Ladies and gents, I’m pleased to present my niece Lauren’s birthday cake. She turned 10 and that’s a whole decade of loving sweetness packed into one special girl. I love her to pieces and was happy to receive an email from her about a month ago. In it, she asked if I’d make her cake — absolutely! She spelled out — and illustrated via a sketch — the design she wanted for her cake.
It’s a bling thing
She requested “bling” (her word. Not mine. I can’t make this stuff up). I couldn’t find a giant number 10 so I bought a 10-pack of silver candles and Lauren’s wish is sure to come true because she extinguished them all with one blow.
I bought the black cake boards and black fondant at Bulk Barn. And I made the pink fondant with my standby marshmallow fondant recipe. I rolled black and pink fondant, cut the fondant into 2 x 8″ strips, rolled each piece on its vertical axis to its halfway point and applied it to the cake. I wish I had taken a photo of that last step but I had to move quickly to keep the fondant from drying.
Don’t make marshmallow fondant with hard marshmallows
By the time the bottom layer was done, I ran out of pink fondant and I encountered a mishap when I made another batch of pink fondant. I don’t know what went wrong but I ended up with hard, plasticky fondant.
I blame hardened marshmallows. I thought they’d soften when melted and they did, but when they cooled, I was dealing with a bad situation. That fondant was so tough, I couldn’t knead it and roll it out so it ended up in the trash. And I almost — aaalmost — ended up in tears. Frustration + exhaustion = my tear-triggers.
Tomorrow’s another day
But I held it together, called it a night and went to bed, knowing it’s better to start fresh after a good night’s sleep. The next morning, I made another batch of fondant for the top tier and finished decorating it in time for the party. Everything started coming together nicely at the end. Yay!
The fondant pieces pile into a heap at the top of the cake so to cover the unsightly connecting points, I improvised by making and placing a fondant rose on top.
I also created the ribbon banner the night before, allowing it to dry overnight, and I wrote Lauren’s name on it with my trusty black food-colouring marker.
Bring on the bling!
To finish the cake and bring on the “bling”, I bought sparkly rhinestrone strips from the dollar store. I cut the rhinestone strips into rows of three and two, leaving their clear backing intact. Then I wrapped it around the bottom of each tier and set it in place with double-sided tape. I also bought a bunch of candy ring pops to dress the table and they were a hit with the kids.
Wanna see how I put this cake together? Check out my Vine clip and see it action.
And then there’s this clip too.
Tips for making this cake:
- Cracked fondant sucks so aim for soft and malleable fondant (knead it well, add a few drops of water if needed, and use vegetable shortening to lock in the moisture. Resist using too much icing sugar or cornstarch to keep it from sticking to the counter.)
- Roll the strips thinly. The thinner the strips, the easier they are to roll without cracking.
- Cover the fondant strips with plastic wrap when not in use. Air dries fondant. Dry fondant cracks.
Are you getting a sense of what my biggest challenge was while decorating this cake? Did I mention that cracked fondant sucks?
By party time, no one noticed any cracks in the fondant, Lauren loved her cake and it got rave reviews. Phew! Er, um, ta daaa!