Megan came to me one Sunday and implored for a Nemo cake for her 9th birthday party. How can I refuse those beautiful big black eyes and sweet mouth? She remembers the one I had made for Wey years ago, "There was Nemo, a shark, fishes and..." I only remember a 3-D Nemo that Yi had painted. It looked so alive we kept it in the icebox for months.
I learnt to work with sugarpaste (American) or fondant (Australian) icing about 15 years ago from a lady called Beeda who has since moved to Australia. She was a very good teacher, and I could make wedding cakes after taking her classes. Sugarpaste is really fun and easy once you practise and give yourself plenty of time, preparing ahead your sketches and designs. There are now many books on this craft, and Suyin is a good example of a creative sugarcraft artist. Sugarcraft cakes aren't really about the cake per se, but more about the design so don't expect the icing to taste any better than sweet plastic.
In KK, unlike Australia and other countries, you'd have to make your own sugarpaste or fondant. Not only that, I was quite frustrated about getting food colors because unlike 15 years ago, all the cakeshops now do not sell Wilton color pastes. My conscience won't allow me to make cakes, especially for kids, using colors from obscure companies. In the end, I found only red and yellow Wilton color pastes at Pelangi cake ingredients shop in Taman Winner, Luyang. Color pastes are recommended because they are thicker and more intense and so do not change the consistency of your fondant as much as liquid colors. Megan's cake should have had a blue background, but I was limited by my colors.
I started making the appliques around 1 pm, and the cake was only ready at 5:30 pm. By then it was raining so unfortunately I had to use artificial lighting to photograph the cake, which didn't do justice to Nemo :) I was lucky to have Leila around to help. She did a wonderful job with the fish (forgot its name. Look at the 'face' and details of the eyes!) and the squid. I first drew the picture based on a party favor bag from Wey's party (thank goodness I kept one in my cookbook) and put the picture into a lightly greased CD sleeve so I can work directly on the pic to get the scale right. Leila and I had fun.
1 t liquid glucose
30 ml room temp. water
160g icing sugar, sifted
extra icing sugar
1. Put water into a thin metal cup, add the gelatine, stir and set over a pot of boiling water to dissolve.
2. Add the glucose, stir till dissolved and remove. Let it cool slightly.
3. Add into the icing sugar, stirring all the time. Knead till very smooth. Add a few drops of water if too dry, more icing sugar if too wet. The more you knead, the wetter it'll go so sugarpaste has lots of hand sweat and cells!
4. Put fondant into a plastic bag all the time, even when you work on your appliques or figures, to keep from drying. If it gets sticky, use cornstarch to dust.
5. Fondant cakes are to be left at room temperature, never in the fridge because if you do, it will sweat when you take it out from the fridge. For this reason, fondant/sugarpaste cakes are very suitable for our country - it won't melt like buttercream or whipped cream.
6. Beacause the fondant/sugarpaste is heavy, the cake should be firmer, such as a buttercake.
1 T gelatine powder
60 ml room temp water
3 T liquid glucose
2 t glycerine
1 kg icing sugar, sifted
- do same as above recipe.
- this is more pliable so it can be wrapped around a cake. However, it will still dry out and harden slightly so you have to work fast.