Every Day Diva is also known as “Nonnie” to a little angel named Kylie Rose, who turned 4 today.
This is not so much a tutorial as it is a chronicle of an adventure. Tutorials are done by professionals or experienced enthusiasts. I am one of those people who says, “I could probably do that,” and gives it a try. You know, at the very least, you’ll learn something, and maybe you’ll come out with something nice.
First SNAFU. I forgot that the skirt pan requires 1.5 times the usual cake batter. Skirt was a little short. Okay. Quick fix: Made up another batch of batter and baked it in two 8″ round pans. I used one round for the bottom of the cake and trimmed it at an angle to fit. I saved the other round for later. Never you mind about that.
I like this recipe for decorator buttercream frosting. I skipped sharing the photo of my stacking the two layers, but you can see the shavings in the background from my trimming the bottom layer to fit. A crumb layer is supposed to lock in the crumbs for another layer of icing. It should be smoothed with a knife dipped in ice water, then refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then you should add another layer of icing that is oh-so-smooth, so you don’t see any bumps under your fondant layer. I did not do this step. Nonnie was pressed for time. You will see the bumps. But you at least need something sticky on the cake to hold the fondant up there. Woohoo!
Yes, ma’am, you do have to cut a hole in that cake for those mermaid fins to go into. That’s what comes with not using the half-human-half-ice-pick option. To allow for the fins, I ended up with an opening around her waist that I was going to have to cover creatively. I used my awesome Cutco serrated knife that my sister, Courtney, gave me in a set for my wedding. But yes, I did end up digging a little cake out with a spoon. You can do it. Play like you did when you were a kid.
Enter the fondant learning center. Fondant is a lot like PlayDoh. I learned this the last time I used it (which was the first time I used it.) You have to get it warm in your nice clean hands to make it good and pliable, then you can roll it and shape it just like PlayDoh. In this case I just needed to roll it in a thin layer. I love my Roul’Pat mat which is too amazing to spend time talking about now. Click here if you want to know more.
I started with a generous ruffle on the lower skirt to break things up and because fondant is hard to roll out into one big, smooth piece. I started by rolling a long strip of white which I trimmed with my small Cutco paring knife.
As I laid the fondant onto the cake and messed with it a bit, it seemed that a pinch-pleated ruffle would work best, folding the pleats to the left. As I added another strip, rotating cake clockwise, I started the left edge of the new strip with a pleat, “gluing” it on to the edge of the previous strip with a little buttercream, this way hiding the seam.
The main skirt is always the trickiest, especially if you want it in one, big, smooth piece. There are myriad videos and posts about how best to achieve that. This is not one of them. I rolled the light pink fondant into a huge circle, evenly and thinly as I could, cut a hole in the middle and a radial seam for the back of the skirt that I planned to cover with a line of icing. Then I cut polka dot holes in the fondant using a template I found as I was rifling through my kitchenware. It did not occur to me until after I laid the fondant onto the cake that I could have cut the holes at that point, thereby avoiding the stretching that took place. Too late. Onward.
So the polka dots had to be cut out and placed inside the holes of the swiss-cheese-style skirt. Since some of the holes in the skirt had stretched slightly, I had to do the same to the dots before and after I placed them. A little smoothing with the fingers to bring the seams together helped. I considered piping a line of buttercream around each circle. Didn’t have a piping tip. Tick-tock.
I was running a little low on buttercream so I decided not to “caulk” around her body with it to fill in the gap. Instead I rolled out some hot pink fondant and created kind of a peplum to the skirt. It started out as a sash but looked like a peplum, so there you have it. Spell check does not understand peplum, by the way.
Then there are those times when you must make a mistake work. I got the cake transferred onto the special cake stand my daughter-in-law had covered with adorable paper. It had not been available when I started, so I began the cake on three layers of waxed paper and lifted it onto the stand when it was ready, and didn’t do the buttercream edging until that point. The white went just fine. The “aqua” I mixed was a disaster — shown above. Aw, SPELL no. That is not working. Fine. Solution?
Rrrroll, rrrroll, rrrroll in zeh fondant. Quick, quick, quick, in all four colors. I made the buttonhole impressions with the back of a click pen. And look how Mommy had it all decorated when we arrived!
Buttons, buttons, buttons! DIL had outdone herself with the decorations and party prep. What a wonderful day!