YouTube Themed Cake

My blog started with an Elmo Cake for my niece’s birthday, and throughout the years there have been other character themed cakes, Minnie Mouse, Frozen, Trolls and last year’s Descendants. As you can see the themes aged as she did and by whatever was popular at the time. Well, fast forward 7 years and for her 9th birthday she requested a YouTube Cake. Initially she said she wanted the Cookies and Cream Cake I made a few months back (her younger sister will only eat Oreos in mini form thanks to that cake) but I guess she wasn’t ready to let go of a themed birthday cake just yet. Who knows what next year will bring, or what I will be making for my younger niece come June. I am thinking she’ll still want some sort of character.

Now, a YouTube cake sounded easy enough. It didn’t require any special decorations, the colors were simple (white, black and red) and I pretty much had all of the tools I needed to make it. But, there was one thing. While looking at some cakes on Pinterest and Instagram, I noticed that people opted to make their YouTube themed cakes round, but, I felt it really should be a square cake. Not that that was an issue, but then I wondered, how would I cover it in fondant? I sometimes have mishaps when covering round cakes (they seem to always tear) so I could only imagine that covering a square cake would be even more difficult. Especially trying to get the edges sharp. So, I thought, isn’t there a way I could panel the fondant. And of course a quick Google search assured me that yes, fondant paneling was possible and from the looks of it easier – I am actually thinking of trying the technique on the next round cake I make that needs to be covered in fondant. I decided to watch a few videos just to pick up a few tips and tricks. And I quickly learned that one of the keys to fondant paneling is to freeze the fondant for a few minutes after rolling and cutting it so it’s firm and easier to trim and place on the place.

I began by baking two 9-inch square chocolate cakes. After letting the cakes cool, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and left them on my kitchen counter. The following day I made a chocolate mousse filling for the cake and I took a major short-cut and used store bought chocolate frosting. I haven’t quite mastered making chocolate frosting myself. Anyone have a good foolproof recipe they can share? I leveled, filled and frosted the cake and then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day it was time to cover the cake in fondant. Normally I use confectioners’ sugar to dust my rolling mat and pin, but, opted this time to use cornstarch and what I found was that the fondant didn’t get as soft. I began by cutting a square piece for the top of the cake. To leave room for error, I cut the fondant about a quarter of an inch larger than what I needed it to be. To place it on the cake, I matched it to one corner of the cake so all I would have to trim was two sides. Now, I didn’t place this piece in the freezer since I thought it would be easy to trim it since it was just lying flat on the cake, a mistake. While I was able to trim it, it would have been easier had it been frozen.

Next, I covered the sides of the cake. Before I started though, I decided which sides of the cake would be the front, back and sides. This is important as you cover the sides of the cake first before the front and back. Since the cake is a square, all of the sides were the same length and width. I rolled and cut two pieces for the sides and placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes I removed them and before placing them on the cake, I lightly brushed the cake with water so the fondant would adhere better. As I did with the top piece, I lined the fondant piece with one bottom corner of the cake and then used my fondant smoother to smooth (and stick) the fondant onto the cake. I then trimmed the fondant. I used a small knife that I sharpened. I think next time I will purchase an X-Acto knife to get a cleaner and closer cut. I repeated this three more times and was pretty happy with my end result. It wasn’t perfect, but, I was happy that I didn’t have any mishaps and that my fondant actually stuck to the cake and that I had clean edges and no fondant tears! I would have benefitted from trimming my cake prior to frosting it so it would have sharper and cleaners sides. Each time is a learning experience so I am sure next will be better.

Then it was time to make this square into a YouTube cake. I cut out letters and a triangle (for the play button) using white and black fondant. For the red pieces, I actually used a band aid cookie cutter I purchased to make a Doc McStuffins themed cake a few years back.

And to cover up the unfinished edges around the cake, I decided to put a black trim over it. To adhere all of these pieces I lightly brushed the back of them with a little water. And that was it. This cake was a hit with the Birthday girl and everyone who saw it!

This is the recipe I used for the chocolate cake. I have been using it for years now and haven’t had any issues or complaints. As for the chocolate mousse, I used the mousse recipe I made for the Spice Cupcakes and instead of using a box of pumpkin spice Jell-O mix I used chocolate.

Descendants Themed Cake

It’s my Blogiversary! I started this blog 6 years ago and my very first post was an Elmo Cake I created for a friend’s daughter, aka my niece. Since then the cakes have gotten a bit more elaborate and 3 years ago they turned into fondant creations. I normally ask her a month or so in advance of her birthday what theme she’s thinking of. When she told me Descendants for this year I was stumped. I had only heard of Descendants, but had no clue what the deal was behind them. So, it was off to Pinterest to get some ideas. Once I had my idea down it was time to get my supplies and test out a few.

