Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dragon hatchlings cake

So, a little diversion from costuming...

 My daughter, Elizabeth, loves dragons. Her "signature" craft is to make dragon hatchlings from Fimo clay to give to her friends as friendship tokens. For her birthday about a month ago, when we discussed what type of cake she wanted, she wasn't interested in a simple store-bought ice cream cake like her twin brother. No, she wanted dragon eggs.

We had started to come up with a plan when we heard about some upcoming Dragon Cake competitions at Coronation and Crown events. So, while we were working on the cakes for her birthday, we were also testing out techniques for a dragon cake competition.

I found a cake pan that is intended for making doll cakes using those half-barbie-dolls that you stick into the top of them. But, each shape was half of an egg, so we decided it would work out pretty well.
If I had seen this pan, I probably would have tried this instead. I think these would have ended up a more reasonable size. The others were pretty big.

For her birthday, Elizabeth wanted two chocolate cakes and two yellow cakes for her friends, based on which flavor they preferred. We used cake mix for these.

We've used fondant in the past for a few of their recent birthday cakes, and had always gone with pre-made fondant (we tried the Wilton brand, which was not great, and had moved on to the Satin Ice brand, which was better).  However, Elizabeth decided she wanted to try her hand at making fondant, so we found a recipe for marshmallow fondant.  It worked out pretty well, and was tastier and softer than the store-bought stuff.  We also made buttercream frosting from scratch (chocolate for the chocolate cakes, white chocolate for the yellow cakes).  We tested out draping the eggs in fondant versus dipping them in candy coating.  We also tried Wilton's Edible Decorating Dough, which I thought worked out pretty well. We also used some Wilton Gum Paste for a few of the items that needed to dry quite hard (like the dragon wings and a few skeleton/support pieces).

My sample egg, using dipped candy coating and decorating dough

Elizabeth's blue egg with green dragons, using fondant for the egg covering and the dragon

Elizabeth's purple egg with blue dragons, using fondant for the egg covering and the dragon.

Then it came time to make the dragon cake as an entry for the competition at Spring Crown. Since there was a youth category, Elizabeth wanted to enter that herself. So, although we had worked on the testing and birthday phase together, she did pretty much the whole competition entry herself. I wasn't even in the kitchen for the vast majority of it. She made the cakes from scratch, as well as the fondant and buttercream frosting. 

She decided that she didn't want to go with the edible decorating dough, since it didn't taste as good as the fondant. She did struggle with getting the dragon to hold its shape using the softer marshmallow fondant. She had originally planned on making a nearly full dragon to pop out of the top egg, but in the end she had to scale that back somewhat. I did need to help her a bit with draping the fondant onto the eggs, since it required more than two hands to drape, support, ease and trim the fondant. She used Wilton Pearl Dust mixed with lemon extract to paint the Midrealm Pale onto the eggs. I loved her last-minute idea to add a crown to the dragon that is at the top of the heap.

The final cake
"Hatching the New Dragon Prince of the Middle Kingdom"

She won the Youth category of the competition at Crown Tournament. I wasn't able to stay, so I don't know how many other cakes she competed against. But I think she did an awesome job!

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