August 24, 2010

Mad Hatter Hat Cake

My niece tuned 9 and wanted, "Eat Me" Petits Fours for her birthday party.  Now, as being an aunty who happens to be into cake decorating, how am I just supposed to just show up with a try of mini cakes when I have been itching to get her hands dirty, and try making the Mad Hatter Hat in CAKE!  So, I surprised her.  Not only did I make the hat, but I also made cake truffles with all the left over cake pieces from carving the hat out.

Making the Petits Fours was a challenge and I was trying to make them the traditional way of pouring the icing over them.  I think my cakes may have been a little too large and soft (2"x1.5"x1") to cover with poured fondant.  It didn't look good.  For my 2nd attempt, I tried using melted chocolate but that didn't work either and the cakes looked very lumpy.  So for my 3rd attempt, as you can see in the photo above, I added a thin piece of marshmallow fondant (MMF) over the top of the cake, then dipped the cakes into melted white chocolate like you would a cake pop, but it still looked awful.

Since all 3 dipping techniques failed at giving a very nice and perfectly smooth covering, I ended up covering them each, one by one, the way I know best, with rolled fondant instead.  I have to give Petits Fours another try with poured fondant and hopefully in the much more traditional, 1"x1" size but for now, I'm frustrated over these little guys and I'm just happy I was able to get a few of them made for her party.

With all the extra cake I had from carving that hat, I decided to make cake truffles (aka cake balls) dipped in white chocolate dyed pink, then drizzled with dark chocolate.  Since cake pops can be rather sweet when cake is mixed with buttercream then coated in chocolate, I decided to just use a little bit of simple syrup and softened cream cheese; just enough to bind the cake crumbs together and get them rolled and dipped.

The hat was carved out of  three, 6" round cakes:  2 layers chocolate and 1 layer vanilla filled with Nutella buttercream.  I froze the cake for a few hours before carving to make it easier to carve into.

I then covered the whole cake in chocolate ganache (here is a link to the recipe), let it set for about an hour then used a warm ball tool (just rub the tool against a hot, moist towel for a few seconds to warm it up), and created various, imprinted swirls around the cake to give it the look of velvet.

For the hats rim, I rolled out the MMF, cut out a hole in the middle to match the size of the bottom of the cake, dusted the cake pedestal (or cake board) with corn starch to keep the hat's rim from sticking to the base, spread some royal icing directly into the middle of the hole to act like a glue, then placed the carved hat cake right into the middle of the pedestal.  

I then covered the hats rim with ganache, add the same style of swirls as I did for the cake, waited for the ganache to set and not be sticky, then dust the whole cake with some petal dusts (moss green and gold).  I then added the ribbon and rolled up balls of foil to lift the hat's rim in various spots to dry with a little movement to it.  I then put the cake in the fridge overnight to set and to also get the cake really nice and cold for the drive to the party the next day.  Cold cakes are solid and stable making it much easier to transport.

As for the little details:  Painted the ribbon with white gel color thinned out with almond extract, piped out her name to match the Alice in Wonderland font with royal icing, and used skewer sticks to hold all the other little accessories on the hat.  For the tag, I dusted it with an assortment of colors (moss green, sunflower yellow, gold, lavender) to get it to look aged, poked a hole in the corner, let it dry overnight then thread it through one of the skewers.  All the little trinkets at the end of the skewers, including the feather, were hand cut in fondant and painted with various gel colors and gold dust.

Allison was so excited and absolutely loved her cakes.  The Mad Hatter Hat Cake had turned out to be one of my favorite cakes and as you find, I did get to make 2 more of them in the coming year.

Link to another:  Mad Hatter Cake #2 

and another:  Mad Hatter Cake #3


  1. That is really cool!! you did a great job on this!!! You pipe letters real good, better than me lol!!!

  2. That is awesome.

  3. Amazing! Great work! I can almost taste it...

  4. How did you get the rim to be curved. I am wanting to do this for my daughter's 1st bday smash cake.