Hello everyone! Today we have a guest blogger! Leyda Vakarelov from Custom Cakes Atelier shares her gorgeous Grazioso cake!
Isn’t it stunning?
Leyda will share her technique on making this cake with Marvelous Molds’ new onlays, and a stenciled “sheet music” that encases the middle tier! Take it away, Leyda!
Below are most of the tools that I used throughout this project. In this photo you will see the two colors of the fondant/gum paste mixture that I used. I advise you not to use pure fondant with these onlays. Fondant can be a bit sticky and this will prevent it from dislodging nicely from the onlays. Use a 50/50 mixture of fondant and gum paste to give the fondant some stability.
*Please note that when I work with the onlay molds and I say “fondant”, I really mean the 50/50 fondant/gum-paste mixture.
If you are new to Silicone Onlays™ you can watch the free master class video here.
Fleur de Lis Pattern Silicone Onlay™
Bird with Blossoms Silicone Onlay™
Rise Silicone Onlay™
black royal icing
edible glue (3 parts corn syrup to one-part water)
purple music sheet mesh stencil
Pasta Rolling Machine
large dusting brush
small paint brush
food safe blade
food safe pins
I pre-made these fleur-de-lis with a single onlay (you will see the onlay later on), and then I airbrushed them in gold. These can be done a few days ahead.
This is an 8’’ by 6” double cake tier covered with fondant. Here I used the Bird with Blossoms, and Rise Onlays.
I began by dusting generously the entire onlay with cornstarch. Then, I removed most of it by shaking off the onlay. You just need a thin layer of cornstarch to prevent the fondant from sticking. It is crucial not to rush this step if the onlay is new. The fondant will stick less to the onlay after using it several times.
The fondant needs to be thinned down before laying it on the onlay. I used a pasta roller to get it very thin consistently throughout. But first, I used a rolling pin to thin it enough to get it through the lowest setting of my pasta roller.
I started with setting 0 and past the fondant through to level 5. The fondant needs to be thick enough so that it is at the same level as the edges of the onlay once it is pressed down. It shouldn’t be below the edges, because otherwise it will not be high enough to touch the surface of the cake to stick to it.
I took the sheet of fondant and carefully laid it on the onlay. First, using my fingers, I gently pressed on it throughout the surface to secure the fondant to the onlay.
With a small rolling pin, I gently rolled on top of the fondant. I rolled through the entire onlay working on sections at a time. Don’t go from one end to the other in one shot. Take your time to work the fondant in every single grove in sections.
I removed the outer excess fondant once it cut through the edges of the onlay, and then I continued rolling the rest.
Once all fondant has been worked in to the same level of the onlay, then you can start removing elements of the design if you desire. A good way to know that you have rolled enough is when you can see and feel all of the teeth of the design. Here I am removing some strips and I will replace them with new ones.
For accent purposes in my design, I am replacing some strips with some gold ones that I prepared and airbrushed ahead of time using the same onlay. Right after I replaced these strips, I brushed the entire surface of the onlay with the glue solution and then I adhered the entire onlay onto the cake. I will show this step on a later photo.
On this tier, I used two different onlays: The one with the stripes and the one with the bird on the branch. I created this template and I placed it on the cake with pins to save the space for the bird onlay, and to also use it as a guide for cutting the stripes that will surround the bird. You will see this on the other photos.
Here I am laying the stripes that will surround the entire tier. This cake is 8’’ tall. So, two applications upwards of the onlay are required to reach the full height of the cake. Once you apply the first set of stripes, it is important to match up the second application lengthwise as close as possible with the first. In order to be accurate, I placed a pin that marked the end of the onlay during the first application. You can see this pin on the right side of the photo.
With a sharp blade and the template as a guide, I cut the strips on both sides into perfect curves.
With a straight edge and a sharp blade, I cut the strips on the back to fit nicely. Note that since the cake is covered in fondant and this adds thickness to the surface of the cake, it will almost always be necessary to make your own adjustments at the end. If things do not match up nicely, you can make this the back of your cake.
Here I am working with the bird onlay. I followed all of the earlier steps as with the stripes onlay. I am removing excess fondant and I am just leaving the shape of the design. It is important to roll the fondant carefully into the onlays that have more intricate detail so that you don’t distort your design when you are removing the excess.
