“Protected by Neptune, the Planet of Oceans. Guardian of Deep Sea. I am Sailor Neptune!”

Michiru Kaiou/Sailor Neptune is the second half of our sailor scout couple (I still can’t believe the dubbed version tried to pass them off as cousins). For this cake, I went a similar route I did with Sailor Mercury; shades of blue along with some blue gumballs.

The real gem of this cake is the hand painted white chocolate Deep Aqua Mirror on top of the cake. This cake is definitely Top 3 of my Sailor Moon Cake Series. Not only did I bring the sparkle with my luster dust but once I put it together and invited friends over to enjoy some socially distanced cake, no one wanted to eat the Deep Aqua Mirror. I mean eventually we did, but it was just so pretty to look at.

TikTok has been loving my Sailor Moon Inspired Cakes. This moist and fluffy, melt in your mouth chocolate cake recipe is wrapped in a creamy, dreamy, and light vanilla buttercream that comes together so easily.

Add some simple fondant techniques, hand painted white chocolate decorations, and a little bit of candy, you will be able to capture all things Sailor Neptune in one delicious cake! I break down everything I do in this post so you can bake with confidence right at home. If you’d prefer to just get all that you need and the steps click “JUMP TO RECIPE” above.

Below you’ll find all my tips and tricks for how to bake the perfect chocolate cake, how to work and pipe buttercream, using fondant, piping chocolate, and using luster dust. Everything you need to bake with confidence!



More Nerdy Treats To Love:

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cake

3D Pokémon Cake: It’s GASTLY!

Harry Potter: The Golden Snitch Cake

Dragon Quest: Slime Monster Cake

3D Pokémon Cake: It’s Diglett!

3D Pokemon Cake: It’s Dugtrio!

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Ball Cake


Be sure to enter the MANCAKE KitchenAid giveaway.

I have 20 KitchenAid Stand Mixers to giveaway & one of them could be yours!


Latest Recipes

LET’S TALK CHOCOLATE CAKE

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT BAKE

Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Cold ingredients do not mix well with room temperature ingredients. As with any recipe that calls for dairy products, always be sure to take the time to bring ingredients to room temperature because it will result in a lighter, fluffier bake. 

Proper Measurements

Proper measuring of ingredients is key to perfectly baked cakes & cupcakes, especially when you are making them from scratch. Take a moment to kneel down, get face to face with your measuring cup, and measure liquids at eye level in standard liquid measuring cups.

When it comes to dry ingredients, measure by spooning the ingredient into a measuring cup or spoon, then leveling off the top with a knife or straight edge spatula.

Don’t Overmix the Batter

No matter what you will be placing into your oven, over-mixing the batter can lead to over-developing the gluten, which means your cake or cupcakes will come out dense and heavy.

Bake Immediately

Bake your desserts immediately after mixing the batter. Letting batter stand for too long can cause some of the air you’ve beaten in to escape, making for a denser bake.

No Peeking!

While it can be tempting, resist the urge to peek in the oven on your dessert’s progress. Opening or closing the oven door before the baking time is complete can cause fragile air bubbles in the batter to burst, preventing the bakes from rising. Even if you are gentle with the oven door, a rush of cold air can affect the bake while it is trying to set up, resulting in dense, deflated bake. Try to resist the urge to peek until your bakes are at least 2/3 through their baking time.

How to Test if Your Baked Treats are Done

Test your bakes for doneness while they’re still in the oven by inserting a cake tester or wooden toothpick into the center. Your bakes are done when the tester or toothpick comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you should see no wet batter. You can also gently press down on the bake and, if it bounces back leaving no dent, then it is done. If removed too early, the bake will sink in the center as it cools and, if over baked, it will be dry.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW DO YOU MAKE A SIMPLE VERSION?

  1. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Add wet to dry mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Bake in prepared pans until centers are springy to the touch.

WHAT MAKES IT MOIST AND FLUFFY?

  • Adding the right amount of fat gives chocolate cake a moist crumb. Using oil, as I did in this recipe lets you chill the cake without having to worry about it hardening. Fluffiness comes from using the right amount of leavening agent; too much and the cake will collapse, too little and it will be dense.
  • Another way to get a moist and fluffy crumb is to cream the butter and sugar coupled with whipping egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage then folding them into the batter.

HOW DO YOU MAKE IT MOIST FROM SCRATCH? 

Use a nice quality cocoa powder, fresh ingredients and remember to balance the sweetness with a bit of salt. Follow the recipe below for the most moist and fluffy chocolate cake imaginable.

Don’t over bake your layers! Watch the batter and remove from oven when the centers spring back when pressed lightly and the edge starts pulling away from the pan.

WHY DO PEOPLE PUT COFFEE IN?

