Friday, March 23, 2012

A watering can cake

There are certain people in life that just glow...that exude a sweetness and light that is so attractive and so secure that it draws people. Jennifer is a person like that. She's a mom at my daughter's school that I've had the privilege to get to know this past year and a half. My daughter adores her and so do many of the kids there. She has the best laugh, a sassy personality and a love for Jesus!
A few weeks ago I found out it was her birthday today...and in my heart I thought, ohhhh, it'd be SOO fun to make her a cake. Then, the next day, she emailed me this sweet email asking if I'd make her "one of my incredible cakes for her birthday". Upon seeing that, I knew I needed to...because how many people would email to ask someone to make them a cake for their own birthday!? :) But, I played like I was so busy and probably couldn't do it, but "if" I could, I asked what she'd like! :) She loves red and turquoise and Spring...she is so excited for the flowers and sun to come out and wanted something to remind her of Spring. So, after much thought, I came up with a watering can cake.

I then had to figure out what kind of flowers could be coming out of the can! I thought roses would be easy, but she's not a rose kind of gal...I needed something more funky. Then I thought maybe a stylized version of a camellia because we have several out front of our house right now and they're beautiful! But, I after an evening of trying, I gave up on those! :) I then thought of poppies because they're relatively simple and I could make them from fondant or modeling chocolate. I wouldn't need gumpaste. That was perfect! I used the tools I had to make them.

Here's how to make a poppy:
1. Cut out a large shell and a small shell template. In fact, a shell is perfect because while making these petals, my son came up and said, "OH, mom, those are nice shells!" ;)
2. Roll out your fondant/modeling chocolate nice and thin and cut out two small shells and two large shells per flower.
3. Place each petal one at a time in the palm of your hand and using a ball tool, thin and frill the edges a bit.
4. After you thin the edges, use the bottom shell-looking section of the middle tool seen here (I don't know what it's called) and press it from the top edge down to the center around the perimeter of the petal to create the ridges on the petal.
5. Let it set and dry on the back of a spool or a tiny bowl.
6. Cut a small piece of wax paper and add it to the bottom of a cupcake tin. Squeeze some melted chocolate onto that wax paper and lay the two larger petals in there end to end - one to the left and one to the right.
7. Add more melted chocolate and lay the two smaller petals 90 degrees to the larger ones, end to end...and let dry.

For the centers:
1. Roll out a thin piece of fondant and using the medium sized daisy cutter (seen here) cut out two flowers. While on your counter, using a sharp exacto knife, cut each petal in 5 or 6 sections.
2. Lay one of the flowers on the other and let dry in a little dish - like a painters pallet/dish used for painting.
3. For the little center of the flower, roll a ball and vein it into 8 lines keeping the center untouched.

I hope that all makes sense! :) They're really easy to make which is why I picked them! :)For the handle and the spout top I mixed some tylose/gumtex with the fondant and cut out my shapes and let dry for several days. The spout of the watering can is a 1/2" dowel I cut about 9" long. I added a cut off nail to the top of the dowel so when I added the spout, it had something to help hold it on there. The bottom of the dowel that got inserted into the cake, I cut off at an angle so when I inserted it into the cake, it wouldn't displace so much cake. It still did though, so make sure you cut out a bit of the cake before you put the dowel in...otherwise, it'll leave a big bulge where the dowel goes in.

Another thing that was a little funny, but ended up working out great was the color of the can...fondant. I was really heavy-handed with my color when making it and it got really dark. I was thinking in my mind of a pale, I was a bit disappointed I got it so dark. However, after the cake came together and the flowers were placed on top, I loved the color of it!! God is so good!! Even my "mistakes" turned out to be blessings. Isn't that how He always works...He somehow redeems those mess-ups and turns them around for good! So, thank you Jesus again for blessing me with a perfect colored cake! :) I really loved how this one turned out!! So fun, so colorful and just beautiful!!

