The Taste of Music

When you think of music, the sense that usually comes to mind would be sound.  But, this weekend my family got a taste of music with a piano cake I made for my sister!  If you are following me on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you caught a glimpse of my busy weekend.  Not only did I have this piano cake, but I was also delivering my Oscar the Grouch cupcake toppers, had a sea turtle smash cake, and made some butterfly cupcakes for a shower! On top of this, these cakes/cupcakes were all for out of town as we went back to my home state to deliver and make all these.  Thankfully I remembered everything I needed to get these treats done, and none of the fondant pieces broke in transporting!

As you may have read, I have a new posting schedule and since Monday is for cake/fondant tutorials, I'm excited to show you today how I made this piano cake!  I don't have the best pictures for making the cake as we left our camera at home (ok, so I did forget one important thing). As you can imagine, I was also pretty rushed trying to get these cakes done!  I got focused on making the cake and later realized I hadn't taken pictures along the way.  But, I think my explanations will help show what I did at each step. As always, if you have any questions feel free to post it on the comments, or email me.

This piano themed cake is one of my favorite that I have worked on. I thought long and hard about what theme to do for her birthday. I've tried in the past to create unique cakes for the adult members in my family based on their interests and hobbies.  You may remember my math themed cake for my brother-in-law and my UK Wildcats basketball cake for my husband. I decided to go with music for my sister's cake, it has always been an important part of her life. She is an outstanding pianist, minored in music in college, and was a music teacher for a while. 

The cake kind of all revolved around this fondant piano I created. My goal was to make a piano that resembled the black, upright piano they have in their house. From there, I decided to stick to a black/white theme using black letters for "Happy Birthday."  I found an idea online to make the side of the cake look like the keys of a piano, so I decided to finish the cake with that detail.

Here's a quick tutorial on making the fondant piano:

  • Start by shaping a flat rectangle of black fondant (1/4-1/2 in thick)
  • Create a bench shape (long flat piece with pieces coming down on either side) out of black fondant. The long piece should be about half as tall as the rectangle piece.
  • Attach the bench shape to the rectangle using gum glue (pieces of fondant dissolved in a small amount of water)
  • Cut out a long piece of white fondant just under the length of the bench portion of the black fondant
  • Press a spatula lightly into the white fondant making a slight indentation, repeat for the length of the white piece of fondant, making the "keys" of the piano.
  •  Using a black edible marker, draw on the black keys on the piece of white fondant.
  • Attach the keys on the piano using gum glue
  • Once the keyboard is one, you can clean up the shape of the piano by cutting off any excess fondant on the sides/back using a spatula.
  • You can finish off the piano with a couple additional details - sheet music and pedals. 
    • Sheet Music
      • Cut out a thin rectangle of white fondant
      • Fold piece in half making a slight indentation
      • Using a fine tipped edible marker, draw thin lines on and music notes
    • Pedal
      • Use gold or brown colored fondant
      • Create a small rectangle shape and make indentations (with a knife or spatula) to make it appear like it has three pedals
  • Attach additional pieces using gum glue

This piece needs some time to dry, I would at least make it 24 hours in advance.  Here's how I finished the cake the morning of her birthday lunch.

Piano Cake Tutorial:
  • Bake and cool an 8 inch cake (or whatever size you need)
  • Place cake on a 10 inch cake board
  • Cover the cake in white buttercream and smooth
  • Roll out black fondant to around 1/16 inch and cut out "Happy Birthday" with small cutters or Exacto knife
  • Place "Happy Birthday" and piano on cake before buttercream crusts, or with a small dab of water if they won't stick
  • Make identations about every 1/2 in around the side of cake making the edge of the cake appear to be the keys of the piano
  • Create 1/4 in wide strips of black fondant around 2/3 of the height of the cake
  • Place the black strips on the side of the cake (using a dab of water on the back if needed) to resemble the black keys on the piano
  • Create a treble clef and notes out of black fondant, rolling out thin ropes of fondant and shaping them
  • I finished the cake by placing cake board on a cake plate and adding a black/white ribbon around the side of the cake board.  I found it at Michaels and thought it looked like piano keys

Check back the next couple Mondays to see my tutorials for my sea turtle cake and my 3D butterfly cupcake toppers (check Instagram or Facebook to see a sneak peek). Don't forget Mondays are tutorial posts, Wednesdays are recipes, and Fridays are anything/everything baking related! 

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