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My husband loves football – and hats. I’ve already turned one of his hats into a cake once, the cap cake. This time we celebrated his birthday during our skiing vacation and I had the idea of turning his favorite hat into his birthday cake.
If you´d also like to make this knit hat cake, find all of the necessary steps below:
Knit Hat Cake Tutorial
You will need (among other basic decorating tools):
20cm (8 in) cake board
3x 20cm (8 in) cakes with approximately 3cm (1.1 in) hight
2x 15cm (6 in) cakes with approximately 3cm (1.1 in) hight
Fondant (ideally mixed with a little bit of modeling chocolate)
Knitting Mould by Katy Sue
Styrofoam ball 3cm (1.1 in)
Crisco Vegetable Shortening
Cut your cake board to about 18cm (7 in) and be sure to NOT cut it perfectly round because this will make the hat cake appear more realistic.
Put a little bit of ganache (or royal icing) on your cake board and stack your cakes.
Let the cake rest in the fridge. When it is cold and sturdy enough for carving, take a serrated knife and cut the shape of a hat. Be sure to leave a gap of about 3-5mm (0.1-0.2 in) between the cake and the cake board.
At this point I´d recommend wrapping your cake in cling wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight. It doesn’t need to be in the fridge for that long but that’s how I like to divide my working time on a cake over a few days.
The next day apply the ganache to the cake. That works best with Flexsi Smoothers, because they can bend easily and you get a perfectly smooth finish.
Let your cake rest in a cool room until the ganache is hard and dry.
Now comes the fun part – the cake decorating! 😊
Take your colored fondant pieces and roll them to an even thickness. The easiest way to do this is with a pasta machine – I love my pasta attachment from KitchenAid for that matter (and haven’t really used it that much for pasta! 😊).
The grey part of my husband´s hat was mottled with white so I was trying to create a marble effect. Unfortunately, it looked nothing like the effect on the real hat…
To get the knitting effect, place the Knitting Mould by Katy Sue on your fondant piece and roll over it with your rolling pin applying even pressure. Only roll over it ONCE in one direction or the pattern won’t turn out beautifully.
Katy Sues knitting mould is really awesome and works so well!
The biggest obstacle was to get the blue letters into the red knitting pattern.
You need to print out your letters in your desired size and then cut them out with scissors. Apply a little bit of Crisco Vegetable Shortening to your paper letters, stick them on the fondant and cut them out with a scalpel.
Do the same thing on the red fondant with the knitting pattern (it should already have the desired height). When the red letters are cut out, take the blue letters and put them into the open space. Voila – the writing is now „knitted“ into the fondant! 😊
The advantage of the knitting pattern is that you can cut the fondant pieces along a knit row and put them together again on the cake without it being too obvious that these were multiple pieces (only if someone looks very closely but we won’t allow such people to get near our cake! 😊)
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Apply some Crisco on the cake and stick your fondant pieces on.
The next step is to stick your grey fondant pieces on the cake using
Since the grey marble effect was hardly visible, below is my next pitiful attempt of trying to get a mottled effect by kneading in little pieces of white fondant… 😊 (It looks as if the cake had white measles! 😊)
To create the „seams“, bend the grey panels inwards on the upper part of the cake and glue them together with edible glue.
The white measles really bothered me so I painted over them with a little bit of diluted grey gel color. 😊 (I LOVE the ProGel colors – they’re the best in my opinion!)
The colored fondant pieces at the lower part of the cake were leftovers which I put on the cake to get the necessary thickness for the „cuff“ (is it called that way? I have no clue about knitting! 😊). You could of course make your grey panels longer.
So how do you get the „rib pattern“ for the cuff? That’s very easy – with a ruler! 😊 Just press it into the fondant after every two knit rows.
Turn your fondant piece over, apply some Crisco and bend the upper part over. I also used some leftover fondant pieces here and stuck them on to get the desired thickness.
Now you can stick the panels onto the cake using Crisco or
edible glue. It´s important NOT to let it appear too perfect but to include some waves and imperfections to make it more realistic.
Now let’s move on to ordeal number 1 – the logo. (Couldn’t my husband have chosen a team with an easier logo?? 😊)
Print the logo in your desired size, stick it onto the white fondant with some Crisco and cut it out using a scalpel.
Cut the white border off the paper logo, stick it on the red and blue fondant and cut it out with the scalpel.
Do exactly the same with the light grey face and the star. Use Crisco to stick everything on to each other.
The advantage of Crisco compared to edible glue is that you can move the fondant pieces or even take them off completely – without leaving a color stain! 😊😊 (The visible fat will be absorbed by the fondant and will disappear completely!)
Stick the logo with – you guessed it 😊 – Crisco onto the cake. (Because you probably won’t be satisfied with the position of the logo in the first place, but you can easily take it off and try again!)
Let´s move to ordeal number 2: the pompom!! 😊
The beginning is easy: using a hot glue gun, glue a skewer to the styrofoam ball.
Apply some piping gel to the ball and cover it with fondant.
Now comes the fun part: 😊
Use your sugarcraft gun and make as many thin fondant strings until both of your arms fall off! 😊
And then make more, because you surely won’t have enough! 😊
Cut them approximately to the same length and make small bundles of red and blue strings. Let them dry until they hold their shape.
Stick your ball into the cake, apply piping gel and stick your bundles on.
Approximately at this point (picture below) I ran out of bundles for the first time… 😊 Okay, one more time: brace myself, press hard to get those strings and so on. It was late at night though and since we were going on vacation the next day I didn’t care about the drying time in the end. YOU are going to be wiser though and start early enough with your hat cake and let everything dry, OKAY?!! 😊
One more thing that you can do better than me: cut off the upper part of the grey fondant in order to make room for the styrofoam ball. Push it in a little more than I did. My pompom turned out a little too long because I didn’t do that… 😊
Now I’m telling you how I solved that problem with the mottled effect: with white color! ☺️ I applied a little bit of white color here and there with a very thin paint brush. Perfect! I could’ve saved myself all of that trouble beforehand… But that’s the way we learn, isn’t it?!
At the end put your hat cake on a cake board (foam board or wooden board) which has been covered in fondant. Use a little bit of royal icing to glue the cake onto it. To get the „snow“ coat the fondant on the board with piping gel and sprinkle coconut flakes on it. Easy peasy!
When the hat cake was ready there was only one problem left to solve: how would I get the cake to our skiing vacation without my husband seeing it? That’s how real friendship shows: when your friends make room in their car to transport a cake for about 4 hours, drive the whole journey very safely, put up with coconut smell for hours AND don’t turn their heating on too much so that the cake will stay cool! 😊 Thanks, guys! 😊
The hat cake survived the long drive without any damage (and my friends as well! 😊) and the surprise was a big success! My husband was overjoyed with his hats! ☺️
Because I needed his hat as a template for the cake I had to let the hat disappear for a few days. One day before our departure my husband was of course looking for his hat and couldn’t find it. He was „slightly“ annoyed that now of all days his favorite hat was nowhere to be found! (Especially since he is a real neat freak!) 😊 I laughed in my sleeves and of course took his hat with us to our vacation!
Now we can only hope that the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl again this year… (at least that’s what the male part of our family is hoping for – I don’t really care much about football! 😊😊♀️)
Have a nice cold January – and don’t forget to put your hats on! 😊
All the best,
PS: You can find my other football cakes here: cap cake und 3D football cake. (only in German though!)
PPS: Das deutsche Tutorial findet ihr hier: Mützentorte