My daughter turned 8 and she requested a WORKING gumball machine cake! Of course, the daughter of a cake decorator would request this! ;-) So I had my work cut out for me. I researched for a while on how gumball machines actually work, even considering buying an actual machine and yanking the mechanism out, and putting it in the cake... Na! Let's get creative! So, with the help of my dad who was visiting, we came up with a more simple, but doable method. Here we go!
Ok, so I wasn't very prepared for this tutorial, so please forgive me for it not being the best, but it's a general idea of what I did. Originally, I just did it for myself...
I carved the shape I wanted using a serrated knife. I chilled the cakes first, making it easier to carve.
I covered it in pink buttercream and let it crust. I then made a template with wax paper by putting it up to the sides of the cake and cutting it in place. I left about an inch - inch and a half at the top to fold over.
I then removed the template that I made and placed the fondant on top.
I rolled it would the shape/size of the template. Brush the back with a wet pastry brush (to stick to the buttercream). Lift the fondant AND the wax paper and place against cake. Then remove the wax paper.
For the top, I cut triangles to fold down without leaving pleats.
I cut off the access. (yes, mine didn't cover that spot there, but it was the back and it was my own cake)
Ok, so for the 'tunnel', I took an empty wrapping paper tube (sturdier than paper towel holder) and gently pushed it down the middle, not going all the way to the bottom. I pulled it out and inside the tube was the cake, leaving a tunnel. =)
Do the same to the front of the cake about an inch from the bottom, just inside to meet the other tunnel. Pull out. =)
I got this piping at Lowe's. Stuck it straight down the tunnel and marked where to cut it at the top. I did the same thing for the front one. I cut that angle, but I don't think you have to.
You will have to work on angle of it to keep it from getting stuck at the curve. I actually put a small piece between the two so the gumball didn't land on cake at the curve... Remember all this was trial and error for me. Maybe you can improve on this design. ;-)
I then cut two pieces of card board a little smaller than the top and cut out a hole the size of the pipe. From here on, I forgot to take more pictures. So I will explain as best as I can.
I cut a piece of clear, flat plastic in the shape of a long rectangle, put it between the two pieces of cardboard and let it stick out of the side enough to grab. I used a brad to hold it in place at that left side where I marked the board. That way the plastic moves from one side to the other, covering the hole and opening it, allowing gum balls to release. So you control it in the back, sliding it back and forth. Yes, more than one gumball falls out if you leave it open longer. We had to do a little jiggling for them to move around....
I filled the bowl with gumballs and hot glued the cardboard on top. Then flipped it over and stuck it to the top of the cake with melted candy melts. I did use dowels in the cake to support the bowl.
I decided that the smaller bowl was better than that larger one.
The top of the machine is cake covered in buttercream and fondant stuck up there with melted candy melts. Once the bowl was on, I added a strip of fondant around the base of it to cover the cardboard.
For the 'flapper', I bought a putty knife at Lowe's and cut off the handle. I glued it to a small stick and wrapped wire around it, leaving about an inch or so to stick into the cake. Oh, I hope I'm making sense!
Finally, I steamed it to make it shiny, then we got to the party which was at an indoor pool and it began sweating and drooping. We had to cut it fast!
Here's the inside. Ha! =)
Hope this helps you!