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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Penguin Christmas: Completed

Penguin Christmas
Merry Christmas, Hang and Sandi!
(+5 skill points -> 225/400)

Oh, what a fun cake!  This is for my co-worker and his wife for their family Christmas.  I'm glad it's done, though ... I've been working on it for a week.  It turned out even cuter than I planned.

  • 8" round
  • Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • iced and filled with semi-sweet + milk chocolate ganache
  • covered in white MMF
  • border with royal icing
  • fondant accents
This was my first chance to work with Satin Ice (brand of manufactured fondant).  I ordered red, green, and black 2 lb. tubs from www.fondantsource.com.  The price, including shipping, was the cheapest I could find.  It shipped quickly and arrived on my doorstep last Thursday.  I was so excited I started making the bodies for the penguins right away.

These penguins were inspired by this etsy page: http://www.etsy.com/shop/fliepsiebieps?section_id=5990881.  The entire body is fondant except for the eyes and arms.  I was able to pipe on those using the royal icing I had made for decorating cookies.  I made the creases for the toes with the edge of an old clay tool.  The nostrils indentations were made with a toothpick.  These little guys ring out with personality that I didn't expect.

I also started the Christmas trees early.  The large Christmas tree got scrapped because I ended up making it look ugly and figured it was too heavy for the cake anyway.

I used scissors to snipe the branches ... it looked much better when I watched Buddy do it on Cake Boss.  Mine came out dry and rough looking.  Oh well.  I hope the decorations detract from that.

The cake baked up so nice ... this is the highest rising cake mix I've ever used.  I tried making ganache with 12 oz of semi-sweet morsels plus a handful of milk chocolate morsels.  When it came to icing the cake, I could see that the milk chocolate morsels didn't get incorporated into the rest of the chocolate.  They were still soft and spreadable, but it looked like light brown splotches all over the cake.  I let it chill in the fridge over night to set.  When I rolled the fondant on to it, I noticed the ganache might have been too hard.  I could smooth out a lot of the roughness.  You can see it along the edges in the picture below.


Otherwise, icing and covering the cake went really well.  I'm really getting the hang of eye-balling how I need my stuff to be.  I'm not even measuring the sugar when I make fondant or royal icing.

Typical bead border on the bottom.  But the fun part was the top.  All my little guys first got skewered with a toothpick.  This cake was making a 3 hour car drive, and I wanted to make sure there were no casualties.  Each got secured with some royal icing.  You can see it peaking out underneath them.

My previous cake proved I could make an icy/drippy border, which was perfect!  Again, using icing I had made for decorating my sugar cookies ...

This whole cake came together really well, and I was super-pleased.  It feels pretty good to be proud of a cake.  Oh and this was cool:  I was worried about the cake for the 3 hour drive.  I put it in a cake box with the top cut off (because the Christmas trees were too tall).  Then I put that box into this little wooden crate that I took from work.  The building management for our office had bought us a gift basket full of candy, nuts, etc.  They came in this simple wooden box/crate things.  The 10" cake box fit inside it PERFECTLY.  The cake was now snug, safe, and very portable.  I only have one more crate left ... I wonder if I can order them ...

  • I need to figure out how to mix semi-sweet and milk chocolate for ganache
  • ganache set too hard ... or maybe that wouldn't have been a problem if I iced it smooth to begin with
  • you know what?  Satin Ice doesn't taste awesome all by itself ... it tastes chemically ... I may have to try coloring my own MMF with Americolor gel paste to get a rich red, green, or black without sacrificing taste ... I hope no one eats a penguin
  • figures turned out super cute
  • Satin Ice fondant was very easy to work with
  • I really love that drippy snow border!!!
  • wooden crate held the cake box safe and snug
Merry Christmas, Hang and Sandi!
Now for more pics!










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