There are two things that I just love about this blog. First is the slogan ‘’ A hardcore look at Lotro, from a casual point of view’’. Second, of course, is Baby Hobbit. So I made this cake as a tribute to her and all other little hobbits out there. And also, after all, what’s more casual than a cake and more hardcore than having it decorated as a Lotro house?
This Hobbit Hole cake is my first attempt at serious cake decoration. My mother and I had a wonderful day working on this project. We never took cake decoration classes, but armed with our knowledge of Bravo Tv, youtube tutorials and cookbooks, we transformed my kitchen in a real battlefield. By trials and errors we finally managed to create something that was somewhat presentable, hehe. Here is, step by step, how we built this Hobbit Hole!
1-Design:• First step will be to plan the design of your cake. I went online and took screenshots of different houses, I drew some of them on paper, with notes about the colors and the textures I wanted recreated.
• The final design step is having a life size drawing of your cake. Don’t forget to take in consideration the size of your pan. My final sketch is the one on the middle of the picture. It will be your reference for proportions along all the building process.
2-Sugar Flowers: Recipe
• For sugar flowers, you want your Royal icing to have a stiff-peak consistency, as shown in the picture.
• On a large piece of parchment paper, pipe flowers the shape and color you want. Let them dry at least 24 hours. I made way more flowers then I needed, but since I ended up breaking half of them, I’m glad I did!
• These can be made up to two weeks before the actual cake decorating. Just store them in an air tight container. The unused icing can be stored for future projects as well. I used Ziplocs to store mine and because I took all the air out of the bags, it is still in perfect condition.
• Note that you can have pretty much any type of cake here. I chose a classic white cake.
• I made four cakes in a 13×9 ‘’ pan to build my Hobbit Hole. They were about one inch high each. You could also make fewer cakes but have them higher. In this case, be sure your cake top is flat, which mean that you might have to trim the bumpy top of your cakes. Lower cakes are naturally flat, making the piling up exercise easier.
• Once all your cakes are cooled (and flat!), pile them up. The idea is to start building the general shape of the house by trimming the excess cake. With a bread knife, sculpt your cakes in the desired shape; I wanted my walls to be curved! Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; the buttercream will cover it all.
4-Buttercream Icing: Recipe
• Buttercream Icing will be used to ‘’glue’’ the pieces of cake together, and make the fondant stick to the cake as well.
• To ‘’glue’’ the pieces of cake together, start by building a dam all around the top of your cake. You can then fill the middle area with whatever you prefer, like fruits, jam or a different type of icing. I just filled mine with more vanilla buttercream, I wanted to keep it simple. Repeat the process between each layer of cake.
• Oh, and I finally decided to trim the upper cake to help me with the roof shape as well, hehe.
• Put in the fridge a couple of hours to let the icing harden.
• Cover the entire cake with buttercream icing. This will be the final shape of the cake, so if you want to make changes, now is the time! For my part, I accentuated the curve in the roof top and the curved walls. Put in the fridge again for a couple of hours.
• If you want, you can add another layer of buttercream icing to really smooth the look of your house. You can also just tap with your finger on the imperfections of the icing after it spent a couple of hours in the fridge. I learned the hard way that the fondant will not cover those imperfections, hehe.
• You can usually buy fondant at your local bakery, if not, here’s a recipe. My bakery was out of fondant so I had to do it myself and it worked pretty well! But if you have a choice, buy it, it’s still trouble, hehe.
• When decorating with fondant, always put it back in an air tight container as soon as you don’t work with it. Also have a little bowl of water nearby, and dip your fingers into the water if your fondant starts to crack in your hands. The water will smooth the fondant again.
• We covered the cake with a large piece of white fondant to be our base for walls and roof. See various online tutorials to see how to work with fondant and how to dye it.
• We then added details with coloured fondant, brown for the structure and blue for the door. We chose to used cocoa for the brownish color of the wood beans because we thought that creating brown out of blue, yellow and red was somewhat perilous, and it worked pretty well!. Note that the fondant will dry faster when mixed with cocoa. (That means keep your bowl of water nearby!)
• To make the walls look more realistic, I used a dry paint brush to apply a coat of power cocoa everywhere. I brushed the excess cocoa where I wanted the walls to be brighter and left it where I wanted to create shadows.
• We painted the roof with a base of moss green food dye mixed with water. With a dry brush and a sponge directly dipped in the green dye, we carefully stamped ‘’grass’’ on our green base.
• Ok, we cheated for the windows… We could have bought the light blue dye and mixing it with a grey one maybe have a grey-blue that could fit the windows. But buying 10$ of food dye for three windows seemed a bit excessive to me, so I used what I had on hand: face paint water-based crayons. Well, they say it’s non-toxic, right? And we put on our lips all the time anyway. So anyhow, with a tinny brush, I created my own grey-blue color and applied it to my windows. It worked pretty well, and because we used so few, it did not change the taste at all!
• At last, I painted the base with regular acrylic paint. My base is a tray covered with wrapping paper (color side against the tray so I can have a plain canvas).
• I added the sugar flowers made a week ago, and tada! One Hobbit Hole to go!