Friday, September 17, 2010

Pregnant Belly Cake



This is the baby shower cake that I made for my sister in May 2010.  Boy, was I proud of this!  Other than the attempt at homemade fondant on my daughter's birthday cake in January, I hadn't worked with fondant.  I was very nervous and had plenty of ingredients on stand-by for back-up cupcakes!  Little did I know how pleased that I--and mommy-to-be and the shower-goers--would be with this cake.

I'm going to try to retrace my steps in the photos, but it has been a few months.  If I leave anything out or you have questions, just let me know.  I think that the pictures may be a good enough 'how-to' without narration.  I didn't have a go-by of any kind.  I just saw a finished picture of a pregnant belly cake and wanted to do one.

I will say that there are a couple of things that I would do differently now, 1) to make the presentation a little better and 2) to make the process of decorating it easier.  I love that I'm learning new things all of the time and can look back at something so cool and go, "hey, next time I can..." and it will make it even cooler!  Whatever you do, never go into a project like this without a plan.  I was naive about what was going to be involved in putting this together and working with fondant for the first time.  I hadn't planned to tint the fondant...not real sure what my plan was going to be there, but fortunately, it turned out beautifully!  I learned my lesson for sure!  

Here are the pans that I used:  the soccer ball pan, the mini wonder mold and a 12 x 18 sheet cake pan.  Note:  what you don't see is the muffin pan for the back-up cupcakes in case the cake is a flop! haha!  And some people just prefer cupcakes, too.
I usually put wax paper as a liner when I bake cakes.  It makes for a more even surface, easier release from the pan and an easier clean-up.  Yes, I still use Pam (or a cooking spray) in the bottom and sides of the pans.
These are the finished baked products, including the cupcakes.  I used chocolate for the sheet cake and tummy and vanilla for the breasts and cupcakes.  I baked all of the cakes the night before decorating.  This was only as a time-saver, not because the cakes had to be frozen.  
Put them in the freezer overnight.  

The next day, I made a ton of buttercream frosting.  We had chocolate, vanilla and some that I tinted blue.
I frosted my sheet cake first.
And then the scary part.  I started with the fondant.  This time, instead of making homemade marshmallow fondant, I bought the Wilton ready-made boxed fondant.  You can see it in the background of the picture above.  This was much easier and less messy to work with than the marshmallow fondant that I made in January.  
This is a good example of not having a well thought-out plan.  I should've covered the entire sheet cake with fondant.  Instead, I used a decorative fondant cutter and made this little -- whatever we want to call it.  I think I allowed the fondant to intimidate me too much.  I can tell you, do not be afraid of the fondant!
This is the tummy.  I had to straighten up the bottom so that it was perfectly flat.  I cannot tell a lie, I'm pretty sure that I ate every bit that I cut off!  
I had a difficult time in the placement of the tummy, simply because I knew that I wanted to drape the fondant dress, so I didn't really want it right in the middle of the sheet cake.  What you don't see here is that I put supports in the sheet cake so that the tummy didn't collapse the cake.
Yeah, I ate the parts that I shaved off of these, too.  Piggy, piggy!

I'm not even going to pretend to give instruction on preparing the fondant for the cake.  I do wish that I had either tinted it or bought colored fondant.  I think that, in my brain, the bottom part of the dress was going to be white.  There are detailed instructions for using the fondant, though, so don't worry.

I had some issues with the left side.  
I know, the two buttercream frostings mixed may sound like it would be too much, but it was yummy.  And, might I add, this was the easiest part to decorate!  
It was about here that I started to get excited.  I was starting to get a better image in my head of what the end result might be.  And when I realized that I could actually make the ribbons and flowers out of fondant, I got very excited!  I really shouldn't second-guess myself so much, but on the first-time projects, whew, it's nerve-racking!  
I had to be careful here.  I had read in so many places that moisture is how you get the fondant to  stick onto the cake.  I had also read that too much moisture will ruin the fondant and cause it to be sticky and possibly melt. 
This is part of what I showed you in the picture above, on the left-hand side.  Man, I was so upset about that!  I did kind of piece it together later, but it was still pretty noticeable.  I just kept that side of the cake faced away from everyone.
I started to paint the dress.  The white just wasn't working for me.  Again, I was very nervous about the liquid.  And the cake is larger that it seems here.  The picture is apparently taken at an angle where it looks like I have Jolly Green Giant hands (not that there's anything wrong with that), but it's causing the cake to look smaller than it really is!
The paintbrush was taking way too long and it was difficult to control the amount of liquid, so I used a paper towel to kind of blot the color onto the dress.
It was starting to come together.
And when I added the bow/flower and dress straps, I almost cried.  That just brought it all together, and I was so excited that I didn't mess up my sister's baby shower cake!  And then I had to keep the stinkin' thing a secret until the shower.  It was so worth it!  

So that was my day of making a pregnant belly cake. 


:) Be Sweet!

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