A champagne loving friend was celebrating a milestone birthday so there was no better option than to try to replicate a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne in a gift box.
Yes that is a wooden box, but not one actually made of wood. This whole cake (box included) is completely edible! This was not the easiest cake, but once I figured out how I was going to do it, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
- 2 11″x15″ sheet cakes
- Raspberry jam — best filler between cake layers especially with chocolate cake!
- Butter-cream icing
- 2.5 lb package Wilton black fondant
- 5 lb package Wilton white fondant
- Wilton paste food colours: ivory, burgundy, lemon yellow, royal blue & juniper green
- Wilton powder food colours: brown
- Wilton silver shimmer dust
- Clear piping gel
- Kirsch (or other clear coloured liquor such as vodka)
- Wilton Food Writer black marker
- White chocolate for ‘wood’ shavings
Creating fondant that looks like wood
Getting the wood look with fondant was also not as hard as I expected. Using Wilton paste food colouring is the easiest way to get just the colour you want. Ivory was the first colour added to get a good start. Then I mixed in tiny small amounts of burgundy, lemon yellow. Even a bit of royal blue and juniper green helped bring the wood tone to life. Once coloured, I rolled out and cut the fondant to shape. To get the texture and of the wood, I created random lines across the fondant to mimic the grain. Wilton brown powder colour worked well to give the wood even more character. The easiest way I found was to use a small paint brush with some brown powder on it and lightly flick it onto the fondant. A quick brush with my hand in the direction of the grain and ‘voila’ — wood!
TIP: in doing a “box” like this, the fondant needs to be done at least 2-3 days ahead of time so that it can dry enough to be able to stand up vertically.
The cake itself was created from two 11″x15″ sheet cakes cut in half on the length and then stacked to form 2 separate 2 layer cakes. One cake of two layers was used for the base of the box and the other was carved to form the bottle. Each sheet cake was cut in half and the bottom half was spread with raspberry jam (homemade is the best!) and then topped with the other half. The one to be used for the bottle was frozen for a day so that it was easier to carve. The other cake was iced with the butter-cream and then put aside to be used as the base.
Tip: when carving any cake, be sure to freeze it first as a frozen cake is so much easier to carve and shape.
Shaping the bottle can be a bit fussy but the hardest part is resisting the urge to just trim a bit here or a bit there. If the trimming continues, there would easily not be much cake left! Once trimmed and iced, on went the black fondant.
Tip: Trying to colour white fondant black is almost impossible so it really is best to buy it already coloured. I also had hoped that by adding some green, the bottle would have a bit of a green tint rather than just solid black — I finally gave up after adding almost a 1/4 bottle of food colouring — apparently no matter how much green was added, didn’t seem to make a difference!To make the bottle more realistic looking, it had to have the shine of glass and not the matte look of fondant. Mixing clear piping gel with a bit of Kirsch did the trick! The alcohol helps to thin the gel so that it can go on relatively smoothly to get that glass-like look.
This was probably the hardest part of the cake. A Google search provided a Dom Perignon label to work from. I made sure to print a copy that would be the right size so it would be easier to use as a guide. The fondant was tinted with a bit of ivory and then rolled out to size. Using the Food Writer marker, I did try a practice label to see how it would work and the marker definitely did the trick!
A little piping gel helped the label stick and then some silver shimmer painted on to create the foil cap finished off the bottle.
To support the bottle, I used a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the base cake. This also made it easier when serving to lift the bottle out and cut and serve the base cake first.
Putting It All Together
With the ‘wood’ fondant dry and stiff, and the base cake iced, it was actually pretty easy to “build the box around the cake. I added a couple of ‘wood pieces on each corner glued with piping gel to give the box a bit more support and to finish off the box a bit better.
Using letter cookie cutters made it easy to create the text on the lid of the ‘box’. Lightly pressed into the fondant, the letters were then easily visible to colour in with the food marker.
All that was left now was to place the cake in the ‘box’ and add the packing shavings. Shaving the white chocolate took some time but was easily poured around the bottle to give the wood shavings look.
The end result was a hit and I have to say I even surprised myself a bit with this one. I usually have an idea of what I want a cake to look like when done and it is not too often that the final cake is actually that close to my original vision — but this one was!