As it was my baby's first birthday, I decided to attempt a multi-layer fondant cake. My only other experience with fondant was for my 3-year-old's birthday, and you may remember that it wasn't pretty.
But, you can't be truly accomplished unless you practice more, and with that in mind, I set out to create a fondant masterpiece.
After getting inspiration from my niece's birthday cake, a couple of online photos, and a few youtube videos, I was ready to get to work. This is what I was able to pull off.
Here's how I did it. Earlier in the week, I baked and froze two box cakes (one white and one chocolate), made marshmallow fondant, and gathered all the materials that I would need. So, when I got to the actual assembling and decorating of this cake, it took almost 3 hours (with clean-up). A waste of time? Maybe, but I chalk it up to acquiring a new skill, making something beautiful with my own hands, and delighting my daughters.
This bottom layer was the Devil's Food cake with chocolate ganache frosting. Must. Have. Chocolate. I cooked it in two 9-inch round pans. After the cake was frosted, I popped it in the fridge to set up while I prepped the fondant. When you make marshmallow fondant, it's just white and very easy to color. I bought actual cake decorator's gel in pink and aqua, not just the little food coloring squeeze tubes. Using a toothpick, you spread small amounts of the colored gel onto the fondant and then knead it to your heart's content. You do need to keep your counter covered with powdered sugar in order to keep the fondant from sticking to it, though.
I used little fondant stamps to make the flowers and then brushed the back of each flower with water for it to stick to the pink layer. When you roll out the fondant, the goal is to keep it 1/8th of an inch thick, but I didn't always get that perfect measurement. Well, I didn't measure; I just eyeballed it.
This middle layer was white cake with almond buttercream. It was cooked in a 6-inch by 3-inch deep pan. Then I just used a cake cutter to cut off the rounded top and then cut it into two layers.
To make the stripes, I used a pizza cutter and did my best to cut straight. You could use a ruler, but I couldn't find mine. I think the lines look straight enough, don't you? Again, I brushed the back of each stripe with water to make it stick like glue. Another tip to get the base layers of fondant to stick to your frosted cake is to use piping gel. I wasn't about to run out and buy some, but I actually had some on hand from my cake decorating class last summer.
For this last layer of cake, I siphoned off about 1/3 of the white cake mix and attempted to make it chocolate by adding cocoa powder, melted unsweetened chocolate, and milk. The batter tasted fine, but the finished cake was a bit...dry. As it was for the baby, I knew she wouldn't know the difference, but I was still sad that it wasn't a perfect cake for her. I actually cooked it in my ceramic butter crock so that it would be the right size to fit on top of the cake. I used a small round cookie cutter to make the circles.
Definitely a success. The cake looked great and tasted great too, even the fondant. Not many people care for commercial fondant, but I think marshmallow fondant is quite tasty, especially when you flavor it with butter and almond flavoring like I did.