I made this cake for a friend, so excited to be having her first baby, a boy. She collects rubber ducks, all different styles so it was only natural for her to have a rubber duck cake for her shower.
When I was making the duck I thought I should share some of the things that I have learned over the years when making rice krispy covered with fondant cake toppers.
First, the rice krispy treat recipe I use which is quick and easy.
Grease a pan to put your molded cake topper in and another for the leftovers.
1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups crisp rice cereal
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat while slowly adding marshmallows until melted.
2. Add cereal and stir until evenly coated.
Coat your hands with cooking spray then take your rice krispy treats from the pan as soon as possible and mold and press the treats you just made into the shape or shapes you desire. Keep pressing and molding until the treats start to hold their shape for you.
When you have your desired shape or shapes put them into the freezer in one of the pans you sprayed with oil earlier. It will not take long for your krispy shapes to harden keep checking after 15 minutes of freezing. Meanwhile melt some white chocolate candy melts, the chocolate candy melts are easier and a time saver being that you do not have to temper candy melts like you would regular chocolates. I melt the chocolate in the microwave in twenty second intervals, but I also have a weak microwave, so go slow, white chocolate can be quicker to overheat and render unusable than the darker chocolates.
When your krispy topper has hardened remove it from the freezer and immediately using clean hands rub the chocolate onto the surface of the shape you made. With your hands you can make sure all of the surface is covered with the melted white chocolate and you try to keep it as evenly coated as possible.
I made extra bodies and heads for the duck in case I wanted more than one finished duck on the cake. Let your chocolate harden on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet on your counter, it will actually start hardening while you are applying it because the krispies are so cold. When it has dryed in a matter of moments you can apply another coat if you missed spots or want to even up your previous layer of chocolate. Or you can proceed to the next step which is to smooth your chocolate coating with your kitchen zester tool, before you cover your chocolate krispy creation with fondant.
Save your leftover chocolate shavings in a zip lock bag for another project. Or use it as a decorative accent for a cake or cupcakes, just don't use your hands to handle the zested chocolate, only a spoon, the heat from you hands can melt your shavings.
After you have your object as smooth as possible I cover it with a slightly thicker than the 1/4" fondant suggested for covering your cakes. I have also covered a topper with two layers of thinner fondant, that can work to make a smooth surface also, whatever works best for you.
To make the tail on the duck I added a pinch of moistened fondant to the krispy body. Then I covered it with a layer of fondant that I tinted with gel food coloring a yellow using the Satin Ice brand of fondant. I think it is one of the best brands of fondant to work with and the taste is much better than others I have tried. You can find it online, just google search Satin Ice fondant to find the best price.
I used a tooth pick and a little water to attach the fondant covered head to the body of the duck. Then added the eyes, the hat, wings and beak, making sure to support the beak and visor overnight to dry with pins and toothpicks stuck in a small amount on fondant on the plate. Be warned every time I was sure the toothpicks and pins where not needed to support my drying creations were the times I awoke in the morning to one of those unexpected creative disasters.
The best cake topper making advice I have would be for you to give the chocolate a try as an undercoating for your fondant covered topper. In the beginning of my cake career I used royal icing and it took forever to dry and was too hard to smooth onto irregular surfaces, it would run and drip everywhere, pure agony for me. I hope if you are having similar problems that you find this an easier way to work with krispies and candy melts!!
I got so many questions with my original post about how long before can you start your topper before the celebration day I wrote this...
I started this duck topper in the late afternoon before the party day, I do not suggest that is you have the time! It works in an emergency but a little too nerve racking!
A week before works well and has it advantages! I am working on a vintage race car this week about 9″ long and of course using rice krispies. I usually do not have this much time, the most time I have ever had previously to start and finish a topper for me has been three days, but what fun. I can cover it and actually let the fondant harden overnight, make tires and let them harden overnight, etc. I have time to work on more of the details and worry so much less about my fingers denting my creation as I add stuff to it. It is easy this time of year (in chilly New England) also to keep my car topper in a cold room overnight so it will stay fresh and no fridge sweating. I do not suggest you ever put a rice krispy fondant covered topper in the fridge. Your krispies encapsulated in a coating of chocolate and fondant does extend their due date if someone takes a bite, but you would need to keep it cool.
My friend who’s shower cake this post was about, saved this particular duck in a shoe box on a shelf in her home. I asked her how it was looking now that her baby has turned three. She said it looks unchanged, amazing right, three years! So if you know people will not be eating your topper you could extend the time you have to make it, but for myself I worry about colors fading (mostly purples they are the worst) So be prepared to paint the colors with gel food coloring and vodka or a bit of water if you want the surface to be shiny to refresh them if they fade on you.
If you wanted to start the rice crispy topper and after the melted white chocolate (or dark depending on your topper) has been applied and smoothed to your liking but before you apply fondant to save time at a later date you could freeze it. To freeze the topper, place it in an airtight container, and do not remove it from its container until it has been brought up to room temperature, to prevent condensation from forming on the chocolate. White chocolate will keep for one to two months in the freezer.
Keep in mind white chocolate can go rancid when exposed to strong light when storing, so keep your topper in a dark and cool place until when you decide to cover with your fondant. I keep my creations in shoe boxes on a layer of parchment paper in a cool place.