I needed to make sure that the icing was easily pipeable and also to test how thick the piping would be with the tip it came with. I opted to go with a smaller tip.

I also needed to make sure that the flower cut-out I purchased would make nice roses. Thankfully it did.

One more thing, I opted to purchase a dummy cake for the top tier of the cake. I normally do bake the cake, but, it usually doesn’t get eaten because it’s too much cake, so, to avoid waste and a little bit of stress on my part I purchased a dummy cake. In case you are wondering, it’s made out of Styrofoam. No one knew it was a dummy cake once it was covered and decorated.

To prep the dummy cake I covered it in frosting

I then covered it, as well as the actual cake, in fondant.

And after some piping, fondant rolling and cutting the cake came together. I have definitely learned with making these cakes that it’s important to walk away for a few minutes and then come back to truly appreciate the way it looks. So, I take a lot of mini-breaks, if not, I would probably drive myself crazy. One thing I did decide, I am going to avoid covering a cake with black fondant. I find that it tends to dry out fast and inevitably it always breaks. I had a few challenges trying to cover up the imperfections from it.

So, what will my next themed cake be…? Not sure yet. I’ll have to ask my other niece what’s she’s thinking of for her June birthday!

 

Happy Blogiversary and a Trolls Inspired Cake

It’s my 5 year Blogiversary and I am celebrating with a Trolls inspired cake. Okay, not really. But, it truly is the 5-year anniversary of Bead Yarn & Spatula. Boy, where does the time go? And I’ll be honest I wish my blog was further along and had more exposure than it currently does but I know I am part to blame for that. I definitely need to be more consistent with the posting. Hopefully this year I’ll be better with that. As for the Trolls inspired cake, I really did create one. But, it was for a friend’s daughter’s Birthday.

This cake was a three day process. And can I say I am always apprehensive to work with fondant because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not as consistent as buttercream that’s for sure. But, it does make for a beautiful cake and is worth the extra work. On the first day, which only took about a half hour or so I created the rainbow that was going to sit on top of the cake. I made it a few days early to ensure that the fondant would harden and hold the arch shape. I rolled each color of the fondant about the same width and stuck them together by brushing the fondant with a little water, not too much as I didn’t want the colors to run. I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter as my base for the first arch and continued from there with the other colors. Once the rainbow was complete I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of it so I would be able to stick it on to the cake.

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The night before I was to cover the cakes with fondant I baked them. I don’t like baking my cakes too early because I want them to still be fresh when they are cut into. The bottom portion of this two-tier cake was a three-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting. While the top portion was a yellow cake that I filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. After letting the cakes cool overnight I frosted and filled them the following morning and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could settle.

That afternoon I removed both cakes from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. You don’t want to place fondant on a cold cake because fondant is at room temperature and if you place it on a cold cake you will end up with a bunch of air bubbles; that can be quickly remedied with a pin but, why go through that if need not be.

For the bottom tier of the cake I covered it with yellow fondant and then with neon colored fondant I cut out flower designs to adhere to the cake. And to cover up any fondant imperfections along the bottom of the cake I opted for a half circle design around it in pink fondant…

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Which matched the top tier of the cake that I decorated to mimic the headband that the Poppy troll wears in her hair.

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I placed both of the tiers back in the fridge until the following afternoon when I completed the top tier of the cake by placing the rainbow on top of it and used marshmallows to mimic clouds. They stuck together and to the cake with just a few drops of water. That’s also how I stuck all the flowers and such to the cake. Once again though with not too much water so the colors don’t begin to run.

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And this cake wasn’t complete until a few trolls were placed on it. Of course Poppy and Branch, the main characters from the Trolls movie and a few of their friends. And if you haven’t seen the movie I highly suggest you do so. The message behind it is good for all ages to learn or to be reminded of.

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And there you have it… My 5-year anniversary post and an adorable – if I do so say myself – Trolls inspired cake. The Birthday Girl loved it and that’s really all that matters to be honest!

 

1 Week, 3 Cakes & 48 Cupcakes!

Recently I was elbow deep in flour, sugar and butter for the better part of a week creating some lovely cakes for some momentous occasions – a friend’s daughters’ first birthday and her older daughters’ pre-k graduation.

