Thursday 8 November 2012

Square celebration cake

...or,  or how to cover a cake with fondant and make it look pretty.

This post is a bit of a blast from the past... I took a short (four evenings) cake decorating class in early 2011, before I started this blog. Here's something I made back then, which I never got around to posting on my blog. I was reminded thanks to Tea Time Treats, which has a theme of celebration cakes this month, as that's exactly what this is.

This was the first time I had ever covered a cake in fondant or roll-out icing, which at the time seemed very daunting (I still occasionally mess it up now, but in general don't have to think about it). In the class we also covered other techniques like making flowers and crimping edges.

We were asked to bring a square cake and cake board, and plenty of roll-out icing. I made a madeira cake for this I think - I can't really remember now! We were told not to split and fill the cake, though if I was making this again I would be tempted to, or maybe make a rich chocolate cake instead.

We began by carefully slicing the top of the cake to make sure it was completely flat. Then we measured the cake and rolled out a piece of white icing large enough to cover the top and the sides of the cake. We were told to make sure your work surface and rolling pin were continually dusted with icing sugar to make sure it didn't stick. However, if you use a lot of icing sugar it gets into the fondant and can make it dry out; I have since taken a different class where the teacher rubbed down the worktop with kitchen roll every time she lifted or moved the fondant, to remove any residue, as that would also stop it sticking. I'm sure everyone has their own tips on the best way to do this!

So for any complete beginners who haven't done this before, here's what you do. When you are ready to cover the cake, place it on a cake board. Pick up the rolled out fondant with part of it laying over the rolling pin, so you are holding it out flat (one end in your hand, the other end over the rolling pin).

Lay it over the cake and tuck in the corners first, and then the sides. Smooth over the top either with a cake smoother or the palm of your hand (making sure you keep your fingers off!). Cut off the excess fondant from around the edge. In the class we used a special cutter to give the edge a nice pattern.

I don't have step-by-step pictures as at the time the blog had yet to be born!

Once we had done that, we took a crimping tool - which looks a bit like metal tongs, with a wavy or shaped end - and gently pinched the edges all the way around the top of the cake to create a wavy effect. I pinched too hard the first time and made a big hole in the icing, so had to do a bit of a repair job, but I don't think you can really tell!

We practiced making roses, using a different technique to the cupcakes last week. Make a small ball of icing and gently flatten it so you have a petal shape. Do this several times, and carefully stick them together, moving from the centre outwards. Then you have a rose! We used a plunger cutter for the leaves and for the other pink flowers you can see on the cake. I also brought a piece of ribbon in with me from home which was just the right size to fit around the cake.

I was really pleased with the finished product and thought it looked very professional! I was visiting my friend Phillippa that weekend as it was her birthday and took the cake. Everyone liked it, but the best comment came from Jane, who was the last to arrive. As she walked in, she said "Oh I love the cake, where did you buy it?" Probably the best thing you can say to an amateur baker!

Looking at this now, about a year and a half later, I'm impressed at what I managed to do then with so little experience (thanks to the teacher!) and also realise that sometimes, simple is best. I probably wouldn't think to do a flat cake now with a relatively simple design on the top but with the ribbon as well, this does look very pretty, and would be perfect for an anniversary or perhaps an older female relative's birthday.

Tea Time Treats, the baking blogging challenge hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked, is one year old this month. To mark the occasion their theme this month is celebration cakes, so I am sending them my best wishes for another great year of Tea Time Treats along with this cake!


  1. love the old fashioned feel of this cake, well done!

  2. Lovely cake & beautifully decorated! :)

  3. Oh this is such a lovely cake! Definitely looks very professional - well done! I've yet to cover a cake with fondant icing!!

    1. It's really easy! I did this cake in that class I took with Dave, such a long time ago now!

  4. Hello...

    One Word - "Mouth Watering Blog" You made my mind think again.One thing to tell you that i am very foody person.Would love too see few of more Christmas cakes & coockies recipes from your side.

    thanks a lot for sharing
    Christmas Gift Ideas

    1. Thanks! Hopefully I will be able to do some Christmas-related posts in December, though I'm not sure yet if I will be baking much as I am spending Christmas with my boyfriend's family this year! Hopefully will have everyone to my house the year after!

  5. Beautiful Caroline, another FABULOUS cake for the tea time treats birthday party, it's just stunning! Karen xxxx

  6. This is a beautiful cake! Love the decorations.


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