When we would read Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy my little boy would always smile when we got to the page with Scarface Claw. The toughest tom in town was the obvious choice for a cake theme when it came to my son’s first birthday. I really wanted him to recognise Scarface Claw so I went for copying the illustration as much as was possible. The illustrations in the book are watercolour so they were in a style that was quite easy to replicate with food colouring on fondant.
The top is a piece of thinly rolled out fondant that’s been painted on with food colouring. When I’d looked up how to do it everyone had recommended using gel food colouring, my supermarket didn’t have any in black so I did a little test run with normal liquid food colouring and it worked fine so I just did that instead. I used vanilla essence to thin it when I needed it to be lighter/more watery. I think it can make the colours a little muddy but that was fine for me because that was how the colours were meant to be. I’ve read you can use vodka, the alcohol is meant to evaporate. Turns out vanilla essence has lots of alcohol in it too, which I’d never realised before. For the painting I did all the watery background colours first, let it dry overnight and then did all the black outlines the next night.
The thing that was a bit tricky about this was that I did the fondant painting at home and then had to take it on the plane to my parents place to be assembled with the cake for the birthday party. I was a bit worried about how it would travel but it ended up being fine. I did some internet searching about how long you can keep fondant but I couldn’t find anyone who had transported painted fondant to see what they had done. It turns out fondant can be kept for ages, but from the little test piece I did I could see the the colours in the painting bled after a while and it didn’t stay as crisp as when I had first done it – but that could just be because I live in a humid climate. What I did was paint it a couple of nights before we left, I had it on a piece of baking paper in an airtight container. Then right before we got on the plane I put a towel over it to stop it from shaking around in the container. I took it as hand luggage and kept it upright the whole time. Then as soon as we arrived I took the towel out.
My mum was kind enough to bake the cake (I’m not much of a baker). It was two layers. We used a bread knife to cut some of the top off each of them to level them out. We put a thin layer of icing on the top of the cake, then carefully put the fondant on top of that. Then I piped buttercream icing around the sides of the cake and around the top to hide the edge of the fondant.
Once it was made I was a little worried that the green icing might be mistaken for a vegetable but my son was happy when he saw the cake, he definitely recognised who it was and grabbed at it as soon as he could.