Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chocolate Cake - Cake decorating with Fondant

Cooking and baking is one of my passions I could say, but only when it is less stressful. That's why I use semi hommade techniques when it comes to baking.
I bake cakes all the time using ready made mixes available in nearly any grocery stores. It is way too simple if you have few tools(to be honest, all u need is a baking pan, baking spray and oven) and you get lots of complements as added bonus from guests, especially kids.

My cakes were simple, just bake and eat. No fancy stuff on top. Occasionally I used to add nuts and chocolate chips, but that was it.
I sometimes frosted the cakes using store brought frosting but it looked no where near to professional. Recently I have been reading about fondant, a sugar paste that gives professional look to cakes and gives lot of flexibility in decorating. So I thought I should try. Last weekend we had a birthday pary to go to. It was my husband's neice's birthday. She was turning 8 and I thought it would be the perfect occasion to try out my new fondant frosting cake. Well if it didn't turn out well, kids don't mind, they just eat it as long as it is chocolate. So I did a lot of internet reading and picture browsing. I bought the following items and started my cake. I don't have many pictures during the process, but I 'll try to get them next time.

From Regular grocery store:

Duncun Hynes Swiss Chocolate cake Mix - 2
Pam Baking Spray
Duncun Hynes fluffy Milk Chocolate Frosting - 2

From Cake Decorationg supply Shop:

Regular white fondant (I couldn't get the chocolate fondant, but it is available in some stores. Mine was out of this kind) - 1.5 lb
Chocolate Brown Fondant Color - 1 small bottle - I had to color it since I got white fondant
Couple of frosting piping heads - Flower tip
Couple shapes of cookie cutters - Flower, round
flat spatula
8inch round cardboard sheet for cake base.

Most of these can be used more than once, except for the fondant, which will just be enough for an 8in round cake. So I think it is worth buying them.

First thing's first, bake the cake according to instructions on the package, I have a 1 1/2 half inch deep 8in cake pan, so I had to make 2 cakes using 2 packages.
Once done, let it cool completely. Remove from the pan and cut off the bumpy top layer to flatten them for frosting. Apply frosting on one of the cakes and put the 2nd cake on top of the first one upside down so that you get a nice even surface on top. If you have baked one thick cake, cut it in the middle for frosting layer.
Or if you don't cake about layers, leave it like that, its easy. But if you are cutting the cake and frosting, it helps to freeze it before cutting/ frosting so that you dont get all the crumbs flaking up. So after layers, frost the cake with butter cream frosting or any flavour you like. Use your spatula to even out the cake for smooth finish.
If you work little carefully, this frosting might be enough for a nice looking cake with a little touchup decorations using icing tubes and tips.

Using Fondant:

If you want to use the fondant, put your frosted cake in freezer and start working with fondant so the frosting hardens up a little. Makes it easy to work with. Don't worry
about cake getting hardened because of freezing, it will be fresh.

I colored small part of the fondant lighter than the rest, so I could have 2 colors in my decorations. Rest of the fondant was colored to match with my chocolate frosting.
Its just putting the color on fondant and kneeding, but it takes lots of elbow greese. I recommend using gloves, just not get your hands messy with color. You can wash it off though.

Once the color is evenly merged into fondant, roll it out like a tortilla with a rolling pin into 1/4th - 1/8th inch thick. This should cover you cake on top and all around. A little extra is better, so you can cut it off for even look. Place the rolled fondant carefully without tearing it on to the cake and press gently with your palms to remove any air and make sure the fondant glues to the frosting on the cake. Start on the top and carefully proceed to the sides. Cut of the extra fondant around the cake.

From the extra fondant remaining and the lighter colored fondant, I cut out some flowers and rounds using cookie cutters, placed them on a damp towel for couple of seconds and attached them on top of the cake. Finally, take a ziplock bag, cut off at the edge to insert piping tips, insert flower tip(your choice) and fill the bag with frosting.
Pipe the frosting in the design you want to hide the seams at the edge of the cake.

Here is what I got. I was very happy to get the look of professional bakery cake (not quite, but good enough for a beginer). And the Birthday Girl! She was so happy that she wanted to cut and eat it right away though she had 2 more store bought professional cakes. Worth the whole process :)

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