Currently, I have a minor obsession with painted cakes, all things floral, and water colors. Bringing these trends together was delicious,fun and a beautiful option for a Mother’s Day dessert.
This post also gave me the chance to practice fondant work again. Fondant is not my first choice for covering a cake but it makes the perfect medium for decorations, especially paint. This isn’t much of a recipe post it’s more inspirational, at least I hope so. My desire is that you’ll be inspired to decorate the cakes you make, or ask for these techniques with the cakes you buy.
The larger cake is an 8-inch White Almond Sour Cream Cake. It first appeared here with the Easter Candy Drip Cake. I made one minor change to the recipe and that was to sift the cake mix along with the other dry ingredients. It took a little more time but made for a much lighter texture. The cake was filled and lightly frosted with a vanilla buttercream. Fondant cakes need to have a base coating of buttercream so the fondant will have something to adhere to.
Patience is indeed a virtue when working with fondant. Once it has been kneaded, rolled out to the correct dimensions and then draped on the cake, the smoothing process begins. This process can’t be rushed and it took me about 20 minutes to complete. Once that was done I was ready to begin painting.
A Few How-to Tips for Painted Cakes
For this step rather than paint freehand I used a stencil. I placed a tiny amount of each gel food color in a small palette and thinned it with vodka. Alcohol works best because it dries quickly. Painted cakes with all buttercream frosting is possible, and if this is your method of choice a crusting buttercream would make your work a bit easier. Typical crusting buttercream has a higher shortening content which will have a higher melting point. That being said many decorators use softer buttercreams and chill the cakes thoroughly before painting. With a chilled cake your brush won’t get hung up and frosting filled while painting. Airbrushing is another method and you can buy small cans of edible spray paint in the baking isle of most grocery and craft stores.
The top of this cake and the smaller one was decorated with candy coated sandwich cookies, candy roses and leaves.
Another of my favorite cake decorating shortcuts is using edible images. Most often the small round ones are used on cookies or cupcakes, but for this 6-inch chocolate cake they worked like a charm. The images come on a plastic sheet so all you have to do is peel them off and stick them to your cake, cookie, etc. The cake is just a plain boxed mix, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Gabbi had a field day with this one! It’s filled and frosted with vanilla buttercream. For the trim at the top and bottom I used a decorative fondant mold with a curly cue impression. Using these molds for decoration is my favorite way to apply fondant because you don’t get fondant overload with each bite. I added a simple buttercream border on the top along with the dipped cookies, candy roses and leaves.
As I said earlier I have a thing for water colors and I wanted something permanent that could be used on my tables in the future. Try as I might I couldn’t find any water colored scrapbook paper that I liked in the craft stores. I did find some digital downloads on Etsy that I really love and after purchase I saved them to a flash drive. It was a good thing I didn’t find any scrapbook paper of my choosing because they wouldn’t have achieved the effect I was after. I purchased several sheets of velum and took them to Office Max. I had four 8 ½ x 11 sheets printed for under $3.00 and I love them! Two of them were slightly trimmed and wrapped around my dollar store vases. In keeping with the floral theme I filled them with stems and branches. They are a lovely complement to my painted cake and I am so smitten with this medium.
This was a wordy post and I appreciate you reading to the end. The teacher in me felt the need to explain the painting process as much as I could. I understand that fondant isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but those edible images are worth their decorating weight in gold. Many cake shops will print your images as long as it’s not a copyright image. They make short work of the decorating process and give you so many options. I hope your Mother’s Day plans are coming along and that you’re finding time to stop and smell the spring florals along the way. Take Care!
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