Back in January, I had so much fun making my very first Carousel Cake. And it was everything I’d want a carousel cake to be… buttercream, with pastel pink and gold and ribbons and horses, of course. Keep reading for all the details!
This carousel cake was just a dream for me. With a little touch of nightmare… as most amazing cakes are. Let me tell you about it.
The Carousel Cake
Overall it wasn’t so bad. Except the horses, of course. Because I love self-inflicted torture (NOT!), I ordered the most intricately detailed horse mold I could find. Because why not, right?
Even when the carousel mold arrived, I didn’t think it’d be that bad. But boy was I wrong.
I started by trying to fill the mold with melted candy melts. Well that was a complete and utter disaster. The legs and tail broke off over and over again. I’d pour in the melted candy, pop it in the freezer, wait 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes… no amount of time was just right.
The legs and tail broke every.single.time. #fail
Next I tried modeling chocolate. The results were a little better, but when I’d pull the horse out, the chocolate was still a little flexible and it would stretch and some of the details would be lost. I really wanted to keep all the details, so … #failagain
As a last resort, before closing down my business and deciding to never use another silicone mold in my lifetime (okay, it wasn’t that serious… yet), I tried gum paste. I kneaded it in my hands until it was quite soft and warm, then pressed it into the mold (which was dusted with cornstarch).
Then I used my small rolling pin to roll over it and get it mashed into as many crevices as possible (again the details, people – I wanted the details!). And once again, I froze it. And this time, when I pulled them out (by bending the mold), it held.
I repeated this over and over and and laid the horses out on a flexible cutting board dusted with tylose to dry. Cornstarch would work also, but I hoped the tylose would help them dry hard and dry fast.
At first they sweated a little as they thawed (don’t touch them when this happens!), but then they dried and began to harden. By the next morning, they were really hard and mostly sturdy. With hope in my heart, the next step was painting them.
The details were a little more daunting than I originally thought, but using a small paint brush and Edible Art Paint (love, love, love these paints!!), I was able to get a look that I was happy with. I painted horses over and over again that day… then left them to dry again.
By the next day I was confident I had horses I could use on the Carousel Cake. But I wasn’t 100% right.
When decorating day finally rolled around, I started working on the cake. But first…
A few details…
On the bottom tier, I did a watercolor effect with buttercream. It was pretty easy. The different shades of pastel buttercream spread on with a small spatula, then I used a bench scraper to smooth and spread it. I loved the way it turned out!
I went ahead and added the pearl border that I made with homemade marshmallow fondant and one of these pearl molds. Then I put in bubble tea straws (see my tutorial here) and added a 10″ board on top of the bottom tier.
That board was already covered in pink fondant to match the painted horses. After it was secure on the cake, I added the white scalloped border that was cut out with one of these frill cutters. It was “glued” on with melted candy melts.
Then was the tricky part. I glued the horses to the pink striped paper straws with melted candy melts, then stood them up on the sides of the cake. PS – I absolutely adore pretty striped paper straws!!
They werent’ actually touching the cake (as you can see above) but rather free-standing between the top and bottom boards. To get them there, I tilted the horses sideways and turned them back up straight (I’d already cut the straws to the desired length) then used more melted candy melts to glue the discs of fondant to the top and bottom on the end of the straws.
I know that’s a terrible description of how I propped them up, but I hope you get the idea. 🙂 Anyway – that’s when another round of trouble started.
As I tried to stand them up, I’d accidently bump them and a leg would break off. Or a tail would break off. And this happened probably half a dozen times. They were just so fragile.
I was able to “glue” them back together with melted candy melts and I eventually got them all to hold, but gosh… I was on the verge of tears many times with those darn beautiful horses.
I made the carousel topper the same way I did the ones for the sides, except I added the matching lavender ribbon to the top.
To make sure it would stand, I slid the straw over a bamboo skewer that was long enough to go all the way through the top tier. Easy-peasy! I added the same pearl border to the top tier and it was finished!
And I was so, so happy with it!! Although I will admit to praying for this cake before I sent it on it’s way! Haha.. I was just hoping all of the legs and tails would make it to the party intact 😉
Thanks so much for reading til the end! And as always, if you find that I missed a detail, leave me a comment and I’ll answer if I can!