Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to make a Cat Cake

This cake has probably been my favorite to make, even if there's room for improvement in my sculpting and fondant skills!
cat on a present cake
My eldest son loves cats and decided on a cat cake for his birthday last year that looked like his own cat.  There are lots of pictures and instructions for 2-dimensional cat cakes online, but I have a weakness for trying to figure out 3D cakes, so I did some searching.  There aren't too many examples of 3D cat cakes out there, but those that are pictured are amazing!  I don't pretend to be anywhere in the class of some of those cake decorators.  Like I've said before, I'm just a mom having fun with cake designs.  (Call it my inner child!)  This was also only my second time working with fondant, which I have to make from scratch  (here's a link to a fondant recipe I've used.)

How to Make a Cat Cake
Step 1:  The Present
This is simply a 9x13 cake of your choice.  I used chocolate - always a favorite!
a.  Place the cake on a tray or cake board and crumb frost.
b.  Roll out your tinted fondant and drape over the cake.  Smooth it over the cake, using a cake knife or something flat to help get sharper edges (something I didn't succeed at too well!).
c.  Trim the fondant that is overhanging at the bottom of the cake.
d.  Decorate the present with different colored fondant polka dots and a fondant ribbon (strips of fondant put together in a ribbon shape:  here's a good site that tells you how.)

Step 2:  The Cat Cake
I took the easy way out with the cake and bought one large and one small round Queen cake, which is a good dense cake that won't disintegrate when carving.  Alternatively, you can make your own 8" or 9" round cake and a 4" round (basically an oversized cupcake).
a.  Cut a semi-circle out of one side of the large round cake that is the size of the head of the cat (the small cake).  A word of caution:  I ended up with a head that was a bit oversized for the body, so measure a cat to see the proportion of head to body and cut down the cake for the head accordingly.
b.  Carve a slight ditch on the top of the large cake, from where the head will be to the middle.  This will be joint of the leg and body of the sleeping cat (see the picture).
building the cat cake
c.  Put the head in place and carve the face of the cat.  This is done simply by carving concave shapes on either side, leaving a nose bridge in the middle.  Under the nose, shape the cake in an angle inward to the ground.  I should have carved the head also along the jawline, making it trimmer and smaller for a sleek cat head.

d.  Crumb coat the cake with frosting to help the fondant hold.
e.  Transfer the cat onto the present (unless you feel able to slide the finished cat onto the present without breaking anything).  I did put the fondant on the body of the cat and the head of the cat separately, transferred them to the present and then joined the fondant at the neck, smoothing it out.
f.  Roll out your fondant (I used plain white) and drape it over the cat's body, smoothing it with your hands so that the dip for the joint is clearly seen.
g.  Drape fondant over the cat's head, smoothing it with your hands so that the curves of the cat's head and face are clearly seen.
h.  Join the head and the body at the neck, smoothing out the fondant.
cat cake fully assembled

i.  With extra fondant, roll out a tail, shape two front paws and two ears.  I made the ears the day before so that they would be hard by the time I put them on the cat.  Drape the tail around the cat, joining the fondant of the tail with the back of the cat.  Place the paws on the front of the cat.  Place the ears on the head.  I used a brush with a bit of water to make the fondant gummy where the ears would stand.
Almost done!
j.  Decorate the cat as you please!  Not having airbrushing equipment, I used a regular paintbrush dipped into a food coloring mix to paint my cat.  To paint on fondant, you need to use lemon juice or alcohol (such as vodka) to mix with the food coloring.  This will evaporate leaving only the color, and won't disintegrate the fondant.  I mixed cocoa powder with lemon juice, and black Wilton's gel paste.
The finished cat cake
I couldn't find anything great for the whiskers so ended up using pieces of spaghetti.  Not the greatest, but it got the idea across!  And it was a huge hit with my son's class!

1 comment:

  1. That is amazing! My daughter is going to be 3 on Friday and I think that this idea is perhaps a bit too realistic. I don't want her bursting into tears when we cut the cake. Well done though.