It’s finally WINTER!!!!
Granted, we still don’t have any snow here in Buffalo. I’m used to being covered with snow by now but I haven’t even needed my winter coat.
So instead, I’ll bring winter here myself in the form of CAKE! 🙂
This little penguin has been in my mind since spring (yes, I’m one of those people) and my schedule cleared just enough to let me help him come to life. He’s a two tier cake that I carved by hand into slightly squished spheres and coated smoothly in chocolate ganache.
The top tier was two 6 inch rounds, and the bottom was two 7 inch rounds. Each cake layer was torted and filled with ganache to achieve a tall enough barrel to be able to carve down to a slightly squatty sphere.
I stacked them like any other two tier cake, careful to keep my dowels closer to the center since the board beneath the top round was smaller than the widest part of the sphere. An extra little layer of ganache once they were stacked, just to seal up that seam, and it was fondant time. Let me take you on a visual tour of Snowy’s creation below 🙂
I intentionally carved the top ball of cake (his head) lopsided as I want him to look like he’s got his head slightly tilted. Gives him some character and movement. 🙂 That little detail alone brings life to an otherwise frigid design. (hehehe! get it? frigid? winter? snow? I amuse me.)
A dab of hot glue will do to get your cake board to secure to your base board. I used a cross section of a tree trunk as my base board for this cake as it matched my design awesomely. <— Yes, it’s a word. I got the cross section at a craft store and you can often find these on sale as they need to rotate through stock. They are very inexpensive and terribly impressive. SCORE!
After I got the first layer of white fondant onto the cake, I used a little piece of the same fondant against my hand and worked it in a circular motion all over the applied sugar. Why? Great question!It smooths over round/curved surfaces better than a flat fondant paddle would. It shapes perfectly to the surface and refines the surface and smooths it out expertly. After all, who knows fondant better than fondant itself?
There was no need to apply the white all around the penguin cake as it was going to be covered mostly with his gray coat. BUT! I didn’t want ridges underneath the gray where the white fondant stopped, so using a paddle I rocked it from the fondant onto the cake to tapper the edge so it wouldn’t leave any visible marks once covered.
It’s always good to mark where additional layers will go so you can see placement and have a better idea of where to lay things initially. No one likes trying to peel fondant off without damaging the first layers… That sucks icicles. It never works. So I just marked the ridge above his brow and pointing down to his beak using a circle cutter and a color shaper.
Time to cut some gray fondant and lay it over Snowy’s head. I use a disposable scalpel to cut. Disposable ones are my favorites as they are sharper than XActos to begin with, each have their own protective caps, and can be discarded as a whole, no removing blades and having to find a safe place to dispose of them before actually dispose of them.
I apply my fondant to the chocolate ganache with a light bit of water rubbed gently onto the surface of the ganache with a paper towel. It really doesn’t need anything more than that. Just be sure not to make it wet. Dripping is bad. You’ve gone to far. Reign in those drenching tendencies people. Use a tiny brush and some water to seal down the little point of gray fondant and to make sure the ridges are secured to the white fondant.
I made two black eyes, pinched an orange beak and then added some watermelon petal dust with a cosmetic brush for some rosey penguin cheeks. 🙂 Because yes, their cheeks do still get rosey when they are cold. Which is likely always.
Next up, some swirled blue fondant a few sugar pearls atop a half circle piece of styrofoam. These will be his ear muffs. I didn’t want just a blue cup over his ears, I was in need of some texture. So woolly swirls it was! These needed to sit over night to firm up and come together. I used just a touch of corn syrup to adhere them to the dome and to each other.
The arm/flappers/flippys needed to rest over night as well. I ended up putting a little bit of paper towels under the tips so he could hold his mug, rather than just wrapping them around his body.
FEET!!! He needs cute feet and I wanted them to be closer to real than not… Again, a few extra little details keep him from being flat and one dimensional.
I rolled three little logs and pinched them together, rolled out a flat piece and draped it over the logs.
A little extra shaping and detail with a bit of brown petal dust and they were ready to nestle beneath his belly. He must have been eating all the Christmas cookies with a belly like that…
Next I made the wafer paper pine tree for the background of the board. I measured for height and width on the board so I knew it would fit next to Snowy the Penguin. Divide the width in half and made a little template for my trees. I cut one full tree out first to be my center, then the rest were half trees. I stacked multiple sheets of different colored green wafer paper atop each other so the cutting would go quicker. I use precolored green premium wafer paper found HERE at Icing Images and added additional color to some with my airbrush and airbrush colors. It’s really ideal to start with a presaturated, colored wafer paper as you won’t dry it out as much when applying deeper color. It’s far more workable and forgiving than starting with white.
Just add one half tree cut out to the center and it’ll stand for you :)Just be sure your bottoms are all flush with your table surface so it remains upright and all your layers line up neatly. I adhere the wafer paper to itself with just a light bit of water. It’s an instant bond and so easy! Just don’t use much water at all. Seriously. It’ll melt like the Witch of the West.
SNOW!!! With wafer paper 🙂 Now this is the ideal time to use up some of your wafer that may have gotten dry and brittle. That will actually be PERFECT for making snow in your coffee grinder. I have this little grinder for sugar work only, no coffee or exotic spices in there, and it’s how I grind up my edible gelatin glitter.
It’s so fluffy!!!!
And it’s absolutely delightful atop this natural wood board 🙂 I feel like I’m out in the woods!
And there he is 🙂 Snowy the Penguin cake. This one was for the fam, and they enjoyed munching on him just moments after these pictures were taken. He was delicious! I used my Perfect Vanilla Cake recipe that you can find here: Kara’s Perfect Vanilla Cake
Tell me what cakes YOU have planned for the holiday season! Would this wafer paper snow make a good addition? Or how about that wafer paper tree? Let me know your cake and sweets plans in the comments below 🙂