Coffee brings out and amplifies the chocolate flavor in baked goods like cake and cupcakes. Add  ing a little bit will make things taste more “chocolatey” without giving a coffee flavor. Adding a LOT of coffee will create a mocha flavor. If you would like to omit the coffee from this recipe just substitute for warm water or milk. I’ve done this and the cake still tastes great! Just a little toned down in my opinion.

WHAT’S THE BEST FROSTING TO USE?

  • I love a chocolate American buttercream. The cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate along with a nice dose of salt really balances out the sugar and creates a decadent flavor explosion! 
  • If you like things less sweet and maybe a bit more subtle then you should try a meringue-based frosting like Swiss or Italian buttercream. The consistency is VERY light and creamy with not too much sugar.

PRO TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE

  • To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can make your own from foil and paper towels at home.
  • The batter is very liquidy so while it will be AMAZINGLY MOIST the cook time will be longer than your average chocolate cake.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.

INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

  • If you are not a coffee fan then sub in milk, or water. The coffee, which you really don’t taste, helps bring the chocolate taste out but I know lots of people either can’t stand it or have dietary restrictions.
  • If you don’t have sour cream handy then plain whole milk yogurt will work just fine!
  • Buttermilk can be annoying to keep on hand as it expires quickly and most recipes use very little. I often use powdered buttermilk reconstituted with water or add a tablespoon of lemon juice into some whole milk to curdle it.
  • If you don’t like coffee just use water or milk instead. Both will still make a tasty cake

American Buttercream: Sweet & Easy

This is my go to frosting and perfect for people who like it sweet! Beat the room temperature butter with powdered sugar, a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract. Super fast and a total crowd pleaser.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT’S THE BEST BUTTER TO USE?

  • For a whiter buttercream it’s really important to use a pale butter. Almost every recipe will call for using unsalted butter but then have you add salt back in. This is done because various brands of butter have different amounts of salt in their product.
  • Using unsalted butter helps to ensure a consistent result. You can however use salted butter, omit additional salt and have a delicious frosting. 
  • The most important thing to do when whipping up a batch of buttercream is that it’s room temperature!

HOW CAN YOU MAKE COLD BUTTER ROOM TEMPERATURE?

If you need to warm some cold butter up just slice it into some smaller pieces and microwave them on a plate at 50% power for 10 second bursts. Flip them after each burst and they’ll be nice and room temperature in no time!

IS BUTTERCREAM OR WHIPPED FROSTING BETTER?

The main difference between buttercream and whipped frosting is butter. Whipped frosting does not contain butter and is a lighter and fluffier icing. Buttercream contains a good amount of butter and has more of a rich flavor; so you be the judge! 🙂

WILL THIS RECIPE MELT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

When buttercream is left out at room temperature, it will form sort of a crust on the outer layer while the inside will stay fairly smooth. If it is very warm or humid, then the buttercream can loose structure. This will affect decorations you’ve piped and may even destabilize layer cakes, causing them to sag or even collapse.

HOW LONG CAN YOU LEAVE IT OUT?

You can leave out buttercream frosting out overnight if covered. If the buttercream contains cream cheese, then it should always be refrigerated for it to remain safe to eat. Buttercream that contains dairy will spoil more quickly so it should be refrigerated after a few hours.

HOW DO I THIN IT OUT?

If you want to thin out buttercream frosting, then you’ll want to add in some extra cream or milk. I recommend mixing in a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Buttercream Consistencies

This buttercream recipe is for medium consistency, which is excellent for piping decorations like rosettes and dots. However, it will need to be thinned for frosting birthday cakes and borders.

Stiff Consistency: Gradually add additional confectioners’ sugar for a stiffer consistency. Best for dimensional decorations that need to retain their shape when piped. This consistency is generally used for piping upright petals for flowers.

Medium Consistency: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of stiff frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 2 tablespoons of clear liquid. Medium consistency is used for borders such as stars, dots, rosettes and shells, as well as other decorations that will remain relatively flat.

Thin Consistency: Add 2 teaspoons of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of buttercream frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 4 tablespoons of liquid. Thin consistency is best for cake frosting, as well as piping lines and letters. If you are making a buttercream intended for writing, use light corn syrup as your liquid. Writing will flow easily and won’t break.

Piping Tips & Tricks: The Full 101

How to Assemble a Piping Bag and Tip

If you’re planning to use more than one tip on the same bag, you can use a coupler to make it easy to swap out piping tips. Available in standard and large sizes, a coupler comes in two parts. The first part, the base, is inserted into the bag before you fill it with icing. The second part, the ring, is used to secure your tip in place.

If you don’t plan on changing tips, you do not need to use a coupler. Simply drop your tip into the decorating bag and use scissors or a pen to mark a line about ½ way up the tip. Cut the bag at the line, then push the tip down through the opening.

