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Baby Block Cake

Martha Stewart Baby, Volume 7 2003

 

These "building blocks" -- ideal for a baby shower or first birthday -- are covered with fondant and decorated with royal icing. One sheet-cake recipe will make twelve scrumptious blocks.

Ingredients

1 White Sheet Cake
1 recipe Buttercream
2 pounds rolled Fondant divided in thirds and tinted green, yellow, and white (available at cake decorating supply stores)
One recipe Royal Icing divided in fourths and tinted blue, green, yellow, and pink
Cornstarch for work surface for rolling out fondant

Tools and Materials

Serrated Knife

To slice uneven cake layers with precision.

Offset Spatula

Its flat, slightly flexible metal blade makes this the best tool for spreading icing.

Piping Bag

A soft, conical sack with the tip lopped off, made of coated fabric or plastic. Put each color of icing in its own bag, so you don't have to wash bags in the middle of the project.

Piping Tips

A round hole creates a line or dot; a star-shape hole makes a ridged line or flower.

Plastic Coupler

Allows you to change piping tips to make various shapes in the same color.

Drinking Glass

Place a damp paper towel at bottom, and set piping bags in it when not in use.

Cake Turntable

Lets you spin the cake with one hand while holding bag or spatula steady with the other (a useful extra).

Baby Block Cake How-To

All these designs were piped with a #3 plain tip using royal icing, which dries hard in about ten minutes. Turn the side you're decorating face up before piping. Wait for the finished design to dry, and then you can lay it face down to do the opposite side.

1. Place sheet cake on clean work surface, top side up. Trim top to make level. Cut cake in half horizontally. Sandwich layer of buttercream between the layers. Trim sides of cake to be square. Cut cake into twelve 2 1/2-inch squares. Place each on its own piece of parchment or waxed paper. Ice each with a thin layer of buttercream to help fondant stick to cake. Chill blocks to set the buttercream.

2. Lightly brush cornstarch onto a clean work surface. You'll cover just one block at a time. Remove a 2-inch ball of fondant from one of the larger, tinted pieces (tightly wrap remaining fondant to keep it from hardening). Using a rolling pin, roll it out into a thin circle about 1/8 inch thick and roughly 7 inches in diameter. Don't refrigerate the blocks after you cover them; the fondant will get sticky.

3. Remove cake squares from refrigerator. Center the rolled fondant circle over a block of cake, and place it gently on the cake. Carefully press the fondant against the sides of the block, working on two opposite sides at the same time and smoothing up from the bottom. Repeat for the other pair of sides. Gently pinch the fondant together at the corners, creating four flaps. Working quickly, so fondant doesn't dry out, fold two flaps toward center of one side, as if wrapping a gift box; repeat for opposite side. Use a dab of water to help the flaps adhere, if necessary. Trim excess fondant from base of block with a sharp knife.

4. Repeat process for each block, using different-colored fondants, as desired. (If trimmed scraps are free of crumbs, knead together and reuse.)

Comments (12)

  • SSanchez 27 Nov, 2011

    This is a great recipe for Baby Shower Cake!

    Sandra @ www.modern-baby-shower-ideas.com

  • NatLizAn 2 Feb, 2009

    I made these for my twin nephews 1st birthday. They each got their own block to get EVERYWHERE. I iced them instead of using fondant - more messy to eat with icing and I wasn't sure babies could eat fondant. The finished product turned out a little sloppy but super cute (if I do say so myself) =) Thanks for the great idea!

  • Byzcook 14 Jan, 2009

    Great idea! It's very adaptable for any occasion. Instead of one big cake, have a bunch of little cakes. A little more work, but more forgiving--especially if you set aside a practice cake to start with. And the multiplicity of cakes gets the oohs and aahs, so the decorations on those cakes can be fairly simple. I love it (er, them)!

  • TDHolland 7 Jan, 2009

    very cute idea.... think I'll use it.. might improvise on a few things though... maybe individual block for each guest... hmmm...

  • Meg82 1 Jan, 2009

    How did you do the animals? Did you just free hand it?

  • janemei 11 May, 2008

    Re: egg white controversy
    Many supermarkets also sell egg whites which have been pasteurised if you can't find powdered egg whites... they're in the same section as the eggs. i'm gonna be attempting this cake for my bff's baby shower so wish me luck!

  • Rosafaerie 25 Mar, 2008

    In the buttercream icing, 238 degree hot sugar syrup is added to the egg whites, which I would think would cook them adequately. If you disagree you could easily use a different frosting recipe - one without egg whites.

  • SueWho1946 5 Mar, 2008

    I made this using my own stiff buttercream frosting instead of fondant. My suggestion is DON'T TRY IT -- use fondant. What with all the crumbs from cutting the sheet cake and frosting the sides, fondant is the way to go. Without meaning to get into the fray, Nuwala DID read the recipe. The Royal Icing has the raw egg warning and substitution suggestion, the Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting does not.

  • Rosafaerie 22 Feb, 2008

    Nuwala clearly didn't read the recipe! It calls for meringue powder, which is perfectly safe for anyone to eat. You should get your facts straight before leaving commentary.

  • terrie-bear 21 Dec, 2007

    Use the Meringue powder if you don't like egg idea.. don't the the baby out with the bath water... :) Even Walmart has meringue powder.

  • nuwala 6 Dec, 2007

    This cake is a terrible idea for a baby shower or babies first birthday. Both cannot eat raw eggs!!! Beautiful cake, bad idea!

  • Daisydolittle 23 Nov, 2007

    I made this cake for my sister in-laws baby shower. It was actually pretty easy and it came out fantastic.