This post on cake dummies is a beginner article for those who are new to the world of cake decorating.
If you have heard the word ‘cake dummy’ but not sure what it is or how it is used in cake decorating, you will get your answers here.
Let me start by showing you what cake dummies look like. There you go:
These are basically Styrofoam blocks that are cut into cake shapes (the most common ones are round and square, but other shapes are also available) in varying heights (again, the most common height that I have seen are 3 inches and 4 inches high).
The main intention of cake dummies is to replace real cake. And there are a couple of reasons why anyone would want to use a dummy cake instead of real cakes.
These are the most common reasons why I use cake dummies:
To cover the dummies with buttercream or other frostings of similar consistency (like royal icing and ganache), the process is pretty straightforward. Just cover it in the exact same way as you would a normal cake. The plus point here is that you need not crumb coat it to lock any cake crumbs or level the sides, therefore can apply the final coat of buttercream directly on it.
As for fondant, there is a bit of prep work to do before you can cover the dummies. This is because, most of the time, there are tiny holes or lines or dents on the Styrofoam which if not smoothed, can show on the fondant once its covered over the dummies. Hence you need to prepare the dummies or rather patch up the imperfections with royal icing before covering it with fondant. This is more so when making double barrel cakes with Styrofoam dummies. Let me show you how I normally prepare my cake dummies before covering them with fondant.
This however, can only be used if when there is no patch work on the dummy. In such cases, I use a wide brush to wet the dummy. After that, I just roll my fondant and cover the dummy as I would a normal cake.
Some cake decorators like to smooth the edges of the dummies before covering with fondant. This will give the fake cakes a slightly rounded edge. To smooth the sides, you can use a fine sand paper or simply use your rolling pin and rub it on the edges to make it rounded. I for one, do not like to smooth the edges of my cake dummies as I prefer my cake to have very sharp edges after covering with fondant.
This depends on how you intend to use the dummy. For example, if you want to use dummies to create a 6-inch-tall cake, you would need to stick 2 dummies measuring 3 inches high so that they form a 6 inches tall cake when combined. To stick the dummies, I normally use hot glue, but you can also try with royal icing or other glues.
Good news when using dummies for tiered cakes is that dummies do not require doweling since they are hard. If you are stacking a dummy on a real cake, the real cake would require doweling, but if you are placing a real cake on a dummy, then doweling is not required for the dummy.
Storing cake dummies is easy, you can keep them anywhere so long as it’s clean especially if they are to be used with real cake.
Storing decorated dummy cakes however, can be a little tricky, depending on your environment. I normally have to keep mine covered in large plastic bags (clean garbage bags) or else I get tiny holes on the fondant on the cakes when I wake up the next morning (eaten by house lizards!).
Cake dummies can be reused, meaning you can use them for multiple projects. I have done this for my dummies, especially those that I make for family since its easier to retrieve the dummies from them. To reuse, simply scrap off all the icing and wash the dummy thoroughly. Dab them and let them dry in open air until they are completely dry before storing for future reuse.
And that is all I can think about Styrofoam dummies. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Hope this was useful.
Happy Decorating :)
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