As stated, I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to baking, so please be kind!
It's my son's 2nd birthday on Saturday and I'm planning (probably foolishly given my limited skills) to make him a Henry Hoover cake. I'm aiming for something like this (though the outcome will probably be a little... different!): https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ea/d1/2c/ead12c49358a3eea52c88378f4d8325c.jpg
The actual baking bit I think I'm ok with: I'm planning a 4 layer vanilla birthday sponge. It's the decorating I'm a bit concerned about (I've never used fondant before). Mainly, I'm not sure how to get the two separate red and black bits - every tutorial etc. I've seen for using fondant is just using a single colour. I've come up with a few different ideas for how I might do this:
1. Assemble the bottom two layers and apply the red icing, then apply black over the top two as if a separate cake, before putting whole thing together.
2. Assemble whole cake, then apply red to bottom and black to top separately.
3. Assemble whole cake, apply red all over, then black on top of the red on the top of the cake (would that make the icing too thick?).
Which of these sounds most doable? Or indeed, does anyone have a better idea?
Also, is buttercream under the fondant totally necessary (apologies if that's a really stupid question)?
I would put the top section on a tin or something slightly smaller in diameter. Then ice the top black section and you should be able to trim any black icing that hangs over the edge with a lknife.
Then you can put this black top section on top of the other cake & wrap a long red rectangle around the bottom half. I think you will struggle without the buttercream as it helps the fondant stick but it can be a very thin layer & if pushed you can get it readymade in the supermarkets.
Yes, buttercream underneath is essential as it's what holds the fondant onto the cake and holds it flat. Don't underestimate how tricky smoothing is - it looks dead easy with the right tools but it really isn't. It takes a lot of practice to get the kind of finish in the picture you attached. Don't expect yours to look like that if you've not done it before!
I'd go for red all over then the black over the red. Yes it will be thick but it's practically the law with this kind of cake. I ordered a custom camper van cake (way beyond my limited skills) for DS1's 5th birthday and I counted six layers of fondant on one area.
If you've never done fondant before I strongly recommend you buy pre-rolled, pre-coloured fondant, or you will be smashing Henry up in a rage before you've finished!
Good luck! I've done fondant decorated cakes for each of my DSs' first birthdays. Never again...it's way harder than it looks, even the easy cakes!
Fondant icing is really hard to do IMO. Have you thought about colouring buttercream and smoothing that on instead (I've done that for shaped cakes before, eg fire engine etc) and it's a bit rough and ready, but I prefer it trying to get fondant smooth! Your option 1 would work with buttercream I think. It's a great idea for a cake btw.
Thanks everyone. I've made the cake and buttercream so it's already to decorate this evening once LO has gone to bed. Still not decided which option to go with (most of you seem to be suggesting 2), but I'm reassured that they've all been endorsed! I didn't think about how to glue eyes etc. on! Will strawberry jam work - I don't think I can manage a last minute shopping trip?!
I think you can add a drop of boiling water to some fondant icing. If you squidge it about you can make edible glue - think a kind of gel/paste consistency. (I'm sure I did this once but it was a while ago). The jam would probably slip. Otherwise could you use a bit of buttercream?
Surprisingly well Elphaba, thanks. In the end I cover the top section in black separately and wrapped red around the base, before sticking the whole thing together. I did as wondering suggested and used water to stick the eyes etc. I actually found the hardest part was the band around the middle, joining the two parts - that definitely gives away my amateur skills. DS was delighted with it though (he's totally obsessed with Henry!).