Perfection is something I often strive for while cooking or baking. I often have such grand visions of what the final product will be while doing the work, that I am completely bummed out when reality doesn’t meet my expectations. As I have gotten more experience in the kitchen, however, I have tried to remind myself that practice makes perfect and there will always be a second chance for me to perfect my creations. Cooking should be fun and getting upset over the mishaps (burnt cheesecake to recall a recent one) never amounts to much fun at all.
That was definitely the lesson I kept in mind as I set out on my first experience using fondant to decorate a cake. I knew the end result would never be perfect but I was pleased with myself for even trying and in the end, making a pretty decent cake.
To start I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for Tender Lemon Cake.
Creaming together the butter & sugar for the lemon cake
Sorry, I did not take any pictures of the cakes once they came out of the oven but I will tell you that I baked three round 6 inch cakes. I only used two in the actual final cake because I was nervous about making the cake too tall on my first attempt to cover in fondant (plus my brother was bugging me for some).
Perhaps I was trying to channel Martha Stewart in hopes that my cake would come out better, because I used another one of Martha Stewart’s recipes - Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
Beating together sugar & egg whites
Now, I don’t know why I didn’t look at how much the recipe made (10 1/2 cups) but the fact that it called for NINE sticks of butter should have tipped me off. I have enough buttercream in my fridge to decorate an entire wedding cake!
Cut up butter for buttercream frosting
Once the cakes were cooling and I was finished making the buttercream, it was time to use the fondant. I bought pre-made Wilton’s fondant and used icing dye to make it a gorgeous lavender hue.
Rolling out the lavender fondant
As you can see it’s not the best looking cake. I had some issues with tearing & trying to make the sides smooth (there was a lot of excess that bunched along the sides)
Here are some tips I will keep in mind next time I work with fondant:
1. Use less buttercream on top (hence the bumps on top)
2. Roll fondant out a bit thinner
3. Let buttercream set before placing fondant on top (I was too impatient)
4. Smooth fondant to the bottom of the cake plate once placed on top, then cut off excess. Hopefully this will prevent some of the bunching & rippling.
Piece of cake
Okay, not really that easy but here is the cake as it was being served for our Mother’s Day dinner. I was supposed to decorate more with buttercream and gum paste flowers but ran out of time!
The most important part, though, is that the cake tasted wonderful! The cake itself had a hint of lemon and was light and moist and the buttercream, although very sweet on its own, was mellowed out by its lemony companion. Needless to say I will be using both recipes again.
Along with the baking & fondant practice I practiced making some decorations with gum paste.
Can you guess what this is?
It needs to be painted and fixed up a little bit to really be able to tell what it’s supposed to be.
All of this baking and decorating is really getting me excited for the big surprise I have planned coming up in the next couple of months! You’ll need to check back and see the big reveal
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