New This Month

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.


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.)

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