Fondant, Farm Animals, and Far-Out Fun!

laying fondant on cake stripes punk farm book Recently, our school librarian asked me to make a cake inspired by the “Punk Farm” books, written and illustrated by Jarrett Krosoczka. The author would be making a trip to our school, and several students had won the opportunity to share some cake with him during their lunch break! So I got to work with step 1: research. Armed with both “Punk Farm” and “Punk Farm Goes on Tour,” I sat down to read. And read. And read. I’m happy (and somewhat embarrassed) to admit that I read each book several times, my mind going a mile a minute thinking about both the cake, as well as how I plan to incorporate this book into my elementary music classroom. I chuckled aloud at the chicken who says, “I’m scared!” and the pig who’s afraid to get dirty, for nothing escapes me when it comes to jokes intended for small children. Luckily I have the sense of humor of a small child, so I enjoyed myself immensely. (It must also be said that his presentation to our students was not only a heartwarming explanation of the background of a few stories, but a kid-friendly lesson in perseverance and following one’s dreams.)

So after I finished my very serious “research,” I set about brainstorming a way to recreate these funky little dudes. I finally settled on trying to capture their personalities with fondant. Here is the method I followed:

1. I drew each animal on a cardboard cake board and then cut it out. They are each about 4-5 inches tall. I made photocopies of the cardboard cutouts:

sketch of punk farm animals for fondant cake2. I covered the front of each animal with the base color of fondant and wrapped it around the edges, gluing the edges on with a bit of gum glue adhesive (gum paste mixed with water). You can see below that I had already wrapped the white base color around, and had just cut out the red feathers and was about to wrap them around, as well.

punk farm animals fondant and cardboard3. Once the base color of fondant was attached to the cardboard, I flipped the face over and added all the features, like sunglasses, hair, mouths, etc. Since I had a photocopy of the drawings I had made, I knew how big to cut these features. Here is a photo of each fondant-covered animal:

punk farm book cake animals made of fondantOnce the faces were done, I taped a stick to the back of them and stuck them in the cake. I also used scrapbook paper and stickers to make the “Punk Farm” banner.

punk farm book cake

If you enjoyed learning a bit about “Punk Farm,” you can find Jarrett on all the usual social media places (@StudioJJK). And here’s some inside information: he’s a cake-decorator as well. Check it out on his Pinterest wall!

Which other children’s books would look good as a cake? I’ve done only one before (a “Five Little Monkeys” cake, complete with jumping monkeys!), and am counting down the days until December so that I can complete the “Polar Express” idea one of my good friends suggested. (I’ve worked out how to make it have smoke, I think!) I’m always looking for more project ideas, so comment below if you have thoughts!

No More (Modeling Chocolate) Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head!
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

I don’t know about you, but this is probably the first nursery rhyme/ finger play that I can remember. In fact, this rhyme accounts for some of my very first memories of my parents tucking me in at night.

So when our school librarian approached me saying that the author, Eileen Christelow, would be coming to speak at our school and would I please make a cake for her?- I was beyond excited!

The monkeys each are made of modeling chocolate. I know I talk about it all the time- modeling chocolate is SO easy to make and is much more workable than fondant. Take one bag of candy melts, melt them in the microwave, then mix with 1/4 cup corn syrup, put in fridge for a few hours, and it’s ready to go! (Tint the color after you melt but before you mix with corn syrup.)

For these particular monkeys, the arms and legs are stuck in with toothpicks. I attempted to give each monkey a unique pose.

IMG_4242IMG_4243Once the bodies were firm, I used white modeling chocolate to form pajamas. Then I used a food-dye marker to draw on patterns (they match the illustrations in the book!).

IMG_4244  The bed is simply a cake made in a 9×13 pan, cut in half, frosted, with an orange piece of fondant thrown across the top like a blanket. I covered a cake board (that I had already cut into a headboard shape) with brown fondant and stuck it to the cake. Finally, I used the leftover white modeling chocolate to make pillows that I scattered around the bed.

five little monkeys jumping on the bed eileen christelow 2It was such a pleasure to meet Eileen Christelow! She was a wonderful speaker and had our students captivated for the entire assembly. Hearing her speak and watching her draw was like having a piece of my childhood come to life right before my eyes!

What other childhood books do you think would translate nicely into cake? It may be my next series!