He Did It!

The cake I had originally planned to make to celebrate my husband's commencement ceremony involved three "books" and a chocolate mortar board.  What I had time for, however, was at least instantly recognizable as the 16th edition of Josh's textbook for Constitutional Law.  When I presented the cake, my sister-in-law said, "I thought you were bringing us cake."  Great compliment, I think!

Everything is edible, apart from the foamcore base.  That base board was covered in fondant, which I grooved with a modeling tool and painted with brown food gel (mixed with vodka, to make paint) so that it resembled wooden paneling.  The book cake was dark chocolate sponge with Kahlua syrup and milk chocolate frosting.  I normally use Massa Grischuna fondant, but for this, I used Satin Ice, as I needed a brand of fondant that wouldn't stretch so much (Massa is delicious, but very elastic - good for a thin covering on a wedding cake, not good for a book cover).  

I always roll my fondant out using a special piece of equipment (top secret!) that enables me to do so without using any cornstarch or powdered sugar (that would otherwise help prevent the fondant from sticking to the countertop and/or rolling pin).  Usually, the lack of cornstarch or powdered sugar during the rolling process helps to keep the fondant as moist as possible, but with this cake, I had some issues with cracking along the spine of the book.  The reason for that, I think, is that I had to use a generous amount of Tylose (a type of cellulose gum used in sugarcraft) to add stability and body to the fondant, so that it would better resemble the stiff cardboard cover of a book, rather than droop over like a floppy piece of sugar dough.  That stuff accelerates the drying process immensely.  Anyway, perhaps the cracks add character and make the book look used...

As for the book title, I hand-painted it with a tiny paintbrush, using edible Aztec Gold luster dust mixed with vodka (which evaporates, leaving the shimmer behind).  I used my favorite set of alphabet tappits to make the letters for the board, using dark blue fondant, and I used a cutter for the little yellow gumpaste stars.

(Apologies for the hideous quality of my shots - I snapped them with a little point-and-shoot at the Hilton after the commencement ceremony.)