Elephant Birthday Party

Today, I'm bringing you a post full of elephants!  If you follow me on one of my other social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), you probably caught a sneak peak of my weekend project. This past weekend I made treats for a little boy's first birthday party. His mom wanted simply designed cakes with various shades of blue, and elephants.  She sent me a picture of an invitation she was basing the decorations on.  I went with that elephant character and came up with a cake, cupcakes, and a smash cake.

There's a lot of work that went into these cakes!  First up is the large birthday cake. I wanted a simple design, but needed it to fit with the theme.  

Main Cake

I started out by creating a fondant elephant centerpiece. This needs to be made at least 24 hours in advance, to be completely dry.

Elephant centerpiece:
  • Start by using black food gel and white fondant to create gray fondant
  • Roll out fondant to around 1/4-1/2 in thick
  • Cut out the basic shape of the elephant using an Exacto knife or spatula (you can do by hand or printout a template to use)
  • Use a spatula to smooth out edges and clean up.  You can smooth out cracks by rubbing on water or shortening
  • Roll out a thin piece of fondant for tail and attach using gum glue (balls of fondant dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
  • Add some white fondant to the grey fondant to lighten it up and roll out to approx 1/16 in
  • Cut out shape of the elephant ear 
  • Attach ear to the elephant using gum glue
  • Roll blue fondant out to 1/8 in and cut out circular base
  • Attach elephant using gum glue

  • Add dot for an eye using a black edible marker
  • Let dry at least 24 hours
I baked the cake the evening before the party.  Here's the steps I used to finish up the cake:
  • Once cooled, cut cake in half and fill (I used a fudge filling)
  • Cover cake with blue buttercream
  • Set elephant on top of cake before buttercream hardens
  • Roll blue fondant to 1/16 in
  • Cut out circles in the fondant using small cookie cutter
  • Add the blue dots on to top of cake (if icing has hardened, apply dot of water to back of circles)
  • Add a little more blue food coloring to leftover buttercream to create a darker tint
  • Using tip #12, create buttercream border for the bottom of the cake
Elephant cupcakes

I started these by making cupcake toppers a few days before (just need to dry at least 24 hours).

Cupcake toppers:
  • Roll gray fondant out to around 1/16 in
  • Cut out elephants using a template and an Exacto knife (I freehanded the shape on cardboard)
  • Using cookie cutter, cut out "1" shape
  • Roll out blue fondant to 1/16 in
  • Cut out ovals for balloons
  • Using the rope technique, roll out white fondant to create a "K" (or whatever letter you are using) and balloon string
  • Attach "K"'s, balloon strings, and balloons to elephant and "1" toppers using gum glue

The night before the party I started finishing up the cupcakes:
  • Bake cupcakes and let cool completely (I let sit out all night)
  • Pipe buttercream on using 1M tip
  • Lightly press cupcake topper on top of icing, pressing down the icing some and attaching the topper
Elephant smash cake

My final cake was the smash cake!  This didn't require much fondant, so no work in advance.  Here's how I created the cake.
  • Bake a 6 in cake (I like that size for smash cake)
  • Let cool completely
  • Cut cake about 1/3 way down
  • Fill and cover cake with buttercream
  • Find a picture of an elephant you want to use and print it out to the desired size
  • Make sure the picture is flipped backwards of how you want it facing on the cake (ex: the cake topper I made had the elephant facing left, so I printed it out with elephant facing right)
  • Place piece of wax paper over top of the printed picture
  • Fill ziploc bag with piping gel and cut off corner
  • Trace the shape of the elephant onto the wax paper with the piping gel
  • Flip the wax paper over and CAREFULLY place down on cake
  • Rub the wax paper area with the piping gel to attach it to cake
  • Slowly peel back wax paper 
Piping gel on smoothed buttercream to serve as an outline
  • Fill piping bag with gray icing and tip #12
  • Fill in the lines of the elephant with the icing, slowly moving around and applying a constant pressure
  • Using tip #3, finish details, such as eye (black icing), tail (gray), and balloon string
  • Using tip #12, pipe balloon using blue buttercream 
  • Again using tip #12, create a border around the base of the cake
  • To finish up, roll out fondant to around 1/16 inch in blue
  • Use letter cookie cutters to cut out name and place on cake
Hope you enjoyed these tutorials!  I had a blast making the cake, and the family seemed to enjoy it. Make sure and check back this week for a yummy Andes mint brownie recipe!  I won't have an Easter cake to share this weekend, BUT I do have another birthday cake to make.  I'm excited as this is my third weekend in a row to make a cake!! So check back next week for a farmed themed birthday cake I'm making for my sister's father-in-law.  Don't forget to follow on Instagram or Twitter for a sneak peak of the cakes!

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