When i made my ‘Mr. Grimm’ cake i took a few snaps along the way. These are not posh snaps, they are mostly taken at night which is when i get time to experiment with new ideas and are merely a visual guide to how i personally made this cake.
I will call it a tutorial, because i am not sure what else I would call it. However it’s not a glamorous, studio lit, white background ‘pdf to your inbox’ for ££ tutorial, it is a rough and ready set of snaps with a few ramblings… and it’s free.
I hope it inspires some of you!
A quick note! I use an airbrush so i work in white and then add the colour afterwards. If you do not use an airbrush you will need to colour up for fondant BEFORE adding it to the design.
You will need:
A 12 inch square pan
newspaper, baking paper and string to line.
Ingredients for a 12 inch square deep cake.
Ingredients for enough buttercream to cover a 12 inch square cake. (If i’m sketchy it’s because i just made loads. I’m not so hot on precise!)
A 30cm 6mm threaded rod – check out your local DIY shop for this
A 6mm washer and nut
A 5mm drill bit
A large wooden (hardboard) base board, this needs to the thick, at least 1/2 inch or deeper. Mine is 1/2 inch and 15 inches wide.
Lots of fondant. I used roughly 2.5kg
On to the technical bit!
Start with your drill, hardboard, threaded rod, washer and nut.
Measure your board and mark a hole in the centre. Drill a 5mill hole right through the centre of your board and then screw in your threaded rod until it is flush with the underside of the board. The board must be thick enough to support the rod, if your board is too thin it will not hold the rod. It does not need a nut on the underside of the board as long as your board is thick enough to support the rod. Pop on the washer
This photo shows two boards, one stacked on top of the other. The second board underneath has nothing to do with this design, it’s just stacked there to keep it out of the way. To clarify, the rod is threaded through the top board only.
Screw the nut on top of the washer and tighten until the rod is securely in place. Cover the whole board and secured rod in tinfoil to make it food safe.
On to the SKULL!
This is simply a mold. No skill involved! I purchased mine on Esty, although I believe you can also buy them on Ebay.
Break the chocolate into a microwave proof bowl. I used about 1kg of chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, checking and stirring every 15 seconds. It’s very easy to burn chocolate so no wandering off and staring at clouds at this point! As Yoda would say, concentrate you must!
Take your mold and pour in about 1/3 of the melted chocolate, rotating the mold round in your hands until the chocolate spreads into all the nooks and crannies of the mold.
Once the inside of the mold is completely covered in chocolate find a way of supporting it so it doesn’t sit flat on it’s head (it will dent.) I used a small saucepan.
Once supported put the mold in the fridge so that the chocolate sets.
Once set take the mold out, pour in another 1/3rd (re-melt the chocolate in the bowl a little if it has begun to set,) and repeat step one. Roll the mold around until the second layer of chocolate has covered the first. You can also spread it around into all the indents with the back of a spoon as well.
Pop it back in the fridge to set and then repeat a third time with the last of the chocolate.
Once all three layers of chocolate have completely set you can peel the mold back.
Mid-peel. This mold is not easy to release!!
Mr. Grimm’s spine
Vertebrae have a rounded grooved section at the front and three wide boney points at the back, two pointing sideways and down, one pointing straight out at the back. (Google image will help you here. )
You’ll need to fashion 4 vertebrae in varying sizes. The largest bottom piece being roughly 1 1/2 inches, decreasing in size to the forth and smallest piece at the top at roughly 1/2 inch. I used fondant with a little CMC added.
I have added a (dodgy) picture of one of the pieces I made. Make your vertebrae upside-down so you can create the protrusions, then flip it when slotting them onto the the rod. Use a reference image of a vertebrae to get a realistic replica.
Once all four pieces are made, make holes in the centres of each one big enough for the 6mm rod and leave to one-side to dry.
Next – the cake!
You’ll need a 12 inch square deep cake to make Mr. Grimm’s shoulders. I line all my pans to help achieve a bigger rise and wrap my larger pans in wet newspaper tied on with string to help prevent burnt edged/raw middles.
Bake your cake and once cooked cut it into equal squares.
Place two squares either side of your rod so that is central to the rod. Then place the other two squares on top of the first two.
I’ve added to the skull in at this point just because it amused me to do so. You do not have to, and if you do add it you’ll just have to take it off again to add the spine. It does look cool though!
Mr. Grimm’s shoulders need a little shaping. If you have never carved cakes before this can seem a little daunting. The best piece of advice I can give here is to take your time, carve a little at a time, keep stepping away and looking at the shape from a distance and then carrying on if needed. Remember it is easier to carve a little more than attempt to re-build a cake!
I use a large, flat edged knife like this one, using it flat side against the cake and not the edge to carve. Take slithers off the corners and all round the cake to shape it the shoulders.
Once you are happy with the shape, wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight. Crumb coating a freshly carved cake is asking for trouble!
Fill then crumb-coat your shoulder then cover in fondant. Leave the edges of your fondant frilled to give the effect of a cloak. Thread your vertebrae on to the rod and place the skull on the top. As you skull is hollow you will need to ‘stuff’ it with a food safe product, (something like tinfoil,) to create a grip for the rod and help steady the skull. The rod will support the weight, this just adds stability. The fondant cloak will also support the skull once it has dried.
Next you need to work on the hood. This takes far more fondant that you would imagine and is not exactly the easiest of all tasks. Be confidence and work quickly yet carefully.
I rolled out enough fondant to cover a 14 inch cake for this (basically the same size as my mat)
It’s tempting to try and add the fondant as you would a hood, from the back and up and over, this doesn’t work as it puts too much pressure on the fondant.
Pick the fondant up with your rolling pin in the middle as you would if covering a cake. place one edge of the fondant on one of Mr. Grimm’s shoulder so it lies along the top of the shoulder. Make sure it is far enough forward to sit correctly at the front of the skull. Then roll it up and over the skull and down the other side to meet the other shoulder.
Quickly begin tucking the edges of the fondant under to create the hood. Work on the back to tuck in the fondant and create the folds in the ‘fabric.’ Smooth the fondant over the top of the skull. Make sure the fondant is tucked in and supported by the cake all the way round.
Place a piece of kitchen roll between the fondant and skull at the forehead to create a lip. Slide your whole hand in between the fondant and skull and lift gently using the back of your hand against the fondant. stuff kitchen roll in between the two. Do this on both sides and leave to dry overnight.
Use a couple of tatty off-cuts to create the fabric at the front of the cloak, and then bend and fold further fondant strips to create the board covering.
After 12 hours you can remove the kitchen roll and your fondant cloak will should keep it’s shape.
Lastly airbrush shading details to the skull and spine, airbrush the cloak black and the board grey with highlights/lowlights. Use kitchen roll to protect the skull whilst you airbrush the inside of the cloak.
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