Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY Pumpkin BabyCakes

My boys are a little different than probably most kids when it comes to birthday cakes. We start talking about their birthday cake(s) in about June. Their birthday is in October. (They're twins, so yes, they have the same birthday, and so far, the same kind of birthday cake.)

This year, my Charley (seen here sniffing his birthday cake selection) decided that he wanted a fondant cake. Kid loves fondant.

Their birthday party also happened to be on the same day I was scheduled to do a local news promotion of some fondant classes that I'm teaching this fall. So, I went a little overboard. I wanted to use the project for both the news and for their party.

I had the "brilliant" idea of letting the kids decorate their own cakes. So, that's what we did.

These are the results.
(A tutorial on how to do the nice, grown-up pumpkin version of the cake will come next week.)

Here's how I did these cakes:

I have this mini pumpkin pan that I bought for birthday pumpkins a few years ago, but never used. I baked the cakes (chocolate was requested instead of pumpkin-flavored). I used about 1/3 cup in each pumpkin mold.

After the cakes had baked, I cooled them for about 10 minutes (on a cooling grid), and then used a serrated knife to level off the bottoms. (It was easier to do it this way, even though I still had to level a few of them further when decorating just to get the sides to match up.)

I cooled them completely on the cooling grid.
This is about where the easy part of this project ended.

Just getting the top and bottom of any two of these cakes to match up took some kind of genius - which I am not. It was really, really hard to match them up. I'm not actually sure at this point if the pan is intended to make a "match." When I found two that were good enough, I slapped some icing in between the two layers and put them on my turntable.

I rolled out a small amount of fondant (about the size of an egg) on a surface sprinkled with a mixture of 1/2 cornstarch and 1/2 powdered sugar. I rolled this to about 1/8" thick (about the thickness of a nickel) and into a circle about 7" in diameter.

Now, I tried this many ways, but I found that the best way to get this fondant on these little pesky pumpkins was to spread frosting on the fondant itself before flipping that over the mini pumpkin.
*Please Note that this is not how I usually cover a cake with fondant

So far, so good.

Once it was on the pumpkin, I smoothed it down the sides as well as possible.

Which, as you can see, was not terribly well. Then, I cut off the extra fondant, leaving just about 1/2" around the bottom to tuck underneath.

To get it to kind of adhere to the cake, I then held the pumpkin in my hand, and basically found a way to make the fondant fold down onto the bottom of the cake. It was not pretty, people.

But, in the end, it looked okay...when I hide the very bottom of the cake.

Thankfully, the kids didn't seem to care. To decorate their jack-o-lanterns, I pre-cut shapes of fondant in yellow and black (circles, ovals, triangles and mouth shapes).

They used a food-safe paintbrush with some water to get the decorations to stick.

They were all very proud of their work, and had no trouble snacking on their masterpieces.

If I had to do it again, I would totally just do cupcakes, not these mini pumpkins.

The cupcakes are SO easy. Just cut out a round of orange fondant with a large biscuit cutter (again about 1/8" thick) and slap it on a cupcake.
(Pretend my fingers don't look that dirty. Job hazard. Coloring fondant black will turn your fingers colors for days.)

If you want, make some little lines to make it look like a bumpy pumpkin. Easy Peasy! The kids can still decorate them all the same. Plus, the mini-pumpkins were more than 2 cupcakes-worth of cake, and I can tell you that we threw a lot of it away.

Click the Links Below to See:
Marshmallow Fondant Recipe (This is what I used on these cakes.)
Other Fondant Decorating Ideas
My Pumpkin Cake Recipe
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