I remember the first time I ever tried to cover a cake in rolled fondant. It was for a wedding cakes class back in pastry school. I was actually not looking forward to using rolled fondant because I heard it was a nightmare to use. I thought you had to work really fast or else it would crack or tear and repairing any mistakes was next to impossible.
Here is my very first wedding cake covered in rolled fondant
On the day that we were gonna use the dreaded rolled fondant, I basically worked myself into a panic and kept rolling it and rolling it before I finally covered my cake. As you might have guessed, I completely ruined the rolled fondant. It had cracks all over it, some minor tears and even a few bubbles. I was so ready to cry but I tried to hide all the mess with my piping and royal icing decorations. Seriously, I must have given myself an ulcer trying to fix it but somehow I managed to make my cake presentable. Whew!
But while I was working on my cake, my classmate Nancy took a look it and said the scrollwork reminded her of the ones she saw on Margaret Braun's cakes. I wasn't too familiar with a lot of cake artists back then so when she mentioned Margaret Braun, I was utterly clueless to who she was. So when I got home, I looked her up online and was completely awestruck by her work. Wow!
Her book, Cakewalk, is absolutely breathtaking. Every cake is literally a work of art. I loved reading about how she got started and the stories behind each of the cakes. Not only is her book filled with beautiful photographs and sketches, it also includes her favorite recipes and step-by-step instructions on how to make her signature cakes. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated when I decided to purchase her book. Mind you, at that time I could barely cover a cake in rolled fondant. I was even doubting if I'd ever want to work with the stuff again. Well, I guess I got over my fear of fondant eventually because now I love working with it.
I really love Margaret Braun's "Baroque in Patent Leather" cake, so I used it as inspiration to make a birthday cake for my friend Cielo. The combination of pink, orange and gold look so chic and feminine and I absolutely love the scrolls and starbursts all over her cake. I tried to find a way to incorporate all these elements into Cielo's cake using my favorite cake decorating techniques.
Here's how I made this cake:
First, I covered the cake in white rolled fondant. Then, I used a rectangular cutter and a pizza cutter to create strips and attached them vertically all around the sides of the cake. I spaced them equally, about an inch or so.
Next, I made fondant scrolls and attached them to the top of the cake, right above the fondant strips.
To add color to the cake, I mixed together gold luster dust and vodka to paint the scrolls and the strips. For the vertical panels, I mixed Wilton Icing Colors and vodka to paint them pink and orange.
I painted the top of the cake with alternate stripes of pink and orange. Before the colors began to dry, I dragged a wet paintbrush (dipped in vodka) in a zigzag pattern to create a marbled effect.
Instead of starbursts, I made fondant flower appliques and fondant pearls for the top of the cake and painted them with gold luster dust.
I used a rectangular cookie cutter to create the birthday plaque. I attached fondant scrolls all around it and painted it with gold luster dust. I used a small paintbrush to write the birthday greeting on the plaque.
This has got to be one of the prettiest cakes that I've ever made. Who knew you could take a simple sheet cake and make it look like this?