Have I gone MAD?
I’m afraid so, I’m completely Bonkers. Just ask Alice!
I was asked to make a Mad Hatters Cake for a 40th birthday party that had an Alice in Wonderland theme. Get this for a lady named Alice. How could I resist an opportunity to try something new that would visually be so distinct.
This Mad Hatters Cake would be my second fondant cake ever and while I now know the types of things you can do with the stuff I’m still a long way off being confident with it and it frightens the bejebers out of me when I take it near a cake. I guess this is where taking a cake decorating course could really help or getting some dummy cakes and practicing laying it out. I’ll go through the disaster stories later but despite those this came out great and it was a hit at the party.
There were a few design elements that I needed to work out and a few requests to be included with the cake, one being the checkerboard on the cake board and that the hat card had to read 70/6 instead of 10/6. The other job was to work out how to get the hat brim to sit up and look good.
We decided for the hat brim I needed to cut it out and rest the edges on some old paper towel rolls and let it air dry for a couple of days.
The next job was to cut the squares for the checkerboard. This was a bit of a tedious task and if anyone feels generous enough to donate one of these!
I’ll forward you my address as the job would have been so much quicker and easier! But anyway armed with a ruler, toothpick and a pizza cutter I went to work making the squares. I planned to offset the hat on the cake board to fit the little teacup set and to emphasise the checkerboard, knowing that the hat would cover some I did cheat and filled the middle with just the white.
The last job before the assembling of the cake was to make the card that sits in the ribbon of the hat. For this I traced around a playing card (possibly the queen of hearts but i didn’t look) and then we freehand cut the numbers.
The next job was to shape the two tiers so that they tapered in to the bottom. I baked two 8″ and two 6.5″ cakes and started with the top tier of 2 x 8″ . Cutting a 7″ cake board I placed it on top of what would become the bottom of the top tier. ( confused yet? I am!) Cutting around the cake on a slight angle from the board to the edge of the cake. Then I repeated the process with the second tier only this time using the 6.5″ cakes and a 6″ board. Then gave them a crumb coat.
It’s a bit hard to see the taper until the cakes are stacked.
Next was the most frustrating, nerve wrecking part, covering the cake.
It took me 3 goes until I finally got it right. I was trying to cover it in one piece, problem was that the fondant kept tearing off. I think it was because of the taper, there was nothing to hold the weight. In the end I wrapped it and cut a top then using some of the left over fondant and a couple of drops of water I made a paste the fill the seams.
Time to put it all together, first the brim on the checkerboard.
Then the cake on the brim.
I didn’t need to fix the bottom seam because the ribbon would cover that.
Next the card and the ribbon. With the ribbon we folded it back onto itself which gave it a nice soft edge and a bit of body.
The final touch was to place the tea cups. which where too fragile to put on at home but we did put one set on just to see. My beautiful wife had also gone to the trouble to make me some hat pins.
But when it came time to put them into the cake it wasn’t going to work so we left them out. It was disappointing because she had gone to such effort. The end result was still great and I was really proud with what I achieved.
And it was a hit at the party too!
I really enjoyed the challenge of this mad hatter cake and I hope I get a chance to create more masterpieces like this soon!
Thanks for Readin’