I want to make something special for my mother's upcoming birthday. I've been looking around and I got inspired to make a cake with rad decorations on it. I've got a few questions tough, namely regarding icing, and I'd love some pointers.
For the cake itself, it probably will be a run-of-the-mill vanilla layered cake. I'm a beginner so it won't be none too fancy <:) What will set it apart is that it'll be as neat-looking as I can make it.
For instance I've been looking at http://www.omnomicon.com/rainbowcake and I got inspired to color my batter too (albeit I might not do a rainbow) meaning I'll need [Gel food coloring].
As for the icing/decorating, I've been toying around the idea of drawing and/or sculpting things on the cake. I've been looking at lots of examples of cakes on blogs/tv shows/deviantart such decorated. I've never done such a thing before, but I'm pretty good at drawing and I believe not bad at sculpting with putty/modeling dough so the technical abilities I got could help even if the medium changes. ;)
I'm considering maybe purchasing a set of [Food Coloring Pens] so I could draw on the cake frosting. But for that to work, I'll need hard and dry-ish frosting. It seems the pros mainly work with Fondant but I'm not too keen about that- seems very delicate and unforgiving. Also I really don't feel like making my own so I can always buy some but I guess I'll need to order it online.
I wonder, tough, if something like this
would not be newbie-friendly, not-too-expensive alternatives?
I'm especially considering that [Wilton Decorating Icing], it's advertized as firm enough to make upright flowers and the such. Do you think I could even make little characters and the such with it?
Also, if I buy white icing, do you thing it could successfully be mixed with a little Coloring Gel to give it different hues?
Or will I need two different products- one to ice the cake itself and one to sculpt things with? (I'd like it all to be edible, too)
Finally, you might have noticed that I put a few words in [brackets]. Those are products I might need to buy, and that are not available at my supermarket (I live in a small city, we do not have a cake specialty shop or anything). I will end up ordering these online, and I would greatly appreciate if any of you can help me spot good deals. I'd like to spend as little as I can (for the quality) since shipping costs to my part of Canada will surely add up and I might end never really re-using those supplies much. (So say, 4 gallons of fondant and extra deluxe food dyes in huge bottles will be overkill for my meager needs)
I've spotted a few shops:
I don't know if there are any Canadians among people reading this who would know of some better shops, geographically speaking (it might help further to specify I live in Québec) to order online from? It might be better for the environment and my wallet if my purchases do not need to be lugged across the continent. :)
Thanks in advance, everyone!