Ok here it goes. I was asked by a friend of mine to make her a fake cake. She brought the picture to me of the design she wanted. The first thing I notice is that the cake is a comma (pasley) shape.
I told her, NO PROB.
Well, I looked and looked and couldn't find a pre-made fake cake in that shape. So, off to Hobby Lobby I went to buy foam.
I found a top view picture of pasley pans (I didn't want to buy them) and I enlarged the image several times to get the sizes I needed to cut the tiers.
Problem number one: The sides weren't perfectly smooth.
Problem solved? maybe: I made some royal icing and filled in the imperfections. (worked ok but it didn't look smooth enough)
Problem number two (brought on by problem number one): My fondant looked lumpy on the cakes. So I doubled up my layers.
But I'm not happy.
Please look at these and critique them and please follow up with some help so that I can fix it. Please.
The all stacked up pic is of the styro foam dummies freshly cut.
The one with the cakes spread out is of the cakes covered in fondant.
The larger of the fake cakes to the left the fondant is doubled. The ones to the far right are not.
I want it to look smooth and pretty.
While I think you did a fantastic job considering all the problems that arose, the dummy with the doubled fondant does look better than the others... Is this for her wedding?
No, she's a wedding planner and she wanted something she could showcase at her booth. So it will be looked at by a lot of people.
No pressure huh?
the doubled one looks fine... what kind of deco are you putting on it?
That'll be beautiful, and I think it's busy enough that a few imperfections won't be noticable... Good Luck!
Thanks foxymama, I needed that pep talk. I'll post the results.
I don't know how much time you have, but you can do a couple of things, if not now, then in the future.
You can use the dummies you have, remove anything you have put on them and sand the sides down with sandpaper to make them smooth.
You can contact Dallas Foam. If they don't carry this shape, then they will make it for you if you draw them a picture of what you want.
or....you can go to Home Depot, buy a can of spray foam called "Great Stuff". and use it to make your own dummies with the pans you have.
Great Stuff is expandable urethane foam (available in hardware stores) made by Insta Foam Product. It does not contain fiberglass and is used for insulation. It is lightweight and is great for molding cake dummies in shaped or character pans. (Other brands work also.)
1. Cut cardboard to fit the outline of the pan.
2. Spray pan thoroughly with vegetable cooking spray.
3. In a well-ventilated area, squirt Great Stuff in pan. Fill pan approximately 1/3 full.
4. Place cardboard cutout on top of foam in pan and press down firmly.
5. Weight down the cardboard to compress the expanding foam and minimize air bubbles.
6. Let dry 1 hour and unmold. Airdry over night. Decorate as desired.
Great Stuff also works well to fill clay pots for making Cookie Blossoms. Place some rocks in the bottom of the pot for weight. Fill and dry as above. Cookie Sticks may be placed directly into the hardened foam.
edited to say...I don't know why the name of the company I wrote down was blocked, but it's a comapny online that produces foam products.....hmmmm I wonder what they did to be blocked on CC?
It's D allas F oam if you want the name. I don't know why they are blocked here either.. anyone have any idea. I have never had anything but excellent service from them. They will custom cut any shape you want.
From what I can see the doubled fondant looks fine. I am always harder on myself than anyone else is. Just decorate over any parts that are bugging you. Hmmm...I have a few lumps and bumps I would like to conceal.....mimi
You could alsoremove the fondant and coat the sides only with royal icing.. smooth it out and let it dry and then sand it with fine sand paper. Just doing the sides will make the process easier as you can hold the top down. It really does looke okay though with the double fondant.
adven68 : You have incredible ideas. Thank you so much. As soon as I read it, I was like "DUH" why didn't I think of that before. I can't wait to try it.
jkalman : I checked them out this morning and I have an email out to them to see if they can make the comma shape for me. (For future use)
I'm going to try to cover the bumpy ones with a thin layer of fondant to see if it will let me smooth it out more.
Any cracks, I think I'll try to fill that out with royal icing.
You guys are so great. Thanks
Once the royal icing is on and dry it can be sanded! That might help a bit...
Ok... I'm not having a good time with this one.
That's what I get for thinking that a fake cake would be easier to deal with than a real cake.
WRONG... well, I'm sure that it would normally be easier.. but I have a feeling that [whispers] my mojo is gone.
Please don't tell anyone. I don't know what it is. The screaming kids demanding attention.
The talkative husband demanding attention.
My fractured wrist demanding attention.
Well, here it is, the first layer with the paisley piped on.
Could my hand shake any more. My squeeze is inconsistent.
Nothing seems to be going right.
I know.. what if I have my friend post a sign on the cake that reads:
YOU MUST STAND AT LEAST 5 FEET AWAY FROM THE CAKE TO VIEW IT.
That wont work will it?
I need you guys to be gentle. My heart can't take anymore bashing. I gave myself 30 lashes for this one last night.
