Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to Build a Cake

After building the Nemo Cake for my sons 2nd birthday, I thought that it was so much easier than those pros made it look! Making this easy marshmallow fondant from scratch was yummier than buying it pre-made, and it was super cute and custom made for CHEAP. the overall cost was approx 10 bucks!

Cake mix of your choice (Two for medium cake, four for large cake)
the corresponding amount of eggs, oil, and water
(or for a better tasting, richer cake, substitute oil and water for butter and buttermilk)
Double frosting recipe of your choice, or 2 cans of store bought
Two 8x11 cake pans
Non stick cooking spray and flour
Bread knife
Small sharp knife
1 part marshmallows (10 to 16 oz bag)
2 parts powdered sugar (1 to 2 lbs)
Food Coloring of your choice
Microwavable bowl (or double boiler)
Non stick mixing spoon, or your hands covered in butter!
Wax paper
Mix the cake mix with eggs, oil, and water. one cake mix at a time, that way you wont have
one cake thicker than the other. Pour batter into sprayed and floured pan. Bake at 350 F for
25 to 30 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool at room temp for 4 to 8 hours.

While you are waiting for your cakes to cool down, go ahead and start on the fondant
because it will take a while for you to knead the fondant together and knead in the color.

Put marshmallows in microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and
repeat this step until marshmallows are smoothly melted, approx 2 minutes. if you are
using a double boiler, put marshmallows in the top above boiling water and stir occasionally
until smoothly melted.

Use kitchen stand with dough hook (spray or butter the metal bowl), or your own buttered
up hands (also heavily butter the counter top you will be using) to knead the powdered
sugar into the melted marshmallows. Place marshmallows in greased bowl or counter top and
dump half the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallows. Begin kneading. Keep
kneading until dough forms, gradually adding remaining powdered sugar until you reach a good
smooth texture. If it is too sticky add more sugar, if its too dry and cracking add some milk or
water 1 tablespoon at a time and knead in thoroughly. When you are done it should look like
white Playdough.

During the hard kneading process (after i mixed it mostly with mixer, what i did was, "flour"
my workspace with powdered sugar so it wouldn't be too sticky, instead of heavily buttering it.
Butter adds some flavor though. Kneading in the food coloring is the same as kneading in the
water, put about 10 drops of color into the middle of the dough, fold over and knead, i
recommend doing this on wax paper to minimize clean up!! Knead until color swirls are gone,
or minimal. Store fondant in plastic wrap separating the colors, as some colors bleed into each
other. Place wrapped fondant into storage bags and store in fridge or freezer. Since its
practically pure sugar fondant can last for a while. But i recommend using it asap, it can get
dried out. To use after refrigeration, microwave 30 seconds and knead until pliable.

Now to put the cake together! Place bottom cake on wax paper covered serving platter.
Frost top and place second cake on top of that, repeat until you have reached your desired
height. Do not frost the top and sides until you have shaped your cake.
Take a large bread knife for shaping and small paring knife for details.

For Nemo i took a sheet of regular printer paper because it was the exact size of the cake,
then i cut out Nemos body shape from a top view and used that as a stencil for shaping his
body. After cutting his body shape with the bread knife, i used the same knife to give his head
and body that tear drop shape, cutting off as little cake as possible (i hate wasting) once i got
my rounded tear drop shape, i began on the facial details with the small knife, i cut a half circular
shape for his eyes, not worrying about the parts that would be jutting out because that was
where the fondant would come in. After finishing the basic shape of his body and face, i frosted
the cake and added extra to any area where i had made a mistake.

Roll the fondant on a big flat powdered area to about an eighth (1/8) inch thickness, you can go
between 1/8 and 1/4 inch and it would look fine. You just dont want to tear the fondant because
it looks bad and you cant really fix it without it looking all funky, its not a big deal if you plan to
just cover with decorations like flowers or dots, etc. If it does tear while you try to transport it,
just suck it up and re-roll. It happens.
To transport from counter to cake, slowly roll fondant up onto rolling pin, being careful not to rip
it off the board, use a metal spatula to gently scrape any section that may have stuck to the
counter. Position fondant on cake beginning at one end and unroll over to cover the entire cake
(hopefully) thats where your own math skills will come in handy! Gently press fondant onto the
frosting, pressing into appropriate crevices you intentionally made in the cake! Trim excess
fondant off cake with small sharp knife. Use warm water and small brush or stick tools to touch
up fondant. Use remaining fondant for decorating, if desired!

You have just made yourself a $500 cake for only $10 or less!!!

Please leave a comment if you have made this recipe better, or if you are just glad to find it!

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