Ready to make your Perry Cake? Really, you CAN do this!
Yesterday we covered all The Prep Work required to make your platypus cake. Now it’s a day or so before you need the cake, and we’re going to put it all together.
You should have:
- 1 frosted flat cake.
- 1 unfrosted loaf cake
- extra cake (cupcakes)
- 1 batch marshmallow fondant
- the rest of your cream cheese icing
- The Supplies from yesterday’s list.
Clear yourself off a good work area, get your fondant out of the fridge, and let’s get to assembly!
1. The Base
You have your sheet cake, iced with your cream cheese icing. You really don’t HAVE to do anything else, but I’ve found that working on the platypus tends to mess up your icing, so I added jelly beans to hide my sins, and also for additional color. Any addons to the base can either be done prior to body placement (Step 4) or after. I did mine after, but if i was doing this over, I would probably have done it immediately before the body placement, after Step 3.
- If you have plenty of extra fondant, use a flower cookie cutter to cut out fondant flowers. Place them overlapping all around the cake (skipping the very middle that will be covered with a platypus, of course. (In retrospect, I would have done this. Fondant circles in various colors and sizes would also have been very cool.
- Cover the entire top with lime green tinted coconut, to simulate grass
- What I actually did: Cover the ground around Perry with multicolored jelly belly candies (I was thinking they could be platypus eggs!)
- If you have enough extra, roll out a large sheet of colored fondant (any color but yellow or green) and cover the entire top of the cake with it, for an extra smooth look.
2. Molding the bill and the feet:
Marshmallow fondant doesn’t hold shapes as well as regular fondant, so last year when I did the dragon cake, i decided to use something a little stronger as a ‘skeleton’–molded tootsie rolls. These can also be done ahead of time. They also will not be seen on the final cake, but should be a light enough color that they don’t show through the yellow fondant that will cover them.
Get out your tootsie rolls. Break one large roll into several smaller pieces, and microwave for JUST A FEW SECONDS to soften. You can now knead this in your hands until it’s soft and moldable like playdough.
You’ll be making 2 foot shapes, a top bill shape, and a bottom bill shape.
The foot shape is simple. Just make a flat 1/2 in thick triangle shape. Then squeeze it with your fingers toward 1 point to elongate. Then use your fingers to make ‘toes’ on the opposite flat end. That’s hard to explain in words, but just look at the picture!
The bottom bill is simply a half circle shape (like a “D”), and the top bill is a larger half circle, with the flat side thicker, coming to a triangular point. See diagram. (I don’t have any shots of the bill uncovered, but you can see the shapes in the photos of covering the bill, later on in this tutorial)
Use your loaf cake to help judge the size to make these. Remember, you’ll be covering them with fondant, so they’ll be bigger later, so make them a little smaller than needed in the final cake. Set these aside.
First, you’ll need an idea of how much to color for each part–this can be trial and error the first time, so here’s a trick. I’d suggest breaking off a workable size ball of white, and rolling it out to about 1/8 in thick. You’ll need to knead it a little first to get it workable after the night in the fridge. See how big it is. Take your loaf pan (that you used to bake the body!) and use it as a model. Hold your pan in the air, bottom side up. Gently drape your test fondant over it, and see how big a sheet you’re going to need. This is also good practice for how to work with the fondant, before you try it on the real thing! I found Peggy Weaver’s tutorial on working with the fondant very helpful – go read it!
Once you have an idea how much fondant is needed for your body, make a ball that size, and set aside. Make another ball that size and set aside for the tail. Then make 2 smaller balls : 1 for the bill/feet, 1 for the legs. Finally, you’ll 2 even smaller balls (like a large marble) which will be the black eyeballs and hair, and the white eyeballs. And you should still have a good bit of left over white–which is good, because if you screw up, you may need it!
- Green: Take one large ball, and one medium ball and knead together with green (and maybe a touch of blue) foodcoloring, until you get the desired Perry body color.
- Yellow: Take one Medium ball, and knead together with yellow food coloring, with a few drops of red, until you get the desired yellow-gold color for Perry’s bill.
