THESE CAKES offer two variations on a theme. Playing with color and texture can make two otherwise similar cakes look distinctive in your showcase.
Who doesn't love presents? These gift-wrapped cakes work well for a variety of occasions, and decorators can produce the simple design quickly. To add differentiation to the cakes, play with color and texture. For example, use the popular combination of pink and brown or go for a monochromatic, all pink look, but add some pop by texturizing the fondant ribbon. While the concept is simple, the different looks this design can produce are almost limitless.
For a pink and brown gift cake, begin by rolling brown fondant for the ribbon. Cut the fondant into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 ins. wide. Cut shorter lengths to form the bow and tail of the ribbon.
To make the bow, fold the two ends of a strip of brown fondant towards the center, and adhere with water. Then, cover the center where the ends meet with another small strip of fondant. Set aside.
Cover a quarter sheet cake with pink fondant. Steam the cake to help adhere the fondant ribbon. Place a strip of brown fondant over the cake. Position it off center, and trim away the excess fondant.
Place another strip of brown fondant over the cake in the opposite direction. Again, position it off center.
At the junction of the two strips of brown fondant, place smaller strips of fondant with “v”s cut out of the ends. Do not lay the strips flat — wrinkle them for the tails of the bow.
Place the bow at the top of the ribbon tails to cover the junction of the two strips of fondant. Use a steamer to add shine to the cake.
Use tip No. 10 to pipe a brown bubble border around the base of the cake. The area on the lower right of the cake is ideal for piping an appropriate message.
For a monochromatic cake with textured ribbon, sheet dark pink fondant, and cut it into strips. Then, use a roller to imprint the fondant with a pattern. Trim excess fondant away from the edges so the strips are about 3 ins. wide.
Cut a small strip of pink, textured fondant and fold the ends towards each other to form the bow. You may need to use foam to help the bow hold its shape as it dries. Cover the center of the bow where the two ends meet with another small strip of textured fondant.
Cover a quarter sheet cake with light pink fondant, and place two strips of textured, dark pink fondant strips cross-wise on the cake. Position the strips so they are not centered on the cake.
Create tails for the bow out of textured fondant; trim one end of the tails into a point and the opposite end into an inverted “v.” Place them at the junction of the two strips of fondant.
Place the bow on the cake at the top of the ribbon tails. Steam the cake to give it sheen. Use tip No. 10 to pipe a white bubble border around the base of the cake. Make a small white plaque out of fondant, and use a cut paper tube to pipe an appropriate message on it. Position the plaque on the cake like a gift tag.
Fourth-generation baker BUDDY VALASTRO, along with his mother and siblings, owns Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, N.J. Valastro has been decorating since the age of 11, when he learned the craft from his father. He specializes in rolled fondant cakes and gumpaste decorations. His wedding cakes are regularly showcased in national bridal magazines and have been featured on several television shows, including The Sorpranos, The View and The Today Show. Valastro and his staff are featured on the television show The Cake Boss, airing on TLC.