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Posted by Maxine Cleminson - - 4 comments

Today is the birthday of long suffering Him Indoors (... Happy birthday, love!) and so I made a cake yesterday for him to take into the office to share with his colleagues!  When I asked the Big One what cake I should make, he replied with the oh-so-helpful "whatever Dad likes best"!  So, I started to consider ideas... and while hubby-dearest may have appreciated it, there was no way I was going to make a Preston North End FC cake!!!  So, another of his passions came to mind... technology!  I am married to a geek... a fellow Geologist and technophile, he's never happier than when faffing with some new gadget or other!  His iPad is a current favourite and with it's sleek form and iconic status was an obvious choice!  So an iPad cake was the choice for Dad... an iDad Cake, if you like!!!

I thought I would blog about the technique I used for this cake as it's become my favourite way of decorating a cake... I used it recently for the Big One's Peregrine Falcon cake!  I am completely useless at piping frosting and get in a right mess, however, I can wield a paintbrush with reasonable accuracy.  Playing to my strengths, I therefore paint my cakes out of choice!

You will need...

  • A cake... I made a large rectangular-shaped Chocolate Guiness cake (it's a recipe from Nigella Lawson's cookbook, "Feast", and it is simply divine)
  • Enough buttercream (or jam) to cover a thin layer over the cake
  • White ready made fondant icing
    sufficient to cover your cake
  • Powdered icing sugar (to dust your board and rolling pin)
  • Rolling pin
  • Sharp knife
  • Powdered edible color pigments, e.g. Wilton's Color Dust
    or food colors specifically designed for painting/stamping, e.g. Wilton's Dab-N-Color
    (normal food coloring runs and isn't quite so successful)
  • Clear vanilla extract or clear alchohol
  • A paintbrush to be used exclusively for food
  • A plate to use as a palette
First of all, you need to cover your cake with fondant icing.  Make sure the cake surface is as level and smooth as possible to give a good finish.  Roll the fondant icing until a 1/4 inch thick and wide enough to cover the cake entirely with an excess (use a fine dusting of icing sugar on your work surface and rolling pin).  Spread a thin layer of buttercream or jam over the surface of the cake (so the icing sticks) and then gently lift the sheet of icing (using the rolling pin to help) and drape over the cake.

Smooth the surface of the fondant icing very gently taking care not to stretch or tear it.  Then using a sharp knife, trim the excess icing so that the cake is fully covered.  Take care not to trim too much... you can always trim more, but if you cut too much off first time, it's nearly impossible to fill the gap discreetly!  I used a ribbon around the base of the cake to hide a few rough edges.  Stick the ends of the ribbon to the cake with a dab of paste made from icing sugar and water.

You can then paint directly onto the surface of the 'blank canvas'.  Alternatively, I cut shapes out of extra pieces of fondant icing and painted these... this gave a slightly 3D effect, but also made for neater edges (especially when using a dark color).  I also used some ready-colored fondant icing in black to cut out the outer edge of my iPad shape.

To paint the cake, you simply need to mix small amounts of the powdered pigment with some clear vanilla extract or alcohol to make a liquid (or use the liquid edible color instead).  I used a small egg cup with the clear alcohol in it and used it to dip my brush in (as if painting with watercolors!).  Mix your colors on a plate to get the shades you need.  From red, yellow, blue, white and black you can create the full spectrum of colors you need, for example:
  • Red + yellow = orange
  • Blue + yellow = green
  • Red + blue = purple
  • Red + white = pink
  • Red + black = burgundy
  • Blue + white = pale blue
  • Blue + black = navy blue
  • Yellow + white = cream
  • Yellow + black = mustard
  • Red + yellow + blue + black = brown
  • Red + yellow + blue + white = beige
Then simply, paint the images you like onto the surface of the fondant icing.  Allow to dry for a few hours and then done!  For my iPad I cut extra small pieces of fondant icing and decorated with the paints and an edible ink marker pen ( I use the AmeriColor Gourmet Food Writer  ones... I then stuck these on with a little dab of water on the back.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Debbie Russell says:

    You clever Mama Max.

  2. Mama Max says:

    Thanks, Debbie! x

  3. Anonymous says:

    So cool!

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