Source: The Crumb Canvas
I'm want to make a cake similar to this for my son's second birthday. I'm looking for any advise you want to give me. :) I do have a couple specific questions to ask though.
- I am debating over 4"/6"/8" tiers and 6"/8"/10" tiers. Would the bigger cake take a significant amount more time?
- I am also thinking of doing either the top tier or the top two tiers as styrofoam. Do you need supports in the cake layers for styrofoam layers?
- What would be the best medium to make the sign eyes, nose, and Big Bird's mouth out of? How far in advanced do they need to be made before the day I assemble the cake?
Thank you for your time and advise. :)
Bigger layers take more time to bake and effort to squirt out the fur, but probably not significantly more. You would want to put supports in the cake to hold up the styro layers but styro doesn't need support to hold up more styro if that makes sense. I would do the eyes and nose in fondant a week ahead to let them dry. The beak is probably done in rice krispie treats and then covered in fondant. Good luck!
Hi yes it may take more time considering you'll have to make a bigger batch of buttercream for the bigger cakes and piping them aswell but it shouldn't be too bad. Then if you use styrofoam you will need support for the second tier but not so much for the top tier. The mouth and eyes can be made from fondant if you use Wilton I suggest making it 3-4 days in advance they dry quickly. If you use MMF YOU will need tylose powder to stiff in it up and hold its shape. If you decide to use MMF I suggest making it at least 1 week in advance. I would buy a waffle cone and cut it in half to make the mouth piece then cover it in fondant . What ever you decide to do try not to make the mouth and eye heavy as they will fall if not issuing the proper support . HTH :) good luck
Thanks for the advise! Doing the fondant ahead of time would actually be easier. I've never done something this large before, so it's going to be a big experiment for me. haha
For the 4"/6"/8" cake tiers, I'm worried that the top tier will be to small to look right, but I don't want to get in over my head either.
To be honest, the beak is what scares me the most. I don't want it to look really wonky. I might try the rice krispies first since I can try to shape it some and use the cone idea as a backup. I have some long wooden skewers that would probably help keep it anchored.
Pastrybaglady, I think I get what you mean about the supports. If the top two tiers are styrofoam, I will only need supports in the bottom tier, right? Also, if I use rice krispies for the beak, would you recommend making them? Or could I use the pre-made treats?
yjflores1, if I use Wilton, would making it a week ahead be to far ahead of time? This would be my first time using fondant, so I'm not sure what kind of consistency to look for when making it. If it works out well, I'll probably try to make it the next time I need it.
Also, does anyone have any recommendations on what food colors to use to match this?
Typically when I have make something that's has to harden like a figure and I know I'll be super busy to make it later on that week I make it let it sit out for a couple days once I know it's hard enough I store it in a cardboard box. So the answer to your question is no lol. If it's your first time working with fondant I highly recommend using Wilton fondant because it quicker and easier to work with.
I usually use Wilton gel colors and ameri colors. I suggest when making the red/blue buttercream store it before piping for at least an hour the color gets deeper after a while so you can adjust it to your liking .
Yes, you understood what I was trying to say :) I have never tried to use premade rkt so I would think making it would make it easier to mold when it was warm. The cone idea is worth a try, it sounds a bit easier because it's already shaped and firm.
Thanks yall! I really appreciate it!
yjflores1, I'll definitely use the Wilton fondant then. I don't want to get in over my head. For the colors, I think I've used Wilton's colors twice. I've not tried AmeriColor yet. Great tip about waiting for the color. I didn't know that. Does the color deepen when coloring fondant, too?
Pastrybaglady, I'm glad I got it. :) I might try the cone idea. I think it will all come down to how overwhelmed I'm feeling when I'm doing all the fondant elements. If it's all to much, I'll probably do the cone since it will be easier. If I were to make the rise krispies, do I need to make sure the recipe is one that firms up enough, or will any recipe work?
The sign I would make out of gumpaste, fondant alone will not be firm enough. If you look at my avatar, those letters were made from fondant (Satin Ice). Since then I always add a little tylose powder to my fondant and get better results with my toppers/figures. You can make ahead of time. Adding a little tylose powder to fondant will give you a quick gum paste, instead of buying ready made. Gumpaste dries faster than fondant alone and you can roll it out thinner. Remember to insert a thin skewer/ lollipop stick into the bottom of the sign before it dries. This will help you attach the sign to the cake and help support the sign. Lay it flat to dry.
