“Cakenweenie,” the birthday celebration for filmmaker Tim Burton that had 100 cakemakers creating cakes based on his most iconic characters, has created quite a buzz in the cake making world. This eye-catcher, created by Naomi Hubert (teaparty) of Tea Party Cakes, depicts Absolem the caterpillar from Tim Burton’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland (2010).
In this detailed tutorial, follow Naomi as she walks us through how to create Absolem in fondant.
By Naomi Hubert (teaparty)
#12 piping tip
#7 piping tip
#3 piping tip
18 gauge white floral wire
24k highlight dust
Black petal dust
Black gel color
Blue gel color
Blue petal dust
Golden yellow gel color
Large ball tool
Small ball tool
White gel color
Wilton tip #366
1. Roll blue fondant into a thick sausage that is slightly tapered on one end to approximately six inches in length. Slide about half of the sausage onto a bamboo skewer that is cut to about five inches in length and attached to a styrofoam ball. Mark the segments of Absolem’s body using a knife tool. Next, hollow out the area where Absolem’s head will be attached with a large ball tool. Use a #12 piping tip to imprint where his arms are to go. Use a #3 piping tip to imprint the spots on his body that will later be painted golden yellow. Then create his chest wrinkles using a small ball tool to make him look pudgy.
2. To create Absolem’s head, roll a ball of blue fondant that will fit nicely into the impression made in his body. Shape his face by using your fingers to slightly indent where his eyes will go and pinch out his nose a bit. Then use a small ball tool to create the folds under his eyes and build up his eyebrows. Use a slightly bigger ball tool to hollow out where the whites of his eyes will go. Be sure to make one eye socket larger and rounder than the other. This will be the eye that holds his monocle. Use a knife tool or a toothpick to create his wrinkles. Once the face is formed to your satisfaction, allow it to rest and set for about 30 minutes before attaching it to the body with sugar glue. Once the head is attached, use a toothpick to make small holes in the top of his head where his antennae will go.
Roll several small balls of blue fondant and attach them to where his arms are marked to be. Layer the balls two deep and press them slightly thinner towards the body.
Allow Absolem to dry overnight.
3. Add a very small amount of Tylose to a tiny ball of blue fondant. Divide the ball in half and roll out two very thin sausages of blue fondant to create Absolem’s antennae. Shape them in a desirable way and leave them to dry for several hours.
Roll two tiny balls of white fondant and press one into each of Absolem’s eye sockets.
4. Add Absolem’s antennae by brushing the bottom of the antennae with sugar glue and insert each antenna into the pre-made holes. If needed, you can use a toothpick to carefully make the holes bigger.
Dust the body with blue petal dust in all of the creases and wrinkles using a small paint brush. Use black petal dust on his face to create age spots. Then paint golden yellow spots, on the areas previously marked, with gel color thinned with vodka. Thin black gel color in the same manner and paint an outline around each yellow spot and also paint stripes on Absolem’s back in a similar pattern to that of a zebra. Carefully paint the antennae as well.
5. Next paint the eyes in varying shade of blue with a very thin paint brush. Start with the lightest shade first and then layer on a darker color in a starburst pattern from the center of the iris. Outline the iris in the darkest shade of blue. Use your brush to drag just the tiniest amount of the outline towards the center of the iris. Lastly, use black to paint the pupil. Once the eyes have dried add a tiny dot of white to the pupil.
Roll five tiny teardrop shaped balls of blue fondant. Cut the smaller end in half with a pair of pointed scissors to create claws. Attach each claw to Absolem’s arms with a small amount of sugar glue. Do not add a claw to the arm that will be holding the pipe yet.
6. Roll out a tiny sausage of gold colored fondant and form it into a circle to create Absolem’s monocle. Roll a tiny ball of gold fondant and attach that to the side of the monocle. Allow the monocle to dry for about 20 minutes so that it is firm enough to pick up without losing its shape. Brush the back of the monocle with a small amount of sugar glue and attach it to his larger eye. Paint the monocle with 24k highlight dust mixed with vodka using a very thin paint brush.
7. To make Absolem’s hookah, insert a four inch toothpick about an inch into a styrofoam block. Roll a gumball sized piece of gold colored fondant and use a knife tool to mark six divisions on the ball, much like making a flower bud. Slide the ball of fondant down onto the toothpick. Next roll the gold fondant out to about 1/16 inch thickness and cut out two circles using the smaller end of a #12 piping tip and two circles using the smaller end of a #7 piping tip. Brush the back of one #12 circle with sugar glue and slide it down onto the toothpick. Roll a tiny ball of gold fondant and slide that down onto the toothpick followed by one #7 circle, a pea sized piece of fondant rolled into a stubby log and another #7 circle. Make sure to brush a small amount of sugar glue between each layer so that they will adhere nicely to one another. Next roll a slightly larger than pea sized piece of gold fondant into a teardrop shape. Use the knife tool to mark six divisions and slide it down onto the toothpick. Next roll a tiny amount of light blue fondant into a ball and slide it down onto the toothpick. Add a slightly larger gold ball of fondant. Take the remaining #12 circle of gold fondant and use a small ball tool to cup the circle. Allow the cup to firm up a bit before attaching it to the top of the hookah with a small amount of sugar glue. To finish off the hookah roll out a very tiny ball of gold fondant and attach it to the side. Roll out six tiny teardrop shapes of light blue fondant and attach one to each of the six sections of the bottom bowl of the hookah.
Allow the hookah to dry and then paint the gold areas with 24k gold highlight mixed with vodka. Paint the blue sections with a glaze made from a mix of corn syrup and vodka.
8. Fill and ice a six inch half ball shaped cake then cover it with dark green fondant.
9. Place Absolem and his hookah about an inch apart on the top of the cake and join them using a piece of 18 gauge white floral wire colored with a yellow edible marker. Add a few tiny balls of gold fondant where the wire is attached to the hookah and a small sausage of fondant to create the pipe section and attach it to Absolem’s mouth. Add the last claw to Absolem’s body and attach it to the pipe. Then paint the pipe with gold highlight and the tip of the claw with black gel color.
10. Finish off the cake by piping royal icing leaves using Wilton tip #366.