"Hey, I can do that!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad Texture Cake: Completed

Bad Texture!  Another Dragon Age Inspired Cake
(+5 skill points -> 125/400)

I'm lucky to have an office full of hungry twenty/thirty-somethings that are more than willing to help me test drive my cakes.  And, after all the over time people have been putting in, expressing team appreciation is always a good excuse to practice cake decorating.

  • 10" square yellow butter cake (Wilton recipe)
  • Pillsbury Milk Chocolate Frosting
  • marshmallow fondant (tinted brown)
  • buttercream icing (print and borders)
A butter cake is very similar to a pound cake.  It was yellow and very dense, but lacking the nice pound cake crust.  Leveling and torting it was difficult because how firm the cake was.  This was a pretty short cake because I used a 10" pan with only one batch of cake batter (the recipe said it yields 7.5 cups).

My fondant, which I had made for my Wilton Course 3, Class 2, turned out to be dry.  Kneading in some water helped smooth it out.  I messed up putting the fondant on to the cake, though.  I need to get this whole aiming thing down.  When I first laid the rolled fondant (with the Cake Dividing Wheel mat) on to the cake, it was way off and one corner of the cake would have been totally exposed.  I tried to pick the fondant up and reposition it ... there's no turning back once you put fondant on to whipped store bought frosting.  It immediately stuck to the fondant, bring up frosting and cake when I tried to reposition it.  I cursed very loudly and repeatedly.  Luckily, it was mostly saved.  I repositioned it correctly and was able to use my rolling pin to smooth out the top again.  After popping bubbles and smushing things around, the top was almost flat.  There were still some indentations that were unrecoverable, but overall it was fine.  I got some more practice putting fondant on corners again.  You can use your rolling pin to help straighten out the sides.  Press the rolling pin lengthwise against the cake side and gently push and roll towards the center of the cake.  This was a pretty short cake for covering with fondant, but it still was a good learning experience.

The background was supposed to be solid black, but I didn't want to use up any food coloring.  Instead, I put the Color Mist Food Coloring Spray to the test (see review post).  An upside down bowl was placed in the center of a large cardboard box (lined with a garbage bag) and the cake was placed on top of it.  I sprayed the mist all over.  Make sure you cover anything that you don't want color on if you use this!  I put painter's tape on the exposed cake board by the cake.  Afterward I was pretty disappointed.  I thought this stuff would be a good alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on airbrush tools.  The color was pretty weak, and I practically used the entire can.  A lot of fumes came up ... the can didn't say anything about proper ventilation ... I didn't get high ... so I hope it's safe.  The cake turned out to look like a very dark brown, which was acceptable.

This was an excellent opportunity to test the piping gel image transfer technique.  My template was what I wanted my cake to show but in reverse.

I printed out the template and placed a sheet of wax paper over it.  After tinting some piping gel green, I thinly piped over all the letters.

Once complete, the wax paper was carefully flipped and placed on to the cake (I placed it a little lower than where I wanted, but there's no turning back).  The gel presses on to the top of the cake with a little help from a stiff paintbrush stroking the back side of the wax paper.

Tada!  The gel was transferred on to the cake and I had a pattern to trace over for all that print.

Betty Crocker sells neon food coloring gel, which I mixed in buttercream for the letters (it shows up bright green in the game).


The cake says "Bad Texture" all over it.  Why?  That's what shows up in Dragon Age if a texture fails to load on a model.  During development we'd see this all the time all over the game.  I think BioWare employees even have t-shirts that say this in glow-in-the-dark print.  Here you can see I rolled up a towel to support the back of the cake board, allowing the cake to be tilted toward me as I piped.  I printed an un-reversed version of the template that I could look off of in the places where the gel didn't transfer completely.

I didn't know what to do for the sides, so it ended up with bead border, dots, and a straight line on the bottom.

  • can't seem to place fondant down correctly on the first try ... that darn mat is big and unwieldy
  • foiled by my own laziness!  store-bought frosting sticks instantly to fondant
  • color mist wasn't as effective as imagined
  • piping gel image transfer worked well
  • neon food coloring was fun; came in very convenient tubes (instead of stupid jars that I have to get a clean knife every time I need more color or the Americolor tubes that require oh-so-much precision to get a single drop instead a blob)
  • good excuse to try Wilton butter cake recipe (see review post)

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