It's no wonder this modern, stunning cake was named the Wilton Cake of the Year for 2014. While the abstract-painted fondant design, the textured tiles and gold-tipped leaves are breathtaking, all of the techniques are easy to do. The achievability of this cake is thanks to the forethought of this year's Wilton Cake of the Year creator, Valerie Pradhan.
Make leaves 2 days in advance.Tint 3 oz. white fondant coral. Knead 1/4 teaspoon Gum-Tex into coral fondant. Use fondant roller with blue guide rings to roll out coral fondant 1/16 in. thick. Use straight side of second largest [1 1/16 in. x 2 3/8 in.] leaf cut-out to cut 18 leaves. Place leaves under storage board flap. Turn half of the leaves over to point in the opposite direction. Shape and style leaves, working one leaf at a time. Place leaves on thin shaping foam. Use ball tool from set to thin edges. Use knife to cut slits, 1/8 in. deep on edges.
Use straight side of third largest (7/8 in. x 1 15/16 in.) leaf cut-out to cut 13 leaves. Use straight side of third smallest (3/4 in. x 1 11/16 in.) leaf cut-out to cut six leaves. Turn half of the leaves over to point in the opposite direction. Repeat process for shaping and cutting slits as above. Make extras to allow for breakage.
Place all leaves on crumpled plastic wrap. Let dry 24 hours. Reserve remaining coral fondant.
Make leaf base strips also 2 days in advance. Use fondant roller with orange guide rings to roll out reserved coral fondant 1/8 in. thick. Use knife to cut one strip for large leaf cluster, 4 in. long x 1 1/4 in. wide. Cut one strip for small leaf cluster, 3 in. long x 1 in. wide. Cut out a V shape at one end. Let dry 24 hours.
Make tiles also 2 days in advance. Use fondant roller with orange guide rings to roll out 5 1/4 oz. white fondant 1/8 in. thick. Use straight side of smallest (15/16 in.) and second smallest (1 5/16 in.) square cut-outs to cut 50 squares in each size. Place on cornstarch-dusted board. Let dry 24 hours.
Decorate tiles 1 day in advance. Prepare royal icing following recipe directions. Use medium consistency white royal icing in cut disposable decorating bag to pipe squiggle lines over tiles. Use damp brush to spread lines over tile to create a slightly bumpy texture. Let dry, about 4 hours. Reserve remaining royal icing.
Use brush and white/periwinkle blue Color Dust edible accents/lemon extract mixture to paint all tiles. Use brush and bronze/gold Pearl Dust edible accents/lemon extract mixture to paint sides and dab top of large tiles. Let dry, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve remaining blue and gold mixtures.
Decorate leaves also 1 day in advance. Use brush and reserved gold mixture to paint edges of all leaves. Let dry, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Assemble leaf clusters on base strips also 1 day in advance. Chill base strips about 10 to 15 minutes for easier attaching of leaves. Melt orange Candy Melts candy according to package directions.
For large cluster, use melted candy in cut disposable decorating bag to attach one large leaf on top center of 4 in. x 1 1/4 in. base strip. Attach two large leaves angled on each side of first leaf. Hold for about 1 minute until set. Repeat to attach three more pairs of angled leaves to bottom of strip. Hold until set. Attach three additional pairs of angled large leaves between first pairs. Hold until set. Attach three large leaves vertically down center. Hold until set.
For small cluster, attach one medium leaf on top center of 3 in. x 1 in. strip and two medium leaves angled on each side of first leaf. Hold until set. Attach three pairs of angled small leaves between first pairs. Hold until set. Attach four medium leaves vertically down center. Hold until set.
Use melted orange candy to attach a lollipop stick to back of each base strip, leaving 2 in. extended at bottom to insert into cake. Trim as needed.
Make layered cakes. Prepare batter following recipe directions. Bake and cool one 6 in. round, two 8 in. round, and two 12 in. hexagon cake layers.
Prepare buttercream icing following recipe directions. Tint ivory. Place cakes on cake circles, cut to fit. Tort,fill and stack 6 in. cake for a 1-layer cake, 3 in. high; 8 in. cakes for a 2-layer cake, 6 in. high; and 12 in. cakes for a 2-layer cake, 4 in. high. Use spatula and ivory icing to ice cakes smooth. Prepare cakes for stacked construction but do not stack.
Attach tiles. Use spatula to spread a small amount of icing on backs of tiles. Randomly attach tiles to sides of hexagon cake.