A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Fondant Hot Air Balloons (& Other Favorite Tips)

Fondant (and gum paste) can be likened to playing with playdough. Remember how much fun it was to build mini hamburgers (complete with lettuce and a tomato) or bowls of spaghetti when you were a kid? I like to think of fondant as the adult version, which is why it’s a lot of fun to play with and shouldn’t be passed over by the everyday baker! I bake only as a hobby and I say give it a go. Those cute fondant decorations you’ve seen on Cake Boss (or the latest pastry show on The Food Network)? You should give it a try.

You can start with a basic shape like the simple oversized polka dots on Liv’s first birthday cake, or go a little bigger and cover a stacked wedding cake. Whichever you decide as your jumping off point, give it a go. You won’t regret it!

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Last Friday I shared with you the Up, Up & Away! themed baby shower that we threw for our friend, Trish. When brainstorming desserts, I was pretty set on doing something simple like cupcakes or cookies, but my co-host suggested something bigger – maybe a cake like this one ;). I ended up having the day before the shower free and so I gave it a go.

While baking the cake I snapped a few photos of the process for making fondant decorations (or at least the semi-homespun steps that I’ve adopted) to share with you all.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

First things first, fondant. You can buy small packages at stores like Michaels at a more expensive price, but I recommend investing instead in a large bucket of a fondant such as this one and slowly chipping away at it over the years. I still have – no joke – fondant left over from our own wedding cake 6.5 years ago… and when kept in an air tight bucket it’s as fresh and easy to work with today as it was back then. Needless to say a lot of people don’t actually eat the fondant decorations (but you’re welcome to if you’d like). Don’t need to color your fondant? Here’s a super brand to work with for first-timers if you’re going for white white.

Back to my story…

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

First up is separating out your chunks of fondant into manageable sized portions. Add 5-10 drops of food coloring to each fist-sized piece (more for a saturated color, less for a lighter color) and kneed, kneed, kneed.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

Very fun to play with – this is what reminds me so much of playdough!

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

By the time you’ve finished up your range of colors you might be dyed like an Easter egg…

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

But that will fade over time…

And you’ll be left with some beautiful fondant to play with.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

I use corn starch rather than flour if I’m noticing any sticking tendencies with my newly formed fondant playdough balls. Corn starch is your friend, don’t be shy.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

A rolling pin is the easiest way to roll out fondant to about 1/8″ thick. Cover that rolling pin in corn starch, too.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

To make hot air balloons, I cut out hot air balloon shapes in two different colors (you can freestyle any shape or use cookie cutters to make it easy peasy).

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

Then I cut one of my balloons into strips and used the strips to create a colorful outline on the second balloon shape.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

A little bit of water on your finger will help adhere the two pieces of fondant together.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

As far as cutting is concerned, there are a couple of easy ways to play with fondant. Over the years I’ve invested in more cake decorating supplies that make this even easier (like a little wooden scalpel for slicing through cleanly) but I was without my decorating box when assembling these at my mom’s so now is a good time to mention alternatives.

First up is a sharp knife:

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

But even better? a pizza slicer.

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

That was a genius of a shortcut find! Makes the process so very quick and easy.

Once you get the hang of the project, hot air balloons can be made in all sizes and colors. I liked the look of some as dual colors, others as solids (but still with the outlines cut out).

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

I can’t underestimate the importance of corn starch, you literally want to be rolling in it:

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

Since fondant can go sticky fast.

A nice way to seal the edges of two pieces of fondant together is to go over the edges with the pizza slicer again. This will pinch together the outline of the shape without making finger dents (which will happen if you attempt the same step with your hands).

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

Create and duplicate!

DIY Cake Fondant Tips | Fondant Hot Air Balloons | PepperDesignBlog.com

We’re not going for perfection here, but if you are make a ton. You can pass on your least favorite when decorating your actual cake.

I stored my fondant pieces over night in tupperware (in one layer – no stacking). You can use the pieces right away as well, but I recommend adding them to the final cake the day of. To adhere them to the cake, press them into the wet frosting or lightly dampen the backside of with water and smooth on (especially useful for adding fondant to a fondant covered cake). I made the mistake of not brushing off all of my corn starch before applying (thinking I could easily go back and clean up my balloons by brushing off the starch post application) and ended up with a powdered cake. Oops! Make sure those puppies are clean before adding.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

And again, corn starch is your friend. Invest in a big can, especially if you have helpful kids.

