Vintage lace shoe cake: Part 2. Putting it all together

Danielle's Cake 5.4.14

In my last post, I wrote about doing all the prep work before putting my cake together: making the shoe, the flowers, practicing with my stencil, and so on.

If a cake is due on Saturday or even Sunday, I usually start it on Thursday night. That’s just what I did with this cake. I took it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours so it could defrost enough.

I made a simple syrup earlier in the day, which is one cup of water mixed with one cup of sugar. You heat until the water dissolves and let it cool to room temperature. Then, when my cakes had defrosted a bit, I took my simple syrup and my pastry brush and let the leveled part of the cake absorb some of the simple syrup.

Then I made a fresh, five pound batch of my favorite decorator’s buttercream:

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FILL THE CAKE: After attaching the bottom cake with the leveled-side up, I made a dam with my #18 pastry tip around the edge of the cake and filled the inside of the circle with about a cup or more of buttercream. I placed the other cake on top, making sure to match the chocolate and vanilla sides (the cakes were half and half). I made sure to press down hard to ensure that there wouldn’t be too much room for settling. I then brushed the outside of the cake with some more simple syrup.

I wanted the cake to be moist — yes, moist. There is no better word.

NOTE ON FILLING: If you don’t want your cake to bulge, make sure not to over-whip your buttercream. This creates air pockets that will settle and then your cake will have a bulge. Also, you don’t want to make it too thin, because that can also create a bulge.

CRUMB COAT: After that, it’s time to do a basic crumb coat. I try to make my crumb coat thin, but not too thin. After it was nice and coated and smoothed with a hot knife, I put it in the fridge to settle over night. Since I cut the board the same size as the cake, I put it on large, clean board for easy handling.

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DAY 2: Friday night

On Friday night, I took my cake out of the fridge, like above. It was cool and settled.

I prepped my area by cleaning and disinfecting, then I put down my Fat Daddio’s fondant mat. I love this mat because the fondant doesn’t stick to it and it covers my entire surface area.

Using my scale and Wilton chart, I had determined that my 10″, 4″ tall cake needed 36 ounces of fondant. I rounded up to 40 to be extra-safe. I have been in situations where I didn’t have enough fondant and it was annoying and unfortunate.

KNEAD YOUR FONDANT! I kneaded my fondant in small sections, then kneaded it all together. I made sure it was slightly warmed by my hands and pliable. There is really no such thing as kneading too much.

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ROLL, BABY! Then, I rolled out my fondant with my Wilton fondant roller until it was even and maybe 1/8th” thickness. I like my fondant thin, but not so thin that it will tear easily.

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BRUSH YOUR CAKE: I took my simple syrup out again and poured just a bit into a cup. I didn’t want to dip into my main container and contaminate it with cake crumbs and buttercream. The simple syrup (or water, if you prefer) gives something for the fondant to stick to. The buttercream is so cold at this point that it isn’t enough on its own.  Plus, going over with a pastry brush helps get your buttercream even more smooth. To coat with my syrup, I proceeded to brush it with my pastry brush like so:

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COVER AND SMOOTH: Then, I gently picked up my fondant with my hands and put it on my cake. I did not have my cake on the cake stand at this point because the weight of gravity pulls on your fondant and can cause it to tear. I would rather it rest on the table around it.

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Then, working quickly with my hands and my fondant smoother, I made sure to adhere the fondant to my cake. I got a sewing pin and quickly poked out any air holes. After that, I took my pizza cutter and closely cut around the cake. This was my first time doing the large, main cake NOT on the finished cake board. I really prefer it. It allowed me to really work with the cake quite easily.

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ATTACH TO CAKE BOARD: Next it was time to attach it to my decorated cake board. I used three 14″ cake boards taped together and covered with my Fanci Foil wrap. I used a little hot glue to attach the cake to the board. At this point, I put it on my revolving cake stand.

TIME TO STENCIL! Next, it was time to stencil. I made a quick and slightly thick royal icing and attached my stencil to my fondant.

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Using my offset spatula, I scraped the royal icing onto my cake. After letting it rest a moment, I carefully pealed off my stencil. After this, I put on the timer for 15 minutes. I cleaned my stencil with soap and water and patted dry. Then I put it between paper towels so it could dry even more. After the timer went off, I put a little more shortening on my cake, lined up my stencil, and did it all over again.

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FINISH THE CAKE: At this point, I neglected to take pictures because I was concentrating and wanted to finish. I attached the heel over the shoe to the main part of the shoe with my royal icing. Then I dipped a tooth pick in royal icing and put it into the heel where I had previously made a hole.

I put some royal icing on the bottom of the heel and on the bottom of the shoe and placed it on the cake.

Then I placed my flowers, again using royal icing. I had to break some of my stamen so that the roses would rest on the cake well.

Using some vodka, I attached the letters to my cake. I was going to put it on the cake board, but that wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to and I was getting tired!

After that, I took some of my extra buttercream and my #18 tip and made a regular-old shell border around my cake.

Everything after stenciling moved pretty fast (another reason I neglected to take pictures). And this is how it ended up:

Danielle's Cake 5.4.14

And this is how it looked at the bridal shower. I apologize for it not being the very best picture:

cake on the table at shower

NOTE: After the cake was finished, it did not go back into the fridge. I put it in a big Amazon Prime box lined with a slip proof mat and wrapped it in Press and Seal wrap.  Putting it in the fridge risks the cake being dried out and you also risk ruining your fondant due to condensation.

My friend told me that everybody LOVED the cake and that it was very moist and delicious. I am always so anxious to hear how it TASTES, even though I have made my recipes a million times. Taste is the MOST important part!

Whew! If that seemed like a lot, that’s because it is… This is why people pay others to make their cakes! If you have questions (because I am sure I missed something), put it below.

Nichole

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