My nephew just turned eight recently! I made a fondant Mickey Mouse birthday cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday, but other than that I have never really stacked a cake before! Especially not one decorated with fondant!
I reluctantly said yes when I was asked to take on an Army Tank cake! It actually wasn’t that difficult. I have never done anything like this before and wasn’t even sure if I could do it, so if you’re also a newbie at this, do not fear! You can do it!!
I used cake pans I already had and tried get them the right shape and size while baking so there was minimal cutting and sculpting. The top tier was actually baked in a small glass bowl that was dishwasher and microwave safe. But it worked perfectly.
I made the marshmallow fondant using the Wilton Recipe, as usual. And the icing is homemade cream cheese using this Martha Stewart Cream Cheese recipe since I like my frosting more cheesy-tasting, which helps cut the sweetness of the fondant. However this time I used a margarine type spread which consisted of part vegetable oil, instead of butter.
It is hard to substitute a liquid fat for a solid fat, since they behave differently with the other ingredients – like fondant! Instead of helping the fondant stick to the cake, the icing started to melt the second it wasn’t refrigerated and actually caused my fondant to slide OFF the cake. It was only an issue with my bottom layer though, since I realized what was happening and I pretty much stopped using the icing altogether. Moral of the story, nothing can compare to butter! Use BUTTER when the recipe calls for it.
I debated on how to do the camouflage effect and looked at different methods but I decided marbling was the easiest way to go. I colored three different sections of fondant with food coloring. Rolled them into log shapes and smashed them together into one big log. Then you want to form an S-shape with the ends facing outward. Smash it together again into one log shaped piece and twist the ends until you have your desired marbling. There are some marvelous YouTube videos that walk you through this process.
As for the details, I pretty much just decorated as I went. I didn’t have a set idea of how I wanted the cake to look. I was just trying to add a little detail and cover any imperfections in the process.
The canon and the hatch were the only non edible items on the cake. The canon was just a thick plastic straw (from a reusable cup/water bottle) that I covered in fondant. It’s hollow on the inside so you can add a sparkler. And the hatch is just a piece of cardboard cut into a circle covered with fondant.
These are some food labels I designed for the birthday party, along with a Mess Hall sign. Click the image to enlarge and then print. Please let me know if you are having trouble, I can always email them directly to you.
Click the image above (or here) to print it.
Click here for the BLANK Army Labels that you can write whatever you want on.
Click here for the printable Mess Hall sign.
You’ll need to save the image and print the size you want. For a full sheet and 4 inch labels select 8×10. If you are still having trouble downloading these printables, CLICK HERE.
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