Sunday, March 4, 2012

Making a Styrofoam "Dummy" Cake

Tonight I worked with two of the most vile manmade substances on the face of the earth: Styrofoam and Wilton fondant. I'm not sure which one is more unappetizing, but I can definitely tell you the latter is harder to work with. The experiment wasn't a total failure, but I'm definitely going to strip the Wilton fondant off the Styrofoam and try again with my own fondant from scratch
Here’s the setup, more or less: a fondant mat (with a small amount of water underneath it to help it stick to the counter), a large fondant roller, a small fondant roller, a round cookie cutter, some Crisco and powdered sugar to alter the consistency of the fondant if need be, a pizza cutter, a small amount of water and a brush, a Styrofoam cake dummy and a cake board. Oh, and a box of Wilton fondant, which I hope to never encounter again for any reason. 

 The first step is to adhere the dummy to the board. I rolled out a small amount of fondant…
…and cut a circle out of it with a cookie cutter.
 I painted a small amount of water on one side…
 …and stuck it to the center of the cake board. I checked with a ruler to make sure my ability to eyeball measurements was up to snuff. Then I painted some water on the other side of the fondant circle…
 …and stuck the dummy onto it. I hear this method is better than any glue; I'll let it sit for a while and let you know what I think!
 I rolled out the package of Wilton fondant…
…and draped it over the dummy. I was advised to coat the dummy with a thin layer of royal icing to give the fondant something to adhere to. This sounded like a good thing to do, but gave a very uneven surface that was visible through the fondant. I stripped it off, scraped off as much royal icing as possible, then re-rolled the fondant and tried again. 

 It smoothed out somewhat, but was inferior to any cake I've ever covered in fondant. I'm going to experiment further to determine which link of the chain is to blame: the fondant, the Styrofoam, the position of the planets, the unseasonably warm weather, etc.
 I trimmed away the excess with a pizza cutter…
 …and propped up a row of sweet little gum paste blossoms that I'd "glued" edible pearls to with royal icing, just to give you an idea of where I'm going with this. When I finally figure out what I'm doing with the dummy-covering process, this is what the edge will look like when I stick them down permanently with royal icing.
Finally, I thought you'd find this scene from my hotel room last night amusing; the Residence Inn of Rancho Cordova recently underwent an extensive remodeling, during which they added marble-topped bedside gum paste workstations:

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