Ideas & Pointers Needed for Relief Pan Cakes Decoration

Hi all! Months ago I found this site and was so excited to begin making cakes; however, I am also a grad student and when classes began in August, I had no idea how time consuming this semester would become! I’ve barely been able to do my normal everyday necessary things while taking these classes – the busiest I’ve been in a long time! I had really hoped to have done many test runs on different types/flavors of cakes and have my decorating ideas ready as well, but I am SO far behind!

I must admit that I am an avid Nordic Ware fan, particularly of their many beautiful relief pans which create everything from holidays wreathes to castles. I have many, including several discontinued pans. The issue I need help with is how to best decorate these beautiful cakes to not only make them striking (and buyable!) but also to preserve their fine details. Since I’ll be making some of these cakes for Christmas sales, I’m concentrating on 2 in particular, a Santa in the Chimney cake and a holiday wreath featuring a big bow. I am attaching pics of both. What I’m interested in on the Santa cake is how his coat is done. It isn’t bulky and has a nice sparkle to it, as does the mittens and toy bag. I think his face is done in same manner, but not sure. Overall, the details are preserved which is what I am wanting to do. With the wreath pan, the bow itself could be carefully covered with thin fondant since it’s big enough to work with, but the other details found around the top and sides of the cake are a concern.

This may be a silly question, but is there any way to make cake frosting “paint”? Something that would allow color to be painted onto the cake without losing the details? The only technique I managed to stumble across while watching a cake decorating show was the use of piping gel to paint the surface and then use whatever colors of sugars/decorations on top…the piping gel acting as a sort of colored glue.

When I ordered the Santa pan, I had hoped it would have some decorating pointers with the information since it was the finished cake that caught my eye, but there was absolutely nothing said about the decorating techniques. I’m afraid it may be fondant work and I have no experience with fondant, especially using it on relief forms like this. One other pan that I have, not Nordic Ware, but a beautiful relief pan nonetheless – a dragon with eggs. There is a big call for “geeky” and “horror” type cakes all year round and I would love to figure out how to decorate the dragon cake with jewel tones or iridescent sorts of colors since dragons are commonly brightly colored but not cartoonish, at least not the one I’m hoping to successfully produce one day! I have seen a lot of beautiful work done directly onto fondant (luster dust, metallic toned decoratives, etc.), but don’t know how to manage something similar on the dragon cake, at least at my beginner’s level. I’m afraid it isn’t possible at all. I will attach a photo that I Googled to show the type of color/shine I am talking about. The dragons are obviously fondant, but it’s just to show what I’m hoping to do.

Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated, as I am an absolute newbie when it comes to decorating cakes like this and I’ve honestly not seen any around the web (of course I’ve not had a lot of time to search!) that has helped. Most examples that were available – the cake makers simply frosted the cakes to the best of their abilities, which defeated the very fine details of the pan – didn’t see much point in making the cake if those features were going to be covered up after the fact.

I hope everyone is having a great day. I am finishing a sizeable research paper and hope to have 2-3 weeks off before spring semester begins. Somewhere in that time frame, before Christmas, I hope to create at least one of these cakes to my liking! Very sorry for the length of this post – thanks in advance for any pointers!

-- the Happy Hermit

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