The latest in leprechaun fashion is, apparently, height. Tall hats with some sort of bling. Green, naturally. For my 2015 Spring line, I am making a tall, green hat with a black belt and a shiny gold buckle. I already have hundreds of leprechauns on my waiting list. Luckily for you, there's no waiting and you can watch the video here.
Ingredients & Tools
5 lbs. of Satin Ice fondant (mostly green with enough black for the base)
2 batches of buttercream
Wilton Leaf Green gel food colouring
4 9-inch round cakes
3-inch and 2 1/2-inch square cutters
13-inch rouch platter
For this cake, you're going to need about 5 lbs. of fondant. You should have plenty of green fondant for the hat, as well as a bit of black fondant for the cake board to really make the colours pop. I use Satin Ice brand but you can use whatever works for you.
You will need to make the brim of your hat and the buckle in advance and set them aside to dry. For the hat brim, roll out a portion your green fondant and place it on a large platter to dry. I used a 13-inch round platter, so you can base your measurements for how much fondant to use off of the platter you choose to rest your brim on. Make sure you sprinkle the platter with icing sugar to help you remove your hat brim later on. Trim around the edges of the fondant with a sharp knife.
I used two square cookie cutters to cut my buckle out of deep yellow gumpaste. For the main buckle I used a 3-inch square cutter, and for the inner square of the buckle I used a 2 1/2-inch cutter. I used the extra gumpaste to form the prong (had to look up that term) for the buckle and cut out the loops with piping tips. Once your buckle parts are dry, you can rub them with a bit of shortening, and cover them with edible gold leaf. Make sure to use a soft bristle brush as not to damage the texture.
Now for the heavy work. You'll need four 9-inch round cakes (I used chocolate). Begin by removing your cakes from their pans, levelling them with a ruler and a serrated knife, and cutting them in half. You know this. You're a pro by now. We are going to layer this cake with chocolate buttercream, and a fun, bright green buttercream. For this part I used two batches of my own buttercream recipe. Simply stir some Wilton Leaf Green gel food colouring little by little into your buttercream, and stop when you reach your desired hue. As you can see from the photos, a deep green is what I went for.
We are going to fill this cake in two parts. We will assemble them as two 4 layer cakes at the moment. Alternate your buttercreams between the tiers. I started with green, then chocolate, then back to green. You will have two layers of green buttercream, and one of chocolate in the middle. Place both cakes in the fridge to chill.
Time to become a sculptor. Place an 8" round cake board on top of one of your cakes. Carve around the cake slowly, using the board as your guide and tapering in at the bottom. We now need to dowel this bottom half of the cake to support the top half. Once complete, stack your second cake on top. Place an inverted cake board on top of the entire cake and flip the whole cake over. Now slowly carve around the sides, this time flaring out. Carve out from the middle and leave the base the same circumference. Flip the cake back over. Take the time to refine you carving. Leprechauns don't do frumpy. Crumb coat your cake, and place it in the fridge.
Let's return to our cake and ice it once more. I like to use a small offset palette knife. I find it easier because the shape is concave. This hat is shaping up nicely.
Measure the circumference of your cake at the top, the widest point. Roll out your green fondant according to your measurement. Use a french rolling pin to roll up the fondant on itself, pick it up and quickly wrap it around your cake. Make sure to rub it into the sides. Fondant is heavy and if it doesn't stick, it will peel off. Use a fondant smoother to help smooth your fondant around your cake. What a great name for that tool! Use a sharp knife to trim away the excess fondant at the base, and off the top of your cake. Now roll out some more fondant in a circle a little larger than your measurement, and place it on top of your cake. Once again, place an inverted cake board onto your cake and flip the whole thing over. Heavier now, isn't it? Maybe you're just tired after all this hard work? Use your knife to trim away the excess fondant, and flip your cake back over.
Time to finish off this leprechaun hat. Remove your now set brim from its platter and set it on a cake board. Carefully lift your cake and place it in the middle of the brim. The hat is wearable at this point, but leprechauns only get one day a year to strut their stuff. We have to make it special.
Measure the circumference of your cake at the base above the brim. Roll out your black fondant according to your measurement. Measure the inside of your belt buckle. Cut a band of black fondant according to your measurement. Wrap the band around your hat, and add the buckle front and centre. Now add a much shorter band, of the same width, starting at the inside edge of your buckle. Place your gold loop along the belt, starting in the centre of the buckle. Add the prong between the centre loop and the buckle edge.
Here come the leprechauns! Looking fly as ever, thanks to you.