If you look at the bird, you will see that I removed some segments of fondant to create more interest. This of course, is optional!
In order to place the onlay on the cake at the proper height, I used a strip of wax paper as a guide. I pre-cut this strip to my desired height (5 cm.) and I adhered it to the cake with shortening (not with glue). I also placed a mark on the side of the onlay and on the wax paper strip to keep everything centered.
You can see the final image on the cake. If it is a bit shiny where you had the wax paper strip, you can gently wipe the area with dry paper towel, and then you can mildly buffer it up with cornstarch.
FIRST (BOTTOM) TIER:
This is a 16” by 4” cake covered in fondant. Here I used the Fleur de Lis, and the Fleur de Lis Medallion onlays.
With this tier I wanted to add more interest to my onlay design by “printing” musical notes onto my fondant before laying it on the onlay. First, I rolled the fondant as before on the pasta roller through setting 5. Second, I used the sheet music mesh stencil to print the notes onto the fondant with black royal icing. The consistency of the icing should be thin, but still of piping consistency.
First, I applied the icing generously with a small spatula, and then I scraped most of it with a small rubber scraper.
I removed the mesh stencil gently, and then with a medium pizza cutter I removed the messy edges.
You can see the clean image on the fondant. The onlay is already dusted lightly, but thoroughly with cornstarch.
As I stated earlier, press the fondant onto the onlay with your hands first and then use a small rolling pin to work it all the way in. Make sure to do this all around the onlay.
After rolling everything nicely in the silicone onlay, I applied the glue all around.
After applying the glue, I removed parts of the design that I did not want. You can also apply the glue after you remove these parts out, but I find it easier to remove fondant once the glue has been applied even though you end up with some sticky fingers!
Here I am just doing some final touch ups before adhering the onlay onto the cake.
I am replacing one of the large fleur-de-lis with a pre-made gold fleur-de-lis. Again, this step is optional! If you do this step, remember to apply glue to this new fleur-de-lis too. If it is a bit stiff, microwave it for 15-20 seconds to make it a bit bendy.
This bottom tier is 4’’ tall like the height of the onlay. Notice how the bottom of the onlay has to be in direct contact with the table.
Note how the wavy edge of the side of the onlay fits nicely around the fleur-de-lis that is already on the cake. It is important to do this alignment carefully so that you do not end up with obvious gaps from one application to the next. Practice on a different surface before you do this on the cake. You can use the little openings on the onlay to guide you with this alignment. Before you remove the onlay, with your fingers press all around the surface of the onlay to force every piece of fondant to adhere to the cake.
Slowly take one end of the onlay and start removing it from the surface of the cake. Again, try not to rush this step and watch what is happening with the design the whole time. I found it helpful to exert some pressure on the onlay with my left hand as I remove it with the other hand. By doing this you are securing the covered part of the design to stay in place.
THIRD (UPPER) TIER:
This is a 6” by 4” cake covered with fondant. Here I used the Fleur de-Lis Medallion onlay.
I used this single onlay to make the gold fleur-de-lis.
I also used the single onlay to attach the fleur-de-lis properly on the cake. If the fleur-de-lis tends to dislodge from the onlay as you lift it up, dab a little bit of shortening on it just to help it stay in.
After pressing the onlay for a bit on the cake, the fleur-de-lis adhered perfectly.
Here you can see the designs and minor alterations on the back of the bottom and middle tiers.
I extruded a thin fondant string to close the gap of the second tier. I did the same thing with the small upper tier with its respective color.
I created gum paste sheets (9” by 6”) with the pasta roller, up to setting 5. I printed the same notes design with the mesh stencil (surrounded with paper to prevent leaking). Then, I frilled all of the music sheets that will embrace the second tier. I chose gum paste (colored off-white) so that the strip they will make stays in place with very little support.
All the sheets were prepared just like this one. Note that I cut the sheets into trapezoids before frilling.
The sheets were joined together with glue to form a long arch that will then fold into a cone on the cake.
I placed some supports to hold the cone formed by the arch until it dried completely overnight.
Leyda Vakarelov is the owner of Custom Cakes Atelier, located in Chapel Hill, NC. This small cake atelier specializes in unique artistic cake design with strong emphasis on artistic composition and detailed work.
Use Coupon Code OFF50 for one month membership for $5