Monday, September 14, 2009

A truly marble-lous technique

Paige was designing a cake for a client wanting a Tuscan sunflower theme. She began by drawing sunflowers on wax paper with yellow and brown icing, which will be placed in the freezer to harden until ready to apply to the cake. Next we had to decide what color fondant would work best to convey a Tuscany look. I suggested a light olive color to complement the bright yellow and brown sunflowers. Paige took that idea one step further by suggesting that we marble the olive green color with some brown. I was intrigued by that idea and hadn't known that fondant could be marbled. I'd never seen that done before.

First we started with white fondant, which she had me turn into the desired shade of green by adding green food coloring. That only gave us a pastel shade of green, so I kneaded in a bit of dark chocolate-colored fondant to get it to a more olive color. Once the green was ready, she began the marbling technique.

First, she rolled out the green fondant to a cylinder shape about the length of a rolling pin. She then cut some of the dark chocolate-colored fondant into a few thin 3-inch cylinder strips and placed those along the top of the green roll. She then rolled the two color together into one long cylinder which she folded in half, twisted a bit and kept rolling. You could see the marble effect instantly, but she continued to fold, twist and roll until she got the marbling look that she wanted.

The end result was beautiful and slightly reminiscent of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting. The green/brown marbled fondant helped tone down the color of the icing sunflowers, preventing it from looking too bright or obnoxiously cheery. Instead, it looked sunnily sophisticated, cute but not cloying. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of this gorgeous cake. My hands are often covered in food coloring, powdered sugar or fondant so I don't take photos, but I wish I had. Definitely need to start bringing my camera with me. Instead, I found a photo of a similar-looking sunflower cake online (shown here) but it doesn't quite look the same. The photo gives you an idea of the technique, but their colors are too bright and their sunflowers are flat (Paige's flowers were made of thin, hard icing placed along the sides and stuck up above the cake edges). You get the idea though.

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