Mar 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (part 5, the cake construction)

Ah, finally, we get to the good stuff...the finished project! In this part 5 of a 5 part series, I'll show you how I constructed the beer mug cake. If you haven't been following along, and you've just happened by, you will find the links to the other parts of the series at the end. If you're just skimming, you can click on any of the pics to get a closer look. The cake is covered with MMF (marshmallow fondant)and airbrushed with silver food coloring. The leprechauns were made about a week ahead and are colored and handpainted gumpaste.

For the cake, I used 6 layers of 8" rounds. I always prepare my pans with a cake release, line them with parchment, and place a flower nail upside down in the bottom for even baking. (The nails heat up and allow the cake to bake evenly and rise evenly).

Once I had all of the cakes baked and they were cool, I placed one layer on a 6" cardboard cake round and I put a layer of butter cream icing, for the filling. I topped it with another layer and another cake round. With the cardboard cake rounds on the top AND bottom, it makes it much easier to trim them, keeping them perfectly even.

Before I trimmed them, I used my long serrated knife to cut notches all along the sides, about every 2" or so. This way, when I started trimming around the cake, the notches prevented the cake from pulling apart or tearing.

After filling and trimming the 3 tiers, I removed the top cardboard cake round piece and stacked them with only the bottom cake rounds left on. This makes for easier cutting and serving of the cake later.

cake with crumb coat
Next, I added a "crumb coat" of thinned down butter cream icing and let that dry. Once that was dry to the touch,I added another layer of butter cream all over(about 1/4" thick). 

butter cream ready for fondant layer
This served as a "cushion" for the fondant. While the crumb coat can be messy, I always take more care to make the final coat more smooth and even. Any holes or dips in your butter cream will show up in your finished fondant.

After applying the butter cream, I rolled out a long "log" of fondant for the shape of the base of the stein. An easy way to transfer it to the cake is to curl it up, then unroll it as you apply it to the cake. (I also use this method when applying fondant ribbons and such) I put a larger log on the bottom, then one a bit smaller just on top of that (smaller one not shown). The time it takes me to roll out the fondant to cover the entire cake, the little "logs" will dry somewhat and harden a bit. So that when the cake is covered, they'll hold their shape underneath underneath the fondant.

Usually, I will roll out a large enough piece to cover the entire cake and just lay the fondant over the top, drape down the sides and smooth as I work my way down the sides. For this cake however, I decided to try a different method, rolling out a rectangle shape and "wrapping" the cake in it, not covering the top portion. I rolled it out, then left it on the mat lined it up with the cake and used the mat to help wrap it. The seam is in the back and I covered it up later with dripping "beer foam". After I got it wrapped and smoothed out, I put another log on the top and brought the top of the fondant over that for the rim of the stein.

Normally, I would have used supports (cut plastic straws, pushed down into the cake) in between each tier. I didn't this time, thinking that the layers were small and light enough that it wasn't necessary. My bad. I really should have. I ended up loosing a little height as the cake settled after applying the heavy fondant. Plus, the cakes got a little "puffy" in spots. (we live and learn, huh?) Also, the "lines" in the "stein" were not part of the original plan. But I had to just "go with it" at this point, so I emphasized them turning it into more of a "mug" than "stein". LOL Next I attached the handle, which was made of gumpaste about 3 days prior, so that it had plenty of time to dry and harden. The bottom of the handle rests on the bottom of the mug, this was no accident, I had worked with handles before and knew that they need some sort of support. This proved to be well worth the extra effort, as the handle was pretty secure.

Next, I used liquid food coloring (specifically designed for airbrushes). I emphasized the creases with black and gave a very light "dusting" with the black also. Then I used silver sheen for the overall color. I had to mix in a bit of black and a bit of purple to get the "pewter" color. Sorry I don't have the steps of the airbrushing, at this point, I was ready to be finished LOL. I do plan on blogging about it sometime in the future.

Oh, and that's my "grown ass" husband in the pic....when you tell them "careful, it's not dry yet", what do they do???...."I'm not touching it..." (uhm, yeah, they're just little kids in big bodies! I swear!)

Now it was time for the foam. I had a hard time deciding what to use since I wanted it to look like foam, not icing. I thought meringue (using meringue powder, not raw egg whites), but didn't know how that would last, since I was doing the cake a day ahead. So I just ended up thinning down what was left of the butter cream and using that. The texture worked out great, but the next morning, because of the moisture, had soaked up some of the airbrush paint around the edges, turning them purple. So, I guess you could use that, only do it the day of the party, not ahead of time. Anyone have any other suggestions for me?

I put both of the little guys in place and pipped a bit more icing around the guy on top, up to the inner tube and around his legs. Then I pipped more (the foam spillage)around the side of the "drunk" guy on the bottom. I also pipped the foam coming down in the back to cover up the seam. I remember someone saying one time, "every cake has a backside". I've also learned that your do-dads and cake decorations (finishing touches) can be more beneficial if strategically placed. ;)

Well, that's it. I sincerely hope that someone finds this series and tutorial somewhat helpful. I do plan on blogging about other cake adventures in the future, please stop by from time to time and check out what I'm up to. (you can always subscribe to the emails and you'll get notified when there is a new update) And again, if you have tips or suggestions, don't hesitate to share, I need all the help I can get!

If you've missed any of the other parts of this series, here are the links:

You say Sugar Paste, I say Gumpaste (part 1)
Gumpaste Recipe and Directions (part 2)
Working with Gumpaste (part 3, the tools and body)
Working with Gumpaste (part 4, heads & hands)

You might also be interested in:

What is MMF?
Working with MMF

Thanks for looking!


Michele said...

You truly are amazing!

Spryte said...

Just yesterday on Ace of Cakes, one of the guys said something about not really being about to make things look 'silver'.

Maybe you should go teach them a thing or two!


tango's trash & treasures said...

OMGosh is that not AWESOME!! You do such beautiful work!

DDpie said...

Shels & Tango- thanks so much YOU guys are AWESOME!

Spryte- hehehe, who knew my being a hair colorist would come in handy with cake decorating? LOL

Danielle said...

there has to be some kind of contest you can enter! got it goin on! :)

true said...

Simply beautiful ...true from bakespace : )

DDpie said...

thanks Dani and true!

delilahboyd said...

Thanks for the flower nail trick! To repay you, I'm giving you my recipe for cake release:

7 parts shortening to 9 parts AP (all-purpose) flour; mix with paddle to make a smooth paste.

I make mine with pounds (7 lbs shortening to 9 lbs AP flour), but it would also work with ounces or half cups, etc.

I keep mine refrigerated, of course.

Just brush the insides of the cake pan with the stuff, parchment the bottom, and bake.

When the cake comes out of the oven, run a sharp knife around the inside rim, and let the cake cool before turning out.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is thank goodness for you! I've just recently started getting into the whole cake decorating thing and your blog is extremely helpful to a newbie trying to teach herself. Your posts are informative and detailed but you also make them interesting with your funny comments. I can't wait to read the rest of your site.

rachata said...

just come across your blog and wanna say I love it, you're genius!

l said...

gorgeous work!! what kind of cake are you using?

DDpie said...

It was a pistachio cake made with pistachio pudding and a yellow cake mix. I think I added in a tad more green food coloring.

Anonymous said...

that is so cute. i'm not usually a "gusher", but i'm seriously gushing over this cake. the leperchans are adorable