This week was the last of my Wilton cake decorating classes. I had so much fun with the other members of my class as we all laughed at ourselves and our mistakes. I really will miss them! Oh, and I learned a lot too. 🙂
For the last four weeks we’ve been working on fondant and gumpaste. You’ve already seen the rose, calla lily, and carnation I made a couple weeks ago. The next week, we made mums, and in the final class, we put it all together and made an entire fondant covered cake.
The mum in the center is made of gumpaste. The rest of the decorations are fondant. The scalloped edge and the flower details on the sides are done with a mold. I’m a little disappointed at the way the fondant draped on the cake – tons of air bubbles underneath! – but I think I just tried to do it all too fast. (I felt a little under pressure at that point, because everyone in the class knew I’d done fondant-covered cakes before.)
You may not know this, but the chrysanthemum was the symbol of Imperial Japan, so I thought I’d try and follow that theme a bit. I’ve also been thinking for a while that I’d like to make a green tea cake, and this seemed like the perfect time to try.
Unfortunately, all the recipes I could find for green tea cake required matcha – powdered green tea, which I could not find in any of my local stores, and didn’t have time to order. What I did have on hand was this box of bagged (sencha) green tea. (I know, I know, all of you who know tea are groaning at this… and probably groaning at me for drinking bagged tea at all… )
I brewed as strong a batch of green tea as I could manage with these bags, and used it in an adaptation of my chai chocolate chip cake recipe. The resulting cake was quite good, and had a lovely texture, but was (not surprisingly) lacking in the hoped-for green tea flavor. But now I’m certain that this recipe would work beautifully with the matcha, so that goes on my (ever growing) list of recipes to try.
Plus, the matcha will give this cake a lovely color too. I considered faking it with food coloring, but decided not to bother.
Now, some people have asked me what fondant is, and what it’s for. Basically, it’s a super sweet dough that gets rolled out like pie crust and draped over the cake. I have seen absolutely gorgeous cake-art done with fondant, but I don’t know many people who actually like to eat it. Perhaps it’s best to think of fondant like the wrapping paper and ribbons you’d put on a gift. It adds to the presentation, but isn’t really part of the cake itself.
And just as with wrapping paper, you are always welcome to leave the fondant behind.