I have never been a fan of cake decorating for several reasons:
-I prefer brownies or cheesecake
-I am practical and can't see spending hours of something you're just going to eat
-most previous experiences have been been frustrating and my cake never look very good.
-I hate to be sticky
However, my feelings have not poisoned the baking ambitions of my off-spring. We've had a Circut for years and LOVE it. My daughter was obsessed w/ getting Cricut Cake, but I just could justify the price. The Black Friday Fairies must have granted her wish, b/c Jo Ann's had Cricut Cake-mini on special for $99. Can I get a Woohoo!?
So we finally busted it out. There were some moments of frustration and a way to much "sticky" for my liking, but we managed to make our first cake. We have been disillusioned by watching Ace of Cakes and the Cake Challenge. Those shows should come w/ disclaimers like, "don't try this at home" or "the following should only be attempted by trained professionals".
We wanted to make a layer cake, so we picked these 2 pans. Next time we will use pans with much greater size differences. These were too close and just made our cake look weird.
We love this little gadget. It was super easy to use, under $5 and is awesome for getting your layers level.
After our layers were level, we covered our cake w/ tasty butter cream frosting.
Then we made our own fondant. We actually used a different recipe, but my very talented cake decorating friend always uses this one:
It was finally the time to bust out the Cricut. Here's what we learned (mostly what not to do):
-put shortening on the mat, the counters, your hands etc.
-roll the fondant as thin as you can get it-there is no such thing as too thin
-brown is really hard color to make w/ food coloring-unless you are trying to make fondant poo and then it's easy. However, since we didn't want to make anyone gag, we just added a little cocoa powder in place of some of the sugar. Perfect brown and yummy. It was a little stiffer then the rest of our colors, but still manageable.
-you need a big heavy rolling pin to roll our fondant. We had a cute plastic one that had rings on the end that was supposed to let you roll it to different heights-but it was worthless.
-make sure you trim of any excess off your mat, or it gums up the entire machine.
-We love the "fit to page" button. It allowed us to make the biggest possible pieces possible w/ out having to do any math
-the fondant really stretches when you take it off the mat. We found the best way was to turn the mat upside down over a piece of freezer paper and gently peel away the fondant until it falls on the wax paper. I've also heard it's great to put the entire it into the freezer before you remove the fondant. We need to get a few more mats and then this would be a fabulous idea
-fondant dries out really quickly, so we kept it in plastic bags while we weren't using it
-really smaller or detailed pieces didn't work. Maybe we'll try some of the later, but we were way top ambitious for our first time.
-we also really loved the "tools". They don't come w/ the machine, but are worth it.
We wanted something to go along the bottom., so we made little fondant balls and stuck them around the bottom.
So maybe Food Network won't be calling us anytime soon, but I think it's pretty good for a 12-year-old.
We had a lot of fondant left over so we cut out some more stuff. We'll just freeze it and use it on some other creation. They turned out much better, then what we put on our cake. I love the cherry blossoms. Next time we are going to attempt to cover the entire cake w/ fondant-so stay tuned.