Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cake Making Experiment

Since I came home from college basically all I have done is watch reality TV (my favorite guilty pleasure). Other than the Real Housewives, which are at the unbeatable #1 spot in my mind, I have become obsessed with all of those 'gourmet' cake making shows. They do such unbelievable things on these shows- it is hard to believe that the complex structures they make are actually cake! This ornate cake making is truly an art form, and if you know me at all, you know I'm always looking for a new art project. So I decided to experiment with the art of cake-making.

The key difference about these 'gourmet cakes' as compared to a regular cakes that we would normally make at home is something called fondant. Fondant is a thick icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. It comes in the package as a brick/ball and needs to be rolled out with a rolling pin until it is very thin. It has the consistency and feel of Play-Doh while you are trying to knead it and roll it out. Once it is thin and flat enough, it is draped over the cake and the excess is cut off.

Fondant is the key ingredient to make one of these 'gourmet cakes' because it gives the cake a smooth and flawless finish. It is used as a base for decorative details and architectural designs, and also is used for sculptural decoration. I decided to buy a few flowery cookie cutters made especially for fondant and used these to cut hundreds of flowers of varying sizes and shapes out of the white and orange fondant I rolled out. I then layered all of the flowers randomly, covering almost all of the entire cake with these fun patterns. I attached/glued/stuck the fondant flowers to the cake just with a small dab of water.

The result, five hours later, was the cake you see in the picture above. Although certainly not perfect, I'm quite proud of it, especially since it was my first attempt. It truly was a learning experience, and I am excited to make another fondant cake soon. It was a fun experiment to try, and I now have a new appreciation for all of the hard work and dedication these 'gourmet cakes' take to make!

You can purchase fondant (and other accessories) in the cake-making section of your local Michael's Craft Store.

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