It’s been a long time since I posted… maternity leave ended in March and I was back to the real world with two kids in school and the new baby. My cake decorating has slowed down considerably this year and its not exactly like riding a bike. Some of my skills have improved with experience and knowledge but my hands are not as agile with fondant as they used to be when I made cakes more often. However, every project is a chance to learn, right? So here are the details of the Spiderman cake or, as my son used to call him, “Siderman.”
Both tiers were chocolate mud cake. I bought an 8″x3″ Fat Daddio’s pan when I first started baking cakes but I had a devil of a time getting cakes to bake evenly in that pan because it was so deep. I tried Wilton flower nails and Ateco nails which did not help. Then I stumbled upon the Fat Daddio’s heating rod. The cake baked evenly and in record time.
The filling and the frosting:
I had a problem with the bottom because I didn’t give it time to settle. I filled it with a cookie and cream buttercream and then chilled it for 15 minutes and started ganaching it right away. The next day it had a slight barrel shape — it was bulging. It turned out fine in the end because I covered it up with the cityscape but that’s the kind of omission that really impacts your outcome.
The top tier did not have that problem because I filled it with ganache and let it sit out at room temperature to settle.
What worked beautifully for this cake was the upside down ganache method. I tried it once ages ago but was too scared to keep flipping cakes so I tried so many other frosting techniques that never worked perfectly for me. I tried using a board on top and on bottom which was okay but was time consuming and not always perfect because the top and bottom boards would sometimes shift out of alignment. I tried free-handing it but that inevitably led to some kind of lopsidedness. I need a lot more practice to do that perfectly and quickly. I bought the adjustable cake scraper from Evil Cake Genius but after several tries I do not believe it works well with ganache. I even designed and developed a prototype for my own acrylic footed cake scraper which did not work well with ganache either. Then I tried the upside down method again and it worked so well that for the first time ever I did not get frustrated frosting my cakes AND I got perfect edges.
Aiyiyi was I mad covering these cakes! I had made LMF ahead of time but it was rubbish once I started covering the cakes. The blue fondant literally ripped all around the edge and just fell off. I had to panel wrap the bottom tier. I tried kneading and heating the red fondant but I found it was just as hard and non-elastic as the blue fondant so I threw it in the bin. I might try one more time with less PS and a different brand of marshmallows because it used to work for me.
I had to quickly color some Satin Ice for the top tier and forgot that I never, ever add cornstarch to Satin Ice. So that dried out as well and I got some elephant skin and a tear. But silver lining– I discovered fondant gunge and patched it up.
I had planned on cutting out the city skyline and then the windows one by one until I dIscovered this stencil. It was so easy to make the skyline and looked so much more streamlined.
I deliberated for weeks about how best to create the spiderweb. I alternated between piping royal icing and extruding ropes of fondant and went with the latter. I first outlined the cake and then with DH’s help extruded the web directly onto the cake.
DH looks forward to getting a shout out on these posts so let me also mention that if it wasn’t for his idea to make little craters on the moon it would not have been recognizable as a moon. DH has developed the George Costanza method of “leaving [the kitchen] on a high note.” He likes to give me one good idea then take his leave to avoid messing anything up. But this time he outdid himself and also came up with the great idea to make those teeny tiny stars with my star tip.
By the way, I based my design on this cake.