Black, White, and Pink All Over - Part 1

Today starts a three part series on a very special birthday party coming up.  The posts will be full of tutorials on all things zebra print and pink.  I'm making snacks, a tiered cake, and cupcakes. I'll share tutorials for fondant bows, cupcake toppers, fondant curly letters, zebra chocolate/pretzel snacks, and more. I also have a recipe and instructions for a zebra cake. If you have a fan of zebra print and pink in your life, you won't want to miss out on these ideas! There's a lot of prep work going into the party, so I'll share the tutorials, and then a post to show how it all comes together.

My niece, Alexis, is turning FIVE in a couple weeks!  I can hardly believe she is getting so big, it seems like just yesterday I was going to the hospital to see her for the first time. She and I have always been very close and I am so excited to be helping out with her party.  Alexis is definitely very girly and into pink, sparkles, and zebra print.

There's a lot of baking to do for her party plus a lot of fondant work. For the tiered cake (I'll leave you in suspense for the final design), I have a lot of fondant components - a large bow topper, curly letters, zebra stripes, and a side bow.  Thankfully, a lot of work can be done ahead of time.  Today's first post shows a couple features that can be made at least a week before the party.

Today I will show you the steps to take to make the curly letters and the side bow.  I'm also sharing the zebra cake recipe.  Let's start with the fondant tutorials...

Side Bow
  • Combine two 1/2 inch diameter balls of black fondant and one 1/2 in diameter ball of gum paste. The gum paste makes the bow harden more to hold its shape.
  • Roll the black fondant out to 1/8 inch. There are guide rings for the Wilton roller that help you to roll it out to 1/8 inch, or you can use rods that are 1/8 in diameter.
  • Using an Exacto knife, or the Wilton roller cutter, cut 3 strips of the black fondant mixture that is 1 inch wide and 5 inches long.  The Wilton cutter makes this process easy as you can cut two strips at a time with precise measurement.
  • Wrap around a roller or something cylindrical with about an inch diameter to hold its shape. Apply gum paste (small balls of gum paste in 1/4 cup water) to the ends and press together.
  • Let harden for about 10-15 mins.
  • Take the 3rd strip and cut down to around 3 1/2 inches.
  • Cover the back with gum paste.
  • Apply gum paste to the two ends of the bow pieces and then wrap the third strip around the bows.
  • Tint a small ball of fondant with pink food gel.
  • Roll fondant thin and shape into a five (or whatever number/letter you would like).
  • Cover the back of the letter/number with gum paste and attach to the bow.
  • Let harden overnight.
Next up, here's a quick tutorial for curly fondant letters.

Curly Letters
  • Start with a ball of left over gum paste/fondant mixture or just black fondant and pinch of a small piece.
  • Roll the balls between your palm and the table to get a long even rope.
  • Shape into letter with extra fondant on the ends.
  • Curl up the sides and roll to make curly ends to the letters.
  • For extra pieces to the letter (such as the horizontal bar in "A"), apply gum paste to the piece and stick on to the rest of the letter.
  • Let sit for at least 24 hours.
Obviously the cake can't be made weeks ahead of time, but I went ahead and made it to test out the recipe. I learned my mistake from my failed checkerboard cake attempt the day before my nephew's party.  I decided this time to try it out ahead of time.  Thankfully I did, because it took three different attempts before I found one that looked zebra print AND tasted good.  The first one combined my favorite chocolate and white cake recipes, but it didn't look zebra like.  The consistency of the batters were so different that the chocolate just sank to the bottom.  To fix this I found a recipe online that would yield batters with identical consistency.  The cake had a zebra print, but I really didn't like the flavor.  Finally, I found an idea on Pinterest that worked great. The original recipe and tutorial is from the site, My Cake School.

Zebra Cake

  • Duncan Hines Devils Food cake mix
  • Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix
  • Oil - per box directions
  • Water - per box direction
  • 6 eggs (3 for each) - per box directions
  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • In one bowl, mix together Devils Food cake mix, eggs, oil, and water per box mix directions.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together Classic White cake mix, egg whites, oil, and water per box mix directions. It is best to separate the eggs to keep yolks out, but you can use yolks if you don't want to seperate. Excluding the yolk just helps keep the white coloring.
  • Spray 8 in round pan, or whatever size pan you wish to use, with cooking spray.
  • Take turns pouring in 1/4 cup white batter and 1/4 cup chocolate batter in the pan. 
  • The batter should start to spread out as you pour it in, attempt to pour in the center of the batter.
  • You can shake the batter to expedite it settling in.
  • Bake per directions on the cake mix, or per Wilton baking times.  The 8 in round cake that was 3 in deep took about 50-55 minutes to bake in my oven.

Hope you enjoyed today's tutorials, there is a lot going into this zebra party!  Remember to check back for post #2 on the black fondant bow topper for the cake.  Also, don't forget to check out and like my Facebook page.  I've got additional ideas and pictures on the page.  I'm posting a pic today of how my Super Bowl cupcakes turned out.  

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