January 29, 2012

Mom's Knitting Basket Cake

A birthday cake for my mom who can knit, crochet, or embroider practically anything....

The basket was made out of 2, 9 inch round Carrot Cakes filled with Cream Cheese Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC) that I tinted brown with some AmeriColor gel colors.  I didn't want the white IMBC to peak through the basket weave but in the end, with a white "liner" hanging over the basket, it would have technically been OK if it was kept white - if you get what I mean - live and learn =)  For the basket weave pattern, I cut out strips of MMF in 2 sizes (one size for the vertical pieces and a another, wider size, for the horizontal pieces).  I had never done a basket weave before but once I got the pattern down, it all came together pretty easily.

(Recipe for the Cream Cheese IMBC can be found at the bottom of this post:
Korean Hanbok Dol Cake from March 2011)

Once done, I brushed the fondant over with some Chocolate Brown Petal Dust and added the white fondant trim around the top rim.  I used a stitching wheel to add the stitch pattern around the top and bottom edge of the white trim.

The balls of yarn were made out of Lemon Cake that were filled and covered with IMBC.  I finally got around to using a cupcake pan my husband bought for me two years ago like the one pictured on Amazon below (Wilton Multi Cavity Cupcake Pan).  They were the perfect size to create the balls of yarn with for the basket.

I put together 2 of the cupcake tops to form a round ball.
Trimmed off the pointed tops of the cupcakes to help make the ball look more rounded.
Used the bottom halves of the cupcakes to make a larger, oval, yarn of ball.
I then frosted all the balls of yarn with IMBC and popped them into the fridge for about an hour to firm up while I prepped the fondant.

There's a really neat post on Vegan Yum Yum on how to make balls of yarn and clothing with marzipan.  I used the same technique but with MMF that I mixed with Tylose and a Clay Extruder to help extrude the miles upon miles (as it seemed) of fondant-yarn.

After trying out a couple of the disks that the extruder came with, the 2 disks pictured below worked out the best in creating the yarn look especially once the fondant was twisted.

I used the smaller disk (pictured left) for the green and purple balls of yarn and the larger disk (pictured right) for the pink ball of yarn.
Extruding the fondant, twisting it to look more like yarn, piecing it together into sections.  Trim to size and add to the ball of yarn.  Repeat and repeat and repeat until the entire ball of yarn is covered.
Spirals of fondant yarn to attached to the ends of the balls.
The finished ball of yarn.  I later dusted it with Pink Luster Dust.
To get the gradation of color on the purple and green balls of yarn, I stuffed the extruder with a small amount of colored fondant followed by a small bit of white, then back to color, then white until the extruder was filled up.  As you extrude the fondant, it comes out with a really nice gradation of color.  The idea come to me after I had made the pink one and realized that it would have looked much better with some variation in color added to it.  It actually worked perfectly since my mom had always preferred using the yarn that had a variation of color versus the solid ones =)

The purple knitted piece attached to the needle was something I improvised on and made up in trying to figure out how to show the gradation in color with.  Hopefully these pictures below make some sense.

Marble purple fondant with white.  Cut it out into strips, fold the strip in half, twist, then roll between your hands until you get a nice, thin, piece that looks kinda like yarn.
Brush a little bit of water between each strip to help hold it together then fold over every other piece like in the photo.  Make sure the pieces sticking up are long enough to curl over the needle.
Roll the long pieces of fondant over the skewer using piping gel to help it stick to the skewer.  Flip it over and use a toothpick or a scoring tool to create the knitted pattern into the fondant.  For the knitting needle, I used a wooden skewer and painted it in Gold Dust.

The completed piece.

For the top of the knitting needles, I rolled out a piece of fondant into a cylinder shape and poked it into the end of the skewer using piping gel to help it stick together.  I also painted it over with Gold Dust then imprinted 6's on the top of each needle: shhhh, my mom turned 66 - a little discreet and very personal.  I don't think the party guests caught that.

The 6's were made by pressing a #10 round piping tip into the fondant and a scoring tool to shape out the tail of the 6.

I added a little cross-stitch heart to the front with Royal Icing.  A little tip to help the royal icing from not breaking on you as you pipe lettering or something thin is to mix a little bit of piping gel into it.  It helps the Royal Icing stretch and not break on you.

Knitting Basket - Balls of Yarn - Cake

Happy knitting...eating!


  1. marylizbethJanuary 29, 2012

    fantastic blog !!!

  2. A perfect job like always!! I will try your techniques and that's for sure!!

  3. This is absolutely beautiful!!! U are so talented!! Love love when u make tutorials!!! Keep them going!!! By far you are my fave cake designer to follow!!!


  4. WOW! This cake is amazing!! Thank you so much for the detailed instructions - your a a fantastic artist!

  5. This cake is so cool, the effect of the gradual colours is ace! Thanks for the tutorial, all your tips are so handy :)

  6. This is so amazing, thankyou for the great turoial.

  7. Thank you for sharing this! Great tutorial. Can't wait to try it out for a friend who is into knitting in a big way!

  8. Just Wonderful! As I have found knitting basket cake from this source. As I have found the great tutorial to make this awesome designed cake. It's authentically looking exceptional and mind blowing creation for me. I am totally surprised to see this one. Thanks for sharing.

  9. This is amazing! I can't wait to try at least some of this.I love to bake and knit!