Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cake Boss I am Not...Cake Decorating Part 2: Woodland Chocolate Cake

Adventures in Cake Decorating Take 2! My second attempt at a fondant cake, just so happened to be for my friend Jen, who was the recipient of my Rainbow Brite 30th Birthday Cake. I didn't even realize it until I was elbow deep in fondant again. This Cake's occasion was a woodland themed baby shower to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Jen's much anticipated little guy. The shower, which a few of us put together was adorable, my creative friend behind A Cherry on Top, is a decorating genius, so the cake really had to step it up! So without further adieu, I give you Cake, well cake you can have in a few hours after you follow the instructions below. 

  • The Cake Deets
  • 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 Cup warm water
  • 3/4 Cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • *Note* to make the cake shown double the recipe.

  • The Cake How To
  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa, and sugar into a bowl, add other ingredients and mix on medium high for 2 or 3 minutes. Divide into cake pans and bake 8" pans for 20
  • minutes, 6" for 25 minutes, and 4" for 20 minutes. 

  • The Frosting
  • 1 1/2 Cup Butter (3 sticks)
    2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
    1 tsp Pure Almond Extract
    6 Cups Sifted Confectioner's Sugar (Must be Sifted!)
    1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

    The Frosting How To
    Whip it all together on medium high for 3ish minutes. I cream the butter and 1/2 the sugar, then add the other ingredients and remaining sugar - but I don't think the order matters in this one.

  • The Fondant Deets
  • 1 Bag Powdered Sugar (2lbs or about 7 cups)
  • 1 Cup plain Shortening (don't use butter flavored or the fondant will be yellowish)
  • 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
    1 tsp Pure Almond Extract
    1 tsp Salt

  • The Fondant How To
  • Mix until smooth and stiff. If the Fondant is sticky add more powdered sugar. To color separate into balls (depending on how many colors you want to make) Be sure to leave extra white - you will always need more white. To color use gel colors (liquid will not work) Coloring takes a long time, since this is only my second attempt at fondant (see the first attempt here), I don't have any tools or many colors - so I did it the old fashioned middle school art class way, mix, mix, mix, but with fondant you have to kneed, kneed, kneed. Once you get the desired colors roll it out on a powder sugar coated surface and decorate as desired. Remember Fondant will crack if it gets dry, so be sure to keep anything you aren't using within 15 minutes covered.

  • The Assembly   
  • Once the cakes are cooled, slice them in half and fill with a layer of mousse, then put them back together. 
  • Next crumb coat each section, for example, here I stacked the two 8" cakes then crumb coated them,  then coated the 6" and 4" cakes.

  • Note - do not stack until you cover with fondant!

  • Next, (I am not good at this step, so please seek better advice!) roll your fondant in a circle large enough to cover each layer.  Drape the fondant over each layer and smooth it out. Once each section is coated, stack them. - to support the cake I used 4 small wooden skewers (after cutting off the pointed end), and inserted them through the top straight down for support.
  • Finally, the fun begins with decorating! Cut your shapes and place them on the cake - I dip my finger in water and run it over the back of the piece to help it stick. I tried a variety of cookie cutters to make the shapes, but for the most part I free handed the designs with my trusty cutco paring knife (I really should get some decorating tools!) 

  • Yes, I really did make this big of a mess in my kitchen!
    Cute little Owl
    Mr. Fox 

    The Front of the Cake
    The Back of the Cake
    Since I am far from skilled at this, the decorating took me about 5 hours from crumb-coating to finished product (not including baking time). It was a lot of work, and is far from Cake Boss Quality, but I don't think it's quite a Cake Wreck.

    P.S. Sorry about the weird formatting - not sure what happened here.