I want to make my husband a graduation cake for this Saturday but it's stressing me out because I've got a ton of cookie orders (I do not sell cakes), and I've only made a few cakes in the past, all of which took me 3x longer than I expected!
You pro's are going to laugh because this is such a simple cake.... I want to make him a 9" cake with chocolate buttercream filling and navy frosting. My first question is, would you make a batch of chocolate buttercream and then a separate batch for navy? And how much of each should I make (I don't have a recipe....I'm actually considering just buying premade buttercream as I've never been able to make it well). As for the navy frosting, I think if I can't get it colored right then I'll use my airbrush.
Also, I want to put a graduation cap on top. Something like this: http://www.panari.co.uk/product_images/z/214/GRADUATION_CAKE_GC7492__84726_zoom.jpg (sorry for posting someone elses work, I don't know if that's a no no here) Would you make the base a solid piece of black fondant and the top a thick piece of square gum paste (and let that sit overnight to harden)?? I saw a tutorial where the top was cardboard with fondant on top...would you do it that way?
Any advice is appreciated...thanks in advanced!
You can do this!
Make a batch of buttercream. Take enough out to fill your cake and add some cocoa powder a little at a time to taste. You may need to add a tiny bit more liquid if it gets too stiff. Google a simple buttercream recipe, you really can't mess it up. It's just butter, powdered sugar and some vanilla and/or cocoa powder and a little bit of milk. If your gonna do several layers, you may want to do 1 1/2 x's the recipe.
Tint the rest of the buttercream blue with gel food coloring to ice the cake,
For the cap, the easiest way is to use a 1/2 styrofoam ball ( I know Michaels carries them), cover it in fondant. Either cover a piece of cardboard with fondant for the mortar board or cut a piece of gumpaste and let it dry. You can just buy a little pre-made/pre-colored pack of fondant at the craft store.
Hope that helps you some :)
Thanks so much for your help Jinkies! That was really helpful!! I'm one of those weirdos that don't like buttercream (any kind!), so I had no idea that you just add cocoa powder to make a chocolate buttercream. :)
It didn't dawn on me to use a styrofoam ball for the cap. I'm assuming I'd just half it and stick it on? Do you cover in saran wrap or something so that no styrofoam bits get into the buttercream?
I like to get 60-70% chocolate bars, melt them and let cool too room thep then add as part of my liquid. You can try that if you find the cocoa makes your butter cream gritty.
I would save 1.5 cups of butter cream out per layer you want to fill. The darker colors are challenging to make. you might find better luck if you start wtih chocolate icing to make a dark navy color. Americolor has a navy and you might add a touch of black.
You can do this!
Yes, you can either cut it in half or, in some stores, that actually sell 1/2 balls. I know Michaels had the 1/2 balls but not sure who else does.
You can just cover the styrofoam in a teeny bit of vegetable shortening (just enough to make it tacky-not a lot-just spread it on with your fingers )and then apply the fondant. Super easy.
Like forjenns said, if your blue isn't dark enough for navy just add a teeny bit of black until you get the right color. Remember though, it will darken up as it sits so try to make it the day before so you can adjust the color. I don't have navy so I just use royal blue (Wilton) and add some black-works great.
Let us know how it goes :)
Ok, so I have to tell you guys that I did a practice cake for this and it was a completely FAIL! I used swiss meringue buttercream to frost and raspberry filling and the whole thing jiggled around like jello until it collapsed!! The cake was really fragile (I used Duncan Hines white cake mix) and even though the layers were thick, I still had a hard time moving the layers without them falling apart.
Also, the practice grad cap was a fail as well. I tried using square cardboard, but I couldn't 'wrap' fondant around it without the board showing or looking sloppy.
But the good news is, I'm happy with how the actual cake turned out. For the grad cap, I wound up just cutting a thick square piece of fondant and letting that dry for a few days, then putting that on top of the half styrofoam ball w/ some royal icing. I purchased some commercial buttercream for the frosting and used WASC for the cake. The one thing I got wrong was not supporting the grad cap. I really thought it was light enough (it was roughly 3"), but the next morning the cake bulged. Oh well, overall I'm happy with the way it turned out. Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement!