Last Updated on September 22, 2022
Are you wondering what is a dummy cake? Well, today we look at what it is, the different types you can find, and exactly how to make your own.
What Is A Dummy Cake?
Dummy cakes are arguably every baker’s best friend. It allows you to beautifully decorate cakes without having to spend a ton of time, effort, and money to make the actual cake part.
Instead, the edible cake element is substituted with a styrofoam block, which comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Then, the rest of the cake is decorated as you’d like using real edible decorating ingredients.
The entire point of using a dummy cake is to avoid wasting money. It isn’t meant to be eaten or cut. These cakes can be used as mock-ups to show a client what they can expect their cake to look like. Or they can be a way to cheaply practice certain decorating techniques before making the actual perishable cake.
Dummy cakes are also a useful item to have on hand when you start going to different cake expos to promote your baking business. Once you make a dummy cake, you can simply store it somewhere safe and keep re-using it for as long as it stays in fashion. You can also use them as display items in your store.
And finally, if you want to build up a business portfolio but don’t want to eat cake for the next year, dummy cakes are the way to go. You can essentially make and decorate 10 cakes for almost the price of making one real cake.
It is also a fantastic way to make larger multi-tiered cakes at a considerably reduced price. These types of cakes are usually only possible to make when a client pays for them. This is because it could cost hundreds of dollars each. So, dummy cakes allow you to make it for a fraction of that.
Types of dummy cakes
Now, the concept of dummy cakes remains the same regardless of which type of cake you end up making. However, it is important to understand that the type of decorative ingredients you use will affect how long the dummy cake will last and how to properly store it.
So, now that you know the answer to “What is a dummy cake?” let’s have a look at the different types you can make.
All of these types differ in the base ingredient that you use. The dummy cake can either be covered with fondant or buttercream frosting. Buttercream frosting is more perishable if you don’t dry it properly and it has to be stored in a very specific way.
Fondant is a lot more shelf stable and is even commonly used as a base for buttercream decorated cakes.
Then, you would also likely have some other decorative ingredients on the cake. Always try to use non-perishable ingredients. This can be more piped royal icing details, fondant figurines, airbrushed or painted-on elements, and similar embellishments.
Stay away from perishable candies, fresh fruits, sauces, wet glazes, or frostings. Any ingredient that is going to change after a couple of hours, days, or weeks.
How Can You Make A Dummy Cake At Home?
There are a couple of steps to making a dummy cake at home. Each step is easy on its own. Together, they may just take some time. But think of it this way, you make one dummy cake that can last you years!
Step 1: Buy the styrofoam cakes
The first element that you need to source is the styrofoam dummy cake. There are hundreds of different shapes and sizes out there. You can buy these online, at a baking shop, or sometimes at a craft supply store.
We like getting dummy cakes online because it’s a one-stop shop. You don’t have to cross your fingers and hope the store you go to has what you’re looking for. You can find exactly what you want and how much you want of it.
Step 2: Assemble the foam
Once you get home, you can assemble the foam elements by gluing them together. A hot glue gun works the best in our experience. Some types of superglue melt the styrofoam.
Step 3: Carve the foam (optional)
Allow the assembled foam pieces to dry, then carve the cake into the shape you want. This is an optional step and only necessary for people making 3-D-shaped cakes.
Then, stick the cake onto a cake board using double-sided tape.
Step 4: Apply the base layer
First, add a thin coating of clear piping gel. This gel will create a sticky layer onto which rolled-out fondant icing will stick. If you are using buttercream frosting as the base, then you don’t have to worry about this.
Then, proceed to coat the entire layer with the fondant or buttercream frosting. There are no special steps, you can work exactly as you would with a regular cake.
You will then likely need to allow the layer to dry slightly before adding the rest of the details.
Step 5: Add decorative details
Once your base layer is dried, you can continue decorating the cake as you normally would. Again, there aren’t any special steps to making a dummy cake, other than the styrofoam assembly.
Then, all that’s left to do is allow the elements to dry completely.
How To Store Dummy Cakes
So, we have answered “what is a dummy cake” and even how to make one at home. But how do you store it? The biggest downside of these cakes is that they do take up a lot of space.
You have to store them in a cool dry place away from any direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. This is the only way to keep them dried out.
Many professionals also spray their dummy cakes with hairspray to help protect and preserve them better. Just use a non-shiny product. Otherwise, the dummy cake looks fake!
When stored properly, dummy cakes can last years. And because the styrofoam isn’t biodegradable, we highly recommend reusing them instead of tossing the entire thing. It will also save you money!
We hoped that you enjoyed this article on “What is a dummy cake?”. And, if you want to learn more about cake decorating and making a living off of it, go check out some other useful articles on our site.
How do you make a fake dummy cake?
It is quite easy to make a dummy cake. But, there are some special tricks of the trade that makes it a professional dummy cake. In the simplest of explanations, first, you assemble and glue together the styrofoam parts. then, you cover the cake with buttercream or fondant. And finally, you can decorate it as per usual.
Can you reuse dummy cakes?
You can reuse dummy cakes once you have removed the buttercream frosting or fondant layer (along with the decorations). We also highly recommend it seeing as styrofoam isn't biodegradable and takes a couple of lifetimes! So, always reuse and don't buy more unless you absolutely have to.
What do you use a dummy cake for?
Dummy cakes have a multitude of uses. Mainly, it is made to save a ton of baking time and effort and more importantly, money. These cakes are used for display in baking shops and expos. They are also a way to practice specific techniques (cheaply) and to show clients mock-ups of big expensive cakes.
How long does a fake fondant cake last?
This cake can last years if the fondant has been dried properly! But, only if you store it in a cool dry place away from any light and heat sources. Otherwise, even if you did dry the fondant, it can deteriorate quickly if it isn't stored properly.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.