Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3rd blogiversary fondant flower garden cake

I just realize I missed my own blogiversary! Can you believe it? February 11th was the third anniversary of my little blog. I love having this public/private record of what I've baked, whether I liked it, and how it looked. I'm really proud of the baking progress I've made - especially in the fondant decorating realm - and I'm happy that my photography skills have improved. Someday I'll try using a tripod, which should improve my focus issues. (You know how those rascally baked goods can't sit still. Just like my 4-year-old.)

Today is all about the pictures. This fall, I took a 4-part fondant class at NY Cake West, a newish baking supply store on the Westside. Each week, we learned new bits and pieces of techniques for making flowers: daisies, roses, mums, carnations, and lilies. We practiced rolling fondant as thin as humanly possible - 1/16 of an inch - so thin we could literally read through it - then used a balling tool to thin the edges even further and ruffle them to form realistic-looking, imperfect flowers. Our teacher, Sophia, provided great tips that have informed and bettered my fondant skills: instead of powdered sugar, use a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch to prevent sticking. Use it sparingly. Roll excess fondant in a ball and spread a thin film of shortening on it to keep it soft and pliable. Melt a tiny drop of white fondant in a few tablespoons of water to form a "glue" for sticking fondant elements to each other or to the cake. And so on, and so on. For a baking geek like me, so much fun!

On the last class, we each brought a frosted cake to class, covered it with fondant (another good lesson! and one I want to practice more), and then used our flowers to decorate our cakes. I'll be the first to admit this cake isn't really my style (it's pretty froufy), but I think it came out so beautifully. Here it is!

That's a lotta flowers!

See the marbled look of the fondant? I kneaded pink and white together, but not all the way. (Originally, I meant it to be more distinctly marbled, but I screwed up and had to roll it out a second time; the rerolling process incorporated the colors more, but there's still a subtle effect.) I also love the border. It gives it a more finished, polished look. I actually borrowed this method for the cake I made recently even though it wasn't covered with fondant. The fondant-covered board is too much for me, not to mention kind of a waste of fondant. I prefer a plain cake board.

I just like the lighting of this one. So dramatic.

Carnations are one of my dad's favorite flowers. As flowers, they're not so highly prized, but I think the fondant version are so pretty!

You can make roses in any state of bloom, more open or more like a bud.

I really like the mums, too, and they're fun to make but they require planning ahead: you have to make the centers of the mums (and the roses) first and give them a few days to dry and firm up.

The lilies aren't my favorite. (Sorry, lilies.)

I could also live without daisies, but they are very sweet on a baby shower cake.

The whole garden.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting along with me! I enjoy all the feedback and I love getting to share all my baked stuff with my (real-life and interweb) friends!


Meg Johnston said...

Wow, that's beautiful! I wish I could make something like that.

Come check out my competition!


Nanette said...

I'm so impressed, jami! GORGEOUS!

ButterYum said...

Gorgeous - love the trim detail!


Sandra Dee said...

Seriously amazing.

BTW - I think all my comments are a variant on that theme :-)

Sarah said...

Stunning! I mean "WOW"! I don't think I could create something like this... Well done!!! :D It's beautiful...

jami said...

Thanks for the nice comments, guys!

@Sarah, you'd be amazed what you can do when someone teaches you step by step. Makes it so much easier!! :-)

Krissi said...

Cannot even wrap my head around the awesomeness! Bravissimo!

Anonymous said...


The Food Librarian said...

Jami, I'm soooooo impressed!!!!! This looks like you went downtown to the flower market and put them on a cake! I can't believe you made all these! Amazing!!! You totally rock. And happy blogiversary!

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