Cake Decorating In The Dark – Notre Dame Football Helmet Cake

5 Dec

I’ve been without electricity for three very. long. days. Apart from the obvious hassles this presents (the DVR failing to record It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and not being able to charge my cell phone which doubles as an alarm clock), I was supposed to be making a cake this week, and that’s a little tough to do without power. It’s worth mentioning that Jon and I live in a damn cave. We’re in a basement unit that faces north. On a sunny day, we’ll get a few hours of natural light in the family room, but the rest of the place remains very, very dark. It’s great for hangovers. The rest of the time it sucks. So, what do you do when your power gets cut when you’ve promised to make a birthday cake? If you’re me, you give thanks that you work in the Wilton Test Kitchen, which is pretty much cake decorating central.  The cabinets are overflowing with pans and tools. Some of the cabinets are so full that I can’t get them closed, but that’s a matter for another time.


My future brother-in-law, Keith, turned 30 last week, and my little sis threw him a surprise party. Keith’s a Notre Dame Alum, so she suggested I theme the cake around that. It all came together pretty easily because Wilton makes a cake pan shaped like a football helmet, and we just started selling this aerosol metallic-gold color in a can. I baked the cake and used a Kitchenaid mixer at work to make the icing, then brought the whole lot home to decorate on the coffee table in the family room, savoring those precious few hours of daylight during the power outage. The lack of electricity certainly made things a little more difficult, but in the end, the cake was very simple to decorate. Rolled fondant is so much more forgiving than buttercream icing because it’s perfectly smooth every time. If I had sprayed buttercream with the metallic-gold color, it wouldn’t have looked nearly as perfect. And so what if it doesn’t taste as good as buttercream? There’s buttercream underneath it, holding it to the cake! Just peel off the fondant when you’re serving it, and stop complaining! You could even serve the cake alongside a bit of extra icing, or some fruit compote. Bottom line – if you’re at all interested in cake decorating, try using rolled fondant. It’s so simple you can practically do it in the dark!


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