When my son requested a space party for his birthday this year, I rubbed my hands together with glee - finally I had an excuse to buy some cool tools from the Evil Cake Genius.
My grand idea for a cake was something that looked like Jupiter. I had seen a hand painted one on Pinterest, and I wondered whether I could create a similar effect with swirling fondant.
So I ordered the hemisphere baking tin and spherical cake combs and waited with baited breath until they arrived. You have got to love a fellow cake baker who shares their secrets with you - the Evil Cake Genius sent extensive instructions on how to create a flawless sphere. I was saddened to discover the bottom of her sphere is made from rice crispy treat. Straight away I knew I was going to be one of those smarty pants cooks who deviates from the well trodden path.
The instructions said to fill the tin to almost full to ensure you get a complete hemisphere. My first attempt was too short. I had to bake again to get it right. Once I had two hemispheres, I carved out a hole in each and filled one side with blue chocolate rocks. Then I stuck the two halves together with chocolate ganache.
Then I transferred the ball to my turntable. I knew it would sit in the almost 1cm depression in the middle - I wanted that so it wouldn't roll away while I coated it with ganache.
It was obvious very quickly that my sphere was too small to use the expensive and dangerous combs I'd bought especially for this occassion. Apart from the fact that I hadn't made the bottom out of rice crispy treat or impaled it on nails on my cake board, I wasn't going to build up as much ganache on the exterior as The Evil Cake Genius does with her buttercream.
I did, however, use the comb to pick away as much ganache as possible on the under side of my sphere to make room for the fondant covering. I set about smoothing the ganache using a hot palette knife. I even covered it with plastic wrap and smoothed it with my hands.
Then it was fondant time. I cut 1cm thick pieces of orange, white and chocolate fondant. I layered them next to each other in an offset fashion, then rolled them up like a snail shell. I stood the roll on its end, then began rolling the fondant out into a big circle.
Once I had the fondant rolled out enough to cover my sphere, I painted the ganache with sugar syrup, then carefully cloaked the cake with the fondant. Talk about exciting! I smoothed it down until all that was left was its "feet".
I trimmed the excess off with a scalpel several times, then manoeuvred the cake to the edge of the turntable to tuck the fondant edge underneath. Once that was done I began smoothing and smoothing and smoothing with my plastic flexible smoothers. This bit was fun!
I stuck the sphere to a black cake board with royal icing and let it sit until it dried.
Next day I was convinced the whole thing would roll off the board in transit. So I made some black royal icing and piped it around the board close to the bottom of the cake and stuck purple chocolate rocks in the icing to act as breaks should there be any movement.
Next, I cut an eight inch round out of the middle of a 10 inch cake board. I covered it with purple fondant, then sprinkled it with silver edible glitter. With the ring positioned on the cake, I added a giant lollipop to look like an orbiting moon, and a black glitter candle in the shape of a seven. And voila: planet cake!