Tips & Tricks for Using Piping Bags and Tips

  • Expand your creativity by using larger piping tips to pipe dough, fillings, mashed potatoes, batter, meringue and more.
  • If your tip becomes blocked, use a toothpick to loosen the lump, then squeeze carefully to remove the block. To prevent lumpy icing, be sure to sift your confectioners’ sugar before mixing.
  • For easy piping, don’t overfill your bag. It’s best to work with about ½ cup of icing at a time. Most Wilton decorating bags have a fill line for easy measuring.
  • Pipe two colors at once by filling two 12 in. decorating bags, separately, with different colors of icing. Cut ½ in. off the end of each bag and drop them both into a larger 16 in. bag, prepared with a large tip (1M or 2A works great for this).

How to Use a Piping Bag

Piping tips are nothing if not paired with a piping bag. Depending on your project, there are a few options to choose from when it comes to finding the right decorating bag.

Disposable Decorating Bags – If you like easy cleanup (who doesn’t), these bags are perfect for decorating. Available in both 12 and 16 in. sizes, these bags work with any decorating tip and coupler. When you’re done, simply remove the tip from the bag and throw the bag away.

Featherweight Decorating Bags – Made of flexible, durable polyester material, these decorating bags can be reused over and over again. Available in a variety of sizes ranging from 8 in. to 18 in., these bags have a grease-resistant coating inside, so icing won’t seep through. They are dishwasher safe and only get better with age!

Parchment Bags – If you’re piping small details or you’re looking for extra control, like piping lettering, you can make your own decorating bag by folding a piece of parchment paper. These bags are best used for small amounts of icing and are disposable for easy cleanup.

Plastic vs. Metal Piping Tips

Most decorating tips are made of metal; however, some are also available in plastic. Plastic tips are great for beginners. They often come in standard sizes and are more durable than metal tips. They’re also cheaper and will last a long time if taken care of correctly.

Metal tips cost a little more than plastic ones, but often give your decorations a sharper, more defined shape. While these tips are durable, they are a bit more fragile than plastic tips, so take care to wash and store them properly.

How to Wash Piping Tips

Wilton piping tips are stainless steel and dishwasher safe (on the top rack). After use, wash your tips in warm, soapy water, then rinse and allow to dry completely before storing.

You can also use a tip brush to get into those little nooks and crevasses of your tips, especially good for cleaning star and drop-flower tips!

When you’re ready to store them, it’s best to store tips with the narrow end up. Use a tip organizer case for easy storage and organization.

Specialty Decorating Tips

These tips are in a class of their own because each one does a something different. This catch-all category includes the grass, the triple star, the basketweave, the Bismarck and the cake icing tip, just to name a few!

The grass tip is one of the most popular in this category and can be used to pipe grass and fur.

The basketweave tip, which has both a flat and serrated side, is great for adding texture to the sides of your cake.

This category is also home to the Bismarck tip, used to fill pastries and cupcakes, as well as the large cake icing tip, which makes it quick and easy to ice your cake with a smooth or textured finish.

Easy Blooms Tips are a fun addition to this category. Designed to pipe a lovely rose or mum with just one squeeze, these tips are great for quick and easy decorating!

Types of Piping Tips

Piping tips are classified by the shape the opening makes. Within those groups, tips range in size and shape, so you can choose the size that best suits your decorating project.

Round Decorating Tips

Round tips are a great place to get started. These tips all feature a round opening, making them perfect for piping letters and lines. The smaller sizes are often used for piping lettering, dots or outlining cookies, while the larger sizes can be used to pipe large dot borders, swirls and lines.

Star Decorating Tips

The star tip is very versatile, making it great for beginning decorators. A simple squeeze of the bag and any sized star tip will produce a cute star-shaped design, perfect for making borders or filling in large areas of your cake.

Star tips are also used to pipe shells, swirls and rosettes, simple techniques with a big impact!

Drop Flower Decorating Tips

The drop flower tip looks like a star tip, but the grooves are slightly closed, making it easier to pipe a flower shape. These tips allow you to pipe a flower with just one squeeze, or you can make a swirled flower by simply twisting your wrist as you pipe.

Leaf Decorating Tips

Pipe flat, ruffled or stand-up leaves to make your flowers more life-like. You can also use these tips to pipe sunflower petals or a leaf border in different shapes and sizes.

Petal Decorating Tip

As the name suggests, this tip is used to pipe buttercream flowers, such as roses and tulips. However, this tip can also be used to pipe lovely ribbons, ruffles and simpler three or five-petal flowers, such as an apple blossom.

Melting Chocolate: All The Tricks

Let’s start with the basics.

