I made this Homemade Ocean Birthday Cake Design for my son's 1st birthday. His name is Kai, which means Ocean, so I thought this was an appropriate theme. It was fun to make and I learned a lot along the way. This is only the 4th cake that I've done using fondant.
I started about a week early making the fondant. It is a marshmallow fondant that is really easy, but messy, to make and it will stay good wrapped tightly in plastic for about 2 weeks unrefrigerated. You can find the recipe on youtube for this. I used 2 bags of large marshmallows to make the aqua color fondant that covered both cakes which was more than enough. I still had a good bit left over. I then used another bag of large marshmallows to make the other colors. I only needed a little of each color for the decorations so 1 bag was plenty. Three days before, I made a batch or rice crispy treats. This is what I used to shape the head of the octopus. I then covered that in the purple fondant and rolled out eight legs and shaped them as well. I set this aside to dry. Then I used the yellow, purple and orange/coral color fondant and made the tubular looking coral pieces. You can make these any different sizes in height and thickness. I just rolled these into a ball and then shaped them and used the flat end of a large skewer to make the hole in the center. Set these aside to dry.
Then, I shaped the crab out of the orange/coral color fondant and set aside to dry. The shells are made out of candy melts. I found the molds and candies at Michaels. You can buy the colored candies, but I colored my own since I knew I wanted a bunch of different colors. You will have to buy the special candy coloring though, which they also sell at Michaels. I tried to use regular coloring but it does not work! I made a lot of shells, starfish and I used another mold with a seahorse, shark, starfish, fish, turtle to make lollipops and I used these to make the kids goodie bags. I wish I had a picture of those. They came out awesome! I brushed the shells with a pearl dust powder (also at Michaels) to really make them look real. The picture doesn't do these justice!
The day before I made up some royal icing and made the lettering, coral, seagrass and whatever other decoration you want to make and let this dry over night (on wax paper). This was the first time I ever used royal icing so I played around a bit with different tips to make the designs I wanted. I made the piping bags out of wax paper and inserted different tips. It is really easy to make and use and it dries very hard. I used meringue powder instead of egg whites so you don't have to worry about anyone getting sick. You can find this at Walmart, or any craft store. Put a little leftover in the fridge to use to secure your decorations to the fondant. Then, I made (2) 12" X 12" white cakes (box cakes but I add pudding and almond extract). This is for the bottom layer, then I made (1) chocolate cake and made (2) 7" x 7" cakes for the top tier. I leveled the bottom 12" cakes and iced them with butter cream icing and stacked them, set aside and I did the same for the 2 7" cakes.
I rolled out the aqua fondant for the bottom tier first, covered then did the same for the top tier. I placed the bottom cake on a 13 X 19 cake board (before covering in fondant) then I inserted 4 dowels to hold the top cake. I positioned the top tier sideways making a diamond shape. Now time to decorate! I placed the legs on the top cake and positioned them how I wanted. They were dry, but still slightly pliable so I could move them to form down the side of the cake. I secured them in place by using a small paint brush and using a small amount of royal icing. This works like glue to the fondant.
I painted the eyes of the octopus head with royal icing then a dab of melted chocolate for the pupils. Then I inserted a wooden skewer into the octopus head and placed it on top of the legs and into the top cake. Then I placed the crab on the top of the bottom layer near the front. Next I used the royal icing to adhere the royal icing and fondant decorations that were set aside to dry to the cake. You can design this anyway you'd like. I made sure to decorate the sides and back as well as the front. When I placed the bottom cake on the board (before it was covered in fondant) I made sure to place it near the back of the board so that I would have room to lay out the royal icing lettering to say Happy Birthday Kai. Before laying out the lettering, I covered the open board with brown sugar to look like sand, then I placed the lettering and some of the shells. I place some of the shells and starfish on the cakes as well.
I really enjoyed doing this cake and I will be doing more in the future! I found youtube to be very helpful for different questions along the way.