I wasn't going to make such an elaborate cake, just a scaled down version of it, but a couple of my good friends volunteered to help me, so I decided to make the one with actual figures. I am so grateful for the help, because if I had to do it all by myself, it would have taken me a week to do. With the help of other two people, so total 3 helping to pre-make the decorated parts, it took me 3 days in total.
So, here how it began.
COLOR MIXING, ROLLING FONDANT
After I mixed the colors needed for the cake (that's a night's work of 2-3 hours, of course after the kids went to sleep). The next day we started rolling our panels for the cake. There is no way I would have put every single square on the cake after it is baked and frosted. My friend had a great suggestion to make the panels first, and then decorate them and only then put them on the cake. Thank goodness, I listened to her, LOL!
So, the first thing to do was to roll the panels in dark green color (or something that would not stand out too much and goes with overall color scheme), and lay them flat to dry. The panels were rolled out around 0.25 inch thick or slightly thinner. The problem with panels is that they do warp slightly as they dry. SO they need to be turned on the opposite side. But that's later. For now, they are laying flat and drying a bit. Did I mentioned that all of the work on the cake was done using Fondant. No gum paste was used.
Here's the TIP on how to make your fondant a bit stiffer (especially if is is fresh, like mine). Use a bit of Tylose Powder to work into the the fondant. Averagely, 1-2 teaspoons per 1/4 lb of fondant. I only did that much Tylose powder because my fondant was extremely soft and very stretchy, super fresh. We also worked in a very humid environment in the middle of the summer. So tylose really helped.
You can also mix a bit of gum paste (if you have that handy) in to your Fondant and that will help things a bit.
So, to continue, while the panels (all 5 of them) were drying, we were busy rolling other colors for the cube - dark brown, med brown, beige-brown, dark green, med green and light green. We had to use a lot of cookie trays to lay down that rolled fondant that will be cut later into pixels or squares. I used my beloved PASTA MACHINE for this job, one of the thinnest settings. You need just a millimetre thickness for the pixels/squares.
That started right after the fondant was drying and waiting to firm up slightly.
My son requested 3 figures for the cake: The Zombi, The Creeper and the Skeleton. Mostly all body elements were held by toothpicks. Although we originally used spaghetti to hold the head and hands. But, as later time shows, spaghetti wasn't strong enough, so I recommend toothpicks. Just make sure you let the kids or other people at the party know that there are toothpicks inside the figure, since, as you know, kids love to eat everything.
So, all of the pieces had to be made and placed on the tray covered with wax paper and let firm up. That took at least 24 hours. After that, they were ready to be assembled. I used a sugar glue I make myself with Tylose powder. Here' the recipe:
SUGAR or EDIBLE GLUE (for cake making):
1/2 tsp of Tylose powder
Mix with 1-2 table spoons of hot water (boiled, not tap)
Place in a small jar (plastic or glass) and let sit overnight.
he mixture will have clumps which are impossible to dilute at first. Just let it sit in the fridge overnight and all the clumps will magically disappear and the glue will become as clear as water. Check the consistency, if it is too thick, just add more warm boiled water and let sit for another 30 min. It should feel like medium thickness consistency. Not too thick, not too thin.
WORKING ON PANELS
Now, that the fondant panels firmed up slightly (1-2 hours later), I started working on one panel at a time. My friends were helping by cutting little squares with a plastic square plunger cutter and AGAIN!, laying them flat dry. Fondant at this stage was still pretty soft.
I started laying green colored squares on the first half of the panel. Then, slowly continued with mixing green and brown squares until all the squares were placed. This needed to be repeated for all 5 panels. Except for the top panel that needed only green color squares on it. These panels were drying flat for a few days. Every day I had to check on them and carefully flip them over onto the opposite side. I had a lot of humidity in my environment so some of the panels warped slightly from absorbed moisture. But that was expected, I guess. Things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. Just keep going.
So the day came to bake the cake.
BAKING AND FINISHING
I made a chocolate cake with vanilla French Buttercream. The boys selected aqua blue and green colors for the frosting.
Here's the photo of the cake being frosted. It is not easy since it is a square shape. I had to use my ruler to continually measure the size of the cake.
After first crumb coat, I put the cake in the fridge for 1/2 hour and then continued frosting until it was done. Back to the fridge for another 1/2 hour. Then decorating began. Did I mention that the time was 11 pm at night? In total I finished the cake at 3 am (as usual). Well, 4 hours straight decorating.
So here it is:
So, overall, it worked out fine, my son loved it and was very excited about the figures. I learned a few things along the way. For example, ONE: start early and pre-mix your colors gradually, not to overwork your hands. THE SAME THING CAN BE SAID ABOUT THE CLAY. I always mention in my tutorials to prepare your color mixes ahead of time. TWO: Let things firm up! Fondant is pretty soft, especially when your room is warm. I ad AC cranked up the whole time. Luckily, I had at least 1.5 weeks before the actual birthday, so there was plenty of time for the figures and the panels to dry.
Until next birthday!