**I should preface this post by saying that I did these simply for the look. I did not anticipate eating these so I didn’t do anything special like make my own fondant. I only added a little cherry extract (less than a tablespoon, a little over half) so the kids could eat the cakes that weren’t decorated.
This is one of those projects I’ve been eyeing up for a while. It looked sooo unbelievably adorable on the site and I read through her instructions a few times. I figured, how hard can it be? I’m new to fondant…never used it, made it, tasted it (ugh! seriously can’t handle the flavor), etc. However, I’m adventurous when it comes to crafting and decided to give it a go.
Find the instructions here. While the tutorial was detailed, I think she should have listed the animated cherries and their preparation first. I got all the way through (completely forgot how long they take) the steps only to realize that I’d have to wait overnight for them to be firm enough to use. Me being the patient person that I am, loved this little tidbit… So, I moved on. Gather your tools.
I also found that I didn’t need all of the fancy tools listed. I found a brand new paintbrush to use for painting on water when needed. The same brush was used as my ball tool, so no need for that. Instead of buying or finding one of the rollers, I just used a pizza cutter. In lieu of the modeling stick, I used a toothpick or a knife. And the last sub I made was to use cooking oil instead of shortening as I didn’t have any.
Preheat your oven, bake your cupcakes and place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. While they’re chilling, get started on mixing your colors (if you purchased white fondant like me). If you don’t have tan because you forgot to buy it, I found a tutorial on YouTube to make some. I underestimated how much work this would be. Don’t be like me, BUY your tan… If your color doesn’t work out, you can try adding brown or orange a little at a time to get the shade you want.
Start with balls of fondant. Each should get smaller by half the size of the previous one.
Then, blend those colors together. I found the easiest way to add color to the fondant is to knead it in.
When she states to work fast, work F-A-S-T!!! I, having never worked with fondant before did not realize how quickly it turns hateful. I mean, this stuff will crack, wrinkle and just all around be ugly if not worked with properly or speedily enough. I clearly did not handle it properly. I ended up resorting to oiling my hands like a mad woman just to keep it moist enough to be pliable.
Ice your cupcakes AS you are ready to decorate them. This way your icing can serve as glue to hold those pesky little cherries in place. On the subject of cherries, if you’re not going for precision, just pinch off sections rather than using the tip to cut them out. I spent so much time blowing through the tiny end because the fondant kept getting stuck to the inside. Yes, I did spray the tip…it just stuck anyway. With your big cherries, unless you want “flat” bottomed girls, make sure the piece lying flat is the back of your cherry! I had to throw away the first pair because I did not do this.
Try, try again. Okay, these were a pain in my backside to make. I knew they’d be work, but… Come on! I was really not ready for these to be a 2-day project. I was only making one so I could get photos of it and then the lighting turned on me…
The rays look like these are ascending to heaven. Good. That is where these belong for me, dead and with a “higher power”. Yes, they were passable. But everything seemed to be working against me. My inexperience with fondant, time, frustration with instability of fondant, time, the “pie crust” looking like a small intestine (I made 5 of these), time…you get the picture. So, the one photographed is the cupcake that just passed muster. She was my last attempt this morning. I woke up, looked at the sad little cake I was going to share and started anew. After the pie was done and my crust looked leaps and bounds better than it’s predecessor, I was stoked and ready to go.
I grabbed my would be dry cherries and popped them on top. I died a little inside as I realized they were not going to make it. Before I snapped the first picture, the stems were headed south. I took as many as I could before they completely gave out (3). This left me no time to adjust settings on my camera to address that inconsiderate ray of light. Nor could I reposition and try again.
Rather than cry about it, I decided to share my project anyway. You see, my weekend had been shaping up well. We have family in town for the weekend and we have a party planned and a beach day. I figured, get all of your blog posts photographed, written and scheduled. Then you can play the rest of the weekend and not feel guilty. I was not going to let these once cute cherries sabotage my plans. So, I’m sharing a less than stellar project and less than optimal photos. I’m still learning my camera and knew that it was not that “golden hour” to take pictures. I ignored this, and paid dearly. Learn from me, be patient.
PLEASE!!! If anyone out there has fondant tips, let me know in the comments or contact me 🙂 I desperately want to do these over so I can get a clean shot.