I’ve been asked again and again and again to do this tutorial and finally… here it is: How to Make a Cowboy Hat Cake Topper! Please hover over the picture above to “Pin it” and save it for the day you need to do a cowboy hat!
So… first up, here’s what you’ll need to make a cowboy hat cake topper:
- Rice cereal treats (I use homemade, but you can also press together several pre-made Rice Krispies Treats)
- Small oval bowl (I use this Tupperware dip bowl), optional
- Fondant – you can use homemade marshmallow fondant or pre-made in whatever color you want for your hat. I used Satin Ice Dark Chocolate Brown Fondant. You could also use gum paste.
- Tylose (if using fondant)
- Rolling pin
- Bubble Tea Straws or 1/2″ dowel rods
- Candy melts and whatever materials you need to melt them in the microwave and spread them!
- Potato/vegetable peeler
- Pizza Wheel and/or Xacto knife
Please Note: You will want too make this cowboy hat 2-3 days in advance so that it will have time to dry!!
Now, let’s get started…
You’ll want to shape some rice cereal treats into a generic cowboy hat shape. I don’t really know how to describe it accurately… maybe a half an egg shape? This can easily be done by hand, but I’ve found that the dip bowl from a Tupperware Chip ‘N Dip Bowl Set is a perfect shape!
I’m certain you can find a good substitution if you want to use a another bowl vs. doing it by hand, but this little bowl is perfect! It’s also the same bowl I use to make the base for my owl toppers (you can see here and here and here).
Here are a few pics so you can see it’s size and shape (compared with a 1 pound box of butter):
Anywhoo… either make the bowl by hand or use a bowl. If you’re using a bowl, first spray it with non-stick spray or rub it down with butter on the inside (if you’re doing it by hand, rub your hands down with butter to prevent sticking!).
Press the rice cereal into the bowl tightly, then flip it out onto a mat you can work on.
Create an indention in the top of the hat lengthwise. I use the side of my hand to shape it.
Continue to press all sides of the hat together to keep it tight.
Stick this in the refrigerator so that it will get cold and hard!
While you’re rice cereal shape is getting cold, mix some tylose into your fondant so that it’ll dry and harden. I usually add 1-2 teaspoons per pound of fondant. Then roll out it to maybe 2-3 mm thick.
Use a 6″ round cake pan as a guide to cut out a circle of fondant that will be the bottom and bill of the hat.
Set your hat onto the circle of fondant and be sure you have plenty of extra on the edges to make the brim of the hat!
Take bubble tea straws and coat them with a thin layer of shortening.
Use them to roll up the edges parallel to the indention you made. The shortening will help the straws stick and hold, but also not stick so they’ll easily slide out after it dries! Funny how that works!
I place the hat shape on the circle briefly to make sure I haven’t rolled them in too far, then put it back in the frig. until I’m ready to use it again!
This part will need to dry and harden – I prefer 2-3 days!
Melt some candy melts in the microwave. While doing that, place the cold hat shape on a piece of wax paper.
*The color of the candy melts is not significant. I had some red leftover from another project, so I used that… it’ll all be covered up so it doesn’t matter!
Spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the hat. This does not have to be neat or pretty – you just want to cover it well, filling in any holes!
Stick it back into the frig to let it harden. Because it should’ve already been cold when you started, this won’t take long!
Grab a potato or vegetable peeler… I love the ones from Tupperware. Yes, I used to be a Tupperware consultant (not anymore) but that’s why I have so many products!! Anywho, use your favorite peeler to start scraping off chocolate and smoothing it. You can also use your hands to smooth it down. The warmth from your skin will help alot!
Repeat steps 10-13 to fill in any more holes or dips to get a really smooth finish.
Roll out another circle of fondant to cover the hat. I love using the Mat (or in this case, the mini Mat for rolling out fondant).
Lay it over the finished hat shape and begin smoothing it down. Then cut off any excess leaving a small skirt around the edge.
Flip the hat over and tuck the skirt under the bottom (sorry about the blurry pic here – it’s the only one I took of this step!). Be sure to trim off any excess – you’ll want it to sit pretty flat once it’s flipped back over.
Note: Don’t forget that the brim needs to dry for 2-3 days, depending on how much tylose you used, how humid it is where you live, etc. You can continue putting the hat together, but leave the straws in place for now!
When ready to assemble, put a small amount of melted chocolate in the center. Attach the top hat part there and let it dry! I put extra straws on the outside of the brim for extra support and to keep it from unrolling.
(Two days later…) Gently remove the straws and add the finishing touches! I placed it on the top tier of the cake so you could see how it would fit.
I added a band (in lighter brown fondant, cut with my ribbon cutter) and a sheriff’s star.
And that’s it!! You can see the whole cake up top… I’ll post details about it soon, but in the meantime, you can scroll through my other cowboy cakes here and see lots of other hats (different colors, varying shapes, etc.) .
Do you have any questions about making a cowboy hat topper? Please leave me a comment and I’ll answer and help if I can!