Dora the Explorer Party: Cake

I thought of a really fantastic way to open this post…  And then I forgot it.
I’m going to start carrying around a Dora notepad (leftover party favor) so that I can jot things down as they drift through my brain. 
Although that may not fix the problem because a lot of my ideas come to me while I’m driving…  Or in the shower.  And water + paper = paper mache, not help for my incredibly shrinking brain.
But for what I lack in brain power, I make up for in cake decorating prowess.
Please ignore the fact that I dyed all my frosting blue and didn’t have any white to write “the” on the arrow.

Isn’t this like 10 levels of awesome?!

I was never particularly interested in trying fondant because, well, it tastes like crap.  Then I heard about marshmallow fondant.  It was the answer to all my prayers.

Because while I wanted to make my daughter a Dora birthday cake, there was no way I was going to spend 3 hours piping frosting to end up with carpal tunnel and a pale, cross-eyed little Mexican to show for it.

Photo courtesy of Cake Wrecks

Warning: While mashmallow fondant tastes waaaaaay better than traditional fondant, it’s not exactly something you’ll be stealing off other people’s plates.  It’s still kinda like eating sweet play-doh.

So, let me tell you the right way to make marshmallow fondant.

1 16oz bag of mini marshmallows
1 2lb bag of powdered sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 hunk of shortening
corn starch

1.  Place marshmallows and water in a greased, microwave safe bowl and cook until melted, stirring every 30-60 seconds.

2.  Once marshmallows are liquified, dump in all but 1/4c of the powdered sugar and stir until it becomes “dough-like.”

3.  Dump mixture onto a greased counter and knead into a smooth dough.

I’m going to encourage you to check out Bake at 350 for a more detailed tutorial.  Because this is not what I did, as I am horrible at following directions.

Now…  My way…

1 16oz bag of mini marshmallows
About 1 1/3lbs of powdered sugar?  Dunno because I didn’t measure.

1.  Melt marshmallows in the microwave until they are a gooey, stringy mess.

2.  Dump in half a bag of powdered sugar and quickly realize there is no way even the Hulk could stir this bowl of cement.

3.  Remove dough to a greased counter and attempt to knead in more of the powdered sugar… Unsuccessfully.

4.  Stored greased dough in a ziploc in the fridge for 1 week, contemplating my sanity for taking on such a project.

When I removed the chilled dough to cut out the letters, I found that it would be perfectly suited for breaking windows.  After struggling to dye small chunks of the hardened dough, I decided to start nuking them to make them more pliable.  This worked great until I burned myself with scalding hot sugar.  But a mother’s love knows no bounds, so I persevered.  I managed to get all the pieces of Dora’s logo cut out using an image printed on cardstock as a template and an exacto knife.  I had hoped to also cut out a Dora, but decided to stop while I was ahead.  Enter the Dora and Boots candle.

At some point in this process, I also realized that I didn’t add the water in the first step, so I did try to go back and add the water and more powdered sugar.  It wasn’t a hugely noticable difference, but the fondant was a bit more soft and flexible.  Enough so that I had the courage to undertake covering the entire cake in fondant.  Which turned out amazingly well.

It was actually a lot of fun to do (even the tedious cutting of the letters) and I’m very pleased with the end result.  I’m really looking forward to the next birthday so I can try again!

Other lessons learned…

— If you have multiple colors, melt the marshmallows in batches and dye them before adding the sugar.  Trying to mix in the gel at the end was pretty time consuming.

— The rolled fondant isn’t going to harden entirely, so keep that in mind when you’re rolling out your pieces.  I left the logo fairly thick to give it more structure (although it still sagged a little on the unsupported sides) and rolled the cake covering thinner, using a rolling pin to move it from the counter to the cake.  I still had a little tear, but I just made that the back.

— Plan out your design ahead of time.  I discovered that I should’ve done the “A” in yellow after dying the logo background.  Green on green doesn’t show up so well.  And I wish I had done the actual cake in pink and purple.  This color combination was just thrown together and I feel like it’s a little circusey. 

But one person really liked it…

And that’s what really matters.
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4 Responses to Dora the Explorer Party: Cake

  1. Sarah says:

    That is a gorgeous cake! I have never tasted marshmallow fondant but it sure does make for a lovely cake. This post had me laughing, thanks for the smile :)

  2. Connie C says:

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    Connie C

  3. Michelle says:

    That cake is GORGEOUS and I love the idea. I'd never heard of marshmallow fondant, but I'm definitely looking into this! I'm a new follower from the Follow Me, Chickadee blog hop! Come visit me back!

    Michelle @ Things Sent My Way

  4. Kristy says:

    Oh wow!! Yes, your cake is amazing!! I'm with you on the fondant, it tastes terrible but it sure does make some pretty cakes :)