I have been making cakes here and there for a few years. I have not taken any classes or anything, I mostly have learned what I need to know from the cake shows on TV and the internet. I recently made a cake for my friend's twins first birthday. My other friend's daughter was getting ready to celebrate her 12th birthday and told her that she wanted me to make her birthday cake after she saw the twins cake. I was given a few requests, it had to be chocolate cake with chocolate filling, orange frosting and NO FONDANT. Other than that I had free reign. Knowing that she was a HUGE Hunger Games fan I thought that should be my theme, plus I knew I could incorporate the color orange in there.
I started out by cutting out a paper template of the letter "K" (I had printed the letter from some clip art I found online) and then took some premade fondant by Wilton and flavored it with clear vanilla and worked that in. Once that was worked in I added about ten drops of yellow food coloring and worked that through until the ball of fondant was completely yellow and didn't look like it was Tye-dyed. I then rolled it out to about 1/4 - 1/2" thick. I placed the template on top and cut it out with an exacto knife. I then cut out (freehand) the "flames". I made sure to cut out enough just in case I messed up on one or two. Then I took food coloring and painted the "K" and the "flames" to look like they were on fire.
Then I baked two 9x13 chocolate cakes (from mix) and let them cool. I cut off the tops to make them flat and then stuck them in the freezer for about 15 minutes to quick cool them. I frosted the rough top (from where I cut) with a whole tub of store bought chocolate frosting and then laid the other cake on top of it rough side down. Then I had two tubs of store bought vanilla frosting which I divided up in to three bowls, one for orange, one for yellow and one for red. I made sure there was more orange than the other two colors.
I added in about 1/8 -1/4 c powdered sugar to the frosting and whipped it in (to give it stiffness) and then once combined I added the colors until I was satisfied with the outcome. I frosted orange first about 2/3 up the cake (maybe a little less) and then red then yellow. Once it was all covered I took a large cereal spoon and used the back to create the swirls (since it was stiffer than normal frosting) and made it combine in to each color. Once I was done with that I painted the tips of the swirls with red, orange and yellow to make it look like it was on fire.
Then I took the fondant "K" and "flames" (which I had placed in the freezer for hardening)and put the flames on the bottom of the orange part of the cake (on the side)and placed the "K" in the middle (The "K" stood for Katniss from the book and also Kaelei which is the birthday girl's name).
It was a hit. Kaelei told her mom it was the BEST birthday cake she has ever had. I think I am scheduled to make next years cake too!