Oh, one more thing I might be asked that I wanted to share is "how did you get the fondant to be shiny"? I got a few of those at the school when I gave the cake to Jennifer. I rubbed crisco all over the outside of the cake and then used a dry paper towel and started lightly buffing that crisco into the fondant. It gave it a shiny-satin-like finish. Perfect for the watering can.
Here's a pic of the back...without the bow and tag.

The cake ended up being three layers of chocolate mudcake that I it was six thin layers of cake with 5 layers of cookies and cream buttercream. Yum! I used my powdered sugar/marshmallow buttercream and it was a bit soft...even in the fridge. I usually only use that recipe on cupcakes and now I know why...compared to a Swiss-meringue buttercream, the marshmallow buttercream doesn't stay super hard in the fridge like the SMBC, so it's not quite as stable. So, a little word to all on that. It still works, but I think I'll stick with my SMBC next time.

I guess that's it!! Thanks for looking!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

Welcome Spring!


  1. Gorgeous! Nailed another one! Congrats.

  2. I am speechless... How on earth did you manage to make such a PERFECT work? Bravo!!

  3. I don't normally comment on blogs etc... but I just want you to know that this is stunning and I have loved all of your work! Thank you for sharing so generously your skills and talent!

  4. This cake is amazing! Just perfect. You have such a talent.

  5. Why you don't do this for a living is beyond me. You are truly a talent!!!!! If you ever want to move to South Florida you can definitely come work with me in my shop.
    Oh out of curiosity.... How long did it take you to make this?

  6. Adriana: You are so sweet! Wow, Florida! :) I think I'd melt! :)
    I have no idea how long it took me...I never keep track because I don't want to know! :) I worked on it here and there...a few hours here and a few hours there. I'm sure it was 12-15 because I make everything from scratch...and am a perfectionist and do things over and over if I need to.

  7. This cake is so clean and beautiful! How did you get that long spout to stay without sagging?

  8. Dear Jessica,

    You are amazing and have a very generous and precious heart! My family and I are enjoying the cake immensely. You are such a blessing to me! Jennifer

  9. Jessica, your work is just so beautiful as ALWAYS!

  10. This is absolutely beautiful! I love all of your cakes, truly works of art. I have Two Questions for you!

    1. how did the dowel stay upright in the cake without dragging everything down?

    2. What did you use to write "Happy Birthday" on the modeling chocolate/fondant?

  11. PastryPrincess: Thank you! :)

    1. I cut out some of the cake first before putting the dowel in so it wouldn't displace that much cake. Then, I cut the dowel at an angle so it had a sharp tip. I inserted the sharp/long side of the tip facing up so it held itself in the cake. The cake was dense...a mudcake, so it was like putting the dowel in brownies...there was enough cake to hold it solid.

    2. I have an itty-bitty paint brush I use. I use black gel color mixed with a bit of vodka to create a paint. Then painted it on.

  12. Seriously, you so amaze me!

  13. Another awesome cake! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hi, Jessica! First, I am having such a great time looking at all of your wonderful and informative blog posts! You're cakes are fantastic.

    Second, I wonder what type of coloring you're adding to get such vibrant hues? I've heard of adding liquid lecithin to achieve brighter colors. Have you explored this at all? Thank you!!

  15. Unknown: Thank you! - I'm so glad you're finding helpful things on the blog! :)

    I use Americolor gels and Wilton gel colors. I like deep vibrant colors, so I go for that when making my cakes. Also, when you have a well-lit photo, that can make all the difference in the world. I took these pics outside with lots of light, so the colors look very true!


  16. Hi Jessica,
    Absolutely amazing and perfectly neat as usual!!. Wish I am a tenth of a perfectionist as you are. Please which type of dowel did you use and how can i get one (i stay in the UK). I'm looking into making a fifi watering can cake sometimes in february. Also, what alternatives can be used just in case i don't find the type of dowel in my area.
    Many thanks indeed!!!!

    1. Thank you! It was a 1/2" round wood dowel I found at Home Depot...a huge home improvement hardware type store. I'm sure you'll find something there. Craft stores or hardware stores. Blessings!