DIY: Thanksgiving Dinner Cake Toppers
As promised, here’s the DIY for the Thanksgiving dinner toppers I shared yesterday from the collaboration I worked on with the amazing Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth for her Thanksgiving Tabletop Idea post. The DIY for each topper is posted individually, so whether you want to make just one of the toppers or all of them, follow along below to get the how-to.
One thing to mention is that while fondant is super easy to work with, it doesn’t taste that great. I wouldn’t ever eat a block of it…but it sure does look great when used as the decor atop cakes. However, if you want to eat it and prefer it to taste delicious, I’d recommend using modeling chocolate instead which tastes similar to that of a tootsie roll. It’s a bit more pricey than fondant and takes a longer time to dry – but tastes so much better. The process is the same for modeling chocolate, you will just need to allow a longer dry time for each topper.
- 1 box (24 oz) white fondant (or modeling chocolate)
- Parchment paper or Silimat
- Rolling pin
- Dye: Yellow, Green, Orange, Brown, Red
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Tools: knife, toothpick
- Plastic wrap
- Plastic gloves
The dying process works the same for each color. Make sure to wear plastic gloves to avoid getting dye all over your hands. For each color, add a drop of the specific coloring to the center of the white fondant and work together until the fondant is dyed. When rolling out the fondant, make sure to work on a pastry mat or parchment paper, as the fondant will stick to the work surface. If you add too much color, the fondant will become very gooey and difficult to work with. If this happens, roll the fondant in confectioner’s sugar and work until the fondant is back to its initial consistency. If you’re dyeing all of the colors first, make sure to cover and seal any fondant you are not working with, as it will dry out very quickly in open air.
TURKEY LEG: Before you start you’ll need white and brown fondant. First, shape your white fondant into a stick (bone) shape, adding the characteristic heart-shape to the end of the bone. Add brown fondant (the meat) to the end of the bone. Indent and shape the meat with your finger. Set aside to dry. [Note: if making the green beans, save / store any additional brown fondant.]
PUMPKIN PIE SLICE: For the pumpkin pie slice you’ll need orange and light brown dyed fondant, with the addition of just a pinch of the white fondant. [Note: If you’re also making the cherry pie – make sure to make/save some additional light brown fondant.] First, shape the orange fondant into a triangle, about 3/4″ high. Set aside to set for 10 minutes. Roll out your light brown fondant (for your crust) and place the orange triangle (the filling) atop, using it as a stencil and cut the below fondant to the shape. Once you have the two pieces – add a tiny bit of water (which works as a glue) in between them. [Note: You’ll quickly learn that too much water will ruin the fondant, so be very cautious of this if it’s your first time working with fondant. I typically just use a lightly moistened sponge to wet the fondant.] Cut out the side of the crust from the rolled out brown fondant, pinch an edge of it, shaping it to look like a crust and use water to adhere that to the edge of the triangle. Top the pie slice off with just a pinch of white fondant (whipped cream) and set the slice aside to dry.
MASHED POTATOES: The mashed potatoes are probably the easiest. You’ll need white and a small amount of yellow fondant. First roll the white fondant into a ball, use your palm to slightly flatten the ball. Then just pinch the mound of fondant to match the appearance of a mashed potato serving. Form the yellow dough into a square shape for the butter and use a drop of water to position it to the top.
CORN: For the corn you’ll need yellow and green fondant, as well as a toothpick and some plastic wrap. First shape the yellow fondant into an oval / corn shape. Before it sets, use a toothpick to add horizontal and vertical lines for the kernels. For the husks, first roll out a end for the cob. Next, roll out your green fondant until it’s very thin. Use a knife to cut out 2 husk shapes and work your finger around each edge to thin out. Use plastic wrap to add dimension and shape the husks while they dry (see picture for details). You can either use water to assemble the husks to the corn or if placing atop a cake, you can just assemble atop the cake (buttercream also works as a glue with fondant).
GREEN BEANS: For the green beans, you’ll need brown and dark green fondant. [Note: If you have leftover green fondant from your corn husks, just add an additional drop of green to achieve the darker hue.] Roll out dark green fondant into long round pieces, about the same thickness of a piece of string. Use your knife to cut into 1/2″ long pieces. Shape brown fondant into a bowl shape. Use a silicone mold or ball of plastic wrap to assist the bowl while it sets. Once dry, add in your green beans. Optional: If you want to add some butter to the top, go ahead and make another butter square from yellow fondant.
CHERRY PIE: For the cherry pie, you’ll need light brown and red dyed fondant. First, roll red fondant into little (1/4 centimeter) balls. For an additional detail, use a toothpick to add more of a cherry shape to each ball. Next, roll out your light brown fondant, forming it to the shape of a whole pie bottom and use plastic wrap to assist with the shape as it sets (see green bean steps for direction). Additionally, cut thin strips of the light brown fondant. Once the bottom crust has set, fill with red balls (cherries) and position the thin strips in a woven (lattice) fashion atop the cherry balls. Press the ends of the strips around the crust’s edge and use a toothpick to add additional detail along the edge.
And since it is a Thanksgiving post – I just wanted to fully disclose how darn grateful I am to be able to coexist in this DIY blogging world. Not only is every single DIY blogger I’ve had the pleasure of getting to meet so incredibly awesome and creative, but they’re really truly supportive. Everyone seems to pull for each other, support each other, and they all love to collaborate. Ashley of Sugar & Cloth is the epitome of what I’m talking about here – so kind, supportive, happy to offer advice whenever. I feel so lucky to get to live in this online world and look forward to collaborating more in the future. If you want to collaborate, shoot me an email and lets chat!