Laptop cake - how to create the keyboard.

Decorating By louglou Updated 21 Feb 2014 , 1:35pm by cupadeecakes

louglou Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 7:30pm
post #1 of 35

I'm making a laptop cake for my brother in law. He has a silver apple MacBook with a black keyboard with white letters (grrr - why couldn't it be black on white?).


So, the only way I can think of doing it is individual black fondant squares with white royal icing piped letters. Is there any other way I could do this?


Thanks in advance.

34 replies
AZCouture Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 7:37pm
post #2 of 35

Probably need to do it that way, sorry to say. I'm really obsessed with getting details right (probably why I don't get many 3D orders, cause I charge a LOT, but put a lot of work into them too). So if they are individual keys, I'd be cutting individual keys. 

louglou Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 8:41pm
post #3 of 35

Thanks AZCouture. Probably not an ideal job for someone who has never done any royal icing piping!

I have loads of time to do this, so could do the keys well in advance. I don't think anyone will want to eat black shop-bought fondant so it won't matter if they dry out. Just seems a shame to put in a lot of time and effort into something that won't be good to eat.

I might have to rethink the cake theme.

AZCouture Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 8:50pm
post #4 of 35

AOh I know, I just couldn't bear not to have every single detail be as realistic as possible. I would have a heck of a time piping all that too, and probably try to find an easier way. Maybe a tiny paintbrush would be better.

Sassyzan Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 8:52pm
post #5 of 35

AYou could make them out of chocolate. on YouTube just did a tutorial where she made her own chocolate mold using real scrabble tiles. Prob couldn't use the keyboard to make a mold, but dark chocolate keys would at least be yummy.

louglou Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 9:01pm
post #6 of 35

I like the idea of dark chocolate keys. I've made modelling chocolate before so I don't think it would be any trickier than fondant.

Does royal icing work on modelling chocolate? What could I use as the "paint" instead of piping RI?

craftybanana Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 9:18pm
post #7 of 35

AYou could try those colored candy melts to paint the chocolate with. I've done that with molds. Painted the inside, put it in the fridge, then poured the regular chocolate on top.

tdovewings Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 9:19pm
post #8 of 35

I don't make each single letter. When I do keyboards, I take a thicker piece of black fondant, and cut it into the keyboard shape. I print out a image of a template keyboard. Then I put the keyboard template on top of the black fondant and score the letters in with the veining tool. I think remove the paper template, and score each letter a bit deeper with the veining tool. You have to work fast, so the fondant won't crack while detailing the shape with the veining tool. The letters are harder, I using paint them on with white food coloring. My handwritting is awful and it looks a bit messy, but I don't have letter cutters or tapits that small. 

as you wish Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 9:38pm
post #9 of 35

AI have an idea. I haven't tried this, but I think it could work. If I am understanding correctly, the difficulty is getting white letters on black keys without going insane doing it. How about if you make the keys from black fondant, use letter stamps to impress the letters on each key and let it dry. Once they are really dry, fill the letter impressions with white royal, wiping off the excess with a damp cloth, leaving a smooth black fondant key with white lettering. It works in my imagination, anyway!

louglou Posted 2 Feb 2014 , 9:55pm
post #10 of 35

That sounds interesting dovewings. I think scoring the letters into fondant or modelling choc and then filling them in would be easier than piping. I believe that you can only use dry powder colours on modelling choc, so that might work in a recess as I could brush the rest off. Or using RI as you suggest as you wish.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:12am
post #12 of 35

AI'd do everything by means of edible printing.

Were I to go as fancy as a 3D keyboard, I'd probably mount the keyboard print on a smooth, flat substrate (like maybe . . . fondant?) and cut it into individual keycaps, and I'd use an edible print of an actual screen shot for the screen.

Anything beyond that (especially fabricating keys with stamped or hand-piped letters) strikes me as wasted effort: a case of doing too much work for too little result.

louglou Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 1:08pm
post #13 of 35

That looks great tdovewings. I see what you mean now.

hbquikcomjamesl - yes it does seem like a lot of work for not much result.


It now looks like the laptop might be all silver with silver keys and silver lettering, so I could just score out the keys from a single piece. I'm waiting to get a photo of the aptop so I can decide the best way to do it.


Thanks everyone for your advice.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 4:35pm
post #14 of 35

And "tdovewings," don't get me wrong: yours is a cute cake, but my understanding is that the object here is to have realistic edible model of a specific computer, rather than a gently caricatured one of a generic one, and what better tool is there for that than edible printing?

