So…….after seeing countless adorable cakes posted on my friend Julie Atwood’s facebook profile, I decided to try my hand at fondant. I’d tried traditional buttercream decorating and found that I HATED it…but this seemed like a whole new genre, and I was eager to try my hand at it. It turns out that I freaking LOVE it!
As a child, I spent countless hours working with clay along side my mother who was an amazing sculptor. Tuesday nights we would head to Salinas High for a pottery class through the adult school. I have very, very fond memories of late nights with water and clay oozing through my fingers, the smell of dirt and clay lingering in the air, and the heat from the kilns heavy on my face. Dried, crispy pieces of clay always seemed to be floating around our house, and mom’s pottery wheel on the back patio was the backdrop to many a childhood memory.
While pottery hasn’t exactly been a huge part of my adult life, there is something about feeling the fondant in my hands that reminds me of moments spent with my mom creating and watching HER create her amazing pieces of art. The things she used that I thought were silly, I now see were actually brilliantly repurposed – and as I worked in the kitchen on my new found hobby, I was floored at how much I had actually retained and learned without even realizing. I was also surprised at how comforting it was to hold a lump of nothing in my hands and watch as my fingers molded and created emotional, vibrant, and beautiful pieces of life.
Taking away all the nostalgia, I still just plain ol’ love creating these pieces!!!!! While it may seem a bit silly that they’re created and then just eaten, I actually like that! No one feels obligated to put a cake up on a shelf, or pull it out whenever the creator comes to visit…but they will still talk about it, admire it, and enjoy it every bit as much! The joy they bring outweighs any kind of sentimental attachment that might come with all the hard work put into each one!
For Ellie’s birthday, both Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen made their appearances on the cakes. In fact, my first “go” at fondant was a Tiana doll cake, which, while it doesn’t compare to the second Tiana cake, wasn’t half bad for my first shot at any type of fondant!
Armed with the confidence of first time luck, I set out to make a cake for Jeffrey for Father’s Day…again, it seemed so easy!
That little guy helped get a bit of confidence up…and mom’s birthday brought another little cake with lots of happiness.
By the time I set out to start working on Prince Naveen, I had a decent amount of confidence……….sort of.
I set up the kitchen with all my supplies, which meant several images of a posed Prince Naveen…but mainly this one:
I poked and molded, stretched and compared – finally, Prince Naveen sorta kinda peeked out of the lump of sugar…
“Look, Jeffrey! I finished Prince Naveen! What do you think?” I was expecting a “HOLY CRAP! That’s AWESOME!”
What I got was, “That’s cool! It’s not professional looking, but it’s better than I could do.”
I can’t say that I handled the criticism graciously. In fact, I grabbed Naveen’s head and ripped it off of his body: dramatically squashing his teeth, eyes, and lusciously green head into a big blob.
“YOU’RE A JERK!” I yelled…all the while knowing that he was 100% right, and I had secretly been hoping that I was just being to self-critical! So it was back to the kitchen for some serious reassessment. At 2 AM, I headed back into the bedroom, delirious, but extremely happy with the results. I had hoped that Jeffrey would for some odd reason be awake, but he wasn’t….so I placed the newly sculpted Naveen in a place that couldn’t escape Jeffrey’s morning routine as he left for California…
The next day, I was sufficiently complimented on the new sculpture, and began planning for the final cakes. The final cakes are something I’m extremely proud of…and I’ll let them speak for themselves!