Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making Fondant Cutouts: Kai-Lan and Friends

There is so much to learn out there about cakes, so many different tools and techniques and from so many wonderful and talented people!  And although I'm still learning myself, I am all for sharing and helping others, so ask and you shall receive.  A request I get alot is how I make the Kai-Lan characters on 2 of my favorite cakes (pictures are posted on my Facebook Page).  So, here they are, detailed and complete with pictures so you too, can make them.

I use the web most of the time to find pictures of what I want to use but most of the time, I end up standing in front of the TV, camera in hand, and shoot away capturing any image that looks like something I would want to replicate. I then upload them and select the ones I want to use, insert them onto a sheet at the size I need (I use Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop) then print them out on regular paper. Here is one I used for this tutorial...

How to make Kai-Lan out of Fondant and/or Gumpaste:

Step 1 (Face/Body) - Trim out the paper to make a stencil, roll out the fondant to about 1/8” thick, dust the top of the fondant with some corn starch to keep the paper from sticking to it then lightly trace out the outline.
Remove the paper then, use a sharp blade to trim the face and body out, remove the excess fondant and lightly indent in some of the details such as the outline of the face and arms here.

Step 2 (Hair) – Roll out, very thinly…paper thin, black fondant, dust w/cornstarch, lay the stencil back over it, carve out the outline of the hair lightly, remove the paper, trim out the bangs 1st then trim the outline for the rest of the hair about ¼” larger than the actual outline. Brush the back with a little bit of water and carefully place the hair over the head area. Fold the black fondant down and over the sides of the cutout and trim off the excess (this way, you won’t have any of the beige showing on the sides).
For the strands of hair hanging over the ear, fold the extra piece along the sides underneath to almost create a tube and at the same time to give it some height then trim into shape: This will help raise the hair to the same level as the ears and you won’t get a weird dip below the ear.

Step 3 (Eyes) – the dreaded eyes! I love and hate this part. Love it since I don’t get those bulging eyes like you see in this picture on the left; hate it since you have 1 shot to get it right. I stack the 3 colors of the eyes one on top of each other (white, brown, black). Make each piece slightly smaller than the real eyes. I use piping tips of different sizes to cut these out then trim off the side’s straight to create ovals. Make 2 eyes at the same time so they look alike and lay them next to each other (see picture above on the left). With a rolling pin, gently and carefully with even pressure, roll the eyeballs flat (picture above on the right). If it doesn’t work and eyes get all wacky looking, you have to start all over again (the hate part). I don’t use any water between the layers to make them stick.

Step 4 (Assemble) – Roll out very thin snakes of fondant for the eyebrows and lashes or draw them in with an edible marker. I used fondant for the eyebrows, nose and mouth, then the marker for the lashes. Wet the back of each eye and carefully place on the face.  I then painted the highlights on the eyes with white gel color diluted with almond extract. Add the shirt. Use a small petal cutter for the red flowers in the hair but let them dry separately overnight so they get hard and sit flat. The following day, attach the flowers to her hair.

Repeat with the other characters…Tolee, Rintoo, Hoho, Dolphin, the Platypus…

Cut out various sized flowers; lay them over a piece of wrinkled foil to give it some shape and let everything dry overnight. I like to put everything in the oven with the pilot on overnight so that they dry faster and are also out of the way.
I made these to be raffled off at a Cake Club meeting complete with a sketch of what I was envisioning the cake to look like if the winner decided to make a Beach Themed Kai-Lan Cake.

Each piece was glued with piping gel to parchment paper then stacked in a box lined with tissue paper.

I realized until much later and only when I was going through the photo's that Tolee the Koala bear looked a little off...I had forgotten his eyebrows!  Poor little guy.

Let me know if you have any questions…I'm here to help!


Kaedra said...

