Monday, April 8, 2013

Sesame Street Ernie Cake - My First Attempt at Fondant

Our precious Granddaughter C-Bear recently celebrated her second birthday.
I wanted to make something special for her big day and since she has recently become obsessed with sesame street...I figured anything to do with that would be a big hit!

c-bear birthday collage

Her favorite Sesame Street characters are Elmo, Ernie, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby.

I decided to make a Sesame Street cake!

(Just a quick reality check here: I have made several buttercream icing cakes using Wilton tools to try and make them look professional, with mediocre results… So, the fact that I wanted to make a Fondant cake was pretty much sheer insanity on my part!)

To be honest, I've never really considered making a Fondant cake before, because I was just sure it was way too hard and involved for me to even try.

But, I've long admired the beauty of well crafted fondant cakes and recently I came across a beautiful cake on a facebook cake page (I think it was Cake Central) that led me to the facebook page and website of Liz Marek, from the Artisan Cake Company.

Her cakes are absolutely AMAZING!

I spotted a post on her Facebook page about her "Popular Marshamallow Fondant Recipe" I clicked on the link contained in that post which took me to her website and a YouTube video that explains how to make this great fondant in great detail.

I decided to give it a shot, as this video had gotten so many views on YouTube and the video and recipe had received rave reviews from those who tried it.

So, this sweet young lady and her awesome recipe/video was very instrumental in inspiring me to attempt my first fondant cake.

Watching the video just made me believe I could do it!

I baked the cake first to be sure it would be done and completely cooled in time to add the fondant.

Pillsbury Strawberry Moist Supreme Cake Mix

Ingredients and Tools for Fondant Cake

While the cake was baking and cooling, I made the fondant and with a few exceptions, it all went "smooth" (no pun intended here!).

Mixing Fondant

Just be sure and follow Liz's instructions to the letter if possible...and when she says to use a stand mixer...
Don't think you know better and try to use a "hand" mixer because it won't work!

I actually did start out using a stand mixer and still burned it up (it was a Sunbeam), but I think it was because I didn't use the "dough hook" as she instructed...I didn't have one for my mixer.

The mixer you see in the photo above, that I have "x" out is a hand mixer with dough mixing attachments and I thought I would try that if my Stand Mixer didn't work with the regular beaters. But after I burned up the stand mixer, I figured it wouldn't be smart to attempt ANY mixing with the hand mixer!

I had to finish mixing the fondant by hand...which was a REAL workout, but hey, I needed to workout anyway, because I'm old and am getting "batwings" so this is a great exercise for that monstrosity!

Next step was to knead the fondant (also a workout!)

kneading fondant

This step wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected and I think this is because of the "secret" ingredient in Liz's recipe:

Wilton Fondant

(See her video on more info on this...) Or maybe not BECAUSE of the secret ingredient but what you add before it...which is the marshmallow, which makes it have more elasticity.

I don't really know, because like I said, this is my first ever fondant cake and I'm no expert!

So, I'm not really going to give a full-blown tutorial here, just briefly go over how I did it and show you some photos of the process.

For a really GOOD tutorial, please go to Liz's site, "The Artisan Cake Company" and this link for the video.
She really knows her stuff and you will love looking at all the beautiful cakes she has built!

Okay, so now that I had finished the fondant, before I could color it, I had to decide which character my sweet Granddaughter would love the most on a cake as well as which one would be easiest for me to pull off on a first attempt!

I decided to go with Ernie, as his facial features are simple and he doesn't have a lot of hair!

I purchased a Sesame Street Coloring/Tracing Book to help me outline the face and features.

Sesame Street Coloring Book

I hastily colored the sections on the color page, so I'd remember what colors I needed to make the fondant.

Then I traced out the hair and eyeball portions of his face to use as templates on the fondant.

(I decided to give him a "closed" mouth smile rather than the open mouthed one you see here...that is because I was quickly running out of time and was already pushing myself beyond my creative boundaries!)

I portioned out and colored the fondant.

colored fondant

(There is a lot of kneading involved in this part too, to get the color blended well)

rolled fondant

(I got in a hurry past this point, so I forgot to take photos of some of the steps...)

After getting the fondant rolled out nice and smooth and at a seemingly perfect thickness, I placed the templates on the fondant and took a toothpick and traced around the designs, by poking tiny holes with the toothpick to create a faint outline for me to use to cut them out.

Then I used a flat metal spatula tool to cut out the designs.

This is probably not the "correct" tool to use for this, but since I don't have all of the cake decorating supplies, I just went with something I thought would work.

I'm sure an exacto knife would work also, but despite the fact that I have a million of those around the house somewhere, I couldn't find one when I needed it!

(NOTE: I did not make a paper pattern for Ernie's nose, I just used a bottle cap top from a sunny delight to press out the round nose)

Now it was time to frost the cake (before putting the fondant on).

frosted cake

NOTE: Earlier I had  put the iced cake into the fridge for a bit to "chill", as I had read that this is the best way to handle adding the fondant later.

This step totally made sense to me after I did it...I can imagine putting warm fondant on room temp would probably slip & slide everywhere and make a big mess!

After letting the iced cake "chill" for about an hour, I was ready to add the base layer of fondant.

fondant covered cake

As you can see in the photo, I do have a small Wilton fondant cutter, I used that to trim the fondant after putting it on the cake (I couldn't use it on the fondant face details because it wasn't small enough to maneuver through the pieces and come out clean...that's why I used the small spatula tool)

I added all the facial details and then cut out small circles for trim on the bottom. (I used a wilton cake tip for this...just used the bottom part as a shape cutter and make the circles)

Ta-Daaaa! The finished product!

Ernie Sesame Street Cake

Sesame Street Ernie Cake

It's not super detailed or complicated, but I'm pretty proud of it!
It came out looking like Ernie and my sweet C-Bear was excited and happy about it, so that is what counts to this Crafty Grandma!

Happy Birthday C-Bear

I want to send out a very warm and heartfelt thanks to Liz Marek for being so helpful and gracious with her time and efforts!

The video tutorial she made sharing her secret recipe was the key to getting me motivated and she is very responsive to questions from people on her site and facebook page. 

This is amazing to me, because she is a pretty busy lady and she certainly didn't have to share all of her cake decorating secrets and give free advice, but she did!

I am the kind of person who believes everyone's time is valuable and I am most grateful that Liz was willing to share her time with me and others wanting to learn!

Thank-you for coming by to visit!
Hope you liked my post and I would love it if you left a comment and/or followed me!

This project/post is linked to the following sites/link-up parties:

wet paint wednesday button Wet Paint Wednesday: Link Up! Happy Go Lucky
Pinterest Power Party


The Bashful Nest said...

This cake is super cute! Ernie has always been one of my favorites too.
xoxo. Michelle.

Unknown said...

Cute!! Fondant is so hard to work with, but your cake turned out great! Glad you shared at Shine on Fridays! Hope you'll be back to party again this week!

Lorie a.k.a.The Peddler said...

Beautiful cake Lisa! Aside from paper crafting, cake decorating is a close second. I've put together a cake gallery of a few photos of cakes I have decorated. Feel free to stop by and take a look. I also wanted to say, 'thanks!' for stopping by The Peddler's Gallery. I really appreciated it. I'll visit real soon.