If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you might have seen some images of a cake that Mom (Laura) and I made. It was fun sharing the ‘in process’ pictures with everyone and then unveiling the finished cake – also a little scary. It was a black and white 3 tier cake that we were asked to make for a very special girl’s sweet sixteen birthday party. It’s humorous to me that anyone would have faith that we could pull off this kind of a cake, but they did and we couldn’t very well let them down. Mom and I do a lot of baking and most of what we make tastes pretty darn good, but a cake like this a bit beyond our skillset. But we were up for the challenge.
Having not done a cake of this scale before, we turned to the internet. This spring we were asked to try out the Acer C720P Chromebook and it came in oh-so handy for our cake planning. It’s small, it’s quick, and it’s light. When Mom was sitting in the living room and found a cake design on Pinterest or via search engine, she could easily carry the Chromebook over to me in my office to show me what she found. It’s great for watching YouTube videos and we watched a TON of cake decorating videos. I can’t believe how many of them are out there… millions of them!
For recipe viewing the Acer C720P Chromebook sat nicely on the kitchen counter while the KitchenAid mixer was whirling away. It also has the very same cool touchscreen feature that our Intel AIO has. The whole family loves the touchscreen experience. Now if only the grandkids can get this thing away from Grandma Laura. She LOVES the Chromebook. I think we might just have to let her keep this one all to herself.
Our very special friend, Mycala, wanted a masquerade ball for her sweet sixteen party. Her Mom and Grandma did an amazing job of giving her just that. Laura and I were glad to do our little part in making the cake. Mycala had her heart set on a fondant covered cake. I am not a big fan of how the store bought fondant tastes, so Mom and I set out to find a recipe that would taste better and we settled on Marshmallow fondant. Everywhere we looked the basic recipe was pretty much the same as the Wilton recipe below. There were a lot of great general cake decorating tips on the Wilton site that we found, so it’s worth exploring if you are a novice baker.
Marshmallow Fondant Recipe:
1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows
2-5 tablespoons water
2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1. To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high. Stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more. Stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).
2. Place 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners’ sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn’t stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.
3. It’s best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.
4. When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick. There was one blog that recommended greasing the countertop when you are kneading the fondant, before rolling it out. Please don’t do this. We did this with our first batch and had to toss it out. It’s not necessary and your fondant will never become stiff enough.
To make this 3 tier cake we used 12 inch, 8 inch, and 6 inch cake pans. Each tier is a two layer white cake make with Pillsbury White Cake mixes. The cakes were frosted with our favorite buttercream icing recipe and a different filling on each cake. On the bottom cake we used a prepared lemon curd filling, and on the middle cake a prepared apricot jam filling. It was nice to offer a little variety.
We purchased two sets of these damask design edible transfer sheets from Global Sugar Art. They were very easy to work with and turned out beautiful on the cake. We would totally use these again. This great ruffled fondant flower tutorial we found on Balancing Bites showed us how to make the flower you see on the top of the cake.
After doing some research with our Acer C720P Chromebook about the architecture of tiered cakes, we learned that we should support each layer of the cake with wooden dowels. We put a cardboard round beneath each cake. Then we cut wooden dowels to size for each cake and placed three inside of each cake to support the next layer. We transported the cakes separately and assembled them on site and added a simple shell border to cover the seams.
That’s me and Laura with the finished cake. Can you guess who’s who behind the masks?
Below is the beautiful birthday girl and her handsome boyfriend (who happens to be Laura’s grandson).
I almost forgot to mention that we made cupcakes too! Just some chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing. We used candy molds to make some chocolate bows for to tops and added some cute polka dot wrappers. They turned out darling.
The Sweet Sixteen Masquerade Ball was a huge success. The kids danced the night away and cake was enjoyed by all. Doing a cake like this requires a lot of planning and takes several days to do. Did our cake turn out perfect? Far from it. But it was an adventure and a lot of fun to do, and most importantly it made someone we care about very happy. Many thanks to our sponsor Intel AIO for providing us with the Acer c720P Chromebook to review.
#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.