Last year I submitted this cake to a contest, but never got around to sharing it here! It's still one of my favorites!
I've been wanting to make gelatin balloons for quite some time now, but never really had a reason. Then came threadcakes and the perfect cake design, Almost Take Off and I knew it was time!
I loved the hand painted, watercolor look to the design, so I wanted pull in the painted aspect while at the same time adding some dimension and whimsy and that's where the gelatin balloons came in!
I made the little balloons a couple days before the cake to give them ample drying time. They took about an hour to make - the most time-consuming part was blowing up water balloons (which were then dipped to make hallow, edible balloons).
On cake day, I baked a Strawberry Sour Cream Cake into three 6-inch pans. They were then leveled, stacked, and frosted with homemade buttercream frosting. This took another hour or so (well, 4 if you include the hands-off baking and cooling time).
Then, I rolled a thin sheet of marshmallow fondant and painted the little critter with a combination of food color gels and edible markers (about 20 minutes) Once the critter had dried it was time to cut him out and adhere everything to the cake with corn syrup.
At first I was concerned about the balloons staying in place without supports, and indeed, they did collapse once. However, I was able to stack and 'glue' them into a pyramid-esque shape and they stayed in place beautifully. In fact, once the corn syrup dried, the balloon structure was very solid. Adhering everything took another half hour.
I was absolutely thrilled with how the cake turned out! Though it was a small cake, it was an absolute show-stopper!