Learn how to make a guitar cake, covered in fondant, step-by-step. I made this acoustic guitar cake for the music festival in our neighborhood.
A few years ago, when we were setting up an above ground pool, we heard music coming from the housing complex a street above ours. Out of curiosity, we took a walk past the area, and saw that there were musicians playing, and all of the neighbors were sitting on the grass listening to them.
I was very excited when I heard one of the musicians announcing his name, and finding from youtube that he was an American on tour here in Spain. Unfortunately, I didn't know anybody there, and wasn't about to march on in uninvited, so I sat outside and listened, as best as I could, to the music from my own yard.
The next year, we once again heard music, and I once again forced my husband to go on a walk nearby to check it out. One of the neighbors saw us and invited us in. I was really excited.
It turns out that the couple who sets up the music festival lives in the UK, but come here for a few weeks each year. The woman is originally from New York, and her husband is British. It seems that they must work with musicians who are touring the world promoting themselves, and they get them to come here and play at their party. That year they brought two of them, Jason Boots and Kara Grainger.
Last year, I got a pleasant surprise. A few days before that year's “Bernfest” (the organizer's name is Bernie), I found a note on my door telling me that we were invited to the music festival. It turns out that my fellow American had remembered, more or less, where I said our house was, and remembered me when organizing that year's festival. I was very excited to go, and we did have fun. Unfortunately, though, my toddler didn't really want us to stay for very long. He played on the steps of the housing complex, and screamed when I tried to bring him closer to the party.
Kara Grainger had returned to play again, and I was able to see part of her playing, but I completely missed out on the other act.
In any case, before leaving, I exchanged emails with the other American, and this year she sent me an email a few days before this year's Bernfest, which was celebrated last Sunday. The note told us to bring chairs, plates, drinks and a plate to pass. I somehow crazily decided that I was so happy that they remembered me, that I would bake them a guitar cake.
It ended up taking a little bit longer than I had expected, but it was fun, and I'm glad I made it. A friend of mine came over to help, and that made the process a lot more fun.
On Friday, I baked the cakes and made a swiss buttercream frosting. On Saturday, I cut the cake into shape, frosted it, covered it with white fondant, and painted it. My friend came to help me cover the cake with fondant, and then she helped me sculpt the various guitar parts and to paint them.
OK, I know this is a real food blog, and that most real foodies will cringe at an artificially colored fondant cake. The thing is, though, I love making fondant cakes and don't do it very often. I figure that most people pick off the fondant anyway. Everything underneath the fondant is made completely from scratch. Perhaps with time I'll develop a natural way to do this sort of thing, but for now this is what I've got. 😉
Overall, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Of course one always finds a few faults and a few things that could be done differently, but for the event it was more than adequate.
When we arrived at the party, the couple was very excited about the cake, and they wanted to give it a special announcement and say it was to celebrate the fifth year of Bernfest. There weren't as many people at the party this year, and I was told because it was done at the last minute and that a lot of people weren't around yet. So, I invited a few more friends to come up and listen to the music and help increase the number of people at the party. It turns out that they plan on having another party, a bigger version, this September. Yay!! This year will be twice as fun. I hope they aren't expecting another big cake, though. 🙂 I have enough cakes planned for September!
I felt a bit sad for the couple as halfway through the evening two of the musicians had to leave to play another gig for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile the others were supposed to keep playing, but instead decided to accompany the others and support them in the audience. Forty five minutes turned into a couple of hours, and Bernie decided to pack everything up in frustration. Meanwhile, though, a few people from the street sang to background music, and I decided to join in when I saw how unhappy the couple was. I wanted to make sure that they knew that we were having fun anyway!!
Just as they were packing up, the musicians arrived.
“Are we too late?!?!?!”
Bernie was furious, of course. I don't blame him, but I hope he knows that we still had a great time!
How to make a guitar cake out of fondant
I made it a half chocolate, half white cake. If I choose one or the other, I can't please everybody. Since cakes are one of the few things in life where you can pretty much please everybody, why not do so!?!?!
