We are celebrating my daughter's 1st bday out of state (where the grandparents live) and while I want to make the cake myself, due to lack of equipment and time I plan to make it only semi-homemade - box cake mix and tub frosting. The cake I envision is 2 or 3 tiers (I bought Wilton's 3-tier square pans but haven't decided yet if I plan to use all 3 or only the smaller two) and each tier is 2 layers. My plan is to cover it in white tub frosting, then stick on fondant polka-dots and lettering. I bought 2, 1-lb boxes of Wiltons fondant and food coloring gel.
Here are the questions: I plan to do a practice run a week or so before our trip. Can the letters and dots I make then be frozen (already dyed), and can I simply pull them out of the freezer just before we leave for the airport? The cake will actually be served the following day.
Alternatively, if working with fondant, including dying it, is truly easy, then can I simply do everything the night before the party? Can the frosted cake, with the fondant cut-outs attached, be left at room temperature before serving, approx. 12 hours, or should it be refrigerated?
Oh goodness, don't put it in the freezer. Fondant is fine out at room temperature and is easy to work with.
If the tub frosting says to refrigerate after opening then put the cake in the fridge.
A lot of people are afraid of fondant in the fridge but it's honestly not that much of an issue. To test take a ball of fondant and place in the fridge for 24 hours. If it's fine when you take it out then your fridge is ok, if not then cover the cake in film wrap. I learned that trick from Colette.
If you never have worked with the Wilton square pans they are a PITA. The lines are not perfectly straight and the edges are rounded. Be prepared to use a serrated knife to fix if necessary.
Also, make sure that any cake items you bring will not be an issue at the airport. Many a caker has been questioned what their fondant was because it looks like bomb making material. Sounds crazy but it happens.
I agree with mkolmar, I wouldn't put the fondant in the freezer. If you've bought Wilton icing in the "tub" then it doesn't have to be refrigerated.
I'm only asking because you say you just bought the Wilton pans. Have you stacked a cake before? If not I suggest that you watch Edna's tutorial on youtube "how to stack a cake my way". Cake doesn't support cake and if stacking you're going to have to use supports. (cardboard cakeboards and dowels). I'm sorry if you know all of this already.
Personally I don't like to refrigerate my cakes (I don't use perishable fillings) so that I don't have to deal with humidity issues.
You ask if you could "simply do everything the night before the party?" I would bake, level and fill my cake the day before I crumbcoated and iced. That way it will have time to settle before you ice and decorate. I would also color the fondant a couple of days before so that your colors have time to set. Fondant will darken some after coloring.
THanks for the tips. The practice run went fairly smoothly - a few problems but it was good, forced us to problem solve. Thanks for the tip about airport security and fondant. I'll have to decide whether it's better to carry on and be prepared to explain if they ask about it, or check in and hope they don't rummage through my suitcase (since I won't be there to explain).