TYPES OF CHOCOLATE

There are several different types of chocolate that are available to the home cook for use in candy making:

Pure chocolate (real chocolate)

  • contain cocoa butter
  • has a luxuriously creamy texture and rich flavor
  • must be properly tempered in order to set up correctly
  • can be purchased in bars, blocks, wafers, pistoles (bean-shaped wafers), and chips
  • is available as:
    • unsweetened (no sugar added)
    • bittersweet (small amount of sugar added)
    • semi-sweet (more sugar added)
    • milk chocolate (milk powder and sugar added)
    • white chocolate which can also contain cocoa butter but it doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor, so technically it is not considered chocolate (But that is what it is called, so that’s what we’ll call it too!)

Compound Chocolate (also known as confectionery coating, Candy Melts, almond bark, or melting wafers)

  • contain vegetable oil, typically palm kernel oil
  • will melt and set up easily with little effort
  • is not as creamy or as rich as pure chocolate, but it’s easy to use and has a very pleasant flavor
  • is available in dark, light, white, and flavors like peanut butter, mint, and butterscotch
  • can be colored using candy coloring but is also available in colored wafers
  • is typically less expensive than pure chocolate

NOTE about compound chocolate and wax

  • The melting point of compound chocolate is higher than that of pure chocolate which means that it will take longer to melt on your tongue which can give it a waxy feel in your mouth.
  • However, there is no wax in compound chocolate, candy melts, or almond bark, as some people believe. What you are feeling on your tongue is palm kernel oil, not wax.
  • Being cocoa butter melts at a lower temperature and melts quickly as soon as it hits your tongue, you will not feel this waxy sensation when eating pure chocolate.

How to Store Chocolate:

  • Store chocolates in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Pure chocolates have a shelf life of at least 18 months from the date of manufacturing and confectionery coating can last up to 12 months if stored properly.
  • Once you open the package, seal it well or place the chocolate in an airtight container.
  • I don’t suggest refrigerating or freezing chocolate.
  • If chocolate or confectionery coating is kept in the refrigerator or freezer for too long it will become wet and sticky and might develop white spots.
  • If you do freeze or refrigerate your chocolates, you need to wrap them well and keep them wrapped as they thaw to avoid excessive condensation.

How to Melt White Chocolate? The Ultimate Guide

Melting white chocolate seems to require quite some skill. Since it’s not real chocolate, but a combination of sugar, milk, cocoa butter, vanilla and fat, it doesn’t melt as easy as milk or dark chocolate. It has a lower melting point and is a little trickier to melt. However, it’s great for many things – glazing, topping or coating, it just tastes delicious! 

How to Melt White Chocolate?

You don’t have to be an expert to know the best way for melting white chocolate. You have to be patient, careful and not let it burn. But if you still need a little guidance, read on for a few useful tips!

  • Equip Yourself 

Any cooking experiment shouldn’t start without the right equipment. You will probably need a double-boiler or a microwave for the mere process of melting, and all the dishes that you consider necessary for the process – cups, bowls and spatulas.

If you’re, for example, melting white chocolate for dipping, you will need bowls to put it in afterwards. Make sure that everything is in your reach because you will have to be cautious and quick to make this work! 

  • The Double-boiler Method

This method has been used effectively and reliably to melt chocolate for years. Even if you’re melting white chocolate chips, this method works. Double-boiler is a special pan made of two parts: a saucepan that holds the water and a bowl that goes on top of it.

If you don’t have it, you can make your own double-boiler at home, using any saucepan and a heatproof or metal bowl. 

Before you heat the chocolate, cut it into small bits. Fill the bottom part of the double-boiler with about 1 inch of water, the water must not touch the bowl with the chocolate, even when heated.

When the water starts boiling, lower the heat and put the chocolate into the bowl.

You should stir it gently, but continuously until only a few lumps have remained. Then, remove it from the heat and stir until it’s even.

If you’re wondering how to melt white chocolate chips, this is a great way! The chances for scorching are minimal. 

  • The Microwave Method 

Although some people don’t favor this method, it can be equally effective if you approach it carefully. You can cut the chocolate the same as for the double-boiler method, but put it in a microwave-friendly bowl. The microwave should be set to 50% power in order to avoid burning.

Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds, take it out and stir it. You should always stir it because it will hold its shape even when melted. You might have to repeat the procedure a few times before you see the white chocolate melting evenly. 

As you can see, melting white chocolate doesn’t have to be such a big deal. With the right equipment and the right attitude, you can master this procedure in no time!

So What Is Luster Dust?

Another reason why I love these cakes so much is because I get to use my paint brushes and my luster dust collection.

Luster dust is a type of decorating powder used in cake and candy decorating to add color and sparkle to desserts. Manufacturers throughout the world produce various types of luster dust—not all of which is edible—and its use is just as widespread. 

