This DIY Rustic Fourth of July Cake was a lot of fun to create, and I enjoy creating rustic cakes. It’s a lot of fun to texture and paint fondant to make it appear aged, worn, and full of character.
This dessert takes me back to my childhood. I grew up in the country, and my mother was a big fan of painted wood country crafts. We had them placed around the home. Creating this cake took me back to my childhood.
This cake is simple to prepare. In fact, if you’re still honing your fondant talents, this is a terrific one to work on. The wood planks are applied piece by piece, so you don’t have to worry about properly covering your cake with fondant; the wood planks will do the job!
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So, let’s get started.
Supplies you’ll need for the DIY Rustic 4th of July Cake are:
Fondant (its wonderful if you have some Tyloseto add so itll dry a bit tougher, but if not, no worries) (its great if you have some Tyloseto add so itll dry a little harder, but if not, no worries) You’ll need fondant in red, white, blue, and dark brown.
Gel food coloring in blue, red, and brown
Edible petal dusts in blue, red, white, and chocolate, as well as brown (and if you dont have the brown petal dust, you can literally just use cocoa powder.)
The Fondant Roller (also a pasta attachment for your mixer if you have it helps)
Knife or pizza cutter?
Cutters of Stars
Sticks of Popsicle
Vodka or lemon extract (for mixing with petal dusts, not for partyingwell, unless youve had a REALLY bad day)
painters’ brushes (food use only)
Fondant cutting wheel, small
Impression mat with woodgrain (I purchased mine from Amazon. It’s a Makins Clay texture sheet set that’s incredibly inexpensive.)
I’ll also need some cake. These are two of my favorites: Chocolate Butter Cake and Vanilla Bean Cake
Now, let’s get started.
Making the Wood Planks:
You should begin working on the wooden planks as soon as possible. It takes some time for them to dry and distress. You’ll need them to be dry enough to stand up on the cake.
We’ll start with the wood boards. You’ll need a mixture of red, blue, and brown fondant. Brown fondant should be rolled out. On my pasta maker, I used a zero. Since we’ll be texturing it, the brown still needs some thickness.
You should cut them into rectangles. I built mine approximately 2 inches broad and 5 to 6 inches high. Don’t stress about getting them properly cut since you’ll be trimming them afterwards. You’ll need a lot of brown rectangles since they’ll serve as the foundation for all of the red, white, and blue wooden planks.
Measure the perimeter of your bottom and top tiers individually to determine how many boards you’ll need to put around each tier and how broad you want them to be. If you have a cloth measuring tape, just measure around the cake; if not, simply take the diameter of the cake and multiply by pi. (And you thought you’d never need it once you graduated? If you go that way, you need add a half-inch to your measurement to accommodate for the thickness of the icing and fondant that will be covering the cake. You’ll want to divide that amount by the width of your boards to figure out how many to create. The width actually depends on the aesthetic you want to achieve; you may choose broader or thinner boards than I did.
Set your rectangles aside once you’ve cut them. You may want to wrap them in saran wrap to keep them from drying out too much.
We’ll start with the white wooden boards. Lay out your white fondant as thin as possible. I’m talking nearly transparent thin. You want it to be that thin because it has to dry faster than the brown.
Put down your thin strips of white fondant and mist with a little mist of water or brush with a very tiny quantity of water. Place your brown fondant pieces on top of the white fondant and trim around them. When a knife pulls the fondant, I like to use a little pizza cutter.
Turn them over and lay them aside to dry once you’ve cut the white to match the brown. Since I use marshmallow fondant, I set mine aside for several hours while I worked on the other colors.
Now, repeat the procedure with the red and blue, setting them aside to dry somewhat but not fully.
When the top layer seems a touch dry, pull out your petal dusts. You’ll need the correct color for each plank color. I’ll show you how on the red planks.
You should combine your red petal dust with some vodka or lemon essence. You don’t want it to be too watered down. Your plank’s top layer is quite thin, and you want the color to pop a little more.
Brush your clumsily mixed petal dust over your wooden board. You want the brush strokes to be visible. You may need to go through certain parts many times. It’s better if it’s not flawless. Do this with each plank in its appropriate color and lay aside to dry. That shouldn’t be too difficult. The initial planks will be ready for the following phase by the time you finish the final plank.
Now combine some white petal dust with lemon essence or vodka. This mixture should be rather thick. You’ll just create multiple streaks from the top edge down and from the bottom edge up. (At this stage, the red ones resemble bacon, don’t they?)
When the dust has settled, lay your woodgrain imprint mat over the wooden planks and roll your fondant roller over the design to make it permanent. Check that your lines are flowing in the proper direction on the planks. Allowing your pieces to dry will give you a wonderful sense of the woodgrain and will also produce some cracking in the top layer, which is what you want.
Next, using your little fondant cutting wheel, create big grooves in your pieces.
When you’ve textured each board, use a straight edge or ruler to cut each side to the width and length you choose. I created mine at varying heights to make them appear more rustic. Just arrange them how you want them on the cake. Thus, all blue in a row, then alternate red and white for the second layer, as shown:
Now we’ll make small incisions on the top of each board to give it a cracked worn appearance. I sliced small Vs in random places using a knife.
Now comes the exciting part: shading. We’re just working on the red and white boards for now; the blue ones will come later (theres a step well have to do to those first). This is what really gives the rustic appearance. Brush your cocoa brown petal dust (or cocoa powder) into the cut outs you just formed on top of each plank. Buff it down to make it seem to be disappearing into the wood. Dust the brown dust on your boards in various random locations, and then darken the edges (top, bottom, and sides) to give them shadowing.
Now we’ll move on to the blue planks. You’ll want to paint the stars on them once you’ve textured them like the red and white boards and cut the tiny Vs into the top. Combine your white petal dust and lemon extract. You want it to be a touch thick. Hold your star cutter above the panel as you paint the white dust inside. Do this in a variety of locations, some with just a portion of the star on the plank. You may need to apply multiple coats of white paint. It’s OK to color beyond the lines a bit here. You desire a homey appearance.
The next stage is to add shadowing. Do the same thing we did with the red and white boards.
Now that the planks are complete, just place them on a cake board to dry. That will at least take 24 hours.
The stars emerging from the top of the cake are the next phase.
Make the star topper:
Lay out fondant in red, white, and blue. On my pasta roller, I used the number zero. You don’t want them to be too thin. Cut out the star shapes. I utilized two distinct sizes. Place them flat on a cake board and dab some water on the back where the popsicle stick will be attached. Put the popsicle stick to the rear and cover it with a thin piece of fondant to act as a bandage.
Let them to dry for at least 24 hours in their current state.
When the stars have dried, paint them with their complementing colors, just as we did with the planks earlier. Remember to apply white streaks and then shade with brown petal dust.
Yay! Your puzzle pieces are now complete!
At this stage, all you need to do is cover your cakes with fondant and stack them.
To connect the wooden panels to the cake, I simply melted some sugar melts and drew a line along the center of each plank before attaching it to the cake. The planks will not bend to the cake (the sides of each wood plank will be straight), but this is the desired aesthetic. Aren’t wood planks not curved? Continue to wrap the panels around the cake on both layers.
Take your newly created stars and place them on top of the cake.
That’s all! You’ve created an amazing Rustic 4th of July cake that will wow everyone at your 4th of July party!
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