Thursday, December 15, 2005

Insane in the Membrane, Part II

Something happened yesterday.... Something great. I am not sure exactly what it was , maybe it was sheer determination to prove all the ones who had doubt wrong, maybe it was all the prayers to the cake gods, maybe it was just luck.... What ever it was it was great. I freaking pulled it off... The Farm Tractor cake was conquered.

This was so much fun. It's sculpture... But with sugarpaste. I worked for 6 hours straight on it and the hours felt like minutes! With each step I would say to myself... "I can't believe I am pulling this off. I can not believe I am doing this...."

Shaping the cake was no problem at all. The Hummingbird cake was nice and chilled and sliced up very well. This is a very very dense cake but it produced a lot of crumbs! I thought at first that I might be in trouble with all the crumbs but I did a fairly decent job of getting them all cleaned off. The cream cheese icing as a crumbcoat was a bad idea, I think. It never did dry like buttercream does so the fondant gives a bit when touched. I don't like that it does that. I want the cake to feel firm and solid.... There is no risk of it collapsing, but it still doesn't seem "firm" enough.

Another problem I had was coaxing the blue fondant onto the tractor body. Those square edges gave me a very hard time. In the book the tractor is smooth and perfect and the corners are smoothed over beautifully..... Mine wanted to fold over like Christmas wrapping paper. I had no idea what to do with them... and I had to act fast because the fondant was starting to dry. At first I had them flare out but quickly changed my mind. It looked stupid. I ended up pinching the corners together and trimming of the excess. Then I couldn't figure out how to make the seam go away. Anyone know how to do this?? I think the seams look really bad... but I figure the more I do it the better it will get.....

The rest of the sculpting really went great. Having an art background had finally paid off! That sculpture class I hated my senior year of college is finally making sense! The farmer's body went well... as did his face, nose, ears, eyes, arms and hands. The tires were a breeze... just cut out with biscuit cutters and embellished a little bit with pattern..... One issue I did have was being messy with the sugar glue. I had some idea that powdered sugar, merigure powder and water would dry clear..... why did I think that??? !!! It obviously does not dry clear.... it dries very white. Very white and very hard. So something I definitely learned for next time is EASY with the sugar glue.... and I need to be cleaner. And EASY with the freaking powdered sugar! Holy crap I had that stuff everywhere! Powdered sugar loves to settle into any and ever crack in fondant and it is a pain to get out.....

I really did have so much fun doing this and plan to make many more. I learned a lot from this first cake.... On what cake to use, what icing to NOT use, what to go easy on and what to add in. I learned that if you actually read the instructions things will turn out how they say they will turn out. I have to say I am pretty proud of this.... and I would have always dreamed about making one of these and saying "one day one day" had it not been for my best friend in the whole world... Stephie.

*** I am begging you all to please give me hints and tips on rolled fondant! Please email me anything you can and also some great sites to look at as well!! ***

Comments on "Insane in the Membrane, Part II"


Anonymous LisaSD said ... (December 15, 2005 10:54 PM) : 

Wow! Congratulations! And you enjoyed it, to boot!

I can't see the seams on the tractor AT ALL!

Looks great, and it tasted delicious, I assume?


Blogger Stephenie said ... (December 16, 2005 6:36 AM) : 

YUM! I can't wait to bite that farmer's little head off tonight! :)
I can so see you doing this often. If that's how your first attempt turned out, think what will happen when you're on your 10th!

Saw this on Food Network last night, The Holiday Cake Challenge, and thought of you.,2495,FOOD_20077_41198,00.html


Blogger Alicat said ... (December 16, 2005 7:01 AM) : 

It turned out so great!!!

Good job Chan!! :)


Blogger Robyn said ... (December 16, 2005 7:05 AM) : 

Your cake is fantastic! INSAAANE! I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO BAKE A CAKE! Forget trying to make it look like a tractor or whatnot. I love the "poof" coming out of the tractor. :)


Blogger Stepped in Cupcake Batter said ... (December 16, 2005 9:28 AM) : 

Take a Bow,Chan....


Blogger Culinarily Obsessed said ... (December 16, 2005 10:50 AM) : 

Awesome job!! The cake looks phenominal!!

I have a little experience working with fondant although I haven't tackled a sculpted cake yet. A couple tips: for the glue try using clean vanilla extract. Or for that matter peppermint, coconut..whatever flavor u desire as long as it's clear. Saves having to mix the "glue" as you mentioned..and just apply the extract lightly with a small paintbrush. Works great!

You mentioned using powdered sugar, I assume for your dusting, to keep the fondant from sticking while u're working with it. I always use cornstarch..not sure if that would make any difference.

Congrats you truly did an EXCELLENT job!! =)


Blogger Mona said ... (December 16, 2005 11:55 AM) : 

Holy toledo. YOu should sell that sucker to Tonka Toys and Trucks. That should be on their new ad campaign!


Blogger Kathy said ... (December 17, 2005 10:39 AM) : 

Well done! Both my boys are now telling me they want birthday cakes JUST like that, so you passed the small boy test (and impressed the hell out of their mom, too!).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 18, 2005 6:55 AM) : 

Great Job. I'm impressed!

You should be truly proud of your accomplishment. I am proud for you as a "self taughter" myself. They will only get better the more you do. In cake decorating practice makes perfect like nothing else. Collete Peters and Kate Sullivan's books give the best advice for fondant cakes.



Blogger michelle said ... (December 19, 2005 2:40 PM) : 

WOW...I'm sooo impressed! And this is your first?! If you lived near me, I would commission you to make my cakes too! I'm really fascinated with cake decorating - especially fondant - so keep up the good work, I'll definitely be coming to you for advice!! What book are you using, by the way? And where do you get your equipment/ special baking stuff? Did you make the fondant yourself?


Anonymous Emily said ... (December 20, 2005 4:00 PM) : 

I think your farmer is way cuter than the one in the other pic. Great job.


Blogger Chan said ... (December 21, 2005 6:24 PM) : 

Thanks Y'all! I was shocked that I pulled it off! But like I told my friend Steph, I has SO MUCH fun doing it!
Ms.J.... Thanks for the suggestions! I never thought to use clear vanilla as the "glue"! That is a great idea and I will definately use that one! Also on the powdered sugar vs. cornstarch thing... I have no idea if it would be the same... I will try ot next time. I ams just a messy person and I have found that I have to clean my act up while decorating!
Cheryl... I do have one Collette Peters book and orderd several more the other day from Amazon... I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kate Sullivan's cakes and am going to make the EllaFont Cake for a baby shower coming up!
Michelle... HA! Don't come to me!!! I will be coming to you for advice! I am still clueless to all of this but I figure the best way to learn it is to jump in and just do it.... I did not make the fondant. From what I read it is WAY easier to just buy it. But I do have a reciep for Marshmallow Fondant that I want to at least try. I will let you know how it goes. For that Tractor cake I used a book by Debbie Brown. She has several books out and you can find them all at Amazon. I ordered a few the other day as well.... I see an obsession starting here! I did not use any "special" equipment. Just a rolling pin, a pizza cutter, a ruler and a nice sharp knife. That's it! And lastley I wish you did live near me... I could use the " business" :)


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