Fast Facts

  • Use: Cake and candy decoration; not always edible
  • Varieties: Luster dust, highlighter dust, petal dust, pearl dust, sparkle dust, disco dust
  • Substitute: Sanding sugar, edible gold leaf, edible spray

What Is Luster Dust?

Luster dust is a common term used to describe a family of tasteless decorative powders used by bakers and confectioners. The ingredients vary by brand and color, so there is no uniformity to the contents of luster dust.

Commonly cited ingredients are titanium dioxide, iron oxide, carmine, and mica. Additionally, some contain iron blue or chromium oxide.

There are many different brands of luster dust and most of them are not individually labeled with ingredients. Different shades of luster dust within the same brand might contain different ingredients necessary to produce those shades.

If your luster dust container is not labeled, the only way to be certain of the ingredients is to contact the company and inquire about that specific shade.

Varieties

All varieties of luster dust are used for cake and candy decorating, though they have different properties and produce different effects.

  • Luster dust comes in many different colors and adds sparkle, shine, and a fair amount of color.
  • Highlighter dust usually comes in gold and silver colors and gives a high-sheen, metallic finish. Most highlighter dust is not edible and is for decorative purposes only.
  • Petal dust has a matte finish and produces deep, strong colors. Petal dust is often used to decorate gum paste flowers because the matte appearance gives them a natural look.
  • Pearl dust imparts a sparkly, pearlescent finish with just a touch of color. It is translucent and can be mixed with petal dust to give decorations shimmer and sparkle without adding much color.
  • Sparkle dust produces effects similar to luster dust, imparting color and shine, but the sparkle dust grains are larger than the fine powder of the luster dust.
  • Disco dust has the largest grains of all and can be compared in size to pieces of glitter. Disco dust is not subtle, so it works best on pieces that should “pop” and sparkle with a glittery finish.

Luster Dust Uses

Luster dust is used as decoration on top of cakes, cupcakes, and other sweet treats. Not all luster dust is edible. It depends very much on the specific brand and specific color. Most luster dust is labeled “non-toxic,” meaning that it won’t harm you if consumed.

Keep in mind, though, that just because something is not toxic does not mean it is intended to be eaten. To be safe, use luster dust brands that are specifically labeled “FDA Approved” or “Food Grade.

In some cases, certain shades are not mean to be consumed at all. These are clearly labeled “Not for Consumption” or “For Decorative Use Only.” In these instances, only use that luster dust on decorative elements that will not be eaten, like gum paste flowers on a cake.

How to Decorate With Luster Dust

Luster dust can simply be brushed onto molded candies, fondant, and gum paste with a dry brush. If you want an evener application or intense color, mix the luster dust with alcohol (vodka is recommended) or an alcohol-based extract like lemon extract.

It only takes a small amount of liquid, so start with a few drops and mix until you get a consistency you like. Do not mix the luster dust with water, as the majority are not water-soluble and will result in a sticky mess.

For stronger effects, you can paint on multiple coats of luster dust, just be sure to let each layer dry in between applications. Luster dust can also be mixed with alcohol and used with a food-grade airbrushing machine.

You can also quickly apply luster dust to candies by placing a small amount with the candy in a container, closing the lid, then shaking it until the candy is covered.

Luster Dust Substitute

There are many ways to decorate foods without luster dust. Which you choose will depend on the application. Sanding sugar is a large-grain sugar that’s edible and comes in a variety of colors. It is not thin like luster dust, but it does have some sparkle when the light catches it. You can sprinkle the sugar on top of wet icing or apply a thin gel as a base so the sugar sticks.

For a shiny metallic look that’s flat against the surface without added sweetness, edible gold leaf is a good choice. Silver leaf is available as well, just make sure it’s edible.

Edible sprays are another option that only adds color. These come in a variety of colors as well as metallics. You will have to mask off parts that you don’t want to be painted.

Where to Buy Luster Dust

Luster dust is readily available at many online stores and is often carried in cake decorating stores and candy supply stores. Additionally, craft stores that carry the Wilton line of cake decorating products often have Wilton-brand pearl dust and sparkle dust.

Always make sure it is edible unless you’re going to use it for decorative elements only. Luster dust is more expensive than other baking decorations. It’s often sold in small jars of just a few grams, but a little goes a long way.

When buying luster dust, particularly online, be sure to do so from a trusted source. Some disreputable retailers have repackaged similar dust that was intended for industrial uses or as craft glitter and sold it for food decorations.

Storage

Store jars of luster dust in a cool, dark place. A cupboard away from warm appliances works well, as does an enclosed pantry that will protect it from sunlight. When stored properly, it doesn’t have a shelf life.

