Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hogwarts Express Cake- Trial and Error

I have taken one beginning cake decorating class. It was 4 Saturdays. I enjoyed it very much and have been trying to apply what I learned and expand my skills and knowledge. A friend asked if I would make a birthday cake for her daughter for the end of June. She wanted a cake that looked like the Hogwarts Express Train from the Harry Potter Series.  I told her that I was just a beginner, but she had enough confidence in me that I decided to try.
So first of all, I found this steam locomotive pan from Nordic Ware. I thought it was an awesome looking pan and so bought it. I didn't realize that I would have so much trouble figuring out how to decorate a cake made in the pan. It was so detailed. And frosting fills in spaces. So how to frost it so that a lot of the detail still shows?
So above is my first trial cake. I was pleased that the cake came out of the pan nicely and complete. I used Cake Release and a little bit of Pam in the pan. The parts that were thinner, like the smokestacks and cattle guard were a little dryer and harder than I would have liked, but I'm not sure how you would fix that, with having to cook through the thicker parts of the cake. I might brush it with simple syrup to keep it moist when I do the real thing.
I had never used fondant. I had read about fondant and asked questions. I looked up stuff on the internet. I decided to try that. First you need to put on a thin under coat of frosting.

This was my trial for the second car of the train with it's undercoat of frosting. I used gingersnaps sandwhiched with frosting to make the wheels.Then I attempted to roll and cut out all the pieces to make the train look detailed. It was a disaster. Way too ugly to provide for someone who was going to pay for the cake. I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to do it at all.
I thought about it a lot. I needed to decide whether or not I could do it. If I couldn't, I needed to let her know in time, so she could make other arrangements. I thought maybe I could cover it with a layer of dyed chocolate ganache. I thought the ganache would be thin and would pour over the cake. Then it would have a dried thin coating and I could come back on top with some red buttercream to make the red areas. I wasn't sure it would work, but was going to try it. I had looked on line at a lot of "train" cakes and some other hogwarts express cakes and I couldn't come up with any better ideas.
So this morning I went to ABC Cake Decoating to get a few supplies. They actually weren't busy and so I was able to pick the considerable brains of the ladies who work there. They told me the ganache wouldn't work. They said it was too soft and runny and you wouldn't be able to put buttercream on top of it. They happened to have the same pan that I had. One of the ladies looked at it and said I could get some of the melting chocolate and dye it. Then I could use the pan to mold some of the chocolate for some of the details. I could then fill in with buttercream. She said to put on a thin undercoat of frosting first.

So this is my cake with a thin undercoat of buttercream.  Then I used the pan to try and mold some chocolate. The deeper cavities worked. The shallow thin ones did not. Here is the cake with some of the molded chocolate pieces on it.

And finally, Voila! I used the smallest star tip to try and preserve detail. I also used some gold draggees to make the lights. I am pretty pleased with it. Especially after comparing it to my first attempt. The plan is to also make a couple of train cars to go with it.

 I did just find out that the party has been delayed until August, so I don't have quite such a short time to work with, but I am feeling more confidant about it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow what an incredible amount of work!