By Katherine Martin
Place green fondant on the top of the black fondant-covered cake, and use a hexagon cake pan to trace and cut the shape in green fondant.
Use a clothing steamer to wet the cake, giving it shine.
Adhere the playing cards to the sides of the cake with water. Place two cards on each side of the hexagon.
Arrange a royal flush on top of the cake. Border the green fondant with cutout diamonds, spades, hearts and clubs.
Create cigars using chocolate fondant, rolled to 3 ins. in length. Place discs of gray fondant at one end of the cigars for ash.
Stack red and white chips around the base of the cake. Use tip No. 7 to pipe a white, looping top border and a bottom border of dots.
This cake design is appropriate for almost any occasion, including birthdays, retirements or graduations.
Cakes for men can be a challenge. Decorators often look to hobbies for inspiration. One such hobby garnering a lot of attention recently is card playing, especially poker. From celebrities to teenagers, it seems almost every one is playing poker. Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., turned this popular pastime into a cake design that is appropriate for a variety of occasions, including birthdays or retirements.
To begin, fill and stack three 12-in. hexagon cake layers. Place the cake on a round cake board. Make sure to use a sturdy cake board, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Base ice the cake with a thin layer of icing. Valastro recommends using a palette knife to smooth the icing, and then using a cut piece of cardboard to remove the excess icing. Once the cake is base iced, place it in the freezer while rolling out the fondant to cover it.
Roll out a piece of black fondant that is large enough to cover both the cake and the cake board. "I suggest buying black fondant. You can make the black color, but buying it makes life a thousand times easier," Valastro says. After covering the cake and the board, use a sharp knife to cut the fondant around the cake base to separate the fondant covering the cake from the fondant covering the board.
For the felt of the poker table, roll out green fondant, and place it on top of the hexagon cake. Use a 10-in. hexagon cake pan, and trace the shape onto the green fondant. Remove the pan, and with a sharp knife, carefully cut away the excess green fondant. Be careful not to cut into the black fondant. If you have a problem with the green fondant sliding, paint the top of the 12-in. hexagon with water, which will adhere the green fondant. Then, steam the cake with a clothing steamer to add shine.
To make the playing cards, you have a couple of options. For this particular design, Valastro chose to copy the cards onto 81/2-in. by 11-in. sheets of fondant using a computer imaging system and cut them out individually for use on the cake. Scan five cards for the hand being played on top of the cake, and 12 cards to place two on each side of the hexagon.
However, if you do not own a computer imaging system, or choose not to use one, you can easily make your own fondant cards. Simply cut rectangles out of white fondant using a playing card as your stencil. If you are making a smaller cake, you can use a smaller stencil to create your cards. Then, use cutters to create spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs out of red and black fondant. Place the cutouts in the corners of the cards. You may also want to cut out the letter 'A' for an ace card, depending on the hand you want to display.
If you choose to use a computer imaging system for your cards, you will still want to cut out shapes of the four suits of cards to place around the edges of the cake.
Position two cards on each of the hexagon's sides using water to keep the cards in place. Then, arrange five cards for the hand being played on the cake top. In this case, Valastro chose to display a royal flush of ace, king, queen, jack and 10 in black. Do not stick the cards down with water until you have them fanned exactly the way you want them.
Place the designs of the different card suits cut from fondant along the border of the green fondant and cake board. Using red and white fondant, cut 1-in. to 11/2-in. chips. Place the chips around the base of the cake, stacking some of them. Then, use chocolate fondant to roll four cigars, each about 3 ins. long. Create gray fondant by mixing white and black fondant together, and place a disc of gray fondant on the end of each cigar for ash. Place two cigars at the top of the cake above the hand of cards, and position the other two on the base of the cake in the front.
Steam the cake again to add shine. Use tip No. 7 and white icing to pipe a looping top border along the green fondant. Use the same tip to pipe dots for a bottom border. Pipe an appropriate greeting in white icing using a cut paper tube. If you chose to use a MDF board, finish the cake board by hot gluing a ribbon around the exposed edge.
Bet on a sure thing, and offer this design for all your poker-playing customers.