yellow light but I didn’t have a table lamp. Then I did what felt as a good solution. I kept the fan running and placed the cut out under it for the whole day. IT dried but once I removed it away from the fan, it became soft. So the fan was kept running until I finished the cake.
After covering my cake with white fondant, I left it to dry for a day so that it will be easy to paint. But again the next day fondant was so shiny and soft and I put the cake along with the cut outs under the fan. After a whole day, the fondant dried and I was relieved. As the painting had to be in depth, I used the water colour techniques I learnt as a kid on this cake. The paint was gel colour and vodka was used as the thinner. I was so happy to paint the dwarfs’ cottage and the grass and the palace room. Then I stuck all the dried cut outs with the help of edible glue made with cmc powder and water. The topper was the toughest challenge for me. It was nice and dry until I took the complete photos but went soft and broke (yes, it was still raining) after the photo shoot. I used two wooden sticks as a support to the topper.
Now after the boring post I will add a little detail about how I made the 2D cut outs for the cake. I used home made fondant. You can also use the store bought ones. To 250 gm of fondant, add a teaspoon of tylose or CMC powder and knead it well. If you feel the gum paste is dry, touch dalda or shortening and knead it again until smooth. Cover with cling wrap and place in a zip lock for at least 2 hours before using it to make the cut outs.
Take print outs of the designs you are going to make. Make sure that they will fit your finished cake. Enlarge or minimise to fit the size.
Now place a tracing sheet on the design and trace it over with a fine tipped marker.
Cut out the outline of the design.
Roll the gum paste into a thin disc large enough to fit the design. Don’t use too much corn flour. Else you will find it tough to cut.
To the back side of the design, apply a coat of dalda or shortening. Not too much. Just a thin film.
Place the paper on the rolled out gum paste. The fat will act as a glue and will not let the design sheet move.
With a sharp knife, cut out the outline. Be slow and patient while cutting to get a smooth edge. Do not forget to clean the blade often.
Remove the excess gum paste.
Place on a lined tray and remove the paper gently. Allow it to dry completely before starting painting. But if you don’t want to do free hand painting, you need to trace the intricate designs with the help of the tooth pick when the sugar paste is still soft. Do not give too much pressure. It may tear the gum paste. Gently run the tooth pick on the design lines so that a slight impression is made.
With the help of a mix of gel colour and vodka and a fine paint brush ( I used 00) trace the outline or draw it freehand. As the mirror is going to be golden, I traced it with yellow. Use a lighter colour.
Snow white is also drawn.
Like wise do for all the cut outs and paint them as you wish. Use less vodka to get darker colour and more vodka to make it lighter. Finally with black colour do the outlines for all.
I then painted the cake layers and allowed all the elements to dry. Once dry, every cut out was glued with edible glue.