For this week, we had to bring in our theme ideas for our actual cake. Well, not a real life yummy cake but a dummy cake. This is our sugarpaste covered cake. So the memo was that a low relief design would go on the top of the cake. It couldn’t be too big, because there would be some inscription along with it on the top.
For my class project, I chose a hello kitty figure. My reasoning being was that it wasn’t too intricate therefore quite fiddly especially for my inexperienced hands, also, my little sister demanded I do it. So that was that! For the cake in this ‘journal’, I’ll be doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed cake.
First things first, we had to size our templates from which we would make our low relief. This was done via the photocopier. I printed out two; one for the template which we would cut up into segments, and the other to make sure all the pieces went where they were supposed to when all the ‘segments were cut up. I’ll explain in more detail next week.
So, to cover an 8” cake dummy with tapered corners, we used about 800g of sugarpaste. This was our first layer of sugarpaste. Because we’re using a cake dummy which is made out of polystyrene, it’s not completely smooth, so the first layer of sugarpaste will smooth over those dips. We left the colour white; there’s no need to colour it if it isn’t going to be seen.
Firstly we rolled out the sugarpaste. To get it to the right size, use a tape measure to find the length from one side of the cake to the other (three sides altogether), or just use your rolling pin. Stand the rolling pin on one side, then over the top and finally the last side, moving your finger on the rolling pin which each measurement. The width on your rolling pin will be the diameter of the sugarpaste you have rolled out. Before covering the cake with the sugarpaste, pop any air bubbles with a sharp pin.
Make sure the surface of the cake is not dry otherwise the sugrapaste will not adhere. If you’re using a dummy, then brush over it with a damp paintbrush.
Next, drape the fondant over the cake. Personally, I like to roll it over the rolling pin and then drape it over the cake with the rolling pin. Or, you could lift the sugarpaste with both hands underneath it and then drape it over the cake. If you’re using a dummy, it may help if a friend holds it while you drape the fondant over it or use some sticky tape to secure it onto your work surface. After draping it over, run your hands over the top a few times, then promptly secure the edges by pressing down on the sugarpaste firmly. This will prevent tearing.
Now for the sides. Lift up the drapes a little and then press and smooth it over the side, doing this portion by portion. Once you have reached the bottom of the cake, cut away the excess with a pizza roller or a sharp knife. Then use a couple of smoothers to get rid of any divots and to make sure the sugarpaste is completely smooth. For my first few times covering a cake, I found it easier if the sugarpaste was on the thicker side. It’s less delicate this way.
And that is that for this week. For my first time, it was much easier that I thought it would be. Much much easier. I’ve been scared of sugarpaste for over a year. Its been such an elusive thing for such a long time that when I actually used it, I was surprised that it didn’t jump up and shout BOO! I guess the lesson in there is to not make any assumptions until I’ve tried something for myself.
What is something you’ve been wary of trying before? Or do you tend to jump right in, not leaving time to form irrational fears? Let me know in the comments below!
Next week I’ll be making my sugarpaste low-relief design, so see you soon!