This cake was for my friend, who quite likes a flamingo or two. Now, I thought I knew what a flamingo looked like so I just went straight for it and recorded the process.
I made the cake, left it and came back it to the next day with my head tilted sideways thinking out loud “What is it? Why does this not look right?”.
I didn’t know why and just put it down to be fussy.
Then I looked again and got more annoyed so I Googled ‘flamingo’ to prove to myself that a flamingo is exactly what I had made.
Oh no, never mind, I made a pink goose.
I don’t even know where my head was at when I made that flamingo’s neck stand tall and proud. Look how curvy they are , they literally have snakes for necks, how do they even hold their heads up?!
It takes Google 0.61 seconds to show me THOUSANDS of images of flamingos with elegant curved necks and I didn’t do it because I trusted my own brain.
0.61 seconds and I could’ve nailed it the first time.
Here are some straight necked geese having a lovely time and proving 35 times what a moron I am.
I did realise my error eventually though and I made a second, more curvy flamingo, in record time.
Due to said record-time-flamingo-making I couldn’t film the second attempt but it is basically the first attempt with the wire curved for the neck, not the way I did it first time round, which would have been more suited to a bolt upright meerkat showcasing extreme curiosity.
Now I’ve explained myself, I’ll jump into the tutorial. I will include affiliate links for where you can get all the bits I used to make this cake, whether you choose to make a flamingo or a goose.
Kind of a two for the price of one fondant bird video isn’t it? If we apply a generous silver lining.
We are going to start at the marble coating stage so if you need to know how to get your cake covered in fondant first, then click here.
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How to add a marble buttercream style finish to fondant.
Tha main feature of this tutorial was actually supposed to be the marble buttercream style finish on the fondant. Until Wannabe Flamingo Goose bowled straight on in and stole all the thunder.
I adore marble-y buttercream finishes but using buttercream solo on a cake isn’t always practical so I wanted a way to get the effect on top of fondant.
This came in the form of royal icing.
Royal icing is one of my most favourite mediums ever. It can be used for piping messages, run outs, brush embroidery, pearls, the most stunning detail on the sides of cakes, and for sticking things that otherwise just. won’t. stick.
Royal icing can also be used to coat cakes. We are talking real old fashioned wedding cakes here.
The kind that were only ever fruit cake, probably pillars but no dowels, ribbon loops and maybe even lacy frills if it was real fancy.
These cakes would be able to be stacked on pillars, without dowels, and not collapse. THAT’S how solid this icing is.
And that’s probably why we don’t really use it for this purpose anymore. It looks much nicer cutting through your wedding cake with a decorative sparkly knife instead of a hacksaw.
For my pink marble effect cake I only needed one coat so no hacksaws necessary!
It’s a bit of a myth that royal icing is difficult to make. It isn’t at all, I absolutely promise you! You can make it in under 5 minutes with only 3 ingredients. Can’t get much easier than that.
When you have your hands on some royal icing, you want to colour it. Any colours you like but normally the same groups of colours work well. Either different shades of the same colour, or if you want a mixture then red, orange and yellow, or blue, green and purple would both be beautiful colour combos for this.
You need to imagine how the colours will look as they blend and ideally you’d want an effortless gradient of colour, which will happen naturally if you choose complimentary colours.
I’ve used Rainbow Dust Pro Gel in Pink for my two shades of pink icing and I’ve left some white. The link above is for a glorious rainbow set of 7 but if you don’t want/ need them all, you can search for single colours.
To get the marbled effect you need to splodge your icing on all over the cake, putting different colours together. Make sure the whole cake is covered with icing, it doesn’t matter which colour, there just has to be some on there, all over.
When the whole cake has a layer of royal icing over it you will need a side scraper, which you will want to hold at a 45 degree angle to the cake. You can then draw this scraper around the cake, blending the colours together. This will be so much easier on a turntable if you have one. You can keep the scraper in the same place and just turn the cake.
It might (will) take a few goes with the scraper and it is much easier to do this on a cake that isn’t on an iced board like mine was. If you have the cake on its own and do it you will get the scraper right to the base of the cake so it leaves a nice, clean edge. You might not even need ribbon! Wouldn’t that be somethin’!
For the icing on the top of the cake, I ran my palette knife from the outside edge to the centre whilst spinning it on a turntable, just to add a bit of a pattern to it.
How to make a flamingo/ goose – oh wow, okay it’s a flamingoose!
Flamingoose. Sounds like it could be an actual thing!
David Attenborough on the flamingoose.
“The flamingoose watches on, seemingly in envy, as it’s close relatives, the flamingos, ruffle their feathers nearby. A curved neck is a sign of the dominant species, and all the while the flamingoose’s neck extends directly into the sky, it can only dream of how it would feel to be a flamingo.”
To make a flamingo, you can follow my directions all the way until the part where I talk about the neck. Then stop listening! Cover you ears and sing “lalalalala” until I shut up and move onto the next bit.
I used a 20 gauge florist wire as the armature and bent it into shape (based on the image in my mind, which we have established was wrong) using narrow pliers. The first part is accurate but when it comes to the neck, do not bend it up straight directly out of the body. Bend it downwards then curve it up and back before tipping the ‘head part’ forwards.
Look at a picture of a flamingo whilst you do this because it will help. Especially as I have no visual guidance to offer. So sorry.
For the body, you can roll a ball of pink florist paste into a teardrop shape and then thread the wire through the neck area and out through where the leg would come from. Paint some water on the wire before you do this part so it helps to stick the paste to the wire.
Now for the neck. If you want a goose neck, do exactly as I did in the video. Roll a sausage and thread it straight over the wire, leaving it poking up into the air.
Silly Billie. We’re all thinking it.
For a flamingo neck, which is what I think we are all here for, you can still roll a sausage and either thread it over your correctly curved wire or press it onto the wire making sure to seal any seams and buff them out as best you can.
You can add some wings by rolling two equal size balls of paste and narrowing them into pear shapes then flattening them down. Stick these to each side of the body and then just flick the narrow ends up a bit to give your flamingo some attitude.
Use small amounts of black paste for the eyes and the beak. The beak needs to be a triangle shape and they eyes are tiiiiiny balls of black paste. For both the beak and the eyes, use a little bit of water to make sure they attach and stay attached.
If you want to add a bent leg, you can fold some wire and just press it into the underneath of the body then use some pink paste colour to paint the wires. If you need your flamingo to be more stable then I suggest adding another straight leg, instead of the bent one, that can be inserted into the cake as an additional anchor.
I must apologise for my colossal fail here. I very nearly didn’t post this tutorial at all but this is sometimes how things go so it’s an honest glimpse into simple human error. I’ve made many decorations in my time and come back to them to realise they are stupid and had to remake them. This is just one more to add to the list!
I hope something from this wannabe flamingo cake tutorial helps someone and I promise to do much better next week!
Have a great week!