Bear Bryant Hat Cake

bear bryant hat cake

I had an unusual request for a Bear Bryant hat cake made with it sitting on top of a cake with 3-d elephant heads. I never turn down a challenge. (Which it was) but I was pleased with the results and the client LOVED it.

I have made 3 others since. The hardest part was finding a way to get the houndstooth to look right. I ended up using a houndtooth print embossing sheet used in scrapbooking to press the pattern into the fondant. (about $4 purchased from an online scrapbooking supplier) Then I just filled in the impression.

The Bear Bryant Hat cake consists of two 11" x 15" sheet cakes, two 8" square cakes and three 9" round cakes.

To Assemble the Hat:

You'll need:

  • White fondant to cover 3 layer 9" round
  • white gumpaste - size of a baseball
  • red fondant - Quarter sized ball
  • White buttercream icing
  • Medium sized leaf cutter

1. Make the hat first so the gum paste brim will have time to set. Crumb coat 3 layers of the 9" round cake on a 9" cake board and put it in the refrigerator to get stiff. The colder your cake the less small crumbs when you carve it. (about 1 hour) Then carve using a small paring knife and a large serrated knife to resemble the body of a hat (I looked at pictures from the internet). Cover with buttercream icing.

2. Roll out white fondant and press imprint of the houndstooth into the fondant. Cover the cake and trim excess. Measure the circumference of hat and roll out white gum paste for the brim. You should add about 2 inches to what you measured to allow for error and it should be about 2 1/2" wide. Press houndstooth pattern into the gum paste. Using a little water tack one end of the gum paste strip to the back of the hat. About 1/2" should lie flat on the hat to give the appearance of the ribbon that goes around it. Using little sprinkles of water along the way (I just put a little on my fingers as I go) stretch and shape the strip around the hat. Cut the strip to meet in the back. Using rolled up paper towels, curl the edges of the brim up and leave to dry (overnight). The next morning, you will have a perfect white hat with brim. Using black icing, fill in the houndstooth pattern.


Making the Feather:

Using a leaf cutter (cookie cutter) cut 1 or two leaves out of the red fondant. I always cut extra in case I mess one up. Draw a line down the center of the leaf and using a knife cut small slits up the sides to look like a feather. Apply to the hat near the ribbon using the black buttercream icing. Hat is done!

To Make the Elephants:

You'll need:

  • Grey fondant - small palm sized ball
  • White fondant - 2" sized ball
  • Black fondant - Quarter sized ball
  • Water

You can decide from the first head you make if it is too big or small for your cake. I used 2 pea sized balls of grey for the ears, 1 pea sized ball for the trunk and 1 nickel sized ball for the face. Flatten the ears with your thumbs into fat peanut shape and the face is a heart shape. I used a Bama logo to go by for the eyes and expression. Lay the ears side by side and using a drop of water lay the face on top. Take the last pea sized ball of grey and roll between your fingers making a little trunk. Flatten both ends and using water attach to the face. Using little wads of paper towel, you can curl the trunk into whatever shape you want. Use 2 tiny dots of white for the eyes and two even smaller dots of black for the eyes. Attach using a tiny bit of water. Using too much water will cause discoloration and make the fondant mushy. Use two small balls of white for the trunks and roll into a point on one end and flatten the other. Stick to either side of the trunk with water. These should dry for at least 2 nights if you are using all fondant. Mix a little gumpaste in to make it dry a bit faster and harder.


To Assemble the Bottom Sheet Cake:


You'll need:

  • White buttercream
  • Black buttercream
  • Red buttercream

Ice the 2-11 x 15 layers and put whatever text you want to on the front and sides. Anything can go behind the elephant heads, just make sure you stick the heads on before the icing dries so they will stick easy.


To Assemble the Small Square Layer:


You'll need:

  • Red buttercream
  • Black buttercream
  • White buttercream

I used a plaid pattern inspired by an Alabama fleece blanket I had. Anything in these colors will look good though. I iced the square in all red and used a square cookie cutter to make the plaid. I filled in the squares with black and ran white pinstriped through the squares. It's a really easy pattern when you have the square cutter.


To Assemble the Bear Bryant Hat Cake:


Decide where you will sit the square cake and put dowels into the bottom layer to support it. On the corner of the square cake that the hat will sit on, you need to slice the corner on a slant so the hat will sit on it. Put a dowel in the small square cake on the hat support corner. Also, put a dowel in the bottom sheet cake where the back end of the hat will sit. Place the square layer on the doweled sheet cake and then place the hat on the doweled square and sheet cake. Tah-Dah!!! Done. I had an Alabama logo ice tray that I poured some red candy melts into for the stand up "A", but you could also use the candy melts and do it free-hand or just leave it off.

Decorated by Laura Crownover from Mobile, AL


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