Saturday, November 12, 2016

Harry Potter Lesson Books Cake

My first Groom’s Cake!!!

Both the bride and groom (close friends of my niece) are big Harry Potter fans, so they requested a Golden Snitch Cake. I didn’t want to do just the snitch, so I decided to build a tower of Harry Potter lesson books with a wand and the golden snitch sitting on top.

(Hey, free cake so I kind-of get to do what I want.)



Not surprising, the snitch was the hardest piece to make. I started with a fondant covered foam ball, and then used various sized fondant ropes (used a clay extruder to form the ropes) to decorate the outer shell.


Next came the wings for the snitch. I rolled out gumpaste very thin, and then sandwiched a curved metal wire between the upper and lower layer.


I cut out the shape of the wing, and then cut parallel lines through the gumpaste to make the individual feathers of the wing.


As a final step I sprayed (using Wilton's color mist) the wings sliver and the body gold.


The wand came next, and unlike the snitch I was able to whip it out in just with a few minutes of work. I made the wand in three stages, allowing the gumpaste to dry at each stage. First I rolled out a thin log of gumpaste and then inserted a wooden skewer down the center. After the first section dried I built up a second layer near the end of the wand and gave it a little texture to make it look like wood. The third stage was a lumpy wad of gumpaste that I stuck on the end of the wand. I cut deep grooves into the gumpaste, and stuck some wart-like little knobs to make it look like a stick from a tree. As a final step I painted it with some gel food color: chocolate brown and black.


I finished the snitch and wand a few days before the event so on the day before the wedding I only had to worry about the stack of books.  I didn't need a whole lot of actual cake, so I made the top two books out of foam.  There are lots of detailed instructions on the web on how to construct the closed book cakes so I won't repeat all the steps.  But essentially you cover three sides of the foam with white fondant.  All the instructions I read said to carefully measuring the cake/foam to get a piece of white fondant exactly the right size, but I just got "close" and smeared the extra fondant over the top of the foam.  I used a bit of shortening to stick the fondant to the foam.  To make the "pages" of the book I just ran a scoring tool into the fondant to make parallel lines.  The lines don't have to be exact.  You just want to give the impression of pages.


The books "cover" was the next step. You need to be a more precise when you cut this piece, and I learned the hard way that you also need fondant that is a little stiff.  If your fondant is too soft, it will get pulled out of shape when you try and place it on the cake/foam.  I used Carma Messa fondant on the first dummy cake and didn't have any trouble with the fondant pulling out of shape. On the second foam book I used Fondarific, and almost yanked my hair out in frustration.  The fondant just wouldn't stay square when I tried to place it on the cake.  In the end I used some tylose gum tex power to stiffen the fondant.  I could get away with this because this fondant was going to cover the foam/dummy cake. 

The final step in the construction was to cut thin strips that are position around the bottom of the cake to form what looks like the bottom cover of the book.


The foam cakes went together pretty easily, but I did have some trouble constructing the book that was actually made out of cake.  I'm not real good at getting my cakes level, so after I putting on the ganache I had to build up the top outer edges with pieces of fondant to get the top somewhat flat and even.  I also couldn't roll out a strip of white fondant that was long enough to cover all three sides, so I just cut three pieces and patched them together.  If you look closely at the edge along the front left side you can see where I overlapped the two pieces. 


And once again I had trouble placing the "cover" on the book.  I was using the Fondarific again and it was just way too soft to hold its shape (and I couldn't add any tylose to this one because people might actually eat the fondant).  It took me three tries to get the top cover on without stretching it out of shape.  I used the SweetWise Mat to help position the cover on top of the cake, and then pull the mat away from the cut edges of the fondant very gently.  I also had the prop the corners up with tooth picks so they wouldn't droop.  In the end the book made out of cake looked a lot more rustic than the books made out of the foam. The foam "cakes" had sharp edges and smooth sides, and the real cake looked a little lumpy.  But remember - free cake.


Final step on the book construction was to add some embellishments to make it look more realistic.  You can't really see in the picture, but I used an impression mat on the dark colored bands to get some texture on the fondant.  I also dusted it with edible gold dust to make it sparkle.  


The three books were then stacked, and the titles added to the book.  On the top book I cut out the letters using my Cricut, but I wasn't too happy with the look.  The letters were too perfect and precise looking so they didn't match the rest of the book.  But I didn't have time to re-cut them by hand so I had to use the Cricut letters.


I hand lettered the titles along the spine using edible markers, and the final step was dusting the books with cocoa power to give everything an aged look.


And the most painful part of the process -- seeing it all torn apart.




Happy Decorating,

Carol

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