In April, my daughter Audrey turned three years old. She wanted a Backyardigans cake. Well, the fancy cake places won't do a character cake because they "don't have copyrights" to the characters. I'm an attorney, so trust me, I get it, but that's just well, stupid. They're kids. It's a birthday party. Copyright Schmopyright.
Anywho, it forced me to face the alternatives laid out before me: (i) crappy grocery store cake with plastic figurines, or (ii) make my own. I chose the latter. Here is how it turned out. The kids loved it, and most importantly, when she saw the completed cake for the first time, her eyes lit up and mouth dropped open. As difficult to impress as her mother is, this was truly a proud moment for me.
The cake is two cake box mixes - any box mix is fine. I figure if you're going to spend this much time on fondant, screw it on the "homemade" part. They make boxes for a reason. Use them. Love them. We used strawberry for this cake. I used two tiers here, which is two 9 by 2 cake pans on the bottom and two 6 by 2 cake pans on top. Bake all four, and then shave off the "dome" part of the top of each cake. They do need to be level, or you will have a leaning tower o' cake. Stack all four, and insert drinking straws into the cake to hold it together in three or four places.
Then you need to ice the cake with regular icing. I used store-bought, but you can easily buy some buttercream from your local bakery place. Then refridgerate for at least two hours, because you need it to "crust over." Term of art there apparently in the 'biz.
After it is crusted over, you can apply the fondant. I purchased my fondant from Fondarific, which is a great (but pricey) company where the fondant actually tastes like the Skittles colors it comes in. Very tasty. See their website at www.fondarific.com.
I dyed the white fondant all the colors you see here, and then used a knife to make cutouts. In order to get the fondant to stick to other fondant, you simply brush the back with a small amount of water. I used one of my daughters' paintbrushes and dipped it in water, then just held the fondant piece on the cake and counted to five. Voila!
The finished product! Everything except the fondant was purchased at Michaels' or Hobby Lobby in the cake making section.