This week Ben's cousin Rachel celebrated her 11th birthday and she asked me to make her a cake for her family party. She asked for a two-tier zebra cake with pink peace signs on it.
I googled "zebra peace cake" to get some ideas, thinking I'd get lots of results for zebra cakes or peace sign cakes. I was surprised to find hundreds of pink cakes with zebra print AND peace signs, most for tween girls. What's the deal with all the zebra peace stuff? Did Justin Bieber wear a zebra-patterned peace sign on national TV or something? I guess I am just out of the tween loop.
Anyway, back to the cake. I saw a neat method on pinterest where you layer chocolate and white cake to get a zebra effect on in the cake. I thought I'd give it a try, which meant baking a lot of cake. Way more than I needed, in fact.
It was pretty warm in the house this weekend, so I was worried about the fondant melting. I typically crumb coat the cakes in buttercream, then put them in the fridge to set before applying the fondant. Then after applying fondant and decorations, I usually put it back in the fridge. I realized today I had been doing things ALL WRONG.
Apparently fondant will naturally acclimate to whatever temperature it is, so as long as it's not excessively humid, the fondant is just fine unrefrigerated. But if you have a cold cake, and you put room temp fondant on it, and leave it out, it will start to sweat while the cold cake warms up. Not fun to work with!
After a while, however, when the cake and fondant adjust to room temp, the cake will dry out and be fine. So if you don't have a perishable filling, keep the cake at room temperature!
Here's the sweaty cake before I realized I shouldn't keep putting it in the fridge.
Oooh, shiny. And when that black fondant gets shiny, it gets messy and the color transfers everywhere. Black-tinted fondant really is a pain, in my opinion.
So this morning, I took the cake out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a couple hours. What a huge difference!
The gooey, slimy fondant dried out and became much more stable. Hooray! That means I could apply more disco dust (that's edible glitter!) to all the pink areas. Disco dust and slimy fondant don't get along.
I used a printout of a zebra pattern and a pastry cutter to make the zebra stripes and a circle cutter to make the peace signs. I also used the fondant to make a number 11 for the top. I stuck some toothpicks in them and left them out to dry overnight. There they are on the side.
And here's the final cake all put together.
And here's how the inside looked. Not exactly zebra striped, but close enough.