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

I hope I’ve convinced you! Remember, fondant = playdough, you have to give it a try.

More desserts here! And my 3 post amateur wedding cake saga here – with a few fondant tips & tricks here, too.

Everyday Stuff.

Busy few weeks around here, I’ll catch you up!

Halloween was so much fun this year, mostly because this was the first year Liv understood what trick-or-treating was all about (as opposed to last year’s message: go knock on this stranger’s door and ask for candy ;), then say thank you! Quite counter intuitive…). The day of I dressed as a butterfly catcher (a big fishing net was the perfect prop) for my little bugs. It was a challenge to capture a group pic this year – ignore Liv’s finger in her nose. Kevin is making his best Pitbull impression. We also enjoyed a yummy pumpkin soup that night, remind me to share that recipe! It’s a keeper. Speaking of pumpkin, I mentioned how yummy this pumpkin cake was, right? Also a keeper. Fondant is like playdough for bakers, my little flour child and I made all of the hot air balloons for the cake by playing around last Saturday. All while Taylor and Bodie became good friends. And how cute are these little Halloween paint swatch cards from Liv’s little friend, Gigi?

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

everydaystuff_vanillaextract_bottles_500

Everyday Stuff. | PepperDesignBlog.com

Taylor was baptized on Saturday and we celebrated with a yummy feast (and two new desserts – a citrus cake & a persimmon cake). I also snapped her four month photo (four months!!) last week. It’s that time of the year and I’m infusing again… any guesses on what I’m up to? Be back soon with details so you can follow along with Christmas gifts if you’d like.

Whew! What a busy couple of weeks! You guys, I hope you have an awesome start to your week, too.

More of life caught in the little moments posted right here. Might consider this this costume next year for a party? or even a non-Halloween party like this one

Up, Up & Away! A Hot Air Balloon Shower

This past weekend family and friends and I threw a baby shower for our friend, Trish. The theme was ‘Up, up & away! A little boy is on the way!’, and we covered everything in little hot air balloons.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

The dessert table was a lot of fun to put together, I love how the cut out cookies came out. Lining the different platters helped to make everything ‘pop’.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

The paper hot air balloons were inspired by this post and assembled by my co-host, Stephanie. How great are the bright, playful colors on the table!

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

I made the cake – heavily inspired by this one - the day before (more to come on those fondant balloon decorations) and chose a pumpkin recipe for the season. You must, MUST try this recipe by the Novice Baker, this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. And the icing? A maple cinnamon that’s to die for.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Really wishing right about now as I look at these pictures that I had ended up piping the cake… ah well.

Stephanie made those adorable cloud and hot air balloon cookies, too.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

The shower was hosted in my parent’s backyard here in San Diego. Do you remember how I had mentioned that they were moving down here from Santa Cruz (in Northern California)? Well they bought the most perfect home for entertaining.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

We made simple table decorations out of craft paper cut into the shape of a hot air balloon (a cricut made it easier but isn’t necessary) glued to sticks (aka bamboo skewers) and set into plaster of paris. Handfuls of goldfish helped to cover the plaster. I found the chevron fabric for the runners (which I will definitely use again!) here.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

We served a lunch of chicken salad croissant sandwiches, fruit salad and a big green salad. Lemonade and champagne kept everybody cool.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

We borrowed twenty bright blue paper parasols and they were perfect for the sunny day! They also looked so pretty covering everybody up.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Games included a cute madlibs game, a ‘price is right’ shower game (guessing gift registry pricing) and the hilarious candy diaper game. Have you ever played this one?

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

My mom melted different chocolates into eight infant diapers and guests had to guess which was which by observing, smelling and even tasting ;) the contents. Just gagged a little.

Then it was time to open gifts.

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Sees pops turned upside down became the hot air balloon baskets on these adorable favors made by another friend:

Up, Up & Away Baby Shower | PepperDesignBlog.com

It was a beautiful Sunday and we had a great time celebrating this new little one. More hot air balloon inspiration for this shower on this board. and this one, too – just in case you’re ever looking. Have a great weekend!

PS more baby shower ideas sorted here.

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