My first How to Make a Mermaid Cake tutorial is perfect for those wanting a quick, buttercream cake. But if you’d like to experiment with fondant, today’s Buttercream and Fondant Mermaid Cake is a great cake for beginners (like me!)
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of A.C. Moore for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
So the story behind this post is that A.C. Moore reached out to me and asked if I’d like to do their Summer Create Challenge. Of course, that sounded right up my alley so I agreed with full understanding that I’d have no say in what they were sending.
They sent me a mystery box of craft or baking supplies from their Nicole store brand and my challenge was to come up with a creative idea using those materials. Check out my unboxing for my unfiltered response to what I received!
I shouldn’t have been so surprised to have received a box full of fondant and fondant decorating tools, considering it was a Challenge, but I was honestly so nervous that this would be a giant fail post… luckily, the fondant was way easier to work with than I expected – even in a house that has held steady at 88°F all week!
For this project, I used A.C. Moore’s Nicole’s Kitchen line of fondant tools and Vanilla Taste Fondant.
You can check out more projects on Create and Craft, where A.C. Moore will present regular programing and offer special deals on their craft merchandise during the A.C. Moore Hour, including the Nicole-branded items. (You can watch Create and Craft on DISH Network channel 221, stream online or on Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV.)
Mermaid Cake Recipe
I debated doing something super simple like cupcakes – and to be honest, that would have been a better and more stress-free first (or third) project for a nervous beginner! The nice thing with cupcakes is that you can work on the toppers separate from the cupcakes, and then if a couple don’t work out – you just scrap the toppers and make a couple new ones. You don’t have to bake a brand new cake!
But, like they say – go big or go home! So I decided to wing it with a 5-layer, 2-tier mermaid cake using a variety of simple buttercream frosting techniques and some easy fondant tricks.
Yea, you could say I’m crazy…
This cake involved a bit of creative thinking and I just took my time. I didn’t have a final design in mind – in fact, I didn’t originally intend to have the three mermaid tails sticking out of the top but I knew my daughter would get a kick out of that. Just be flexible and see how things work out. I was also planning on leaving the fondant white and adding some blue ombré, but I really like the swirly watercolor effect I achieved with some food color spray and edible shimmer powder.
I found some great tutorials online for how to make fondant seashells: here and here. I did a couple as shown and then also used a fondant mold – the mold was easier but it does limit your creativity so don’t feel like you need to use those for good results.
Ingredients for Mermaid Fondant Cake
- Three 9″ cake layers
- Two or three 6″ cake layers
- 1 lb butter
- 6-8 cups powdered icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2-3 Tablespoons milk or cream, optional
- Nicole’s Kitchen White Fondant
- Blue and pink gel food dye
- Silver food color spray
- Blue edible shimmer/dust
- 1/2 oz vodka or lemon extract
Note: I would have made a more drastic size difference with the cake layers if I could do this over. I used 8″ and 6″ so I changed the recipe to indicate 9″ instead of 8″.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful:
- Nicole’s Kitchen Fondant Cutter & Embosser
- Nicole’s Kitchen Fondant Tool Set
- Rolling pin
- Silicone mermaid tail mold
- Silicone fondant ocean shapes mold
- Clean paintbrush (preferably just one used for dessert decorating)
- Small bowls
- Cutting board
- Silione baking mat
- Lollipop sticks/skewers
- Sharp kitchen knife
- #22 open star piping tip
- Piping bag
How to Make a Mermaid Cake with Fondant
For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to skip over the process of making and baking the layers of the cake. If you need a great cake recipe, check out our Apple Spice Layer Cake Recipe, our Red Velvet Cake Recipe or our Gingerale Cake recipe.
Ocean Fondant Shapes
While the cakes are cooling, you can prepare your fondant shapes. Knead food dye into small handfuls of the fondant, as desired – about 2-3 drops per handful.
I made several starfish, seashells, and 6 mermaid tails (just in case a couple broke). If you don’t dye the fondant beforehand and then decide you want to add a touch of color, you can add some color using food color spray or the edible shimmer paint described below.
Store these shapes in sealed containers lined with parchment or wax paper until ready to apply to your cake, with the exception of the mermaid tails.
Insert the lollipop sticks or skewers into the bottom of the mermaid tails and let them air dry while you prepare the cake.
Make the buttercream by combining the butter and powdered icing sugar, along with the vanilla. Mix for two minutes before adjusting with additional powdered sugar or cream. The buttercream should be stiff yet smooth and have a pleasant, not-too-buttery taste.
Prepare the cake layers by trimming off any rounded domes on the cake layers to form flat, even cake layers.
Layering the Cake
To layer the cakes, add enough frosting in between each layer to allow them to stick well, no more than 1/2″ thickness.
Layer the bottom three 9″ cake layers, and then give a rough “crumb coat” of frosting.” Repeat the same process with adding the top two 6″ layers, sandwiching together with frosting and then giving a rough crumb coat.
Covering the Cake With Fondant
Dust a silicone baking mat with icing sugar and add 1 cup of fondant. Dust your rolling pin with icing sugar, as well.
Roll out in a rough circle. If you’d like, keep your 6″ cake pan on hand to check that the fondant circle is large enough to cover that cake tier (approximately twice the diameter of the cake pan). Roll to a 1/4″ thickness.
Carefully place the fondant over the cake and press in around the top layer until you reach the top of the bottom tier.
Use the fondant cutter to trim off the excess fondant – or use it to make a clear line that you can go back over with a sharp knife.
(Note – I did the bottom tier’s decoration first and should have done it after painting the top tier so these instructions are written in the order that you should make your cake, not necessarily the order that I made mine!)
Painting the Fondant
Mix the blue edible shimmer with vodka or lemon extract in a 2:1 (2 parts vodka to 1 part shimmer) ratio.
Spray the fondant with the silver color spray, and then add swirls of the blue edible paint overtop to create a watercolor “ocean” effect. Add more colors as desired.
Adding Buttercream Frosting Waves
By now the crumb coat on the bottom tier should be dry, but if not, allow the crumb coat to set (dry) – either on the counter or in the fridge.
Dye the remaining buttercream frosting blue and fit a piping bag with your #22 open star tip. Fill the piping bag with the frosting and clip to securely close.
When the crumb coat is dry, add “frosting waves” to the bottom tier by using a small swirling motion with your wrist to apply an even swirly line of frosting. Don’t worry about perfection.
Add Fondant Shapes and Mermaid Tails
Add the fondant shapes to the still wet fondant (if the fondant has dried, add a touch of water to the back of the shapes to help them stick).
Insert the mermaid tail skewers into the top of the cake, as desired. Use leftover blue frosting to add some “splash” waves to hide any gaps between where the mermaid tails end and the cake begins. (Plus I love the effect of bringing some of the bottom tier effect to the top of the cake.)
Check over your cake and make any changes necessary. I added a few more fondant seashells to help my cake feel balanced.
If you need to refrigerate your cake, carefully remove the mermaid tails and store (they may break or fall off if left for too long). Insert again when it is time to serve your cake.
Grab your free recipe printable to follow along with as you prepare your own mermaid cake with fondant:
This mermaid cake was suprisngly simple to make and there are so many ways to personalize it for your little mermaid!