How to Cut Flames Out of Fondant

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Sometimes icing rosebuds don't cut it. If you're making a cake for someone whose tastes run more toward rock 'n roll than whimsy, a cake decorated with fondant flames might solve your decorating dilemma. Think of a hot rod with flames on the front, then think of those flames on your cake, from the bottom up. Before you cut out the flames, cover your cake with a seamless layer of black fondant. You can buy fondant pre-made and coloured, or you can make your own and colour it with gel food dye.

Measure around the circumference of the cake; even if you're sure of the pan size, the fondant over it adds width. Measure the height of the cake.

Lay 3 sheets on paper horizontally so that the ends touch. Tape the paper together to make a long strip. Measure the length of the circumference of the cake onto the strip. Add 1/2 inch, then cut off any extra paper. Repeat with another 3 sheets of paper.

Sketch stylised flames on 1 strip of paper. Refer to flame graphics online, if necessary. Draw the highest tips of the flames about an inch shorter than the height of the cake. If you want the flames to rise above the top of the cake, make the tips no more than 1/2 to 1 inch taller.

Draw another strip of flames on the second piece of paper that are about 1/2 the size of the flames on the first strip. Cut both sets of paper flames out.

If you're colouring the fondant yourself, add red gel food dye to 0.454kg. of fondant, a couple of drops at a time, until you reach your desired colour. If the fondant becomes sticky, add a sprinkle of cornstarch. Knead the red fondant until it softens to a dough texture.

Roll out the red fondant so that it is slightly larger than the big pattern. Lay the pattern on top of the fondant. Working quickly, use a sharp knife to cut out the fondant flames.

Brush flavoured extract on the back side of the orange fondant flames. Press the fondant piece around the circumference of the cake, with the bottom of the flames lining up with the base of the cake. Trim off any excess fondant where the ends of the flame piece meet.

Repeat steps 5 through 7 using orange/yellow fondant, placing the orange/yellow flames over the taller red flames. When mixing the orange/yellow fondant, add yellow gel food dye first, then gradually add red food dye and knead until the fondant has a marbled orange/yellow appearance.

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