Monday, November 19, 2007

Megan's Nemo Cake


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.

Remember Nemo has a 'lucky fin'?

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.


Due to our humid weather, it's best to use Beeda's fondant recipe (below, free for you even though I paid hundreds to learn it) than those in books because I took a chance and my appliques sweated. That made it harder to tranfer onto the cake without breaking although the shine did turn out desirable because it was appropriate for the sea scene.


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.

Modelling Fondant
2 t gelatine powder
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.

Covering Fondant
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.


Shan said...

OMG that's such a cute cake!

MeatballOnline said...

ya! such a cute cake! i would love to have 1 too! *evil grin

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

Before I tell u the names, let me named you "DORI"! hahahahahha, who suffers from short term memory loss. =p
The little octopus who has shorter tentacles is " Pearl "
The yellow fish is " Tad "
and... if you know all the characters, I would name Wey as the Bloat! * Giggle *
He must hate me now!! HAHA!

Greg Wee said...

Accept me as your lowly and humble apprectice oh wise teacher!

Greg Wee said...

NEE: The Great Master, please teach me!!!!! sooooo nice....when you available next year i go to kk.

Anonymous said...

another beautiful cake! even with the algae, rock and all - looks very alive!

*clap clap clap...

ICook4Fun said...

I have been lurking at your blog for some time now this is the first time leaving a comment.I think you are really talented and the cake you made for Megan is just beautiful. I enjoyed all the recipe your posted here.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

shan: thank u :D!Howdy??

meatball: get cracking on it n if u have any q, ask me n maybe i can help.

denise: yes, i rmember how irritating Dori was. Nemo is one of the best animated movies ever. i just told Bloat to read ur comment, n he grinned n said "That kourou is the best!" I like my boys; they rn't xiao chi.

greg wee: in the time i make one cake, u can make 40, i hear so u r my teacher!

b: thanx, hope ur cutie had a good birthday. i would love a pic of him when i put up the rory lion cake.

icook4fun: hi, it's always exciting when ppl 'come up' n make themselves known! i just went to your blog - so many wonderful pics n recipes - but couldn't leave a msg. i notice this is happening quite often. so frustrating. somebody shd tell blogger.

Anonymous said...

Dear Megan
I really loved your cake and such neat work ! Have recently developed interest in sugarcraft and looking at your cake gives me inspirations.Do pass by my blogsite whenever you have time and comment for me to improve ! I stay in Botswana. Cheers !

Christina Kim said...

Nemo cake...hehe:D

Anonymous said...

i would like to make some flower deco using fondant. since fondant cannot be kept in the fridge, how to store them? and how long will it last? Thanks Terri

Anonymous said...

Aunty, i tried your covering fondant recipe twice. The first time turned out to be perfect but not the 2nd. The fondant gradually get "Sticky" on the surface after i've rolled them and cut into shapes.It get worst the following day,the emboss i've rolled onto the fondant just disappear, so i added more icing sugar and it's the same, after a while it get sticky again. May i know why?? Can i immediately use fondant after i've made them? Or it need to be rest??Thanks...

terri@adailyobsession said...

stephy: did u put d fondant in the fridge? u can't do tt bc when u do, the diff in temp will cause the fondant to sweat (condensation actually). u must put it in a plastic bag and then the bag in an airtight container.
modelling fondant can be used immediately n i'm not sure how long it keeps. maybe a week if it doesn't dry out by then?

terri@adailyobsession said...

larry: sorry i didn't c ur Q until now. answer as per tt given to stephy :)

stephy: yes, i noticed tt the modelling fondant gets wet n sticky. i don't know why bc i've made a few wedding cakes years ago using the same recipe n they were ok but when i did the nemo cake, i had the same problems as u. i will try it out n do a post.

Anonymous said...

Nope, i didn't put in the fridge. just kept in Tupperware at room temp.Don't know whether it's due to the rainy day or not? The surface turned glossy like your nemo but i'm using covering fondant recipe not modelling recipe. Maybe i should add cornflour instead of icing sugar... I still wonder why it turned out to be perfect on the first trial?? The only different i made was i made it few day ahead then start modelling... as for the second attempt, i used immediately.. Mmmm.....

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