Looks like there should be a story behind this one, does it? If you don't know James Dashner or his books, you need to run out and check one of them out (he has two new ones out this year in two different series, check out his blog for details). Last weekend was my writer's guild's annual Christmas party--admittedly a bit after Christmas, but we were all kind of busy before. I signed up to bring dessert (because any time anyone asks me to sign up to bring something, of course I'm going to go for dessert, even if I don't bring something cakish.).
After looking around a bit for idea, I decided to do a book cake because we're all writers and it seemed appropriate. Plus I've wanted to do one for a while now.
I used a variation of the standard White Almond Sour Cream cake (I got this variation on Cake Central, but I generally use this one on recipezaar.) This was pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon buttercream filling. Now, if you're going to decorate a normal round or square cake, you can use a box mix if you like, but if you plan to carve it at all, you need to use a heavier cake like the WASC type because it holds its shape better. This cake was done in a normal 9x13 cake pan (Okay, it was this decorator pan, with square corners and straight sides, but it was still the standard shape.) I trimmed the sides a bit to make them straight, cut it in half and stacked it, then trimmed a tad more to make it the right shape. This meant the cake ended up about 8x6.
I did need to use a firmer cake for this, even though it's perfectly square because it had to be rotated a bit while I put on the fondant, and I was concerned about it falling apart. After filling and stacking the two layers. To minimize confusion, I'll refer to the six sides of the cake as front and back (as in the front and back covers), right side, left side, top and bottom. I set the cake on the left side, which would be the binding edge and spread buttercream along the top, bottom and right sides of the book.
Before this stage I had pulled out some white fondant and rolled it out to the right length and approximate width I would need to cover the edge of the cake with a bit of overlap. Then I lightly scored the fondant with my pastry blender to make it look like indents between the pages. So once the sides were covered with frosting, I carefully lifted the long piece of fondant and covered it, making sure to cover all of the edges where it would overlap with the cover.
Next I rolled out the blue fondant I made for the cover. I measured and tweaked it to make sure it would be the right length and width to cover the book, then made some rough cuts to trim off some of the excess. I've seen pictures of book cakes before, and I loved the way they looked and the smooth edges that actually look like leather, which is what I was going for. As you can see, I didn't quite manage it, but I learned a few things for next time.
Next I flipped the cake on the white fondant edge, applied buttercream to the three remaining sides, making sure to fill the voids where the white fondant wrapped around the front and back so the blue would lay smooth. Then I put on the blue fondant for the cover. One thing to note, I had planned to have the cover actually hang over the edges a bit, but forgot that marshmallow fondant shrinks slightly when you pull it off of the counter and put it on your cake, so next time I try something like this I'll provide a whole lot more edge space.
I wasn't sure how to get nice smooth edges without folding it over, but should have rolled the fondant thinner there so it wouldn't be so bulky. Also, wrapping the fondant around the 'book' took a bit more than I had planned on. The complication is that once you apply fondant to something that's covered in butter cream, it becomes a mess to pull off and tweak, so I was trying to do this in one step.
The accents are white buttercream with silver pearl dust covering them, which I applied with a little watercolor brush I reserve only for cake decorating. It's best to dampen the fondant with a bit of water (just a tiny bit, too much can take forever to dry, especially if you live in a humid climate). Some people also brush a bit of vanilla on instead of the water because it evaporates so much faster.
In the end I was trying to decide what the book should say on the outside and decided that poking fun at James Dashner would be entertaining. Thankfully, he was not only not offended, but genuinely seemed to think it was cool, so it was a hit with everyone. I had to actually cut the cake myself or it wouldn't have been touched. People seem to forget cakes are for eating, no matter how cool looking they are.