And my husband coming up behind me and saying.... "try not to shake your hand so much."
DID NOT HELP!!!
I thought... "duh... thanks for stating the obvious." Let him try it.. mister, I can't keep my car off of the lift mechanic.
Ok.. I'm just being mean.. I'll stop.
If you have any tips for me... please help.
styrofoam to stryofoam is like sand paper. rub the 2 together and it acts like sand paper.
in the future dallasfoamonline sells this shape
Ok, maybe I'm missing something but I think it looks great! Remember, you are your own worst critic!
Just a couple of ideas:
When working with dummies I found that it's good to treat them exactly as if they were the real deal. In that I mean, typically you would put a layer of buttercream on the cake then put the fondant over top that. You could do that in this cake and it should help you with getting smoother sides.
In regards to your piping. I shake all the time no matter how much I try to relax forget it. You might need to go up one size on your tip. I find that when I do that my shakiness is less noticeable. You can also instead of piping hand paint the design on the side. I do that a lot and I find I have better control over everything and my outcome looks much better. It's worth a shot anyways. You can then market as a Personally hand painted design - Brides love it.
It really doesn't look horrible at all... you are being far too critical. The whole project is giving you fits and everything is going to feel much worse than it really is. How big of a piping bag are you using? When I have to pipe like that I fill up tons of teeny parchment bags with icing. They are small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and I can hold them much like I would hold a pen and it makes it MUCH MUCH easier to pipe smoothly. ((hugs))
I think you are being way too critical of your work (and yes, we are all guilty of this). It's sugar, not plastic, and therefore it will never be "perfect". I personally think your piping looks great!
In my experience, cake civilians are impressed by pretty much anything that shows effort. I remember making one cake for a friend's baby shower and the fondant decided to wrinkle and crack, and the colors were running in places. To me it was worthy of cakewrecks. To her and her family, it was amazing!
Take a deep breath.
awwwwww You guys are so sweet. Thanks.
I'll just take a deep breath... hold it... and try again.
I agree that you are being much too critical of your work. The pic of the tier w/piping on it is good. Just keep at it. As the others said, the whole project has you upset and you can't get past the problems you have had.
Step away; do something else that's fun and go back to it in an hour or tomorrow. You'll see it's not nearly as bad as you thought.
Will do kakeladi
I'll post my progress as I go.
I guess the reason why this is bothering me so much is that this is for a friends business. Her reputation is on the line.
But you are all right. I'll step away and try again tonight. Maybe, after the family is off to bed.
How timely.I was just learning about covering a dummy cake yesterday at my monthly cake meeting.Things that I learned: smear the dummy with piping gel first. Helps the fondant to stick. Don't use water. Can cause bacteria, unless you boil the water first. Why buttercream? Piping gel is much cheaper. Use cornstartch to roll out fondant. If fondant is too soft,knead in some icing sugar.Like everything, practice makes perfect. Your cake looks pretty good to me. As mentioned before, we are our own worst critics.
oooo Thanks for the tips Limpy.
Well my friends,
You all spent so many replies calming me down. And I finally got to the point where I can breathe and take a step back and put the whip down.
Then, I get this email from my friend:
(NOTE: I sent her the same piped image that I posted here.)
Hi Jessica, its nice so far. Just not sure because some of it seems shaken
or jittery but I'm not sure if it's the camera?
Well, I think I'm going to go home, and pluck off what I did, and hope that I can get my squeeze consistent I think I'll try to thin out my RI a bit more so that it flows better.
I used a parchment triangle with the tip cut off but no tip to do the first run.
So this time, I'll put a tip on it.
Any suggestions to the size I should use?
Just keep in mind that sometimes when asked for criticism, some people (even friends) will look hard for something to criticize. Not because they are trying to be mean, but because they are trying to give you what you want. My point is that, while well meaning, your friend may be amplifying a small problem because she felt you wanted her to.
BUT, if starting over will make YOU feel better, then you should. I still think your piping is great. I would tell you if it looked jacked up.
I hardly ever use a #1 or a #2 just because I shake too much. Maybe after you thin your icing fill a few triangles with different tips and just practice a little until you relax and get comfortable.
You can do it!!!
Unfortunately, I just sent her the pics.
She critiqued on her own.
I'll give it a go tonight.
Till tomorrow y'all
I think it just needs more piped on. The pattern is very sparse... and the busier the pattern is, the harder it is to find the flaws.
As for the dummies, I always put a coat of shortening underneath the fondant, which fills in the cracks and you can manipulate the shortening underneath the fondant while you're smoothing it. For any cracks or dings in the finished fondant, I add royal icing, and use a paint brush dipped in vodka to smooth it out to a perfect finish. I am also a big fan of fine grit wet/dry sandpaper for dummies.
i think it looks super cool...
it is perfect... what i would do if i was your friend is make sure NO ONW can touch it... make sure she puts "cake provided by _______ (your name)"
i think it looks awesome...