Happy Sunday! And Happy Graduation to all of you out there who are celebrating this weekend! I know several Seniors, both High School and College who got their diplomas this week include this one for a Nursing School Graduate!
This 8 inch square white cake with vanilla buttercream filling was needed on short notice so I was able to put it together for them in time but without my normal drying time for the fondant. The bottom square cake was frosted with buttercream and then three lines of decorative piping was added. The "cap" part is black fondant covered cake while the "mortar" board is actually black fondant covered cardboard. I used a toothpick to hold the board to the cap and dotted it with a round ball of fondant after looping my "tassle" round the toothpick first. With only 2 days to let the fondant dry there was just no way I was going to be able to have a fully fondant mortar board for the cap.
The tassle is quite easy and something I have used on grad caps, curtains, and purses. I mixed quite a bit of tylose into the yellow fondant and then rolled it out dime thin on the board. Then I used a straight cutter to cut off the edges making for a 4x3 inch rectangle. From there I used the straight cutter to cut lines almost through the rectangle leaving about a quarter inch intact. Then I rolled the fondant up and made a strip of fondant to wrap around the top. Finally I rolled a small bit out as the string on the tassle, curved that around the toothpick and then used water to attach it to the tassel. I made it small enough so that most of the weight of the tassel was resting on the board and not hanging off so it would continue to dry on the board.
Then it was just the piping that needed to be done. A word about piping skills. This is the one thing about cakes that I truly don't like doing. Mainly because I sorta suck at it so I find it to be difficult to do. BUT, having said that I have to admit that the more I pipe, the better I get. I don't seem to like it any more than I ever did but I have gotten better with the practice. If you are like me and don't particularly like your piping skills there is just one way to get over it...practice. Either on a piping board or on cakes if you do enough often enough not to get rusty. Yes, there are Cricuit machines out there and that can help remove some of the issues. You can use them to cut out fondant and apply those to the cake...BUT...if you try to cut out any smaller than a half inch then it doesn't work all that well so you will be forced to pipe at that point..so you might as well practice and make it part of your own personal tool box.
Lastly, IF you find yourself needing a last minute cake you can always frost it and then use "toppers" to decorate with instead of handmade figures. There are plenty of Grad Cap or Grad decorations you can use that you can pick up at your local Michaels or cake store that you just place on top of your completed cake. Will it feel as good as handmaking them yourself...well, no...but if you don't have the time it would be worse to try to make the items, fail and then feel even worse about yourself than just popping down to the store and picking up what you need.
I do try to make sure I have at least a month to make any decorations that I need but in cases like these...basically an emergency where their A Plan fell through...I was able to come to the rescue with just a couple days prep time. Not ideal but sometimes that's just the way it works out. If you find yourself in that situation always remember that the looks of the cake, while important, will never be more important than the taste of the cake. And a homemade cake will always be better than one you get at the grocery store.
Next week is Father's Day and we have Grand Plans in our house for a very special cake! I'll share it with you next weekend!