Remember that song that says “I want to be the girl with the most cake”? At this moment, I think I can safely say – I am that girl. My freezer is packed with desserts in their various stages of completion. Book aftermath, I call it. There’s one cake in particular that I had special feelings for (cake is emotional, okay?) and felt it could realize greatness before my manuscript was turned in. This was not to be. I ran out of time, and frankly, my creative energy was waning. My editor loves this new project so much, he’s decided to make an exception and include it in the book!
Then, I fell in love and my creative energy returned. The object of my affection? The artwork of Su Blackwell. Her re-purposed book sculptures are so beautiful, they made me feel good about life after having seen them. Dramatic, I know. It can’t be helped. Just look at them.
Not long after, I was digging out the cake that never knew greatness for a second attempt.
This cake is loosely based on her book scupture “The Quiet American“. Although my version is nowhere near as beautiful (or permanent) as hers, mine probably tastes a lot better *wink.
The stamped wafer paper technique I use is featured in the impending SB book, so I guess this is a bit of a sneak peek. Black gel food coloring is thinned with water then painted on the raised portions of a rubber stamp. The stamp is pressed into the wafer paper and lifted as if you were stamping any ol’ piece of paper.
I’m posting the directions to make the cake although I do not yet have a fondant tutorial for this blog. This is something I hope to add soon.
Note: Wafer paper tastes…papery. It’s kind of like a communion wafer that dissolves on your tongue. You don’t have to serve it with the cake if you don’t want to. Just cut under/around it.
Butterfly Book Cake:
Special equipment and supplies
10x10x2-inch square baking pan
2 cake boards 10 x 14-inch
1 lb ready-made white fondant
1 lb ready-made chocolate fondant
Rubber stamp with detail of handwritten or typed words
8 sheets of plain wafer paper
This butterfly template, scaled down (or other butterfly template of your choice)
Black gel food coloring
Natural bleached white wood stems from the floral department
Serrated quilting wheel for fondant
Bake your choice of cake in a lined 10x10x2-inch cake pan (use a dense variety like pound cake or this one used for tiered cakes). When done and cooled, place the cake on a cake board and carve small pieces away from the middle to create the book crease. Evenly trim the sides of the cake until it measures 9×9″.
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk or heavy cream, optional
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar. Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy.
- Crumb coat cake and let buttercream crust.
Note: If you find the buttercream is too stiff, you may add milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is spreading consistency.
Dust a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and roll out the 1lb of white ready-made fondant with a large rolling pin. You can either drape the entire cake with the fondant and fit it around the edges, or you can measure the top and sides of the cake and cut individual pieces. I did the latter to create a more crisp edge. If you do this, you’ll need to coat the pieces with a little corn syrup before pressing them into the cake so they’re sure to stick. Using the back of a knife, create multiple long, strait indentions around the sides of the cake to mimic stacks of pages. Also make one vertical indention on each end of the book at the crease.
Re-dust work surface and roll out the chocolate fondant to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness. Roll the piece large enough to place the fondant covered cake in the middle, with at least an excess of 2″ fondant on each side. Transfer rolled chocolate fondant to the 2nd cake board. Slide the fondant covered cake onto the middle of the chocolate fondant. Trim away fondant leaving a 1-1 1/2-inch border of chocolate fondant all the way around. This makes the book cover. Run the serrated quilting tool around the edge of the book cover to make a seam. You could also do this with a toothpick- though not as evenly.
Stamp the wafer paper:
Thin a small amount of black gel food coloring in a small condiment cup. Using the artist’s brush, lightly paint the raised portions of the rubber stamp. Stamp 4 sheets of wafer paper on the matte side, re-inking as necessary. Space them evenly to look like paragraphs in a book. Allow them to dry for 5 minutes.
Note: wafer paper has a matte side and shiny side – avoid stamping the shiny side.
Cut two of the pieces to fit over the surface of the cake – like two pages of the book. Apply corn-syrup to the crease of the cake and press just the inner edges of the two pieces of wafer paper into the corn syrup. Hold it there for a few seconds to make sure it adheres well.
On a cutting board, place a piece of stamped wafer paper over the butterfly template and cut around the the image with the x-acto knife. You may need to print out a few templates, I accidentally sliced through the wafer paper and the template a couple of times. Cut a few butterflies out of the plain wafer paper in the same manner. You can make as many or as few butterflies as you like. I say, the more the better. You can use the extra to garnish individual pieces of cake.
Butterflies in flight:
Snap a few fine twigs of various lengths (3-5) from the bleached stems and gently press the ends of the stems into the center of the cake (the book fold) so they stand upright. Make a tiny hole in each of the butterflies and thread them onto the stems. Be careful when doing this, wafer paper is fragile. Position the butterflies so they are radiating upwards.
If you like my presentation, cloud wallpaper can be found here. Cover two foam-core boards with the wallpaper and use them as a background and display surface.