Fondant Tips & Tricks

Fondant is a fun and versatile medium for covering and decorating cakes; however, it can be tricky to work with. Weather, temperature and environment can all affect the texture and performance of your homemade fondant. You can avoid these problems before they start with these helpful fondant tips and tricks!

From how to color fondant to the best ways to store it, these tips for working with fondant are great to keep in mind before starting your next project.

How to Work with Fondant

  1. Dust your work station with powdered sugar, cornstarch, or vegetable shortening
    Fondant can be sticky and has a tendency to pick up crumbs and dirt, so make sure your work surface is nice and clean before you start rolling. Prevent fondant from sticking to your counter by lightly dust your work surface and fondant roller with confectioners’ sugar or cornstarch. You can also use solid vegetable shortening to prevent sticking if you live in a very dry climate or if your fondant is already a little dry.
  2. Coat clean hands in vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves
    Before rolling, take some time to knead your fondant until it’s soft and pliable. Make sure you wash your hands before you start so nothing sticks to the fondant. You can also coat your hands with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves.
  3. Keep fondant moving
    It’s also important to keep the fondant moving as you work. Never flip it over after you start to roll. Just turn it about a quarter of the way to prevent sticking and help ensure the thickness of your fondant is even.

How to Work with Fondant

As you roll and mold fondant, you might find that it tends to crack, especially on edges and corners. If you notice that your fondant is cracking, rub some solid vegetable shortening over the crack in a circular motion to smooth the cracked area together. We suggest not using water to do this, as too much liquid can break down your fondant.

How to Decorate with Fondant

You can use fondant to cover a cake, make little figurines or cut out decorations for cakes, cupcakes and cookies. For assembling figurines and fondant decorations, you can use water or buttercream frosting to adhere pieces together. Fondant will also start to dry as it sits out. If you need your fondant decorations or figurines to be hard, make them at least two days ahead of time and let them sit at room temperature to dry.

How to Soften Fondant

Soften fondant that’s too hard to knead using about 1/8 teaspoon of water for every 24 ounces of fondant. If your fondant is too soft, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar or Gum-Tex powder to help strengthen it. Soft fondant is usually caused by kneading too much or adding too much liquid.

How to Color Fondant

There are a couple ways to color your fondant. The most common way is to use gel food coloring or Color Right concentrated food coloring. Both of these options offer concentrated color, so you only need a little to add rich color to your fondant. Liquid-based food colorings can change the consistency of your fondant, so we suggest avoiding those.

The great thing about Color Right concentrated food coloring is that you can simply squeeze the color directly onto your fondant without any mess. If you’re using gel icing colors, use a toothpick to add the color to your fondant. Make sure to wear food-safe gloves to mix in the color so it doesn’t stain your hands.

You can also mix more than one color of fondant together to get a whole rainbow of shades! Add a small amount of dark teal fondant to white fondant to get a lighter teal, or combine red and blue fondant for purple. This is a great way to use up any leftover fondant you may have from another project, so don’t throw your scraps away!

For super rich colors, like black or red, you may need to add quite a bit of color to get the shade you need. This might affect the consistency of your fondant. For those instances, we suggest buying pre-colored Decorator Preferred fondant, which comes in a variety of shades.

How to Cover a Cake with Fondant

To get a nice, clean finish to your fondant cake, make sure you frost your cake smooth with a thin layer of buttercream frosting before covering it with fondant. This will prevent any imperfections on your cake from poking through the fondant.

If you’re using a lighter shade of fondant, frost your cake with white buttercream. Using white buttercream is a good rule all around unless you’re using black fondant, in which case chocolate frosting works just as well.

Use a rolling pin to help drape the fondant over your cake. Once draped, work quickly to smooth out the fondant using a Fondant Smoother for the top and your hand to smooth out the sides.

Any excess fondant on the base of your cake should be cut off with a knife.

How to Store Fondant

Sadly, fondant does not keep as well as other icings. Once pre-made fondant has been opened, the best way to store it is to cover it with a thin layer of shortening, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container.

This may seem like overdoing it, but in my experience, this has worked the best. Store it at room temperature.

There’s no exact timeline for how long it will last, as it depends on the environment and conditions it’s stored in.

Fondant will start to get a crusty layer on top (the shortening helps resist this) the longer it sits. When it starts to crust, the fondant is no longer workable.

Helpful Kitchen Tools


Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.

