So here we go...the results of our first challenge!!
So, as I said in the prior posting, I had my sites and expectations set pretty high for myself before this attempt. Let’s just say it, WOW...cake and icing is hard to work with! I did a little research beforehand knowing that fondant or some sort of modeling substance was going to be needed here for the tree and leaves. It mostly came down to money and time for me and so making fondant was out. I found a recipe for a simple (or so I thought) Marshmallow Fondant that requires very few ingredients and one for Butter cream Frosting (recipes and links below) for between the layers and the outside the cake.
I began with a shopping trip to the store, and purchased two French vanilla cake mixes (my fav ;D) and a few extra ingredients that I didn’t have at home, like icing sugar and marshmallows.
I had also mentioned that I didn’t own any round cake pans, so I dug around my cupboard and brilliantly (if I do say so myself) greased up some individual Corning ware casserole dishes stashed away in the back! The small rounds measure 5.5” diameter, and the larger one is 8”. The cakes baked up beautifully, although because I was short on pans and simply impatient, removed every single one of them warm. In so doing, broke nearly everyone in half! That’s a problem icing can fix, right?! I set the cakes aside and let them rest overnight. That was day 1. It all started out so innocently...
Day 2 – Decorate. The Butter cream icing turned out quite delicious, although it required a bit of tweaking, and the colors weren’t great to match - I used liquid food coloring, where a food coloring gel would have made a difference. I applied a generous layer of icing between my 5 crumbling cakes, and secured them together with wooden kabob skewers.
I wasn’t taking any chances with the outer layer of icing glory, so I did a light coating of icing to act as glue and popped this bad boy in the freezer for three hours before attempting the final colored coating. Being cold definitely helped with this part of the process. I methodically slapped on the layers of color and tried to smooth out all layers of color at once to get that gradient blended look which as you can see is identical to the original...lol!!
Time to move onto the Marshmallow fondant...yikes! This was hard stuff to work with, and I only used about a quarter of the batch which felt like a waste, but oh well, lesson learned. My hands were coated in bright red, then a dark brown. It took time and patience to get what details I did do, and I had to re-paint the leaves red a second time to get them to be red, not soft pink lol. And when all was said and done, the tree turned out more like a log of $#&% giving the middle finger!! Yep, count it, four fingers and a thumb, and the middle one is raised loud and proud!! Hahaha not on purpose I assure you! Needless to say, I won’t be going into the cake decorating business anytime soon. Yep - Nailed-It!!!!