Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Owl-dorable (Or How to Make Fondant Work for You.)

This recipe is from one of my college roomies and an amazing cook, Teresa.  I told you that you'd be seeing more of her on the blog!  She makes this look so easy that anyone can do it!  Come on Threaders!  I know you wanna try this!!  :)  (If you do, please send pictures of your efforts please!  Even if they don't go as you planned, we won't laugh!!  Promise!)
Best, -C.

I love to decorate cakes. It all started with a cake decorating class at my local community college a few years ago and has become a surprising hobby, especially considering that I don’t particularly like cake (give me a pie any day). Nothing says a party like a cake though, so I have enjoyed getting to bless various friends and family members over the years with something fun and delicious. I haven't really had any time since having my daughter, but when my friend Catherine asked if we could make a cake for a baby shower she was hosting, I said bring it on!

The nursery theme for the new baby is owls so we had some pretty fun material to work with. First we baked the cakes, layered them and iced them (first a crumb coat and then the final coat). We just used boxed vanilla cake mix with milk and butter substituted for the water and oil; we filled the layers with strawberry jam.

While the cakes were baking, we got started on the fondant decorations. We used marshmallow fondant, which is super easy. All you do is put eight ounces of marshmallows in a bowl (the non-store brand works the best) with one tablespoon of water and microwave for one minute. Stir to a smooth consistency, and then gradually add one pound of sifted powdered sugar and work in. 

You can only get so far with a spoon before you need to transfer it to a work surface to knead. It might take a while, but keep at it until it is a smooth consistency.

Now you have a perfect ball of fondant.

Our first project is to make the owls, so we start by adding some food coloring (gel kind) to make some yellows and oranges.

I didn’t want to have to do a giant ball of fondant for each owl so I found some Styrofoam balls left over from a Halloween costume that worked perfectly. We wrapped each ball for the owl body.

We double wrapped one to make it a little larger than the other.

Adding on to that, we mushed on some ears and then rolled and cut out some fondant for the eyes, chest and wings. Simply add a little water to “glue” them on.

Here is Catherine with a partially completed one. (yes, she is an Aggie – please forgive her)

Here is the completed small owl. (I could not resist so I added a little sprinkle bling to the wings!)

Next comes mixing some more colors and rolling and cutting flowers (using a shaped cutter) and leaves (using a pizza cutter). After just a little while, we were able to come up with all the decorations for the cake.

Then it was just a matter of figuring out where we wanted everything and generally just making it look pretty. In addition to the fondant we cut out, I rolled some balls for the layer transition and added some edible green pearls to the bottom trim and dusted the green fondant with green shimmer powder. All in all I was pretty pleased with the results and hopefully the mommy-to-be was too!

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