"Hey, I can do that!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Johnny and Kristen's Engagement Cake: Completed

Johnny and Kristen's Engagement Cake
+5 skill points -> 145/400

This weekend my husband and I will be attending the wedding of our friend Johnny.  His fiancee had picked out lovely invitations that I really wanted to recreate on a cake.  Here's how it all went down.

  • 8" round
  • French Vanilla cake (box mix)
  • chocolate buttercream filling and icing (Wilton recipe using butter-flavored Crisco, leftovers from Mark's birthday cake)
  • ivory marshmallow fondant
  • royal icing decorations and shell border
This was actually my third time covering a round cake with fondant.  It went pretty well for the most part!  I've decided to no longer use the Wilton cake dividing wheel mat to roll out fondant on.  All the pros use a flat surface, cornstarch, and a lot of patience ... I should do the same.  I also seem to get smoother fondant this way; no holes or imperfections that you wouldn't see because it's stuck to the mat.

I got a little excited and trimmed off too much of the fondant.  The chocolate buttercream can be seen peeking out.


My strategy was to fix the upper edge first, smooth out the sides, then the top.  There were a few wrinkles at the very bottom in some areas, but all in all, it was fine.  I had to be careful not to get buttercream on to the smoother so chocolate wouldn't get wiped all of the fondant.


I made a half batch of Wilton royal icing with meringue powder.  Half of that was colored brown and the other purple.  Using the invitation as a guide, I free-hand piped branches using tip #1.  When I got to piping "Kristen and Johnny", something must have gotten stuck in the tip.  #1 is a very tiny hole, so any little grain can stop the flow dramatically.  I should have stopped all together, cleaned out the tip, and restarted ... but I didn't.  My script looked thin and shaky because of how hard I was squeezing.  The icing kept curling as it was exiting the tip, so I had to stop and reset several times.  Tsk tsk.


Piping on the purple went much better.  I watered it down more than the brown and that helped so much.  There came a point where the tip got clogged, so I stopped and cleaned it all out.  After decorating the top, I had so much royal icing left ... well things got a little out of hand.

I used most of the brown for a nice shell border to hide where the fondant was too short.  That piped on so nicely!  I'm going to use royal icing for borders on any competition cakes I do.  What to do with all the purple?!  You can't see it (because I refused to photograph it), but there's a failed attempt of making leaves on the side of the cake.  After that came a bunch of hearts with a star tip.  Sigh, I really should have stopped after the shell border.  I then made little bunches of dots in between the hearts.




 This cake came out ok.  There are several things I wasn't pleased with, but hey, I learned a lot.

  • trimmed fondant too short
  • few pleats in the fondant
  • didn't clean out tip when it was clogged
  • piping was thin and shaky; should have thinned out royal icing more
  • stupid designs on the side ... I really need to know when to quit while I'm ahead
  • I suck at making leaves
  • pretty good third attempt at covering round cake with fondant
  • buttercream tastes fabulous
  • had fun piping branches, flowers, and leaves inspired by their wedding invitations
  • royal icing makes beautiful borders
  • no bubbles! strangely enough, I didn't get any trapped air pockets under the fondant


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