I had a lot of 'firsts' involved in this cake.
1. It was my first baby shower cake.
2. It is the first cake i have successfully covered entirely in fondant.
3. It's the first cake that i had an audience for basically from start to finish.
4. It's the first cake i ever traveled elsewhere to make.
All of those things made me a little nervous, but combined... well, let's just say i am glad i do well under pressure.
Before i ever left home, i wanted to make sure this cake would WORK. I had to do a test cake.
When i Googled baby belly cakes, i read on a site (i don't know where) that another baker used a Wilton Mini-Ball pan, and a Wilton Ball pan to make the breasts and belly, but when i got them both in the mail, i realized the Ball pan was too small (or at least it was in my opinion). Looking around my kitchen, the only acceptable alternative i had was using my round Betty Crocker Bake N' Fill pan, and try to bake a cake without using the insert. The hard part about this is you have to experiment with temperature and time. My original cake recipe (a yellow cake) called for a 350° oven and i had to lower it to 325° when i realized that the outside was going to get overdone if i wasn't careful. All total, here and away, i made the belly portion of this cake 4 times, twice per cake, to get my final product right.
The Mini-ball pan was a dream. The cakes puff up rounded, so the breasts of my cake looked bigger and rounder than if they had had flat bottoms. I was very pleased with the pan's performance (and no, i don't get paid to say that, i just like it when stuff works like it's supposed to - or even better). I did trim a little edge off of one but that was probably my fault for either slightly overfilling the pan, or the oven could be slightly unlevel.
Here's a few pictures of my progression on my test cake. I didn't do too many.
Dirty iced and ready to be covered in fondant.
It draped very nicely along the 'hemline'.
I trimmed off the excess fondant and smoothed it out over the whole cake.
Then i added the zebra stripes and ribbon.
Now, for the actual baby shower cake, the plan was to make the bodice hot pink. It really added a blast of color, and it matched the decorations and theme perfectly.