Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two Steps Forward, a Giant Hike Back (3rd Fondant Foray)

My charmed life of fondanty goodness couldn't last forever. This is definitely the most forgiving photo of the (lumpy! UG-ly!) Super Bowl cake.

Luckily, it wasn't all horrifyingly, spectacularly bad...
Yellow cake (the base) came out very very well, almost a confection, yum!

Cake supports (bubble tea straws) did their job. True, the football wasn't very heavy. But I'd like to think the supports saved the base cake from certain squashment, though.

Bonus! Fondant texture was really and truly correct, not just workable. It was a glob o' sweet beauty this time.

Paul was freakin' phenominal about coloring fondant and sculpting cake football. Now he's stuck for the duration of this project, poor guy.

But the bad and the ugly outweigh the good by a wide margin...
Both cakes became somewhat dry. They still tasted ok, maybe even good, especially the yellow cake.

Freakin' Mousseline Buttercream mess... again...

Because the fondant was so velvety easy to work with (relatively) this time, I accidentally rolled it too thin, but didn't notice until it was already on the cake, when I wondered why the base of the football kept tearing... Ack! Now I know why it must be a minimum of 1/8" thick. You can see every unforgiving buttercream lump and sub-optimal sculpting cut with thin fondant. I actually covered the base cake twice, which helped.

Then there was the piping job... I cringe... Yeah, I'm definitely blaming this on being mostly blind that day (and the previous day too).

Details about the cake:
Base cake was two batches of All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from The Cake Bible, each batch baked in my fabulous new Calphalon 9 x 13 pan. No torting, so I had two 1 1/2" layers, making the total cake (with fondant and everything) about 3 1/2" or so.

Football cake was one batch of Chocolate Fudge Cake from The Cake Bible, split into two pyrex bowls to bake. No torting, just two layers, sculpted into a football that was about 4 1/2 " high or so. Not fair to judge this batch because of odd baking vessels.

Attempted Mousseline Buttercream again from The Cake Bible, and it sort of worked between all layers, even though the stuff left in the bowl eventually separated. Used Kahlua and vanilla extract for flavoring. Had to resort to Peggy Weaver's (American) Buttercream I recipe for football crumb coat and fondant glue again.

Fondant dyed with Wilton and Betty Crocker gel colors: blue, green, brown, copper, black. (Not all at the same time, duh.)

Fondant made two days before decorating.
Cakes made two days before serving.
Cake layers assembled, sculpted, shaped, and crumb coated one day before serving.
Cakes decorated and tiers assembled a few hours before serving.

Bottom line: All-Occasion Yellow Cake is a big time winner. Must practice adding syrup to moisten it if I'm serving it 24 hours+ after baking it. Practice Chocolate Fudge Cake for a real baseline. For marshmallow fondant, start with 4 cups of confectioners' sugar, and then add 1/2 cup at a time until it's not too sticky. Cover fondant screw-ups completely with more fondant, it might help. Peggy Weaver's (American) Buttercream may end up being the go-to BC, if I can't get the Mousseline BC to work. Bubble tea straws are very easy to work with for cake supports, stable too.

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