First off, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday, and more so, I hope you all overindulged in some yummy treats (I know I sure did)! So this year, my wonderful boyfriend surprised me by getting me…wait for it…yes, that’s right a KitchenAid mixer!!! Nothing could have been more exciting. Since it’s his birthday tomorrow, I decided to make him a birthday cake (and of course I took the first chance I got to use my new mixer). My boyfriend and I have an unhealthy addiction to video games, so naturally my theme is from one of our favourites, Little Big Planet.
The cake is a 10 inch double layered chocolate cake, with vanilla buttercream as the crumb coat and for the middle. Covering a cake with fondant is alot more difficult than it looked in the tutorials I’ve watched, but I managed.
Step one: Use my wonderful new stand mixer and mix up the cake batter. I used the same recipe as I did for my Christmas Cake, the cake batter has chocolate pudding and sour cream in it, making it extra moist. I had problems coating it last time because of how soft the cake was, so with this baking attempt I kept it in the oven 2 minutes longer and it was perfect!
Step two: Pour batter into two circular baking pans that have been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes (I baked for 27 minutes). Let them cool completely before shaving them to size and starting the crumb coat.
Step three: Level the cakes and complete the crumb coat. Set aside so the buttercream layer can harden.
Step four: While the cake hardens, begin preparing the fondant. Work the fondant like you would dough, and with a fondant roller, roll the fondant out into a thin sheet. Use icing sugar to help keep the fondant from sticking to the surface. I also sprayed my work surface with nonstick cooking spray and that seemed to work for me. My fondant kept ripping every time I flipped it, which started getting incredibly irritating, but the spray fixed that problem. Use the fondant roller as your guide, and sling the fondant sheet over it, slowly roll out the sheet onto the cake. Use a fondant smoother to smooth out the fondant sheet, and pop any air bubbles with a pin. Use a pizza cutter to cut off the excess fondant. This is where I had the most problems. I really should buy piping gel…anyways so my biggest problem was the fact that my crumb coat wasn’t done as well as I could have hoped, so the cake layers could be seem through the fondant. I had to take off the sheet, re-buttercream the sides of the cake, and then rework the fondant into a sheet and place it back on the cake. It was quite frustrating. In the end I managed.
Step five: The fun part. Dye all your fondant with gel based colouring into all the colours you need and begin making your shapes, cutouts, and decor! I used fondant cutters and silicone letter stencils from Wilton.
Step Six: Place your shapes on the cake. Piping gel would have really come in handy here… I used sugar water which, despite the amount of people tell me it works just as well, did not quite do the trick. I found it a little messy at some points, but I suppose it did work. I made the grass using green fondant. I cut a strip of it, approx. 1/2 inch thick, and hand cut the grass blades. I again used the sugar water to put this on the cake. I did it in pieces as the grass strip kept breaking.
Step seven: Finally, the last step was to create the sackboy and the planet he’s sitting on. I made each piece of the sackboy (two arms, two legs, his head and torso) and held him together with toothpicks. I used a tool from a fondant toolkit by Duff to texturize him. I made his eyes, and after much debate, carved his mouth in instead of making a black one and gluing it on. It just made him look funny and the carved smile made him look adorable. I then created the half planet, but shaping some green fondant into a circle, flattening it slightly, and then lifting it by placing a ball of fondant underneath it. I added water to the planet by cutting out odd shapes out of some rolled blue fondant and pressing it into the green half circle. The planet was placed on the cake using buttercream, and the sackboy is held in place using toothpicks.
And there you have it! Another issue I had with this cake was that the white fondant sheet cracked slightly on some of the edges of the cake. I tried hiding the imperfections with shapes and in some areas buttercream. Oh well, practice makes perfect. My hunny is happy and we can’t want to try it tomorrow night for his birthday!