Our friends have a daughter who wanted a dolphin cake for her birthday, and this is the result. We didn’t take photos of the entire project, but in a previous post about making a Perry the Platypus cake, I go into more detail about the process, including the mixing of the fondant. Our friends’ daughter doesn’t tolerate some artificial food dyes, so, instead of using a 1/4 cup of water when microwaving the marshmallows, we used a 1/4 cup beet juice. It gave us a beautiful pink fondant.
I started out by creating a drawing in Adobe Illustrator and positioning it on a 13 x 19 inch rectangle to represent the cake board. This gave me a basic idea of how it would look with color, and gave me a goal to work toward.
Replacing the color with outlines gave me a pattern to print and cut out:
I needed to plan for the shape of the cake, and how to get the best use of the 9×13 shape. My drawing showed me how to position the rectangle of cake on the board before cutting.
Once I got the cake on the board, my plan was to put the paper template of the dolphin over the cake and start cutting:
We didn’t have another rectangle pan so the next large piece would be cut from a 9 inch round cake. There were plenty of cake pieces left over to make the small part on the tail:
To make the “actual size” pattern, I needed to print the image onto 3 pieces of 8.5×11 paper that I could tape together and then cut out. This was my pattern for cutting the cake.
Once the cake was in position on the board I started cutting. It helps if you have a sharp serrated knife. I used a Cutco petite carver, but I’m sure there are other knives that would work well.
I finished going around the pattern for the for this section, but I kept the paper in place so I would know how to position the other pieces. Basically, you need to position cake underneath the rest of the paper and then cut it to shape. You could use a solid rectangle, or you could piece it together like I did.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the round, but this is how it ended up. I used butter cream in the joints where the pieces come together. I added butter cream under the smaller pieces to keep them in place on the board. With my knife I started trimming to round off the edges and make it more dolphin-like. If your knife is sharp this shouldn’t be difficult. I would remove a bit, step back for a look, remove a little more, etc. I didn’t want to remove too much and then wish I hadn’t, so I went fairly slow.
Here is closer look.
Next is the layer of butter cream. I used a butter knife to spread it, but again, I went slow. Also, instead of bringing the knife across, like buttering toast, I pull the knife along the other axis, like it’s a boat on water. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it seems to keep the cake from crumbling off. I also start out with a lot of butter cream on the knife to keep it from dragging. Gradually I would smooth it out.
We mixed two batches of fondant the night before. It seems to work better if you give it 24 hours to sit. To make the light pink I just mixed some white and pink together.
I didn’t document laying the fondant this time because I had a bit of trouble and my wife (who would have had the camera) needed to give me a hand. I wanted to lay pink fondant over the entire cake, which I did, but it took me a few tries. Our counter space is limited, so I had some trouble rolling out a large enough piece. Once the fondant was on the cake it wasn’t too difficult to get it trimmed to the shape.
When I was satisfied with the first layer of fondant, I rolled out the light pink and laid it over top. I wasn’t looking closely at my drawing for this step, so it didn’t go exactly as planned. Overall I’m satisfied with the result. We already had black fondant so we used a small piece for the eye.