The eyes/nose I would recommend styro foam balls. For the nose you can use 2 round balls ( a small & a medium) to get that oval shape. Hope that makes sense. RKT and fondant can get heavy. Cover the styrofoam with fondant/gumpaste, attach to the cake with skewers.
The mouth - yjflores1 cone idea is brilliant. Weight is an issue here. Make two in case one breaks, trust me on this. An alternative would be a styro-foam cone but styro can be a pain to cut without the right tool.
Colors - Americolors Super Red for the Elmo.Royal blue for Cookie. A lot goes a long way, the color deepens, so let it set. Wilton colors especially the darker colors tend to have an after-taste so I prefer Americolors.
Fondant - Wilton is ok if you are only making decorations with it, I would not cover my cakes with it, the taste is not to my liking.
After using Satin Ice as a beginner, I now use MFF ( Michelle Foster's Fondant) and love it. Its easy to make/ work with, tastes great and is more economical than store bought. I also use this fondant to make my quick gum paste.
Also when I made my Elmo cake, getting that red off my hands was a pain so wear gloves and save your self a headache. Piping this kind of cake takes more time than you think, again personal experience, so give yourself extra. Hands can get tired too. HTH
Yes on fondant aswell! Hey they have cone styrofoams at my local hobby lobby store maybe you could do that too! Good luck :)
Thanks again yall! All advise is very helpful to me. I've not really done a lot of cake decorating, so there is a lot that I don't know. I'm thinking of making a cake for father's day to give me some practice at using buttercream. Fingers crossed it comes out nice! haha
yjflores1, styrofoam could work pretty well. I could try to round off the point and just have Big Bird's mouth be closed. That would probably be easier than trying to make two pieces.
carolinecakes, thanks for all the input! I haven't considered gumpaste, but it's good to know that I can just add the tylose powder to the fondant. I'm assuming that they normally sell tylose powder at places that sell a lot of cake supplies? Do you usually just add tylose powder to your homemade fondant when you need gumpaste? (p.s. thanks for the recipe)
Or should I just buy gumpaste? It's just a couple decorations, and I don't really plan on letting anyone eat those decorations.
The styrofoam idea sounds like a great way to cut down on the weight. And I think I understand what you mean by using two small balls for the nose. Stack them like a snowman and cover with fondant/gumpaste?
Thanks for the idea on making two mouths. You never know what will break last minute. I would be so mad if something happened while I was assembling the cake! I'll probably make two of the cake topper as well just to be safe.
Thanks for suggesting what colors to use! I don't want to pick the wrong ones and have to run out to get more colors the day I'm decorating. And I have some food safe gloves that I bought when I made pepper jelly recently, so they will definitely be used!
Yes I add the tylose powder to my fondant. For small pieces I just sprinkle some of the powder on the surface and knead it in. The ratio for adding the tylose is 2 tsp tylose per pound of fondant. You can get the tylose online or at cake decorating supply stores. I have not seen it at Michael's, I do not know about Hobby Lobby.
If you can't find the tylose powder or get it in time then buy the readymade. But you really save money and get a better product with the homemade gum paste. Since I make my own fondant it makes sense and is easy to make your own gum paste. Also the ready made gum paste tends to dry quickly so you have to work quickly, to make life easier do 50/50 ready made gumpaste/fondant.
Glad you understood about the nose.
Piping buttercream takes practice practice practice, but its fun. Good idea to do a practice cake.
Oh some people use cornstarch instead of tylose powder, I have not tried this but you can experiment.
Thanks carolinecakes! Amazon Prime is awesome for when I can't get out with the kids. If I can't find it in a local store, I can probably find it there. I'll try experimenting with cornstarch, too. I usually keep it in the house.
Thanks again! Everything that has been said had been very helpful.
You are very welcome. Love that amazon prime, this is the brand that was recommended and its what I use.
This is the glycerine I use, buying those little bottles of Wilton can add up, plus this has a long shelf life.
Thanks for the recommendations carolyncakes! I'll look for those while I'm shopping for the supplies I need.
Have fun, take lots of pics, they grow up way too fast.
Hey yall! I've been playing around with some cakes, and I think I've decided on using Wilton's #32 open star tips for the top to tiers. Any suggestions for what to use for Big Bird?
Big Bird looks like a fat leaf tip.
Thanks MBalaska. I'm not sure which exactly is a fat leaf. I have two Wilton tips (70 & 112) that were in a bag of tips someone gave me. Would one of them be a fat leaf tip?