- Black: Knead one small ball with black food coloring, for Perry’s hair and irises. (You may not even need that much, so start small)
- White: leave white, duh! for the eyes.
- Brown (or Chocolate): If you have brown food coloring, you can use that. I didn’t, so I kneaded in melted dark chocolate. This changes the consistency of the fondant, so if you’re doing that, wait until we get to that step, below!
4. Perry’s Body
The body of Perry is basically just the loaf shaped cake, turned upside down. Round off his body by carving off the 4 top edges with a sharp knife. Also round off the corners. Place the cake on top of your upside down loaf pan, to use as a pedestal while decorating.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing. Neatness doesn’t count here, you’re just providing glue and padding for the fondant.
Now, the fun part. Carefully center the fondant over the cake, like we practiced, and drape over the cake and the loaf pan. The fondant does stretch, so if you’ve screwed up and your not quite reaching the bottom somewhere, don’t fret. let gravity do it’s work. Let sit for several minutes for the fondant to stretch. (Again, this tutorial is helpful.)
Smooth and stretch the fondant as necessary, trim off excess, leaving about 1 inch or so, which you can then tuck under the bottom of the loaf. A Perfectly Packaged Perry body!
You can now place him on his base. Remember, you still have to add the bill to the front, so don’t center the body on the cake, leave several inches to add his bill. The tail drapes off the cake, so no need to leave much room for that.
Covering & Placing the Bill and Feet
Roll out your yellow fondant, and wrap pieces around each of the feet, and the top and bottom bill. Since the mouth is mostly closed, you don’t have to wrap the whole bill. For the top bill, just turn the rounded end up a bit to achieve a slightly open mouth. You can go ahead and place the bill on the cake. See photos:
5. Make the Eyes and Hair:
In his platypus state (as opposed to Agent P) Perry eyes a little goofy, with no lids, and look in slightly different directions.
Use a little of your extra cake (the leftover cupcakes) to make a cake ball mixture. Combine crumbled cake with leftover icing and mix with your fingers until the cake sticks together in a ball. Make a ball the size of a large marble, and cover with white fondant. Now make another! (Note: if you don’t want to do cake balls, you can just use a ball of extra fondant in place of the cake)
Then take a little ball of black, and press flat. Dampen one side, and press on to your white eyeball.
They are a little to round now, so use a knife to slice off the back 1/3 of the eyeball, so you have a flat side to stick to the cake. You may want to embed a toothpick in the cake, and slide the eyeball on to that to make sure it stays put.
(I placed mine a little high on his head, I think, so you may want to place a little lower on the front of the face.)
6. The Legs
The legs are similar to the eyes. Use your cake ball mixture to make the basic shape, then wrap in fondant. Hide your fondant seam by putting it against the cake body. Moisten with water or extra icing to stick to cake. Note, I did his back legs too far forward, the thigh should have been closer to the rear of the platypus. Place your yellow feet in the appropriate place, as shown.
7. The Tail
I didn’t have any good foodcoloring for the brown for Perry’s tail, so I figured why not mix it with some chocolate! I melted a bar of Hershey’s Special Dark and kneaded it into the fondant the same as you would with food coloring, until I reach a good brown. This worked, but it also caused the fondant to lose pliability, so it’s a little harder to work with. Roll out a large piece of your chocolate fondant (either double the normal thickness, or stack two sheets). cut out your tail shape, then use a chopstick to press a diamond quilted pattern into the tail. I waited to attach the tail (since it falls off the cake) until i set up the cake for the party. Just adhere the end to your platy-posterior with some leftover icing (see above photo in the legs section)!
Your Completed Cake
You’re ready to go now… store the cake in some sort of box, not in the refrigerator, but protected from ants and other lovelies. Place in a cool room out of reach of children and pets. The fondant will soften overnight, so be much more careful touching it the next day. And even if it doesn’t come out perfectly (mine had a few flaws!) your Phineas and Ferb loving child with think you are the greatest!