Cigar box cakes are a popular groom’s cake design, and they could also be good for a baby shower. But sometimes a cigar cake looks less like a cigar and more like other things.
If you do a quick online image search for “cigar cake” you’ll see what I mean.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Okay, now that you’re back, and have seen some things that you probably didn’t need to see, I’m sure that you’ll agree that if you’re ever called upon to make a cigar box cake, the key to keeping it family-friendly will be to make the cigars as realistically as possible.
There are some really good cigar box cakes out there, but there are also a lot that look more like boxes of severed fingers, hot dogs, and dare I say, some rather scatological ones, among other things.
I made a cigar cake recently, and to make sure that I didn’t create something that looked like a box of poop, I watched a couple of videos about how to wrap real cigars, then I figured out how to make the cake look like a box so that they could still cut it.
You can do this by paneling the sides of a regular sheet cake with fondant panels that look like wood or cardboard too, but this is how I did it!
How to make the box.
For the box part of the cake, I started with a 9×13 sheet cake with two layers of cake.
I cut off one of the short sides to make it more proportioned like a regular cigar box, so it was about 9×11 when I was done.
I took the piece that I had cut off, and cut strips to fit around the top edges of the cake.
That created a raised edge with a center hole. I covered the cake with brown fondant and decorated it like a cigar box.
To see a stack of pancakes groom’s cake, click here
Make the lid.
For the lid, I took a piece of corrugated plastic board that was the size of the cake plus the height of the tier.
I bent the board using a culinary torch to melt the board along the fold line, and folding it at a 45-degree angle. (You can do this by heating the fold line over a candle if you don’t have a torch.)
When the plastic cools down it will keep the bent shape, and you can place it up against the back edge of the cake to create what looks like an open lid.
Cover the lid with the same brown fondant that the cake was covered with, and let it dry. This can be tricky because the fondant might not want to stick to the plastic, so do this well ahead of time to make sure it has time to dry thoroughly.
I dampened the board before covering it with the fondant so it stuck a little better. Once it’s covered, let it dry.
I stored mine on a cookie sheet with waxed paper on it and dried it flat so that the part that would end up being the back edge was sticking up, and the side that would be the top of the box was flat on the cookie sheet.
I took two dowels and painted them brown with food coloring to use to prop up the lid when I got to the reception site to set up. I didn’t assemble this cake before I delivered it because I knew the movement on the way might wreck it!
Measure the dowels by putting the lid up against the back of the cake the way it will be set up when it’s assembled, and putting the dowels into the cake at the correct angle to prop it up. You can leave the dowels in the cake, but don’t attach the lid at this point, like I said, it’s safer to do that when you set it up at the venue.
If you don’t want to do a tilted lid, you could just do the lid standing straight up like this one.
It was done the same way by covering the plastic board with the fondant the same way. but it’s attached to the back of the cake straight up instead of bending the board.
You could also bend a long cake board at a 90-degree angle and place the cake so that it’s is sitting on top of the board, and the other side of it sticks up at the back of the cake. The lid will DEFINITELY not fall over if that’s how it’s set up.
How to make the cigars.
Make the cigars AFTER you have the box ready, because you’ll need to make sure that they fit inside the cut-out section that you make on the cake.
Watch this video that shows how to wrap a real cigar:
To make my cake cigar box, I used the rolling technique to create a realistic wrapped look.
Using gumpaste, I rolled out a thin sheet and did my best to wrap tubes of fondant that were cut to be the length of the opening in the box the same way that they did in the video.
You’ll also want to measure the width of the opening and estimate how many cigars you’ll need to fill the hole…If the opening is 8″ wide and your cigars will be about 3/4″ wide, you’ll need to have 9 or 10 cigars.
I started with a light tan-colored paste, and I brushed them with brown petal dust to give them some variation in the color.
Once they were wrapped, I added a fondant cigar band to them and placed them in the opening.
Assemble the cake.
When you get to the place where the cake will be displayed, use a damp paper towel or some piping gel to dampen the back of the cake, and put the lid in place.
Press the edge section of the lid up against the back of the cake and rest the top on the dowels to hold it up. If you want to wait to do the dowels at this point you can, but if the back section is cut to the correct height it should be pretty easy to set this up because the back edge will be on the cake board.
This ended up looking a lot better than just rolling out a tube of fondant and calling it a day.
I won’t be making a second career of wrapping cigars anytime soon, but I think it’s a good way to do them if you want to avoid unfortunate cigar cakes.