Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santa Hat Cake

If you showed me a picture of a Santa hat cake a few months ago, I would have died and told you that's crazy! A few months ago, I made my first fondant and since then the cake decorating world started to open up to me. The Santa hat cake I'm about to talk about is my second fondant cake. My first one only had a few pieces of fondant here and there. I also made fondant flowers when I first made fondant as a topper for my mom's cake. This Santa hat cake was full on fondant!

When I first saw a Santa hat cake floating around Pinterest, I thought it was such a clever and simple idea. I was totally stoked to create it for Christmas. The more I thought about it though, the more I started to notice all the challenges that came with it. I actually gave up on the idea for awhile out of fear I would mess it up. I even found a few backup design ideas to go with. That's the thing with cakes like these, you sort of only get one chance. Everything involved, like the fondant, takes awhile to prepare and if you mess up, you basically have to buy a cake :( In my case, I was also running out of everything like sugar, eggs, and we were low on butter too! I couldn't believe it. When you run out of simple things like sugar and eggs, you know you have been baking way too much :) Luckily if I had messed up on the main cake, we still had nutella cupcakes and a ton of other stuff for dessert to fall back on.
The inside matched the outside (of course :)
I didn't mess up! I mean the cake had plenty of imperfections but considering things, I was quite happy with the way it turned out. I went with a buttery eggnog cake recipe for the inside. I divided the batter up and added red food coloring to one batch. The used one round pan and one glass bowl to bake the cake and then assembled it the best I could in a cone, trimming away the excess cake. I grabbed some of the cake trimmings and mixed it together with a bit of frosting to make a cake ball for the pom pom part of the hat. I didn't want to risk anything falling off so I made sure the pom pom part of the hat just sat on the ground off to the side. This also meant I had to make the hat tall enough to fold over.

I thought about taking pictures along the way but I didn't have any available hands and I was pressed for time. Sorry:( Placing the hat on was definitely tricky. I actually used a piece of paper to see how it would fold the night before. The best fold came when I cut off half triangles from the long sides of a loose-leaf sheet of paper. I also planned for a small slit about halfway so that there wouldn't be too much tension in the fold. It proved to be a good plan :)

Rolling the fondant big enough was a challenge because it kept sticking to the table. I had to clean and dry the table many times before I could get it right. The more I worked with the fondant, the drier it got and the more stubborn it got. Really! I used two pieces of string: one to measure the circumference and the other to measure twice the height of the hat. Like I said earlier, I only had one chance at this so I had to be prepared. When I finally got the best big piece of fondant I could get, I got Jean-Louis to help me carry it over the cake. Yes, it was that big! He supported the top part while I wrapped the lower part around the cake. The whole thing could have ripped and fell apart right there. I knew this cake would be trouble! Luckily, I moved fast and it was quickly applied and folded. I trimmed extra fondant off and then I worked on rolling a white strip of fondant for the bottom. I also wrapped white fondant around the cake ball. Everything was applied and tucked in. It was starting to look cool! I was pretty confident it would all work out then :) The final touch would be more buttercream for the fuzzy part of the hat. I made sure I applied it where it needed to be to hide imperfections and all *ahem* :) Mission accomplished!

When Jean-Louis first brought the cake to the table there were a lot of ooohs and aahhhs and then someone said that "the cake was the bomb!" Something like that. I'll take that as a compliment :) But the best part was when my mom came back from the washroom and asked why there was a piece of cloth on the table. Someone answered, "that's not a piece of cloth! That's a Santa hat cake!" Pure awesomeness :) The cake took a couple of hours to do but it was totally worth it! By the way, it tasted pretty good too, for a white cake that is. The eggnog was a bit weak and of course the fondant part was a bit sweet. Compared to your traditional cake, it really wasn't that sweet overall but my family is used to Chinese sponge cakes. They liked my Santa hat cake though but I think the presentation helped. You know how things just taste better when it looks pretty? Yeah, that helped.


Tarable said...

That? Is seriously impressive. Very cool.

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