When I first thought of the cheese cake idea I had three in mind, and they are the ones I stuck with all along: a big wheel of gouda, a wheel of brie, and a wedge of blue.
The design for the gouda was pretty easy. I knew I wanted to use marzipan, not only because I think marzipan tastes better than rolled fondant, but I also thought it would offer a more natural look than rolled fondant, especially when adding colour for the rind, thereby making the ‘cheese’ look more realistic. I actually didn’t do many tests of the gouda early on because I thought it would be easy enough. I did, however, test the brie and blue several times.
The brie I was able to figure out fairly quick. Again I chose marzipan, but left it uncoloured. I rolled it out, covered the cake with it, then sprinkled icing sugar all over. I was worried that the icing sugar might get absorbed, but it actually sat quite well, especially on the top. It was harder to get the icing sugar on the sides, I wasn’t able to get as thick of a layer of it to stay, but it was enough to make it look pretty realistic.
The blue took several tries. I started out using a plain frosting, mixing a greenish-blue colour frosting on the side and dotting it all over. I thought this would give it a pock-mark look, but it didn’t work out as well as it did in my head. For another attempt, I rolled out marzipan, made some greenish-blue colour, then used mini-star cookie cutters to dab the colour onto the marzipan all over. I then folded the splotchy marzipan and rolled it out again and put it on the cake. It was definitely better than the first, but still not where I wanted it to be.
After looking more closely at photos of blue cheese, I thought a coloured paste might work better. So I mixed up the greenish-blue colour, I added some flour to make it a bit thicker and less translucent, and then mixed that with some clear piping gel. It looked pretty good. I did the same process of rolling out the marzipan, but this time just used a toothpick to dab splotches of colour. I folded it and rolled it out, then repeated this several times instead of just the once. This gave it a more marbled look with colours spread throughout the thickness of the marzipan. Once the marbled marzipan was on the cake I used a star piping tip to gouge out little craters on the surface, then used a paintbrush to splotch more coloured gel into the craters and over the surface. And that was the winning method.
When I have an idea and think it will be easy to do, I don’t often test designs beforehand. However, with this cake design I was very glad I did; there would have been a lot of panic and scrambling if I hadn’t!