Husband and I - we love our mothers. So we decided to give them each a present cake for Mother's Day. Don't worry - one of us doesn't have two mothers, we just have a mother who currently lives with an aunt and we didn't want to leave auntie out!
It's seems to be a widely accepted perception that working with fondant is a pain in the butt (especially the part where you have to cover a cake), but I actually enjoy working with it. Outside of the baking, crumb coating, and icing - all three of these cakes took me only a couple hours to complete.
Oh, what's that? You want to make one yourself. Why sure - I think I can show you how to do that.
Step 1: Cover cake in Fondant. Using a good chunk of fondant, roll it out to a little less than 1/4-inch thick. How big to make the piece of fondant? Well, that all depends on how big the cake is that you're trying to cover. Just take a ruler measure the height, multiply that by two, then measure across the cake and add that to the current total. That's the minimum diameter the size your piece of fondant needs to be. For me, I add a few inches because I find it easier to smooth the fondant when it is generously draped on the cake.
Using a fondant smoother, just rub it on the cake to work the fondant onto the cake and to get it to stick. To get around the corners, grab the fondant and stretch it a little bit as you use the fondant smoother to work the fondant around the corners. Once the fondant is on the cake and looks beautiful, take a sharp knife and cut off the excess.
Step 2: Make the Bow. This step will have several steps to it, but I think you'll be able to keep up with the madness.
First thing to do is to roll out another chunk of fondant in the color of your choice. How much fondant will you need? Well, less than what you used to cover your cake. I know that's pretty vague, but it depends on the size of your cake and how big of a bow you want to have. But I digress, roll out your fondant anywhere between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick. Then cut two long strips for the ribbon that "ties" onto your cake. Place it on your cake, and move on to making the bow.
The bow is not a long piece of fondant of tied into a bow. It's 5 pieces of fondant put together to look like a bow. For the bow loops, cut another long piece of fondant and then fold the outside ends into the middle. Now, step back and decide if that is how big you want your bow to be. If not, trim or start over as necessary. If you like what you've got, then take a sharp knife and cut down the middle so you have two separate bow loops.
Take the ends of the bow loops and fold each side of the ends into thirds. To make your bow look more life-like than mine, you can fold it so there are creases. Next, take some clear vanilla extract (or liquor) and using a food-dedicated paint brush (which means, a brand new brush that has never been used to paint) brush some of the clear vanilla onto the inside of the ends and press together. When the alcohol evaporates, the ends will be stuck together. To help the bow keep a fluffy shape, stuff some paper towel scraps into the loops and keep 'em there until the loops are dry enough to hold their shape. Next, cut another piece of fondant for the middle of the bow, place the loops (with the top side down) onto the center of the new piece of fondant and paint a little clear vanilla on the ends of the loops and the ends of the middle piece to hold the bow together.
Make sure that you press this together to seal it and then set aside and start on the bow's tails. For tails, cut two strips of fondant to the length that you would like the tails to be. I like to cut a triangle out of the bottom end of my tails because I think it looks pretty. But you can cut it on an angle or leave it straight. Next, for the end of the tails that will connect to the bow, I folded the sides toward the center and pressed it down, but you can crease and/or gather your ends however you like. Next step is to place the tails and the bow on your cake and glue them together with clear vanilla extract. If you haven't done so yet, trim the ribbons on the cake and fasten the ends to the bottom of your cake with a little clear vanilla.
And voila! You've made your cake look like a present! How darling!
Now, you can take the paper towel scraps out of the loops when the loops are dry enough so they don't fall.