Yellow Submarine Tutorial
I’ve never done a cake tutorial before, but I thought it might be fun with the Yellow Submarine cake. Cake carving can be intimidating to the uninitiated, but it’s really not as scary as it may sound. But if you have a Beatles fan in your life, it’s definitely worth a try! Let’s get started, shall we?
First let’s start with the materials you’ll need. If I had planned this out better, I would have arranged all of my materials artistically and taken photos of them. I did not do that, so you’ll have to make do with a list.
- 2 10-inch round cakes (refrigerated so they’re easier to carve)
- 2 6-inch round cakes (again, refrigerated)
- yellow fondant (bright yellow and pale yellow)
- white fondant
- red fondant
- black fondant
- blue fondant (a few different shades)
- fuschia fondant (I used Americolor fuschia)
- Natural pink fondant (for the skin tone)
- edible markers
- clean, cake-only paintbrushes
- silicon mat (I recently got the Ateco mat and it has changed my cake-making life.)
- offset spatulas
- pizza cutter
- x-acto knife
- Sharp, serrated knives–one long, one short
- powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get started! Start by filling your 10 inch cakes with buttercream. Also, don’t be like me. Make sure your camera’s sensor is clean BEFORE you begin. I apologize now for that dumb black spot. Don’t worry–I DID get the sensor clean about midway through.
If you’re using a round board like I did, position your cake close to the edge so you have room for the propeller. Rudder? Tail? Whatever that thing is at the end. Now we’re ready to start carving. Take a deep breath. You can do this!
This is how you’re starting out. Cut some round sections out to form the nose of the submarine. Then you’ll want to use your shorter serrated knife to round out the edges a bit. The most important thing to remember when carving cake is that you can ALWAYS carve more. It’s much more difficult to add cake back once it’s gone. So take your time–you can carve smaller chunks if it makes you more comfortable. This cake is looking like Texas, no? If you’re using a rectangular board, you can definitely make your submarine longer and skinnier. There is no right or wrong way here.
You’re going to use the 6-inch rounds to create the tail and the spouty things on top. I used one layer for the spouty things and just carefully carved out the general shape. Don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect–we’ll be able to fix it with fondant. The tail is a double layer. I basically just cut the 6-inch round in half and then cut some half-moon shapes out of the flat side. You can’t see that in this picture (because I hadn’t done it yet) but it’s coming.
Once you’re happy with the carving, Put on a thin crumb coat. Use a VERY light hand, especially on the tail and spout. Once the crumb coat is done, put the cake in the refrigerator for a half hour or so to harden some.
Some people cover their cakes in fondant with just a crumb coat of buttercream. I like to do an extra layer of buttercream because buttercream is delicious. That is my super scientific reason. So after the crumbcoat, I carefully applied another layer of buttercream. Smooth it out as best you can and then let it sit for a few hours to settle.
OK! Now we cover with fondant. Typically, you would cover the entire cake in one sheet of fondant. But since we had three colors in big sheaths on this cake, I decided to do it patchwork style to avoid having some sections of cake with 3 (or more) layers of fondant. This part was a little tricky. I started with the white fondant first, then the bright yellow, and the pale yellow on the tail was last. It may take a little trial and error, so be prepared to place your fondant on the cake and then either wiggle it around or pull the whole thing off and start again. If your seams don’t match up exactly, don’t fret. We’re going to cover them anyway. You’ll need the x-acto knife to cut the fondant in the weird edged around the tail and spout.
To make the tail, just use your (clean) fingers to smooth those inner edges and give it some more 3-dimensionality. Wordpress tells me that dimensionality is not a word. It is now.
Once the main layer of fondant is done, add on the accent fondant. Use your paintbrush and some water to attach. Just make sure you don’t use TOO much fondant. This is the point where I really hit my groove and started forgetting to take photos. Oops. I’ll share the ones I DID take, though.
Roll pieces of red fondant into long, thin, ropes. Using your paintbrush, paint your seams with water and attach your red ropes, pressing down lightly as you go. Use small, flattened balls of red fondant for the spouts. Roll out an extra-thin rope of red to use for the railing around the spouts.
I used the bottom of a piping tip to make the portholes. You’ll need 8. Use the black fondant to make the front window of the sub and to add some detail to the tail.
Now. This part is optional. For the mini-Beatles, I used the natural pink fondant, an edible marker, and a VERY light touch.
I did add a propeller. To make the propeller, I just took a bit of red fondant and kind of rolled it out and then flattened either edge while twisting. Play with a little, and you’ll see what I mean. I also thought my board looked awfully boring, hence the little bubbles.
And that’s it! A sweet little Yellow Submarine cake. I had a ton of fun making this one. I hope you’ll try it. If you do, send me photos!