To kick off my week of cake baking & decorating I made a 3-tier 9-inch white cake layered with vanilla mousse and covered with pink tinted vanilla frosting. I didn’t just simply frost the cake though; I opted to decorate it with buttercream ruffles. To create the ruffles I used a No. 125 Wilton Tip, which is considered a petal tip. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the process, only the final product. I began by applying a thin layer of frosting to the cake so the ruffles would be able to stick to it. To ensure that the ruffles would be evenly spaced and the same width throughout I used a straight-edge to score the cake. Since I had placed the cake on a cake board that had half-circles around it I used that as my guide to create the lines. Once that was done I scored lines along the top of the cake towards the center. I made those lines double the width of those along the sides of the cake. I then filled my pastry bag that was fitted with the tip and began creating the ruffles. With the thicker side of the tip against the cake I began making the ruffles starting and ending the ruffle when I hit one of the score lines. This video shows the process I used.

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And once I got the cake to its intended destination I topped it with a cake banner topper I made. I did receive one complaint about this cake… It was too nice to cut. I was very happy with how it came out; it looked just like how I envisioned it. But, more importantly it was delicious. The Vanilla Mousse filling was perfect and the frosting wasn’t too sweet, and lastly the cake was incredibly moist and light.

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Next up was another cake to celebrate that first birthday. This time it was a two-tier fondant covered Mickey & Minnie Mouse themed cake. I actually had a bit of anxiety to make this cake. You never know what’s going to happen when you are working with fondant – mainly will it tear!?!? Thankfully there were no tears whatsoever, but, there was an air bubble here and there that was quickly remedied with a needle.

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And to go along with the cake there were cupcakes that followed along with the Mickey & Minnie Mouse theme. These cupcakes actually did cause me some stress. Initially I was planning on using Mickey Mouse themed liners, actually I did use them to bake the first batch of 48 cupcakes but those liners were on the smaller side so my cupcakes all looked like they had been nibbled a little around the edges once I took them out of the cupcake pan. Definitely not something that was presentable and couldn’t be masked with frosting. So, I baked another 48 cupcakes (this blog title should really read 96 cupcakes!) using white cupcake liners that I picked up at a restaurant supply store quite some time ago. It’s a package of 500, so I’ll be using them for quite some time. But, thankfully they turned out perfect cupcakes that I then topped with vanilla buttercream frosting – the same frosting I used for the first cake. I then topped them with Mickey Mouse picks and Mickey Mouse sticker button picks (I made these) to ensure the theme traveled through to the cupcakes. Oh, and since not everyone is a sprinkle lover like myself, I only covered have of the cupcakes with sprinkles.

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The cake and cupcakes together…

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And finally, a cake to celebrate a Pre-K graduation. The young graduate requested chocolate, so I made a Triple Death by Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Frosting. It was a lot of chocolate but delicious nonetheless. To decorate this cake I opted to cover it with rosettes using a No. 22 Wilton Tip. Initially I was going to use a 1M Tip, but my rosettes just looked too sloppy so big. And to finish it off I topped it with another cake banner topper that I made.

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After a week like this I think I’ll take a break from cakes and cupcakes and stick to cookies for a bit!

 

 

 

Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake

A great thing about blogging and social media – Instagram in particular – is the chance to discover other bloggers. One blog that I have enjoyed following is The Cake Blog – a blog with amazing cake designs that include tutorials so you can recreate them yourself if you wish. Recently they featured a Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake that I thought was too cute not to try.

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Using one milk chocolate box cake mix I baked two heart cakes filling the pan with about 2 cups of batter for each of the cakes. After letting the cakes cool completely I leveled the cakes using a large serrated knife. I used to use a cake leveler but have found that using a knife allows me to level the cakes more evenly.

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Following that I frosted each of the cakes with vanilla frosting and then placed them in the refrigerator so the frosting could harden in preparation for decorating them with fondant.

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And while I was on a kick making marshmallow fondant recently, I opted to go with store bought fondant to decorate these cakes. I picked up Wilton’s Decorator Preferred Fondant in red and pink and I was pleasantly surprised; it was easy to knead and roll out. I’ve used Wilton’s Rolled Fondant in the past and it wasn’t as easy to work with.

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After rolling the red fondant out to an 1/8 of an inch thick I cut two strips of fondant long enough to wrap around each of the heart cakes, one an inch and half wide – the height of the cake – for the top of the candy box and the other two inches wide for the candy box.

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I rolled up the strips and then unrolled them around each of the cakes.

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Next I rolled out more of the red fondant and using my heart cake pan as a template, I traced out a heart for the cover of the candy box.

