During the end of my pregnancy with my 3rd child, Penelope, I began a hobby of making candy, cupcakes and cakes. I have always enjoyed making things homemade especially for my kids it gives a very personal feeling when I made something by hand or from scratch for them and they really appreciate the extra effort. So I kick started a little side business of selling custom candy favors, fancy cupcakes and personalized cakes. It was not too bad during the pregnancy but once my daughter was born and starting crawling I knew I was in trouble. I had two other children and my husband was working around the clock. These projects were time consuming and it became more of a job and a chore then a joyful hobby. I slowed down the business and stopped promoting it. The business came to a lull yet still friends and family would ask me to make cupcakes or a cake. I became to loathe it. I would get nervous about sleepless nights and a cake deadline in the morning. It was my fault however, because I kept agreeing to it. I like to help people and I have children and I know these cakes can be expensive! I know before I began harvesting my talent, that we would spend a lot of money on these cakes and favors for all showers, christening and birthday parties, if I had the ability to do it I felt obligated to. I recently was asked to do another cake. By the way I now have FOUR small children. One is just beginning to crawl. I have gotten much better at time management however, I don’t think people realize how much time and effort and work actually goes into some of these cakes. There is consulting, designing, planning, shopping, baking, molding, sculpting, executing, packaging, researching and I think you get the picture. I also am not good at taking people's money especially friend and family, I don't want it, it's weird you're a friend, take it for free. I quickly (by year 2) realized that this was not something I was interested in pursuing as a career, just a hobby. I decided to make a tutorial in case you wanted to start making personalized cakes for your family. Small ones are easy and like anything else, the more you do the better you get at it. I am in no way a professional I am self-taught from You Tube and lots of other googling “how-to”.
This is a 6” one tier fondant cake. I am going to add some DIY easy favor tags, cake pops and fancy cupcake tutorials soon so you can make them for your little one, too!
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First you will need:
One box cake or your own recipe and all the ingridents that will make 2- 6” rounds or 2 -8” rounds
My favorite box cake is Betty Crocker golden vanilla or triple chocolate fudge
Tip if you are making an 8” round make sure you fill the batter all the way or make 3 layers, you want the cake to be about 4” high.
Cake boards 6” for support and 8” or larger for the base, if you make an 8 “ cake then you will need and 8” for support and a 10” or larger for the base, you can buy here they make fancy ones too
Fondant smoother ( optional but for better looking edges) * see bottom
A straight edge spatula called a Wilton smart icing smoother *see bottom
a handled spatula
Large knife to cut cake top off.
Wilton Decoraters' Prefered fondant
After you have baked your cake let it cool for some time. Then put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This makes them easier to handle. I have rushed it before and have taken off the edge of my cake like I did with this cake.
Please comment if you would like to see how to fix it if that happens to you.
Take the cakes out of the pans and place on a flat surface. Cut the rounded part of the top of the cake off so that the cakes are level. You can see in the picture it took me more than one time because you don’t want to cut too much off. There are strategic tools and ways to do this and if you are stacking these cakes and making more tiers you may want to get a tool but I have never used on and the have all came out pretty straight.
Next, place your botton layer on the smallest cake board and fill with your cake filling. If you are using anything that is thin and can run make a small boarder of buttercream around the edge, then fill. Otherwise just fill with buttercream your desired amount. Again if you are going to use a lot of filling make sure it is an even layer.
Flip the other cake layer over so that the top is now stacked faced down centered on top of the other
Put back in the freezer for 15 minutes (time consuming I told you)
Then start applying the buttercream in a very thick layer on the top and then over the sides with your flat spatula. With your free hand you want to keep turning the bottom around so you can make the icing smooth and even. ( you can put on a plate or a bigger board) Use a lot of buttercream you will be removing most of it in the next step. This step is to keep the crumbs in.
Once you have the cake covered you want to go around and remove the excess with you flat spatula using it perfectly vertical for the sides and as straight horizontally for the top. You should be removing a lot of icing so scrape in a different bowl and then wipe your spatual clean each time you do it because otherwise you will never get it as smooth as you want. Keep doing this until there is a thin very smooth layer around the cake. This is your crumb coat
Remember to hold your straight edged spatual very straight at times we tend to slant our hands and it can leave uneven edges an lines in our cake.
Put cake in freezer
Now its on to the fondant. (note that some will add a second layer of crumb coating, this is slightly more difficult to make smooth)
Place your fondant on a flat suafce and begin kneading and folding it. If you are using the Wilton kind like I recommended then only use about 90% of it for the 6" you may need the whole aamoutn for the 8” once you have it make it round and flat like the photo to a workable consistency
Begin rolling out with rolling pin and some powdered sugar on pin and surface ( this helps the fondant from sticking), similar to how you would roll cookie dough or pizza dough and each pass you make you want to turn the fondant 90 degrees. You want to roll it pretty thin to make it easier to work with once you lay it over your cake. Try not to leave it out too long like this because it will dry and become hard to work with. So be sure to have your cake ready and all your tools close by. I do like the Wilton Fondant because it doesn’t dry too fast.
Roll your fondant over the back of your rolling pin like the photo and place the cake in the center of your working space
Fold the fondant over the cake in one neat layer, you will see that is draped over and that’s good. Your main concern is that the sides will be covered and one side isn’t shorted than the other if that’s the case try to pick up the fondant all at once and reapply this shouldn’t be too much of an issue if your cake was cold. If you didn’t put it in freezer then it will be a mess with the icing and you will hate the cake by now. Try not to do this too many times because you could get air bubbles, wrinkles or tears.
Now , on to the smoothing and trimming.
First you want to smooth the top with your hands quickly and get the first 1” of the sides cake smooth. You can pull the “skirt” of the fondant lightly to make sure its not bunching up and you may quickly trim some of the weight of the bottom with the pizza cutter.
Once it is eaiser to move around you want to keep smoothing and pulling, smoothing and pulling with your hands while turning the cake like we did for the icing. Forming the cake and fondant together with your hands.
To make it not bunch the trick is to smooth and pull or else you will have wrinkly bottoms like my first 17 cakes did . ( You will notice a decorative border on all my cakes in the beginning because I had no clue I was supposed to pull the fondant I thought it would rip.)
*tip please make sure that nails are trimmed for this because it will make working with fondant very difficult.
Once the cake is smoothed you can continue trimming the excess from the bottom with your pizza cutter. Make sure when you use fondant cutter you are not pressing into the side of the cake or else you will get an indent like some of my cakes still do !
Now use fondant smoother around sides, top and most of all edges.
Now you can decorate it!
Tip you may want to make your decorations ahead of time depending on the design you may need some to dry over night. Fondant is tricky like that. And becareful when refridgerating with decorations on it may be better to put the decorations on right before your event
Please leave a comment if you would like to see a cake decorating tutorial or fondant figure making tutorial if the pictures were at all helpful and if you have any questions! I may not be able to make the cake for you but I can help!
I like getting the white fondant and dying it myself with the Wilton Colors. Unless I am using black which is typically easier to buy that color.