Here's the birthday cake I mentioned the other day when I was asking about baking times for a large cake. The 1UP mushroom from Super Mario! I swear to god I've been through the emotional rollercoaster with this cake, and it took me a day and a half but it's finally DONE.

If you really want to make reading this an epic experience, open this Youtube video in another tab:

Prepping the hemisphere pan with shortening and flour. I've never prepped a pan like this before but the instructions that came with the pan were quite strict.

It actually turned out surprisingly cleanly, although the edges were raggedy and rough. It took an hour and a half to bake thoughly ._. this was the first time I had one of those "oh god I'm the worst baker ever" moments.

I had some cake batter left over (I used Duncan Hines Devil Food cake and Vanilla cake mixes) so I poured it into two of my shallow pans and made a new base for the hemisphere, so it wouldn't be raggedy and depressing.

I moved the thin cake pieces off the wire rack as it's my one wire rack (something I need to rectify but this kitchen is tiny) and that base took forever to cool. It came out of the mould SO cleanly, unlike the last time I tried (last time i greased it with butter though). I cut the ridges off the base so it looked more like a mushroom stalk and less like a cupcake patty pan.

Making ganache to cover the cakes with. I was following the Planet Cake method of fondant cakes, which is where they use ganache rather than buttercream to undercoat the cake so that the edges wind up crisper. This is a GREAT idea if you're actually a professional at this.

I glued the thin piece to the hemisphere with ganache and then covered the whole thing with a ton of it. At this point I was more concerned with patching holes than I was with getting it especially pretty.

I put it into the fridge to let the ganache set and then went over it with a hot knife till it was smooth.

Here's the base after I ganached, chilled and did the hot knife trick.

Covering the base with white fondant. Here was the next point I was messaging the guy whose cake it is going "omg, your cousins are going to laugh at me, I suck, I fail" (his cousins do this for a living!) because the lighting in my kitchen is horribad at night and it was picking up every slight indentation in the fondant, making me think it was way worse than it actually was.

I didn't get any photos of me making the green fondant (I used cakecrumbs's marshmallow fondant recipe, which she kindly linked me, and as someone with inflamed wrist tendons I have to say mixing this stuff with a wooden spoon hurts like hell) but here is the finished cake. I glued the pieces together using whipped cream.

EDIT! Here is the cake's recipient while we were singing happy birthday :D (posted with permission)

Things I would do differently? Too many to name. Top of the list would probably be "don't agree to make complicated cakes when you've never made one or worked with fondant in your life". I would probably hot knife the hemisphere (or add buttercream icing over the top) right before putting the fondant on next time because it doesn't really want to stick to it and it wouldn't fold under neatly (hence the mess at the bottom edge there T_T). When I look at it I'm pleased but critical with soooo many things about it. I'll be doing my cert 3 in patisserie starting next month (I'm currently a qualified bread baker) and I'm really looking forward to the second semester where I get to learn how to do SIMPLE stuff with fondant. Maybe I'll learn how to cover a cake without the bottom edge falling off T_T

I want to thank cakecrumbs for patiently replying to my many, many messages full of questions about fondant and cake baking and for putting up with me when I got overwhelmed and depressed and started going on about being the WORST BAKER EVER.
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cakecrumbs 8th-Jun-2012 06:47 am (UTC)
As I said in chat, this is just a stunning result for your first ever try. I'm glad it turned out so well for you. My first fondant attempts were flat out disasters. As stressful as it is when you start out, you can definitely look at this and be proud. For your first attempt, it was certainly adventurous!

You're more than welcome for the messages. I'm still on a learning curve, but if what I have learned can help someone else then I'm all too glad to share it.
sinkwriter 8th-Jun-2012 06:49 am (UTC)
You are definitely not the worst baker ever! It looks SO COOL! My younger brother would get such a kick out of a cake like that. He used to play lots of video games when he was a kid, and the only one he and I ever played together was Mario Bros. What a fun-looking cake! Really amazing. I don't think I could have done even half as good a job as you did. I think it's pretty darn impressive for a first time working with some of those materials. I hope the cake recipient liked it and gave you lots of kudos.

epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 06:53 am (UTC)
I know I'm not but when things were going to hell (like the edges of the hemisphere crumbling) I was like this:

nightchild01 8th-Jun-2012 07:44 am (UTC)
That is an EPIC cake!
starbriite 10th-Jun-2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
Love your icon pic. Such cute creatures :)
x_in_tenebris_x 8th-Jun-2012 10:03 am (UTC)
So cute!! The world needs more videogame-inspired cakes! :D You did a great job there!
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
Is that a companion cube cake in your icon? I was planning to do Portal themed cupcakes in the future (or a big cake... there are some awesome cookie cutters at my local nerd/pop culture shop). Stuff like a turret pattern, Wheatley, etc.
slmader 8th-Jun-2012 10:25 am (UTC)
My 12 year old son thought this cake was incredible. Fantastic job. Give yourself a pat on the back.
mysid 8th-Jun-2012 11:16 am (UTC)
MY 12 year old son would think it's incredible too. I'd better not let him see it, or I'll be the one doing the "I'm the worst baker ever" flailing for his 13th birthday.
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that kids still love Mario :D
reseda_3067 8th-Jun-2012 11:30 am (UTC)
WOW! Amazing!
storywriter84 8th-Jun-2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
Very cool! I know some people who would love a cake like this (myself included.) I never heard of crumbcoating with ganauche. Something to think about, I guess.
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
I'm going to toss that book out, I think. The fondant didn't stick too well to it... buttercream would have been better imo.
doc__holliday 8th-Jun-2012 01:28 pm (UTC)
waaaaaaaay better than what my first attempt with fondant would be, for sure!
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
I think my job helped; I'm so used to kneading bread dough that I sort of had a sixth sense for when the fondant was the right consistency.
blakmagjick 8th-Jun-2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Way better first try than I would have accomplished...I think it looks awesome!!
epic_cakes 9th-Jun-2012 12:53 am (UTC)
I had lots of advice from cakecrumbs to help me :) it could have gotten ugly otherwise.
spyral_out 8th-Jun-2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
This turned out well no matter your experience! I'm still trying to even learn how to make a workable fondant, hahaha. And the birthday boy looks so thrilled! Even if you think you'd do things differently in the future, what matters in the end is how happy the recipient is - and it seems you nailed it. :)

I'll have to bookmark this to use as an idea as a gift for my partner.
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
It wasn't the first time he saw it (I gave him and his mum a lift to the restaurant) but he made pretty much the same face when he got into the car and I handed it to him. And then teased me for worrying that he'd hate it :)
leslie_levine 8th-Jun-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
This looks awesome! I think we've all had those moments where we want to just give up and declare ourselves the best bakers ever. I'm not going to lie, one time I cried in frustration in a baking disaster. Haha! But this turned out great!!
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I nearly cried when some crema pasticcera (italian creme patisserie) I was making just wouldn't thicken up very much :( I was like "I FOLLOWED YOUR INSTRUCTIONS PERFECTLY, RECIPE BOOK... WTF" (I figured out later it was because I used low fat milk).
kmazzy 8th-Jun-2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Awesome work!
epic_cakes 9th-Jun-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
:D it was well worth all the time it took
layers_of_eli 8th-Jun-2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
It looks FANTASTIC!!
epic_cakes 9th-Jun-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
zombnom 8th-Jun-2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
I really hope the green playdoh wasn't used in the making of this cake! Haha ;) Wonderfully done, I wish I had any skill to do this!
epic_cakes 8th-Jun-2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
It was there for colour-matching purposes :)
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