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Monday, March 1, 2010

That Takes the Cake 2010: "Ramen"

That Takes the Cake 2010
2nd place
Adult Beginner - Special Techniques Not-on-a-Cake
"Ramen"
(+5 skill points => 290 / 400)


I'm so glad I had the opportunity to make this entry.  The ramen idea first came around in November for my birthday, but I was too busy to make it.
Stats:
  • Satin Ice fondant bowl
  • left over cake crumbs packed inside it
  • extruded fondant noodles
  • fondant shaped food yum yums
    • beef
    • green onions
    • boiled egg
    • Naruto fish cakes
    • and spinach
To make the bowl, I first covered one of my favorite mixing bowls with plastic wrap.  Satin Ice Black fondant got draped over it.  It was left out for several days to dry.  When releasing the fondant from the bowl, it developed some cracks :(  I was hoping some coats of confectioner's glaze would help patch it up.



The internet informed me that the little dealies in Ramen with the pink swirl were fish cakes called Naruto.  I don't recall it tasting like fish ... it tasted like a noodle.  Oh well, whatever.  I cut circles out of off-white fondant.  On cakecentral.com I saw a lady used a cut straw to make fish scale textures.  I used it to cut out half-circles around the edges.



For the egg I cut open a plastic Easter egg.  After softening (i.e. nuking it in the microwave) that same off-white fondant, I pressed it down into the egg.  A small circle of yellow fondant was gently pressed in to it.  This dried for a day.


I got a lotta work out of my extruder.  Green fondant snakes were chopped up to make green onion slices.


A patch of green was rolled out and crumpled on top of equally crumpled wax paper.  I wanted these spinach leaves to dry distorted and ruffled.  Once dry, they got a messy coat of paint (green coloring gel + Everclear).


Weeks ago my husband and I were trying to figure out how to texture the fondant so it looked like meat.  He suggested pressing it in to cuts of meat ... I said ew.  Instead I just lightly tapped the top of brown fondant slices with my super sharp kitchen knife in many directions.  They also received a messy paint coat.



I smooshed some left over cake crumbs in to the bottom of the bowl.  There is just one layer of extruded noodles all along the top.


After the noodles dried for a few hours, I poured in some home-made piping gel colored with a little brown.  It was a little thick looking, but it was better than risking something wet that would melt the fondant.  I stuck it in the fridge so it could cool quickly.  After I pulled it out, I really couldn't ask for anything more.

It was so fun to place my ingredients in the soup.  It looked so yummy!


Over the next few hours one of the original cracks in the bowl came back to bite me in the ass.  I had to patch it with coils of fondant, glued with melted fondant, and held in place with a ribbon as it dried.  The next day it was strong enough to go in to competition.


And what a surprise!  I was thrilled to see that it won 2nd place!!!


Here are the judges' comments:
Love this!  We thought you used a candy mold!  Funny.  I love replica work and you did a great job!
UPDATE (03/03/2010):  My poor little ramen bowl is slowly leaking its contents on to the tile below.  After I've had a few days to think about my process (and bask in the glow of my shiny medals!), here are my own critiques.

FAILs:
  • bowl was not strong enough
    • I either need to roll it out thicker, 
    • add more Tylose, or 
    • use pastillage
  • rim was not smooth
    • I had rushed trimming the edges and tried to make up for it by sanding it down
    • I really should have taken the time to make a smooth, even, and continuous cut.
  • cracks were not addressed in time
    • When I first cracked the bowl as it was being removed, I should have either remade the bowl or patched the cracks properly.  Coats of confectioner's glaze was not a proper substitute for the required support.
  • I was not prepared to fill the bowl appropriately
    • It was luck that I had a bunch of left-over cake crumbs that I managed to pack down in to the bowl.  My original plan was to fill it entirely with extruded noodles.  After my first extrusion, I realized that it wasn't feasible.  I did not have the time, strength, or enough fondant to fill the entire bowl. 
  • home-made piping gel still not "it"
    • In my prototypes for this, I tried "edible varnish" for the soup.  This is what it looked like:
    •  The soup looked fantastic, but eventually melted the fondant beneath as well as bubbled up before it solidified.
    • My subsequent prototype with piping gel showed that it was a little more stable and could play well with fondant, but it didn't really look like soup ... it looked like gel!
  • I melted the egg fondant too much.  It got discolored a bit.  And really, really hot.
FTWs:
  • Pork cutlets turned out awesome.
  • My husband did a double-take when I showed him the egg.
  • My "load-bearing" ribbon was a quick and secure fix to what could have been a permanent disaster.
  • I must've done many things right, because I won 2nd!!!
Mmm ... ramen ....




3 comments:

  1. I gotta say I love your good fortune cat but you stole my heart with the ramen. It looks good enough to eat and now you inspired me to make myself a bowl of the real stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the ramen noodles and sauce could not look more real. Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
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