Crafts » Tutorials » Layered polymer cakes
This is a rough tutorial on how to make layered miniature cakes by using polymer clay. I STRONGLY recommend using a pasta machine for this project. After working with dark-coloured clays, remember to clean your hands, the pasta machine and your work surface before starting to work with white clay.
Materials: polymer clay (I prefer Fimo), a round cutter (Ø around 2-2,5 cm; I'm using my engagement ring (not recommended) - a small aspic cutter would be ideal), a hobby knife, clear varnish, pasta machine (not absolutely necessary), metal modelling tools & acrylics (both not compulsory)
|Making the cake bases
1. Mix some beige/brown colours for the sponge part of the cakes. (Keep in muted natural colours... unless you're making red velvet cake, that is.)
2. Mix & roll out some fillings for the cakes: it's nice to leave some marbling in.
3. Roll out the dough clay to around 2mm in thickness. Roll out the filling clays to around 1-1,5 mm in thickness. Using your cutter, cut out small circles of the clays. The amount of circles I've cut here is enough for the five cakes which I'm going to make during this tutorial.
4. Layer the clay circles in a pile in your preferred order. Carefully compact the pile and gently roll it against your work surface to smooth out the edges.
5. This is what your cakes should look like after completing step 4.
6. Next, the icing: Roll out an icing clay of your choice (around 1mm in thickness is good). Cut out a circle using your round cutter plus a long rectangular strip.
7. Put the circle on top of the cake and press it down gently. Be careful not to leave any air bubbles in. Start wrapping the rectangular strip around the cake. Press & roll gently to compact; smooth out the seams.
8. Cut the excess icing strip away from the bottom using a sharp hobby knife.
9. This is what the cakes look like after icing. Notice that I've lined them up with small scraps of clay to indicate the colour of the filling in each particular cake - it's important to keep track of this if you're making a large amount of cakes at once and want the toppings & the fillings to coordinate. You can also press the indicator scraps gently on the bottom of the cakes, and remove them before baking.
|Decoration #1: Orange slices
I'm inexperienced in using the caning technique I'm describing below: if you need further instructions then google "polymer clay caning".
1. Make a round cane out of orange clay. Roll out a thin layer of white clay and cover the cane with it. Compress the cane with your fingers into a triangular shape. Elongate and compact the cane by pulling gently at both ends. (You can roll it a few times to compact it, but don't lengthen it like this: the shape inside will get all messed up.) Cut the resulting sleek cane into eight pieces of equal length.
2. Combine the eight slices as shown in these photos. Roll out a new thin sheet of white clay, and cover the cane with it. Elongate the cane again by gently pulling on it.
3. Roll out a medium-thick piece of orange clay to make the peel, and cover the cane with it. Compact and elongate a bit further. When the diameter of the cane looks proper, slice it with a sharp hobby knife.
4. Cut the slices in half and arrange them on top of a cake. While they're in place, texture them by using a suitable instrument, like the sharp end of a pin. The leaf is hand-molded, transferred on top of the cake and then textured in a similar way.
|Decoration #2: Cherries
This is the easiest one of the cake decorations in this tutorial.
Roll out tiny balls of cherry-red clay (you can use a few different shades). Arrange them on top of the cake. Cut small pieces of thin, black nylon wire, and push them in through the cherries to make the stems. (Push them deep into the cake; they'll also help the cherries to stay in place.) The cherries look a bit dull at the moment, but don't worry: after baking they'll be coated with glossy varnish.
In the second picture I've also textured the edges of the cake using a metal modelling tool.
|Decoration #3: Strawberries & cream
Making these cream decorations would be a lot easier with liquid polymer clay, but unfortunately they don't seem to sell that here in Finland.
1. This phase is pretty hard to explain and it takes a lot of patience to do these cream decorations. Take tiny amounts of white clay and roll it into a ball (diameter maybe 3 mm). Hold it between your fingertips, and use the fingertips of your other hand to carefully twist and tug the ball until it forms a twisted peak. Transfer it on top of the cake.
In the second picture, I've also covered the cake's edges with another thin layer of white clay, and then used a modelling tool to push down the upper edge of the new layer at regular intervals to create a decorative border.
2. Roll out tiny cones out of bright red clay. Arrange them on the cake's surface. Dip the sharp end of a pin into a mixture of black, white and green/yellow acrylics, and cover the strawberries with tiny pricks/dots. And please be a bit more careful with the colour of the seeds than I was - my strawberries look rather moldy.
|Decoration #4: Kiwi slices
1. Roll a thin cane out of very light green clay (preferably done by mixing transparent and green clay together). Cover the cane with a thick sheet of kiwi-green clay, and compact the cane a bit. Cut the cane into an irrational hexagonal as shown in the second picture. Slice the cane.
2. Arrange the slices on top of a cake. Using the sharp end of a pin, paint in the seeds with black acrylic paint.
|Decoration #5: Chocolate
Cut out a circle of light brown clay and place it on top of a cake. Mold brown chocolate leaves by hand and insert them on the cake; texture with a pin. Add tiny balls of brown clay on the sides to make chocolate coffee beans: press with a pin to make the center seam.
Bake the cakes in the oven - notice that because of their size they only take a fraction of the normal time to bake! (Mine took around 12 minutes instead of the manufacturer's recommendation of 30-35 minutes). After they've cooled off, finish them off with clear, glossy varnish. However, don't cover them totally in varnish: use it only to add gloss to certain elements of the cakes, like the fruits and berries.