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help needed - magician hat cake

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi there
I've taken up cake decorating as a hobby - my husband bought me an 8 week course for Christmas out of which I got a PME diploma. I'm ok, not amazing, but love doing it!

I am doing a cake for the weekend for a friend of a friend, for her son's 4th birthday party. She wants a magician's hat with a rabbit coming out the top. I have iced a cake board for the brim, the rabbit, his ears, the wand etc are made and drying. So now onto baking the cake. It needs to be cut for 30 kids (and I'm presuming \\ few adults would like a taster too) so I've iced a 13" cake board for the brim and was planning on a 10"cake. I'm wondering how to make the cake 'tall' though, as it needs to be for the hat to look like a magician's?? My cakes are usually around 3" tall before covering with fondant (I think!!) This isn't going to be tall enough is it?? So then I wondered about using 3 cakes sandwiched together, but then that will be really tall when cut (too tall for tasters for kids?) At a bit of a loss here!

Any ideas/advice greatly appreciated!!!

Sarah.
post #2 of 9
It would help for the cake and brim board to be oval not round, to look as much like a hat as possible. You can trim two narrow crescents off a 10" round to get there.

To really look like a top hat, you need a 6" high cake that would be be 3 x 2" high layers. To make this easier to cut, you place a layer of cardboard between each layer so that each serving of cake is 2" high. To serve, you take off the hat brim, slice the top layer, take off cardboard, slice middle layer, etc. You can find cutting diagrams online that illustrate this process for the customer.

For the sake of the kids, you might want to tort each 2" layer so that the 2" high piece has filling (buttercream or ganache) as well as whatever icing there is from the edge. I would use a thin layer of fondant on each side of each cardboard support. Then you need to drive three dowels all the way through the stack to hold the whole thing together.

Three 10" round 2" deep cakes will give you about 36-40 dessert sized servings so you should be OK even with trimming off the crescents.
post #3 of 9
And how was the PME course? where did you take it? Would you recommend it?
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply! That makes sense....although I've already covered the round 13" board so will probably stick with round on this one and learn my lesson for next time!

I'm in the UK, in Hertfordshire. How did I find the PME course? Hmmm.............'traditional'. A lot of the techniques are ones that i can't see myself using a lot TBH. However, I had never worked with fondant before the course, having only just got creative with cupcakes, so now I can at least cover a cake! I seem to find I'm learning as I go and teaching myself, watching videos on you tube and now having just discovered this site, I think I'll learn a lot here too!

Thanks again.

One last question.....the cardboard in between layers........do you mean a thin cake board... what kind of cardboard would you use?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sorry....I've since been thinking this over in my head and I'm sure of how to dowel the whole thing if it's got cardboard in it? Sorry to ask such novice questions!

How much fondant do you therefore think I would need to cover the cake, allowing for the paste either side of the cardboard too?
post #6 of 9
Your 13" board will be fine. Do the oval hat brim board if you have time; I also curled my gumpaste hat brims to look very lifelike. I made my own gumpaste, rolled it pretty thick, and dried it without any card.

The cardboard between the layers is standard greaseproof corrugated bakers circle (that's what we call them here). You sharpen the dowel like a pencil and tap it down with a small mallet. It goes through all the layers with a little persuasion.

These extra layer of fondant add up to double what you normally use on your 10" cake. The internal layers should be 1/8" thick, no more. They are just there so that each slice has icing on top...kids admire the icing.

I asked about the PME course because they offer them over here once or twice a year.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your help! One last thing! How would you place the layer of fondant either side of the cardboard - buttercream it roughly onto the top of the layer, then put card on, then buttercream roughly onto the bottom of the next cake? Does that make sense? It won't stick to the cardboard? Also, do I trim all layers round once it is torted? And dowel before covering with fondant. I sense I'm going to make a disaster of this!
post #8 of 9
Think of this assembly in simple steps and it will work. I would make a paper pattern to trim layers before torting, then you can see that you have all the layers straight.

I wouldn't use more than a smear of buttercream next to the internal fondant, and the powdered sugar left from rolling will keep it from sticking to the cardboard. It's cosmetic anyway--just tidier than no icing at all.

If you spend a little extra time crumb coating this monster stack, the rest is straightforward.

When you come to covering the outside, use a slightly thicker layer of fondant for easy handling. You need a long strip and you can use a piece of bakers parchment for the pattern. Then roll the fondant up with the parchment, and unroll it against the cake.

Now you may well be thinking what the h*** this mother will want for the child's fifth birthday..and just how much you are going to charge for over-the-top reality. Right?
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Oh thank you! I hadn't even considered rolling fondant around the cake, I would have rolled out (or tried!) a massive circle, rolled it over my pin and draped over the cake as normal. But I guess it doesn't need to be that way as the top of the cake will have the covered board on it!! Thank you!
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