A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine, Tammy, mentioned that her son's 21st birthday was coming up and she wanted to surprise him with a "Bear" Bryant hat cake. Being the secret wanna-be cake decorator I am, I offered to give it a shot. Not really having a clue of how to create a "hat" cake, much less with a houndstooth print... YouTube and I became the best of friends. I owe a huge shout out to anyone who has ever posted a "self-help" video because they were such a blessing! After watching tons of videos, conducting a little online research, and making many trips to Michael's with coupons, the real fun began. Tip: Michael's + no coupon = insanity... Always bring a coupon! My excitement and yes, honestly a little nervousness, grew everyday because I couldn't believe I was about to create my first four layer fondant cake!
I began the actual process on Thursday evening. I used one 12' round and three 8' round cake pans. Are you a Food Network fan? Chances are if you have watched it a time or two, you may have seen or heard of the show Charm City Cakes with Duff Goldman. What a genius! He now has his own line of cake products at Michael's and they are WONDERFUL!
The fondant is very tasty and the cake mix has the perfect density for creating a work of art. I'm sure his icing follows the rest of the cake line with its greatness, but I stuck with a traditional Duncan Hines chocolate icing from the grocery store. Again, this is another great reason to always go into Michael's with a coupon because one container of his fondant was $20 and one box of mix was $8. This adds up when you need four boxes of mix and other various items to make the cake a success. With a little patience, and help from my wonderful husband and Aunt Mary, I was able to use at least a 40% coupon on all major expenses. Its always good to have someone go with you so you can use two coupons in one trip.
Once the cakes were baked and cooled, I stuck them in the fridge overnight so that I would be able to cut them easily the next day. As I started to take them out and gauge how I wanted the cake to sit, I began to worry that I wasn't going to have enough height for the rim of the hat. Then, realizing that Tammy had sent me a picture of another cake, I took quick look and rolled with it. The bubble in the middle of the 12' round cake, which normally gets cut off, worked to my advantage and created a nice slope around the bottom. I checked all of my supplies once more, grabbed my camera, streamed the Otis Redding station on Pandora, prayed for the Lord to allow my gifts to glorify Him and then had the best time being a first-time cake artist!
From being so excited and focused, I forgot to take pictures up to this point, so you are now seeing the "crumb coating" stage of the cake. This allows a smooth surface for you to work with when you add your fondant or final icing layer.
Next, comes the fondant.... Prepping the work surface with powdered sugar is a fun necessity :)
Not like Duff's, but hey, it works great in the long run!
Here comes the icing!! I used Wilton's white decorative icing and piped the lines starting at the top, working my way down....
Homestretch! Now, I have to add the black icing on top of the white to create the "houndstooth" look.
Drum roll please, because here comes the most important piece... the Alabama "A!" I used a red fondant and added it to the cake with white icing. The ribbon around the cake circles added a nice contrast.
Whew! Who knew being a cake artist would be so rewarding and wipe you out by the end!
I would like to end this post with a special thank you to Tammy. Thank you for having a special confidence in the gifts the Lord blessed me with. Without your trust and encouragement, I may have never discovered this new hobby!
My heart is filled with joy when the Lord uses me to create beautiful things for others to enjoy... I was just the vessel of His great work.