Project: Fake Cake
Materials: Foam (Insulation or White Bead Foam), White Acrylic Caulk (4-6 Tubes), Acrylic Paints, Green Glue (3M Fastbond Contact Adhesive.)
Tools: Spatula, Disposable Pastry Bags, Decorator Tips 32, 104, 4, and 352, Lazy Susan/ Cake Decorating Turntable (Optional)
First, a word about tools. Cake decorating is a perfect example of a project which uses real food preparation tools with non edible chemicals. Always be sure to store food safe tools/containers separately from non food safe tools, and label them well. If you are storing actual, food-safe, prep supplies in the shop, make sure they are stored in closed containers to protect them from contamination. Remember, once a tool or utensil is used once on something that is not food-safe, it is no longer to be used for edible food preparation. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog.
Foam is a really good base for onstage cakes, it is lightweight, easily shaped, and fairly durable. Best of all, it doesn't crumble like real cakes do, so it is easy to frost. For this cake, I used white bead foam, first cutting it to size (9" Diameter circle) on the band saw, then gluing the two layers together with green glue. Before frosting, I rounded the top edge slightly with sandpaper.
The frosting is white acrylic caulk. The caulk is easy to work with, can be colored by adding acrylic paint, and can be smoothed with water when wet. When dry, it is paintable, durable, and somewhat flexible. When frosting a cake, you want to start with a big blob of frosting on top, and spread it outwards with even strokes of your spatula. If you need to add more frosting, add it to the center blob, and work it into the frosting that is already down. This helps to make a smooth finish (and, in real cakes, keep crumbs out of your frosting.)
When you get to the edges, let the frosting fall down the sides of the cake before smoothing it down. To get the sides straight and smooth, hold your spatula upright, at a 45 Degree angle to the cakes edge and, in one continuous motion, gently smooth the frosting around the cake. See how the blade is tilted away from the cake in the photo? Don't do that....hold it straight. (It's hard to take a photo and frost at the same time.) This is where the Lazy Susan really comes in handy. Being able to turn the cake while you smooth is a big help.
After the caulk had dried, I dusted it with Design Master Butter Cream paint, to dull the white down a bit. Then, I mixed small amounts of white caulk with yellow, orange, and green acrylic paints to make the colored frosting for the cake's decorations. (And by the way, this isn't an incredibly awkward bundt cake, the hole in the middle is the fixture I installed for the fake candle that is taken out of the cake during each performance.)
I piped the decorations on, let the cake dry, and TA-DA!
Some cakey links:
As I mentioned earlier, I plan to do my next post detailing the decorations on this cake. However, if you just CAN'T wait to see how it's done, I recommend visiting the Wilton site for more information.
While you can buy a decent selection of cake decorating supplies from the big box craft stores, I always like to frequent local businesses when I can. Your local cake decorating store will most likely have a larger selection of tools and, more importantly, staff who actually decorate cakes and can answer your questions. If you don't have a local cake decoration supplier, and you have the time to order online, please consider Cook's Cake and Candy Shop, located in Milwaukee and on the internets. They have thousands of items for cake and candy making, and helpful staff who know what's what about cakes. When I needed silver edible ink to write on sheets of dried seaweed, these ladies pointed me towards silver fondant glaze. When I retire, I hope to be a Cook's Cake lady.
If you are looking for some hilarious cake failures, this is your site. You can spend hours looking at fail cakes, with the occasional success thrown in for good measure. I promise that you won't be disappointed here.