Three of our four parents had birthdays this month. I decided (two days before our trip) that I would make bday cakes for all three. My in laws have a passion for hiking and since their birthdays are only two days apart, I did one cake for both of them.
It was a labor of love, because a lot of the elements were not working the way I had planned. I should have given myself a little more time. I used Marshmallow Fondant, but I wouldn't recommend it for figurines. I thought I had learned my lesson on the last cake. Next time I will get some gum paste. I also didn't get a chance to make their dog that would have been sitting on the top of the hill :( There is always next time :)
I used white MM Fondant and then painted everything else with gel food coloring (diluted in almond extract). I used cocoa powder for the path and rocks. The inside ended up being three different flavors (butter yellow, dark chocolate, plus those two mixed together)! I'd planned on two flavors, but needed more cake, so I used some from my mom's cake. Everyone liked it, so I was happy.
My mom's cake was something a little different. I knew she liked nonpareils (the little round sprinkles). I also wanted to do something without fondant. I had these beautiful scalloped edged baking pans that were calling my name. I baked two tiers of a butter chocolate cake. Once they were cooled, I filled them with almond buttercream.
For the decorating, I used a tub of store bought chocolate frosting to cover the cake. The technique was a pourable frosting that I've used for petit fours, but never for a full cake. I melted the frosting in the microwave and added a tiny bit of shortening, because it was a little too thick (after melted). The consistency should be runny. Make sure your cake is on a wire rack with wax paper or cookie sheet underneath. Next, I poured about half of the frosting over the center of the top tierand let it run down the sides. Then where ever the frosting hadn't reached I added more by using a large spoon and pouring over that area.
I waited about an hour before adding any decorations. It will all depend on the temperature of your kitchen and how quickly the frosting sets up. If you add decor too quickly, it may not be in the same place by the time the frosting has set. I used multicolored nonpareils for the tops of each tier. Then I used small chunks of white chocolate around each tier. For the 'T' on top, I drew the shape I wanted on a piece of paper and slid it under a piece of wax paper. I piped melted white chocolate around the shape and filled it in (make sure it is thick). Finally, I added white nonpareils and let it harden. In my mind, I would have loved to do a tutorial for something like this. I might do it on a smaller scale with petit fours...after we move!