May I just say, I am SO, SO, SO, SOOOO thrilled to find your blog!!!!!!! I have been pouring over your posts & scribbling down your recipes & tips like a mad woman!! :) :) :) :) Sideways smiley faces do nothing to convey my delight, lol!
I started making cakes in February of this year & have fallen in love with the art, but have SO MUCH to learn. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog! It's like a Christmas present for me, I'm not even kidding :) I have so many questions, but I will not ask you all of them right now, I'll just keep reading & see if I find my answers :)
If you feel so inclined, here is my cake blog;
I would LOVE ,love, love, love any tips you have to offer :)
I'm just starting to try my hand at figures & am not sure how to make them hold their shape. I've tried modeling chocolate a couple times but was basically just making it up as I went, so I'm super excited to try your methods!
I could type all day, lol :)
Once again, thank you for this blog, I am your new biggest fan already!! :)

SugarSweet said...

I'm glad you are finding help here =) Plenty of practice and a lot of trial and error. Good luck and I'm here if you have any questions.

Kaedra said...

Awesome!! Thank you!

Laura said...

I saw the pic of this cake as your avatar on cakecentral and was pulled like a magnet to check your blog. These decorations are awesome! I don't usually like kid's cakes too much because it seems to me people get a bit messy and unrefined, which is all the contrary here! And yes as said above, THANK YOU for your your precious advice! A great service for who's trying to learn like me... as I'm writing from Italy, grazie ;)

Unknown said...

My five year old is obsessed with Kai Lan and does some amount of cake decorating herself (ie most of her own birthday cakes, and she enters the Austin cake show). I think if I show her this and go through the steps with her and give her some nice soft Satin Ice, she might be able to make her own Kai Lan cake sometime soon.

Thank you kindly for the instructions!

Yaneri said...

yey, so happy I found your blog. I started out in make cakes too. Took 3 Wilton courses and it really helped me out a lot!! I have a friend at work who likes my cakes and she said she wanted me to make a cake for her daughter in december. The theme is Kai Lan. I was like "who is that?"! I don't have go figure! I was saying to myself....OMG, what am I going to do now? I googled and googled and said "how am i going to make figure?"...omg!!! I came upon your blog and the angels were sighing and clouds faded and blue skies, and sun came out!!! Yey!!!! Thanks for posting this tutorial! Now I can breath better!!!! LOL!!! Gonna add you to my side link bar at my blog!!! Please visit! I love for you see what I created so far. I may pop here and there and ask a lot of questions!!

New bloggy friend!

SugarSweet said...

Thank you Yaneri and I'm following your blog as well =) Happy caking!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! I love making my daughter's cake every year and was worried i've have to finally let wally world do it. But with this i am going to make it myself! thank you

cakemom68 said...

Your cakes are so fabulous and this tutorial is fabulous. I have one question how far ahead can you make something like this. I may have a Mario Bros cake in a couple weeks and now I will be overwhelmed if I don't get some work done ahead to time if possible.

SugarSweet said...

Thanks Cakemom68. You can make them far ahead of time (1 week, 1 month, etc).

Anonymous said...

How do you store these cutouts if you make them ahead? Are they still flexible enough after 2 weeks? I assume some of them need to be flexible to wrap around the cake like the kite or sun in your cake. My son is obsessed with Backyardians and seeing how time consuming to make these, I want to get started as early as possible.


SugarSweet said...

Hi NhatHa,

If you want them to dry flat, just keep them in a box away from sunlight and heat (I use a clear, plastic storage shoe box and put them away in a dark cabinet). If you want them to stay flexible, put them between layers of parchment paper with a dusting of cornstarch, seal it up inside a zip lock bag or in a plastic container and store them flat in the freezer. When you're ready to use them, remove it out of the freezer, immediately remove the cutouts and lay them flat over foam or parchment paper and let the condensation dry off for a couple minutes before touching them and putting them on the cake. Or, You can also dry the cutouts up against the side of a cake dummy or cake pan that's the same size as the cake - that way they dry with the right curve to them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Angela! Your blog is amazing! I am a great fan.

Anonymous said...

i need help to ake kai lan figurine.i dont know how.

SugarSweet said...

Try this:

Post a Comment