This Kung Fu Panda Cake was for my son's second birthday. Everything is edible; using a combination of fondant, butter-cream, royal icing, and rice crispie treats. I always add a box of instant pudding mix to my cakes (the best for moisture and creamy flavor) and it adds enough moisture that you can bake the cakes the day prior, frost them, and still have that fresh baked taste the following day.
I prefer to only use fondant for decorations and use a crusting butter cream to ice the cake which, after frosting, can be smoothed down using a non-print paper towel. Po and Shifu figures (fondant) were made a week in advance to dry and kept in a container. As Po would have been really heavy made entirely from fondant, his core is rice crispie covered in about 1/4" fondant. In this cake, I also made several elements in advance and allowed them to air dry so they would be plenty firm. For example, the gray marble steps, the gate, and front doors.
The hills and the roofs are fondant covered rice crispie. I achieved the scallop in the roof by pressing the fondant with alternating bamboo skewers and allowed to partially air dry (1/2 day), then to achieve the roundness in the roof, I removed the skewers and placed them on a curved silicone cutting board (curved because it got that way from the heat of the dishwasher - oops; but has come in handy for this cake. I allowed the pieces to dry over night and then "glued" them to the formed rice crispie roof. To cover the seams was overlapped fondant squares. For the extra turned up detail at the corners, there is a small piece of wire inside the fondant.
The posts are red fondant with yellow royal icing for the "dragons". Serving two purposes, there is a bamboo skewer inside each that is the entire height of the cake. This not only helped to keep the posts in place but also supported the weight of the roof.
The Palace windows were a learning experience! I decided to try using sugar sheets and cut them out. They looked great before putting them on the cake, but I will NEVER use them again for three reasons: 1. They taste terrible! 2. They did not stick to the crusting butter cream and kept peeling off. 3. They also cracked and sagged.