Canon Camera Cake
by Sally Campbell
(Trenton, Ontario, Canada)
The idea for this Canon camera cake came from a good friend, as a gift for her (now) husband. He is a photographer, and she requested a cake that resembled his first camera.
The flavour of this cake is chocolate with both a rich chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse fillings. Covered and decorated in homemade marshmallow fondant.
Prepare your favorite cake mix, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.
The recipes for both the rich chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse can both be made up to a day in advance. You can find these recipes online.
Now I make my own marshmallow fondant. You can also purchase already-made fondant. I recommend the Bulk Barn brand over others. I find it much closer to the homemade in flavour as well as when working with it.
If you are feeling brave just google "homemade marshmallow fondant". There are many but the easiest one I have found is the one that has mini marshmallows, water, icing sugar, and Crisco shortening.
Now it's time to start assembling your camera cake. Your cake should be baked, and completely cooled.
If you have chosen to do a carved cake you will have to begin with slicing your cake(s) horizontally so you have a minimum of three layers of cake. Between these layers of cake you will fill with your ganache and mousse.
Starting with your bottom layer of cake on your cake board (a piece of cardboard covered with a foil for cake boards. You can purchase already made cake boards in different shapes and sizes.). You will top the first layer of cake with the chocolate ganache then top with your second layer of cake. Next filling is the chocolate mousse and finished with your top layer of cake.
If you choose to make a taller cake you will need to place a cake board in the shape of the desired cake shape that you have chosen between the first three layers with the next few layers. In that case you would also need either wooden or plastic dowels to keep the cake from toppling over. However with my Canon camera cake I did not have to worry about that.
Now from here you put your cake in either the refrigerator or freezer and allow the cake to set. Once your cake is set it is ready to be carved. I used many photos of a Canon camera from different angles to carve the cake.
Once carved, give the top and sides of the cake a nice 1/8 - 1/4 inch coating of buttercream icing. The buttercream icing helps the fondant to "stick" to the cake and this cushion of buttercream helps to give you the beautiful smooth finish that you are looking for.
When you are ready to use the fondant icing, the first thing you need to do is decide what size you will need to roll your icing to. You will need to begin by kneading the fondant. If you find it difficult to knead you can place it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Begin at 10 and work your way up to 20 seconds.
You want the temperature to be close to your body temperature. Now is the best time to add your food colouring. Always use gel food colour as regular colours have too much water and can make your fondant mushy. Remember that food coloring can also stain your hands and nails. I suggest food-grade plastic gloves.
Now for the fun, add your food coloring, a little at a time, and knead it in. You can always go darker but it is difficult to go lighter. Red and black have a tendency to get darker as it sits and "ages".
To keep the fondant from sticking to your counter tops I suggest either cornstarch or vegetable shortening. You will need to try out both ways and decide which you like better. Most people do not own a non-stick rolling pin, but if you do, now is the time to use it. If not, lightly rub cornstarch on the surface of your rolling pin and roll out to the desired size.
I roll my fondant no thinner than 1/8-inch thick no thicker then 1/4-inch for covering Canon camera cake. It's thick enough for ease of handling and strength integrity. When I make decorations with fondant icing, I will sometimes roll it thinner.
Once you have rolled your fondant to the desired thickness and size to cover your cake, use your rolling pin like you would for pie pastry by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Then place the fondant at one bottom edge of the cake and unroll the rolling pin.
You should have a bit of overhang over the edges and onto the board. You might need a little cornstarch at this stage, but only use it very sparingly if you have a dark coloured fondant.
I very lightly sprinkle the cornstarch over the surface and use a buffing motion with my hand to move it around and to level the surface. This motion seals the fondant icing to the buttercream. It also works out any bumps in the icing below the surface, and removes flaws from the joined areas in the cakes surface below.
Use a very gentle pressure to rub the surface of the icing of the camera cake. I often have a little bowl of the cornstarch on the counter and dip my hands in it as needed.
If you notice a bubble in the surface, take a thin sharp needle (I use a hat pin, one with a pearl end) and poke a tiny hole into the bubble on an angle. If you poke straight down, you can almost always see the hole even after the most careful smoothing. The angled hole lets the air out of the bubble, and with a tiny bit of rubbing you can reseal the hole.