Monday, December 5, 2011

Learn How To ... Make Feathers

Over the summer I had a client request a cake for his girlfriend's 40th birthday.  A chicken was what he wanted.  There is a story there ... but I think it is more fun to keep you guessing!

The chicken cake is entirely edible and is covered in hundreds of little fondant feathers.  

The body feathers were quite easy.  Just cut an oval shape out of fondant and use a blade to create a few slits on either side.  Of course after about the 458th feather, maybe not so easy!

But the tail feathers were the more challenging and the ones that people kept toughing to check that I had not inserted real bird feathers into a cake.

Here is how you do it ... in case you are ever called upon to make a chicken.

  1. Roll out a tube of fondant to the length you would like your feather.
  2. Insert a long piece of floral wire into the tube, leaving about an inch of room at the top.
  3. Flatten the tube gently with your small rolling pin.
  4. Roll out the fondant, using your small rolling pin, on each side of the wire.  You don't want to roll on top of the wire or you will expose it.  Be sure to roll the fondant out pretty thin.
  5. Use your blade to cut a feather shape from your fondant, making sure to keep the wire in the middle and a bit away from the tip.
  6. Use your blade to make dozens of slits in each side of the feather, slanting towards the bottom.  Getting a few stuck together or having a few fall out is great and makes it look more natural.
  7. Allow the feather to dry on a piece of parchment.
  8. When the feather is hard, paint with food coloring or airbrush the edges or even the entire feather.
  9. Insert into your bird, as desired.

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