If you’ve tried this tasty treat then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

What You’ll Need For Decorating

Sailor Neptune Cake

Sailor Neptune Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

For Chocolate Cake

  • 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cup fresh brewed hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 & 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream at room temperature
  • Teal/Light Blue food gel color

For Decorating

  • 1 Tablespoon Vodka
  • Gold Luster Dust
  • Aqua Luster Dust
  • White Fondant
  • Navy Blue Fondant
  • Teal Food Gel Color
  • 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue Gumballs

Tools

  • X-Acto Knife
  • Piping Bags
  • Artist Paint Brush
  • Parchment Paper
  • Pencil

Instructions

For Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prep cake pans.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
  4. Add the wet ingredients the dry ingredients. 
  5. Whisk to combine then mix on low for about a minute.
  6. Distribute batter evenly cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350F or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow time to cool for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool fully.

Vanilla Buttercream

Feel free to adjust the buttercream frosting ingredients if you'd like to make more buttercream.

  1. Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar & set bowl aside.
  2. Cream butter & shortening.
  3. Blend in vanilla extract.
  4. Scrape down the sides.
  5. Place your mixer on the lowest speed & slowly add in your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  6. Do not worry if your buttercream looks crumbly & dry because we will fix that next.
  7. Scrape down the sides one last time.
  8. With your mixer on a medium high speed, slowly add in heavy cream.
  9. Turn mixer up to a high speed and whip your buttercream until you have light & fluffy consistency you are looking for.
  10. Transfer 1/2 cup of buttercream into a separate bowl, add in a few drops of teal or light blue food gel color, and mix until color has been fully incorporated.

Cake Assembly

  1. After your cakes have cooled, level your cakes. If you'd like to make this a 4-layer cake, half each cake.
  2. Place your first layer onto your cake turntable.
  3. Spread a generous amount of vanilla buttercream frosting on top and spread evenly with your straight or offset spatula.
  4. Place your next layer of cake, top with more buttercream frosting and spread evenly. Continue these steps for all of your lays.
  5. Once your cakes have been filled and stacked, you’re ready to add buttercream frosting around your cake.
  6. Start from the bottom, and while rotating your cake turntable, pipe on your buttercream in an upward motion.
  7. Using a cake frosting scraper, straight spatula, or offset spatula you will want to smooth over your buttercream. The best way is to hold your smoothing tool upright and gently pressed against your cake while rotating your cake turntable.
  8. You'll want to continue this until you have a smooth coating. When you’re doing the final smoothing and you notice the texture of the buttercream become a bit ragged there’s an easy fix! Get a bowl of HOT water and dip your tools into the bowl to warm them up. pat dry and smooth. The warm metal will melt the buttercream and give you a nice SMOOTH finish.
  9. Smooth the top of your cake with an offset spatula.
  10. Set in the fridge and allow to chill for 5 minutes.

White Chocolate Decorations

  1. Melt 1 cup of white chocolate and carefully transfer to a piping bag.
  2. Print out the above Sailor Neptune's Deep Aqua Mirror and trace onto a piece of parchment paper. What I did was trace this in three parts: the body of the mirror, the mirror itself, and the symbol for Sailor Neptune.
  3. Pipe your white chocolate by outlining Sailor Neptune's Deep Aqua Mirror on parchment paper. So you'll pipe the body of the mirror in white chocolate, pipe an oval shape for the mirror itself, and then Sailor Neptune's symbol. Once you're done piping, you should have three separate pieces that will come together to form the white chocolate deep aqua mirror.
  4. Fill in by pushing the white chocolate to the edges of the outlines with a lollipop stick or skewer. Allow to cool and harden.
  5. Once your white chocolate decoration has harden, you can begin to paint on your luster dust colors.
  6. You'll paint the 1st of the three white chocolate pieces gold.
  7. Next you'll paint the white chocolate oval an aqua color (such as a turquoise).
  8. Lastly, you'll leave Sailor Neptune's symbol white.
  9. To paint with luster dust, you will need to put a tablespoon of luster dust in a small bowl and add in a few drops of vodka until it has the consistency of paint.
  10. Use your brush to distribute the paint over your white chocolate as if you were doing it over a canvas. It dries fast, so make sure to not leave any streaks behind.
  11. Once your decorations have been fully painted, set aside to dry. It won't take long at all.
  12. After the luster dust has dried, it'll be time to put the deep aqua mirror together. The best way is to stick these pieces together with a little bit of melted white chocolate.
  13. Pipe melted white chocolate onto your gold painted white chocolate and place the turquoise oval right on top before the white chocolate hardens.
  14. Lastly, you'll take your Sailor Neptune symbol, pipe a tiny amount of white chocolate on the back and place it right on top and in the middle of your turquoise mirror.

Fondant Bow

  1. Roll out your navy blue fondant to about a 1 inch thickness.
  2. Cut out 4 bow pieces using my template in this blog post. You’ll need two back pieces and two front pieces.