AZCouture Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 4:37pm
post #15 of 35

ADefinitely try edible images if you can size them just right, and the printing is really clear. But I'd still cut them individually and give them the real keyboard look.

tdovewings Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 6:18pm
post #16 of 35

How much time do you have. Edible image would be cheaper, but you can always get a custom stencil made that you can use over again. Depending on the company and detail they start a $20 (just letters), with lettering sizes as small as 1/4".  Either of the whole keyboard (custom design where you provide the drawing) or individual letters, then your royal icing could be much more precise.


Yes, the laptop wasn't meant to be so realistic.  The first time I did the laptop cake the plan was to take some letter keys make a mold out of them, then get a custom stencil. When it was all said and done, the cost was too much for the customer. So this less precise method was arrived at. 

LeanneW Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 7:39pm
post #17 of 35

I would go with edible images here too.


Print the entire keyboard on edible image, roll out black fondant the thickness of the keys, stick on image, then cut out and place each individual key, for the most realistic look.


Also, just a thought if you end up doing them by hand... you could put something on the keyboard to cover half of it so you don't have to make as many keys. Something that the birthday boy likes, maybe a cake version of his favorite book, or drape a fondant t-shirt from his college over it. maybe that's more work than making keys, IDK. HTH.

punkinthegreat Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 7:55pm
post #18 of 35

I know this reply maybe late and you probably figured out howto create your masterpiece. If so, it would be nice to see and know how you did.

My suggestion would have been to cover a keys board in plastic wrap loosely and then use a 50/50 of gumpaste and fondant "white"  and gradually form it to the keys.


louglou Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:11pm
post #19 of 35

Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't made the cake yet. It's due on the 21st Feb, but I'll definitely post a picture when it's done.


I think the edible print with each key cut out separately is probably the best option. I don't charge for cakes as I'm just doing it as a hobby, so it's not worth getting a stencil made.

cupadeecakes Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:33pm
post #20 of 35

Another vote for edible images here.  I have made a couple of cakes with a "keyboard" component to them.  Trying to make the keys by hand is hard enough, but it's the spacing of those keys that's really tricky.  Here's probably the most realistic laptop I have made, and it's tough, because there's not much "cake" to it.  These things are so thin that they really don't lend themselves to cake really well.  The bottom part of the laptop was just the tiniest bit of cake (almost went with RKT) and the lid is actually just a piece of black corrugated cardboard covered in fondant.


louglou Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 8:51pm
post #21 of 35

That's looks very realistic cupadeecakes.


I'm not sure what to do about the base of the cake. Whether to make a desk with other stuff on or just a very thick laptop. It's for a family party so the number of servings isn't too important, but I want at least 2 layers.


Don't laptop manufacturers realise that thin laptops are all very well until people want to turn them into cake? It's very inconsiderate of them to make them so thin!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 9:21pm
post #23 of 35

Ms. White ("cupadeecakes"): WOW! Just Wow.

Claire138 Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 9:48pm
post #24 of 35



Don't laptop manufacturers realise that thin laptops are all very well until people want to turn them into cake? It's very inconsiderate of them to make them so thin!


I agree!!!


Fab cake Cupadeecakes. Looks amazing.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 3 Feb 2014 , 10:35pm
post #25 of 35

Hmm. On the cardboard lid: what would happen if you were to make it out of something as flat and tough as cardboard, but edible? Like a giant cookie. Or a very large sheet of Graham cracker? Or a very large sheet of matzoh? Or Scandinavian crispbread or gingersnap?

cupadeecakes Posted 4 Feb 2014 , 3:36am
post #27 of 35

Awww, thanks everyone!  I do try to get my cake edges as sharp as possible.  James, I like your Scandinavian matzah pretzel bread idea.  And I really think that everyone should design household products with recreating them in cake in mind!!

louglou Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 8:57pm
post #28 of 35

AI've now done the keyboard. Here's it is. [IMG][/IMG] It's black fondant with pearlescent white metallic food paint. I painted it on with tooth picks. The cake isn't needed till next Friday so I'll tell people not to eat the keys.

Claire138 Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 9:06pm
post #29 of 35

Brilliant idea;-D

SweetShop5 Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 9:14pm
post #30 of 35

I found this, hope it helps:

Quote by @%username% on %date%