How to make a gluten-free cake ball for a wedding cake
So you've mastered making a gluten-free cake. You can now roll out fondant and cover your cake so it looks good. And you're dreaming of taking things to the next level.
You're in the right place.
Below I'll show you a step-by-step account of how I made the above edible flower gluten-free cake ball so you can make one, too. The good news is you can be a beginner sugarcrafter to get the finished look.
Let's start with the cake tins. You'll need 4inch ball tins and can buy them here (these are the cheapest ones online I could find). If you buy the style I've got, you'll need to rest them in a cupcake tin when you put the mixture in the oven or it'll likely topple and spill all over the oven floor.
Instead of lining the tins, I recommend spraying with a sunflower cooking spray so that you've evenly coated the tin but haven't got a concentrated blob of fat anywhere (or it'll crisp up and burn the edge of your cake).
My tins took about an egg's worth of gluten-free cake batter (but you may wish to experiment to see how much yours take. Use any leftover mixture to make cupcakes.
Now you'll need to level the cake balls so they make two perfect little half balls. Because they're so small, I took a knife to mine (rather than a cake leveller).
Now sandwich the two halves together using buttercream. (I used an easily spreadable buttercream made from butter, margarine, icing sugar & vanilla bean extract. You can buy shop-bought gluten-free frosting if you prefer such as Dr Oetker. Avoid brands with a 'may contain wheat' warning.)
Next you'll need to put a dowel into your cake ball. There are a couple of reasons for this:
So you can hold it when you add the final parts of the decoration to the cake without crushing the hard work you've already done (this will become obvious when you start decorating).
So you can transport it by pushing the dowel into a piece of oasis which will ensure the cake ball doesn't roll around in the boot of your car.
Now you need to cover your cake ball with something sticky so that the fondant you add to it will adhere properly. I used buttercream. You could use ganache but it dries quite quickly, the chocolate gets everywhere and it's a lot messier than buttercream. If you can't have dairy, try a vegan frosting instead. It really doesn't matter what you use as long as the fondant can stick to it.
Roll out a piece of fondant and place your cake ball in the middle. I used grey as I wanted there to be a touch of colour coming through underneath the decorations.
Pull the fondant over the cake ball and don't worry about making it look neat and tidy. All the folds will be hidden when you add your decorations. I rested my cake ball on an egg tray so the dowel could poke out underneath.
Now roll out some white sugarpaste to 2mm thick and cut out some circles. (I like Sainsbury's White Flower & Modelling Paste, which is not only gluten-free but also vegan.) You'll end up cutting out quite a few circles (probably 50 or so) but don't do them all at once or they'll dry up before you've had a chance to get your ball tool out on them.
Ball tool? Have you met? I do hope so! But if not, they're fairly inexpensive to buy, as is the foam mat you'll need underneath to thin the edges of the circles.
Roll the ball tool half on, half off on the circle so that the edges become thinner and ruffled.
Using a paintbrush dipped in a tiny amount of water, moisten the inside edge of the circles and the underside (not too much - aim for the tackiness of a stamp).
Pinch the circle together to make little folds, almost like a mini-flower, and press it gently onto the cake ball. Repeat.
The more circles you apply, the more you'll see the ball begin to take shape.
As you get more of the ball covered, you'll realise why you need the dowel you put underneath to hold the ball as you add the final circles.
When you've covered the ball entirely, it's lovely to add a touch of sparkle.
Here I've used Roxy Rich sparkle pump dust. It's expensive but since you hardly need to use much of it, it'll last you quite some time. Just paint a little water around the edges of the sugarpaste and then pump the dust over it. It gives a gorgeous but very subtle sheen.
Now that you've finished your sugar ball, you simply need a wedding cake to go with it! I chose this one for the photo shoot but (if I'd given it some thought earlier) I should have chosen a grey or silver cake so that the grey fondant underneath my white ruffled sugarpaste would complement it.
So there you go - a beginners' guide to a gluten-free cake with a stunning flower ball on top. But if it all looks too difficult, just give me a call at The Bakehouse on 0117 908 9193. I'll be very happy to make it for you!
N.B. All the products I've promoted in this blog post are not gifted or part of a paid ad. They are because they're gluten-free and I genuinely like using them.