I baked two 9 inch circle cakes, and one loaf pan sized cake.
I had to find a wood board that was large enough to hold the cake. Mine ended up being a recycled kitchen cabinet door. I wrapped the board in aluminum foil, to make it food safe, and started to set my cakes on it.
Basically, I cut off part of each circle cake, pushed those two parts together, matching up the straight lines. Instead of a guitar, though, it looked more like a Mastercard logo. Realizing that I wanted the neck to be longer than what I could make with the loaf pan, I decided to cut into the half of the cake nearest to the neck, and make part of the circle be part of the neck. I also decided to make it into a cutaway style guitar, so I cut out the “cutaway” piece.
I trimmed down the cake in the loaf pan to match up with the neck, and used some of the scraps to add some width to the end of it, forming the head of the guitar. Once the basic shape had been formed, I used a glass to help me cut out a thin layer of cape shaped in a circle, forming the sound hole.
Honestly, I found the icing part to be one of the most difficult parts. Normally I spread on a thin layer of frosting, stick it in the fridge to harden, and then add another, smoother layer. My guitar wouldn't fit in my fridge, though, so I had to just keep layering on frosting, attempting not to take off the previous layers with each new layer. Luckily my homemade Swiss buttercream frosting tends to be pretty forgiving, and great to work with.
Since this was going to be covered in fondant anyway, it wasn't such a tragedy that I was unable to keep the crumbs out of the final layer. Even with some crumbs, the frosting was relatively smooth, and made an OK base for my fondant.
Rolling out a big enough piece of fondant for such a large cake in such a small kitchen isn't exactly easy. I ended up using two pieces of fondant, one for the neck and one for the body of the guitar. Even then, getting the fondant on the body of the guitar ended up being a two person task, so I'm glad my friend arrived to help out just in time!!
As you can see, I use lots of powdered sugar when rolling out my fondant, to keep it from sticking.
I was worried about a few small tears in the fondant, and the seam between the two pieces. In the past, I had a hard time covering up mistakes when using my homemade marshmallow fondant. I found this store-bought “regal ice” fondant to be very forgiving when fixing mistakes, though. I wet a small piece of fondant between my fingers and slowly smoothed it into the cracks. To make it even less noticeable, I rubbed some powdered sugar into the newly patched fondant.
It actually made it very difficult to see where the fondant had been pieced together, and I was also able to cover up the small tears pretty well.
This was the first time that I attempted to paint a fondant cake rather than just using different colored fondants when piecing together the cake. I used black and orange gel food colorings and mixed them each with a bit of vodka. I then used combinations of the two to try to paint on a wood grain that somewhat resembled our own guitar, a Takamine EF261SAN.
With fondant, we modeled out some tuning keys, the bridge, a pick guard, etc…
After painting all of the various parts and pieces, I painted on some silver frets, and we started to assemble the guitar.
Of course, it was lacking something very important. We didn't have a clue how to go about putting on some guitar strings!! We tried everything from dental floss to spaghetti. I didn't want to paint them on, because the effect wouldn't be very believable. So, in the end, we decided to just use a cotton sewing thread.
At the head end, we tied the thread around a toothpick and broke it into a small piece and pushed it into place underneath the tuning key parts. The toothpick was covered with a circle of fondant and a silver candy bead. The letters were written on with a food coloring marker.
On the bridge end, I found that I was able to achieve the string tension by pushing a small piece of raw spaghetti over the thread and into place on the bridge. The end of the thread was covered with another small silver candy bead. I glued them down using a “glue” made from gum arabic mixed with water.
Once we had finished placing the strings, the guitar was pretty much finished. We cleaned up the board around the guitar, and went to bed, having finished at around midnight.
The next morning, once the “paint” had dried, the guitar actually looked much better. I was a bit upset about not having painted on any position markers between frets, and noticed a few small problem areas, but I decided to not risk ruining the cake, and just let it be. If it had been a cake for a celebrity concert event, there are things I would have done differently of course. For this particular event, though, it did its job and made people happy.
That, in turn, made me happy.
This post is also available in Español.