Fish Pond Cake

fish pond cake by Jorg Amsler

Learn to make this colorful, fondant covered fish pond cake as you follow along this step-by-step cake tutorial by renown pastry chef, Jörg Amsler.

The supplies you will need to make this cake are:

  • One 8" cake
  • One 10" cake (both 2" high)
  • Airbrush
  • Airbrush colors
  • 14" cake board
  • fondant smoother
  • large and small rolling pins
  • fondant mat
  • cornstarch
  • large metal spatula
  • small offset spatula
  • large serrated cake knives
  • small knife
  • fondant
  • parchment paper
  • buttercream
  • skewers
  • seashell molds
  • Assorted size flower cutters
  • ball tool


fish pond cake tools
1. Take the 10" cake and cut a wave pattern out on one side using the small knife. carving the fish pond cake
2. Take the 8" cake and cut it in half. Frost the flat sides of the cut cake and stack the halves. carved cake parts for fish pond cake

3. Set the cake so the cut edge faces down.  

carving fish pond cake
4. Take a piece of parchment paper and make template for the body of the fish for the top and side. template for fish pond cake
5. Carve out the fish cake using the template. It doesn't matter which side you start cutting from first. There will be sharp corners when you're done. Just break off those corners. You will end up with a tear drop shape. carved fish cake
6. Crumb coat the fish with buttercream icing. While the frosting is out, crumb coat the 10" cake. crumb coating fish cake
7. Use the leftover cake from carving out the fish, combine the cake with buttercream to make cake spackle. buttercream to shape the fish
8. You will be building up the top and outside, rounded edge to make the rocks appear to be above the water level.

The cut side of the cake will only have buttercream applied. This will allow the rock formation to fit back into the 10" cake where it was cut out.

shaping the fish
9. Here is your crumb coated 10" cake. crumb coated fish cake
10. Cover all the pieces with fondant: the 10" cake, the wavy piece cut to create the rocks and the fish.

The fish and cake are covered smoothly. For the rock formation you can bunch up the fondant and use indent tools to make it look like a rock.

For the additional rocks, use small balls of fondant in different sizes. Not perfectly round. Texturize the rocks by crumbling up aluminum foil and pressing it down onto the rock pieces. The texture will pop out when you airbrush.

covered fish pond cake
11. Here is your fondant covered fish before adding details. fish covered in fondant

12. To make the coy fish, I developed a technique I call a drop technique. All the shapes are tear drops in different sizes and widths.

First the indentations are make on side of the fish to mimic the look of gills. Use a knife to impress a crisscross pattern.

Separate the head from the body with a line going from right to left using a knife. Also create a line from front to back of the body going down the middle of the fish. Add 2 thing strings of fondant down the back and indent each with the knife.

Make all the different tear drops: the front gills use four or five  gills, the back gills are the same but smaller. Each gill has a line indented down the middle. The tail has larger tear drops. same in back but smaller. Then add the gills on the top.

fondant details applied to fish

The mouth consists of two sausages of fondant with the upper lip larger.
Then make all the details for the fish pond cake:

Lily pad leaves - use round cutter, cut out a vee, make some larger than others for variety. Use an indent tool to pull lines from the center outwards.

Water lilies: Use flower cutters in different sizes and layer then on top of one another, curving each flower with a ball tool to make a cupped shape. The small balls of fondant next to the flowers are the centers of the flowers. Each is indented with a crisscross pattern using a knife. Make the flowers in different sizes.

Water Lily Stems: The stems are just fondant rolled into thick strings.

Cattails: Push a skewer through a sausage shaped piece of fondant. Again, create the crisscross pattern with a knife.

Shells: Use a mold, press the fondant in and pop them out.

fondant cattails and water lilies
14. All the components of the fish pond cake ready for airbrushing. fondant pond cake components before airbrushing
15. The 10" cake is airbrushed in blue, darker around the edges to create the look of water. blue airbrushed cake
16. All the pieces are individually airbrushed. Lilies can be yellow, white or blue. They are finish with a pearl shimmer. The leaves are done with different colors to give them life. airbrushed pond plants
17. The rock formations are darker in the indentations. Here you can see how the aluminum foil makes the smaller rocks have more character. airbrushed fondant rocks
18. When airbrushing the fish, go from light colors to dark colors. I started with yellow all over and then went back with orange. Next, red was used to highlight the fins and the bottom of the fish. The fish is finished with a light coat of gold to give it a shiny look. airbrushed fondant fish
19. Rear view of the fish back of airbrushed fish
20. Add googley eyes or you can make the eyes with black and white fondant or with white and dark chocolate. If you use chocolate, make them on a flat surface first before attaching. If you pipe them directly on the fish, the chocolate will run and the eyes will look like tear drops. airbrushed fondant fish
Side view side view of fondant fish
All airbrushed pieces together.  all airbrush fish pond cake components before assembly
21. Fit the rock formation back into the place where it was cut out of the 10" cake. completed fish cake

22. Place the rocks on the  top and outside of the cake to make it balanced looking.

The lily pads sit along the side and the stems go down the side of the cake, making it look 3D.

top view of fish cake
Note how the back fin sticks over the edge to give the cake more dimension. rear view of fish pond cake

And there you have your fish pond cake, all colors created using the airbrush machine rather than tinting fondant.

Read more about the extremely talented Jörg Amsler.


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