Fondant Brooch and Borders

  1. Being to roll out your sea-green/teal fondant. Your fondant should be rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
  2. Using 1 & ½ inch round cookie cutter, punch out a fondant circle. Smooth edges with fingers and set aside.
  3. Gather up your sea-green/teal fondant and begin to roll out, length wise, to about a half inch thickness. I prefer to roll out my fondant on a silicone mat ever so lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
  4. Your fondant should be rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness and rolled out length wise. The goal here is to have a 19 inch stretch of fondant. You can go as short as 16 inches and slightly pull as you wrap your cake, but this may cause the fondant to tear.
  5. Using a fondant cutter, cut out a 19 inch fondant strip about ¼ - ½ inch tall. This will be your bottom fondant border.
  6. You should not have to re-roll your fondant for the top fondant border but you’re more than welcomed to. Just roll out length wise.
  7. Once rolled out, cut a 15 inch fondant strip about 1 to 1.5 inch tall. This will be your top fondant border.
  8. For your top fondant border, we want to trim the edges. Using your fondant cutter, cut from one side of the fondant strip to the other at a 45 degree angle. One quick swipe of your cutter is best as going slowly increases the likelihood of crooked line.
  9. Next, cut out a 3 inch long and ¼ wide fondant strip. Set aside.
  10. Re-roll your sea-green/teal fondant and punch out a ½ inch circle. Set aside.
  11. Roll out a little bit of yellow fondant and cut two strips a ½ inch long and a ¼ inch wide. Cut these strips in half so that you have four in total. Each yellow strip will be trimmed on one end to form a swallow tail shape.
  12. Place your four yellow swallow tail shapes in a plus sign shape “+”, brush the back of your small sea-green/teal fondant circle cut out, and place on top.

Cake Decorating

  1. Lightly brush the back of your bottom fondant border with water. If you add too much water, you can pat away with a paper towel.
  2. Gently pick up your bottom fondant border and with the brushed water side facing the cake, gently wrap the bottom of your cake and bring both ends together in the back.
  3. Cut off any excess and secure the bottom fondant border.
  4. Now let's talk fondant seams. Seams, like tears and cracks, can be repaired by filling them in with a fresh piece of fondant. Smooth edges with your fingertips coated in shortening. Seams can also be smoothed out with an icing smoother or your fingertips. Do not wet your fingers with water, as this will cause the fondant to melt and tear further.
  5. Take your small fondant strip and lightly brush with water on the back and place on the top front of your cake where you plan on placing your circle brooch.
  6. Lightly brush the back of your top fondant border with water. Again, if you add too much water, simply pat away with a paper towel.
  7. Gently pick up your top fondant border and with the brushed water side facing the cake, gently wrap the top of your cake from the back to the front so that the points of both ends meet in the middle. This should leave you with an inverted triangle like peek-a-boo shape while securing your fondant strip in place.
  8. Now let’s being to assemble our bow on the cake. Start by lightly brushing water on the back of both back pieces.
  9. Gently pick up and lightly press into your cake so that the points are lined up in the middle and centered.
  10. Lightly brush water on the back of both front pieces.
  11. Gently press on top, and slightly above, your two back pieces. Again, use the points on the front pieces to center and line up your fondant bow.
  12. Place your small sea-green/teal circle cut out on top and in the middle of your teal strip so that it is centered with your bow.
  13. Wrap up your bow by placing your fondant circle cut out right on top and in the middle of your bow.
  14. For the top of your cake, use a large tip to pipe teal or light blue buttercream dollops on top of your cake.
  15. Give each dollop of buttercream a blue gumdrop
  16. Gently press your hand painted white chocolate Deep Aqua Mirror into the top of your cake so that it is standing on its side.

Notes

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
  • Prepared Pan: There will always be the "next best way to prepare your pan" article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
  • You can use this buttercream right away or place it in an airtight container in your fridge until ready to use. Just be sure to whip before using.
  • If you’d prefer to skip the shortening, simply swap it out with 1 additional stick of room temperature butter.
  • If you’d prefer a more white, stiffer, buttercream then simply omit the butter & replace with 1 additional cup of shortening. Also be sure to swap out the vanilla extract for clear vanilla extract.
  • Make sure you sift your powdered sugar. This will help the sugar mix into the butter & shortening smoothly.
  • When all your powdered sugar has been added in, the buttercream will appear dry. Don’t raise the alarms. When adding in your milk or heavy cream, your buttercream will start to have the fluffy texture it‘s known for.
  • Keep in mind that your heavy cream should be added in 1 tablespoon at a time. I do this way to make sure I am not drowning my buttercream to the point of a soupy mess.
  • Also worth mentioning, if desired, you can easily swap out the heavy cream for equal parts of your preferred milk such as whole milk or buttermilk.

Templates

Deep Aqua Mirror Template
Template for fondant bow

What Are You Making For Dessert?

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