SIZE: 8” one-layer round, 7” three-layer round, 6” two-layer round and 5” three-layer square tiers
SKILL LEVEL: Moderate/Advanced
At least two days ahead:
1. Mix fondant colors:
a) Mix batches of green, orange and purple fondant using Lucks Liqua-Gel Colors in Leaf Green, Sunset Orange and a 1:1 mix of Violet to Deep Pink, mixed into White Vanilla Fondant.
b) Mix batches of gold and light brown fondant by mixing a small portion of orange fondant with Yellow Vanilla fondant, and by mixing an approximate 1:1 ratio of white to Dark Chocolate fondant.
2. Create the jack-in-the-box circus bear by first building the head. Spear a ball of Styrofoam or cereal treats with a thick wooden skewer and wrap it with the mixed light chocolate fondant. Allow the head to firm up or dry before attaching the facial features.
3. Make the jack-in-the-box lid by very thinly rolling out purple and Blue Vanilla fondant (setting 4 if using a pasta machine), laminating the two colors of sheets with two or three toothpicks embedded halfway inside its lower edge, and cutting into a square with a sharp knife. Let this part dry.
4. Make orange filigreed panels by rolling out orange fondant, using a variety of specialty cutters or a stencil to cut away interiors, and then cutting each panel into a straight square. TIP: Make sure to cut away interiors before cutting final square silhouette; reversing this order will result in square distortion. Set aside for an hour or two.
5. Hand-roll gold teardrop and scrolling filigree decorations to embellish the orange panels. Set aside for an hour or two.
6. When panels and filigree have dried sufficiently to be gently handled, apply filigree to panels using gum glue. Let dry.
7. Make the hand crank by rolling out a white fondant rope and inserting a toothpick (toothpick should be inserted to its halfway point) before bending into the angled crank shape. Let dry, and then attach a small Red Vanilla Fondant (Item #15400) ball to the tip using gum glue or water.
8. Make the message banner by rolling out white fondant and free-hand cutting a 1” wide by 5” long strip. Gather at the ends and allow to dry over a curved surface.
9. Make bear’s arms by rolling blue fondant into large teardrop forms. Poke holes with toothpicks in the widest ends (to later receive bear’s hands), and then insert toothpicks into the narrowest ends (to attach to the bear’s body). Let dry.
At least one day ahead:
10. Use light brown fondant to finish the bear’s facial features, and use dark brown fondant for eyes and nose. Attach all pieces with gum glue.
11. Make gold collar and sleeve ruffles by rolling fondant very thin and then gathering into a circle, bunching it as you would a fan. TIP: For the collar, use small pieces of cut dowel to separate ruffles, to ensure that they are evenly-spaced. The sleeves are so small that lack of strict ruffle uniformity will be less evident.
12. Remove the head from the skewer and then attach the collar to it with gum glue or royal icing while the collar is still somewhat pliant; attach the sleeve ruffles to the arms with gum glue while these ruffles are still pliant. Allow all pieces to dry. TIP: Make sure that the collar doesn’t cover the skewer hole, as the skewer will be reinserted later.
13. Make a clown hat by rolling red fondant into a cone, and applying a blue fondant ruffled trim (see instructions for sleeve ruffles) and blue fondant ball at the tip using gum glue. Let dry.
14. Make simple bear’s hands using light brown fondant, and attach to either end of the banner with gum glue. TIP: Cut a toothpick in half and insert each piece into the “wrist” area of the hands, so that they may be attached to the arms/sleeves securely at set-up.
15. Finish the jack-in-the-box top by thinly rolling out red and gold fondant and cutting away interiors (in a similar fashion to the orange panels). Adhere to original purple/blue laminated panel with gum glue or water. TIP: This second shell of fondant will conceal the bumps left by the toothpicks that will attach it to the cake.
16. Cut the top interior of the jack-in-the-box by rolling a thick layer of red fondant, and using the Plain Round Cutter set (Item #9784) to cut out the center hole, where the bear will stand. Cut final square shape using a sharp knife.
17. Make body by rolling four green and three blue fondant balls, slightly flattening and then stacking them at angles to curve somewhat, attaching each to the next with water or gum glue. While the body is still pliant, gently spear it with the skewer. TIP: Make sure there is enough skewer exposed at the bottom of the body to be able to stably insert it into the cake.
18. Attach arms to body with toothpicks while the body is still pliant. Allow body to dry on the skewer.
19. Ice the cakes, and attach Big Top Variety Designer Prints™ decorations (Item #48392) to each layer, as shown. Be sure that the dimensions of the square cake will match the dimensions of all fondant panels. TIP: The striped and circus ball patterns will need to be tiled one atop the next; this is because the cake tier is taller than the strip. Measure the height of your tiers precisely to determine how much of the second strip will need to be trimmed away. Designer Prints™ strips are created to tile easily with no pattern interruption.
20. Wrap the bottom tier in a ribbon of purple fondant.
21. Roll out a ribbon of orange fondant, and use a continuous trim cutter—or use a variety of specialty cutters to achieve a similar look—to create the base band for the pennant tier. Attach to the base of the cake.
22. Repeat this step with a blue ribbon for the base of the striped tier.
23. Roll out more blue fondant and use a specialty cutter or a stencil to cut out blue frame trim for the top of the striped tier. Attach to the cake with piping gel or a thin layer of icing.
24. Create additional gold filigree for the striped tier, and attach, as shown, to the blue frame trim with gum glue.
25. Roll out green fondant, cut into a uniform ½” wide ribbon, and apply as a ruffle border to the base of the pennant tier. TIP: Use pieces of cut dowel to form ruffles, and adhere to orange band with potable alcohol.
26. Repeat this step using orange fondant ribbon for the purple tier, and red fondant for the striped tier. TIP: If the cake requires refrigeration, this portion of the border will need to be created and dried in pieces, and applied on the day of the event.
27. Mix red royal icing using Lucks Super Red Liqua-Gel Color (Item #45284), and use a #2 round tip (Item #11041) to pipe the inscription on the banner. Let dry.
The day of the event:
28. Hand roll or extrude a fine orange fondant rope to edge the box lid, excluding the bottom edge where it meets the box. Attach with water or gum glue.
29. Lightly brush the tops of the cakes with piping gel and sprinkle with Multi-Color Non-Pareils (Item #9465).
30. Carefully assemble the cake tiers.
31. Assemble the bear and insert its skewer into the cake. Attach the head, attach hands/banner to arms, and arrange the hat on its head. TIP: Lend support by attaching these components with icing rather than gum glue.
32. Insert hand crank into the side of the box.
33. Attach box lid by carefully inserting toothpicks into the cake at an angle. TIP: Secure the lid by applying a line of icing across its bottom edge before inserting into cake.
Decorating idea by Charra Jarosz