Monday, November 2, 2009

"Say it. Outloud." "Twilight Cake!"

Twilight Cake

Before you say it (you know who you are!), I realize this is yet another non-cupcake post in a cupcake blog. However, I was proud of this cake (before it suffered a caketastrophe at least), so I'm going to show it off.

This, my dear readers, is the Twilight cake. It was made for my lovely friend Wendy's birthday, and was the first - and so far only - stacked cake I have ever attempted. It was made from two (6" and 8"-two layers each) round vanilla cakes filled with chocolate fudge frosting, covered in black homemade buttercream fondant. I found the recipe for the buttercream fondant on, but I'm not going to bother to link to it because it was such a mess to work with that I do not recommend using it. Normally I would have made some yummy marshmallow fondant, however, the birthday girl is a vegetarian and marshmallows are not. More on the fondant mess later.

Unless you have been living without power or access to the outside world for the past couple of years, you probably know about Twilight. Both Wendy and myself are fans, so this design only made sense. The cake's theme was based around all four book covers, featuring the apple, ruffled tulip, torn ribbon, and chess piece. Every decoration was handmade by me out of gumpaste, fondant, or a combination of the two. I have not had much experience (really none) modeling gumpaste into figures, so it was trial and error. I am happy to report that it was not much different than playing with clay, so making the various pieces was not that difficult.

Twilght cake

My favorite pieces to sculpt were the petals of the ruffled tulip. Those were made from gumpaste rolled thin and then hand-cut into large leafy-petal shapes. I placed them on a piece of shaping foam and "ruffled" the edges with one of the gumpaste shaping tools I have in my kit. They were placed in one of the holes in a cupcake pan so they would dry in a curve overnight. Gumpaste becomes almost like porcelain when it drys, so they became very hard, yet fragile. I made more than I thought I would use because, of course, I broke a couple. Once dried, I used a mixture of clear vanilla extract and red gel food coloring to paint the red streaks onto the petals using a little paint brush. This was the first time I had used the painting techniques, and it actually works really well! The petals and the other decorative elements were attached to the cake using toothpicks, clear vanilla extract, or in the case of the petals, just wedging them in between the layers of the cake.

Twilight cake

Now for the difficulties. As you can see, this cake took a bit of a spill and I neglected to take a photo of it before I boxed it up and left the house with it. I had about an hour drive to get it to the party, and I figured I would drive gently and it would be fine. For the most part, it was. I took the turns slowly and watched it as best I could while driving. Unfortunately, when I arrived in the city something shifted and the bottom cake separated in between it's layers. It probably had something to do with the fact that I did not put any kind of support dowels in the cake because I decided it couldn't possibly be necessary on such a small cake. Looks like I was wrong!

The other issue with this cake was the fondant. It was the greasiest mess I have ever had my hands in. Consisting mostly of corn syrup, shortening, and powdered sugar, it was easy to make, but so, so hard to work with. It tore, stretched, and glopped all over the place, and frankly I'm amazed it looked as decent as it did on the cake. I'm by no means an expert on placing fondant on cakes, but I know it should not have been that difficult. On the bright side, it did taste good, which is not something that fondant is known for.

So, there you have it! My first stacked, decorated cake! I really wish I had pictures of it intact to show you all, but just picture it without the stack of napkins holding up the bottom layer (and without the large, chocolate-oozing crack on the side). And I apologize for the picture quality, they were taken in a dark karaoke club. I have learned my lesson and I now take photos before the cake leaves the house.

1 comment:

  1. How did I not know you had a blog? Anyway, I'm now a fan. I also did not realize that we had so much in common ;) Twilight and baking...both passions of mine as well. Right now my goal is to move back to NE and open my own bakery someday. Interested in being business partners??