Oh my, another post for May, I’m becoming too ambitious.

My friend Bri has been getting me “cake-gigs” with her friends who are celebrating! This weekend was a graduation for her friend Dave. He and two other friends just graduated from NAU with a degree in Education.

Amber, Dave’s wife, organized the cake and party. It was to be for 40 people (at least), preferably in the shape of a graduation cap, with the NAU colors (dark blue and yellow), and with a light blue tassle for Education.

At first I wanted to do a giant hat, and that’s it… a giant mortar board graduation cap. However, with a 14″ round pan as the base, it would have looked a little more than slightly ridiculous.

Scratch that idea.

Instead, we came up with a design where there’s a nice 9″ round hat sitting on a single 14″ round base. Proportions, I’m learning, are not as easy as they seem.

Anyways, Amber requested vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling. An exciting time for me to use my baker’s scale (thanks for that great Christmas gift, Pezz and Mel) and a recipe for whipped chocolate ganache:

Chocolate Ganache

– 9 oz bittersweet chocolate

– 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions: Microwave whipping cream in a ceramic or glass bowl for 1 min. Remove from the microwave and pour chocolate chips/chunks/pieces into the hot cream. Let sit for 1-2 min. Whisk to an even, smooth and creamy consistency. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, covered tightly with saran wrap. The next day, whip the ganache until it resembles a nice, thick, chocolate frosting.

Fill the cooled cakes with this rich, decadent frosting:

I wasn’t sure how ganache would work with fondant, as it’s a bit stickier and less solid than buttercream, so I stuck with my old stand-by this time… and butter-creamed the layers to prep for fondant.

The base layer:

Finally, fondant time! This was – and is- always the most difficult part- making and coloring fondant in a good sized quantity to ensure an even covering of the cake. Sigh, Bri put her muscles into this one, she was my designated kneader of the fondant.

Navy is probably one of the most difficult colors to achieve because of its darkness. For the flat mortar board top, I covered a 10.5″ square with blue fondant.

I covered the base in “golden yellow.” Looks a bit like cheese in the photo, no?

I mixed a little blue with a ton of white gum paste to make the tassel. I basically just rolled out a rectangle, made some vertical cuts into it to create the tassel look, and then rolled the top together, securing it with a little watered down golden yellow.

A close-up of the tassel on the hat.

The entire cake and its transportation device: A lovely cookie sheet and a no-stick blue drawer liner. I don’t really know what font I was going for with this… but it works. 🙂

Lastly, two photos taken at the graduation party. Ever so slightly different.

Congratulations Grads!


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