I started out this cake thinking “hey, this could be cool on the blog!” and I’m gonna be honest… over the next 24 hours while making it I wasn’t awesome about getting all the photos needed… It could have been the beautiful weather distracting me, or that adorable little boy running around the house, or the fact that I just got full bangs cut on a whim and have been coming to terms with them the last couple days… regardless of the reason, you are going to need to use your imagination a bit. :) I may have a picture of two on my phone I can throw in… Hopefully you will get the gist of the process!
First up, I sketched out a rough deer head and chest on my 13×19 cake board (it is a REEEEEEAAAALLY rough sketch). This way I could measure out approximately what size cake pans would work the best for my customer’s serving requirements and my board size.
I then stacked up some pans to see which would fit the best on my sketch.
So… you’ll need to make LOTS of cake. I ended up baking a 7″ cake, a 6″ cake, two 5″ cakes, a 4″ cake, a coffee mug full of cake and a couple cupcakes. I discovered my dishes are safe in the oven up to 450 degrees, and the shape of my coffee mugs would be a perfect nose to my deer! I didn’t end up using the cupcakes, but it was nice to have extra cake, just in case.
I started out by leveling my cakes and stacking them in a deer head and chest shape. I did this a few different ways and even shortened some of the cakes to get the shape that I wanted.
From here I grabbed my pastry bag full of strawberry buttercream (oh. dear. don’t even get me started on the amazingness of strawberry buttercream!) and filled between the layers. I split a few cakes to make sure each cake layer was about the same thickness.
Then I threw this bad boy in the freezer for a nice long lunch break. When carving cakes it’s much easier to work with frozen cakes. You can get much cleaner cuts! Here is where the photo slacking begins… I don’t have any pictures of me carving it, but basically I just rounded out the chest, took some cake off the sides to slim down the neck, and rounded out the head. I think I even ended up taking off the top piece of the nose because it felt too tall to me.
I then did a crumb coat (a very thin, rough coat of frosting on the outside to hold in the crumbs) and threw it back in the freezer.
While that was chilling I started in on the antlers. I took some wire and wire cutters and made a rough skeleton for the antlers. They don’t look like much now, but adding some modeling chocolate will really bring these to life! My modeling chocolate recipe comes from (surprise, surprise!) one of Jessica Harris’s craftsy classes. While this isn’t the recipe I use, this video tutorial from craftsy is an awesome reference for making modeling chocolate! My recipe is made the same way, but I use 14oz of candy melts (or 1 bag) and 3oz of corn syrup. They say to let it set overnight, but an hour is plenty of time before kneading it.
Start adding modeling chocolate to your wire and smooth it out as much as you can. The beauty of modeling chocolate is you can get rid of any seams using the heat of your hand to melt the chocolate a bit. Continue to add modeling chocolate and shape the antlers with your hands until you are satisfied with the results. I also took my fondant shell tool and scratched them up a bit.
I was too anxious to wait for the cake to be frosted and covered in fondant to test out the antlers :) How cute would a pink deer be for a girl’s party?
By now, your cake should be hardened up nicely and ready to frost! I used a pastry bag and piped a layer of frosting on the whole thing and then smoothed with a small palate knife and viva paper towels until I was happy with it.
I then coated the whole cake in a bit of shortening, to help the fondant stick and rolled out my marshmallow fondant to about 1/8 inch. I draped the fondant over the cake and slowly started smoothing it to the shape of the cake. Trim away any excess around the outside.
Carefully stick the antlers in. I used a lot of reference pictures to make sure I was putting them in the right place and wasn’t poking a bunch of unnecessary holes in it.
All that is left is to add in some details! The white chest and nose, the nose itself, ears and eyes.
Here I added on some modeling chocolate ears and the white piece on the chest. I decided later the chest piece was too small, so I removed it and redid it.
Here it is with the white chest fixed and the white brought up on the nose, plus the nose itself. My fondant tools have a bit of texture to their handles, so I used that to roll across the nose for some texture.
Next up: eyes. I made them out of black modeling chocolate with a white modeling chocolate backing to them. I added a small white light reflection in them and lined them with strips of black modeling chocolate to make “eye lids”.
I also added in a metallic gold name plaque at the bottom with a birthday wish for Parker!
Lastly I whipped out the shell tool to add some ‘fur’ texture and dusted the cake, strategically, with brown petal and pearl dust. And there you have it!
Have a great weekend! :)