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Once I was done with the red fondant I rolled out the pink fondant and cut out two hearts – one smaller than the red cover I previously cut and one to fit inside of the wider red border – the candy box cake. On the smaller of the two pink hearts I used a fondant stitching wheel to etch an angle design.

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Next it was time to make the candy box cake actually look like a candy box and to do that I needed candy, more specifically chocolate candy. I melted some Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts and filled heart & circle swirls molds to create the candy.

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After refrigerating the molds so the chocolate could set I tapped them out onto wax paper.

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I then used some of the melted chocolate to glue two pieces of the candy together so they would have a little height inside the candy box cake.

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To add a little more pizazz to the chocolates I drizzled them with melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with Valentine’s themed sprinkles.

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Then I used more of the melted chocolate to glue the pieces onto the candy box cake.

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On the original cake the edges were painted gold using gold dust and extract. I attempted to do the same with shimmer powder I had on hand…

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But unfortunately I wasn’t too successful as the powder I have didn’t have the same color intensity. It was worth a try though! While there were some imperfections with my final outcome, overall I was pleased with it. I definitely need to work on cutting fondant shapes and making straight lines when etching a design into the fondant.

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Marshmallow Fondant

The last time I worked with fondant was a few years ago when I took a Wilton decorating class and while I did like the polish look fondant gave the cake I ultimately didn’t like working with it and more so didn’t like the taste of it. In the very near future (next week) I am planning on making a birthday cake that will look much better covered with fondant as opposed to frosting so I decided to try making Marshmallow Fondant ahead of time to see how the whole process will go. I am very much a planner and like knowing how to tackle a project as opposed to jumping in and trying to fix the bumps along the way. So, all you essentially need to make the fondant is mini marshmallows and confectioners’ sugar. You also need a few tablespoons of water and shortening which you use to grease your hands and countertop when you knead the fondant.

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First I melted approximately 8 oz. of marshmallows with a tablespoon of water in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Stirring the marshmallows after each 30 second burst.

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Once the marshmallows were melted I added in some gel based good coloring – I picked green because it was the first one I grabbed that was already open – and about 2 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, which I had sifted, and folded the three ingredients together.

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Next I dumped the mixture onto my shortening covered countertop and kneaded it as though I was kneading bread incorporating about another cup of the confectioners’ sugar into the fondant. I knew it was “ready” once it was pliable and didn’t tear when I stretched it. Having worked with store bought fondant before I more or less knew when it was ready. You don’t want the fondant to be too dry and you also don’t want it to be too rubbery. Remember you will be rolling this out and covering a cake with it. Once I felt that it was ready I formed the fondant into a ball, coated it with a thin layer of shortening, and wrapped it in plastic wrap, put it inside of a Ziploc bag and then placed it in the refrigerator. Now, some recipes I came across didn’t mention putting it in the fridge but I opted to do so. I figured it wouldn’t hurt it at all since it was covered fairly well.

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I only intended to leave it in the fridge overnight but I ended up leaving it in there for four days, which I am happy I did. Now I know for sure that the fondant can be made quite a few days in advance of me using it. I took the fondant out of the fridge early in the morning so it could come to room temperature by the time I was going to use it. Following that I warmed it in the microwave for two five-second bursts so that it would be easier to work with. Now I was ready to roll it out.

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Since I was covering a 6-inch cake that was about 4-inches high I knew I needed to roll out the fondant at least 14 inches.

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Once I had it rolled out I wrapped it around the rolling pin…

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And then rolled it over the cake.

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I then trimmed the excess fondant off the bottom of the cake…

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And then did a little test decorating. I brushed the edges of the cake with water and dusted it with shimmer powder – the outcome of which I wasn’t all that thrilled with – and then I soaked a ribbon in water, squeezed out the excess water and then wrapped it around the bottom of the cake and used double-sided tape to hold it together.

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Overall I think I am set and have figured out all the little tricks to make sure when I work on said birthday cake I will be prepared. Oh, and yes this fondant definitely tastes better than store-bought fondant. I probably would be more thrilled with it if I liked marshmallows though! I used to like them but as I got older I just didn’t have the taste buds for them anymore.

Below is the recipe I followed to make the fondant, one thing to note, I halved the recipe (I used 8 ounces of marshmallows, 1 – 3 tablespoons of water and 1 pound of confectioners’ sugar)

Rolled Marshmallow Fondant

Makes about 2 pounds

Ingredients:

1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows (use a good quality brand)

2-5 tablespoons water

2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

Instructions:

1. To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).

2. Place 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners’ sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn’t stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.

3. It’s best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.

4. When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.

5. To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners’ sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.