If you’ve read my selfie post yesterday, you may remember that I told you I’ve accomplished one of my goals on my Halloween themed birthday party. It was a goal I was very much looking forward to, I was just waiting for the perfect day. And last Saturday, that day had come! My room would be filled with people who’d come celebrate my birthday. The perfect day for:
Goal no. 66: Bake a cake and decorate it with fondant or marzipan.
I have loved baking for many years now. When I was 15 or 16 years old, I made my very first cake. From then on, I frequently baked cakes with a friend of mine and not a birthday went by without a home-made cake. I’ve done it all: cheese cakes, chocolate cakes, no-bake cakes, pies, cupcakes, cake pops. The list goes on and on. But I never made a cake decorated with fondant or marzipan.
It’s weird really, especially since it’s so popular these days. It’s super easy to get all the supplies to be able to make a stunning fondant cake. But I think I felt intimidated. These cakes always look so stunning. For me it was a completely new technique, so chances were mine would have cracks and bumps all over. Not quite the cake I’d like to present on a party. Of course I could practice on random days, but who would eat the whole cake then? Probably me, which I thought wouldn’t be such a good idea. So I stalled it and baked the cakes I was good at: the ones with creamy fillings and a ditto top layer, covered in chocolate sprinkles.
To be honest, the past few years I haven’t even baked my own cakes on my birthdays. I used my chronic fatigue as an excuse. It seemed a good excuse at the time, but when I think back, I think it’s a shame I let my illness get in the way of such an awesome hobby.
Well, not anymore. I wanted to bake again! So I did. And this time I ignored every excuse that popped up in my head. I would do this! And I would not be afraid. I would do it on my birthday party. And if I’d make a mistake, I would improvise and think of a solution. If the whole cake would fail dramatically, I’d have cupcakes as well, so no harm done. Great plan!
I roamed Pinterest for weeks and pinned the most awesome Halloween themed fondant cakes. After a while that seemed useless though. These cakes all had additional techniques for me to learn. They either required perfect marzipan sculpting techniques or drawing techniques (with a kitchen knife!). Or they had three layers, which was awesome, but way over the top for the handful of people that would come to my party.
So I decided to ditch Pinterest, by some spooky cookie cutters and create my own design. Which is way more fun anyway, to be honest. I decided I would focus entirely on the fondant and the marzipan, as I figured that would be hard enough. I would bake a cake from a package instead of making it entirely from scratch.
I did want to make a filling myself though. I searched for an easy one, for which I had to melt chocolate together with cream. Easy according to the recipe, a disaster in real life. I managed to create a weird, thick substance that looked nothing like melted chocolate. While I was busy hating my life, Ruud went to the store to buy more chocolate (twice!). In the end I decided to melt the chocolate without the cream au bain marie, which is supposed to be harder but I apparently find a lot easier.
After the chocolate disaster everything went smoothly though. The fondant did exactly what it was supposed to do. It broke at one spot, but I fixed that by putting a ghost over it. I sculpted a spider out of black marzipan and used my cookie cutters to make bats and ghosts. Considering it was my first fondant cake ever, I think it turned out awesome!
And it tasted very good as well. No standard boring biscuit on the inside like these cakes often have, but a fluffy chocolate cake filled with a creamy chocolate filling. Mission accomplished!
Doesn’t it look super pretty on my Halloween snack table?