Category Archives: Cake decorating ideas

Art-thou-cakes-using-fondant-covered-cake-board

The Best Ways To Display Your Cake Artistry Using Cake Boards, Dividers and Stands





Decorating the cake, is not the completion or the finale. A true cake artist, looks at every aspect that will enhance the cake decoration, including how they are displayed.

Remember that cake artistry, goes beyond your normal iced cake and the odd topper. It is all about art and how best to display them for the pleasure of their viewers.

Today my post is going to give you a few tips for how to get your own creative ideas, for the best ways to display your cake artistry using cake boards, dividers and stands.

You see, the presentation of the decorated cake is just as important as how it tastes.

Cake Boards

I often look back at my very first attempts at cake decorating and cringe at the thoughts, that I actually thought I was that good to even take a picture and share it on Bebo (lol this shows my age). At one time I thought, it would be best to get rid of those images and pretend that they never happened.

The worst cake I decorated was for my dad’s 70th. It was the first time I had ever created a large cake for a big function using fondant – I just about die now, when I see how badly I had covered the cake, or never bothered with the cake board. See my image and judge for yourself.

Art -Thou-Cakes-image-Cake-board-dads-70-cake

To make matters worse, I had left it so late, that I had to sneak up to the front table, behind the seated guests and put the final touches on in front of everyone – it was embarrassing and my mother gave me a look, that would have literally killed me on the spot.

My first lessons learned were that presentation was very important and to never leave everything (literally baked and decorated just hours before) to be done on the same day the cake is to be displayed.

Needless to say, I got a raving review at the end, about how delicious my Dad’s birthday cake tasted, so my actions were quickly forgiven.

Nowadays, I take just as much time creating my cake boards, as I do decorating my cakes.

What To Decorate Your Cake Boards With

There are many ways to decorate your cake boards and the ideas of design are vast. Here are a few things that can be added to create effective cake boards.

Using Fondant Before You Place Your Cakes:

  • Roll the same colored fondant onto your cake board
  • Create different textures on the fondant
  • Use appliques and damask lace stencils, with a bit of pearl dusting to create wallpaper patterns on your fondant covered board

Art-Thou-Cakes-Rolling-Fondant-On-Cake-Board-As-Presentation

Using Buttercream and Royal Icing:

Both these icing techniques could be used to pipe edgings or different textured surfaces on to your cake board, I.e, grass layered cake board for a soccer ball, or a picnic blanket for a stuffed toy topper (made with gumpaste/fondant of course).

Ribbons:

This will be the first time that I mention ribbons. Ribbons can be used as an additional decorative edging to a cake and also used with glue gun to stick to the edging of the cake board circumference as well, and goes very well with fondant.

Art-Thou-Cakes-Cake-Presentation-Using-Ribbons-For-Decorating-Cake-Boards-and-Dividers

Edible Colors/Paints/Dusts:

Hand painted colors or dusts can be added also on to fondant to make amazing effects.

Chocolate Ganache:

You can pour ganache straight on to your cake board, using the same technique that you use on your cake. Both normal and mirrored ganache can be poured on in the same way.

You actually do not need to overthink cake boards, however, the additional attention to them will give your cake decorations an extra zing.

Cake Board Covering Ideas

Here are some ideas that you can use for decorating your cake boards with:

  • Grass – for sports themed cakes
  • Blankets – baby themes or toddler cakesArt-Thou-Cakes-Fondant-Covered-Cake-Board
  • Cushioning effect for an engagement cake with rings as toppers
  • Picnic blankets as mentioned above
  • Quilts or cushions for baby shower
  • Painted fondant
  • Furry effects
  • Pasted fondant shapes
  • Stenciled Designs using an Airbrush
  • Can create woven mat effects
  • Use Fondant and Candied Rhinestones or Jewelry
  • Create a Checkerboard appearance
  • Create racing car or train tracks
  • Snakes and ladder themes using edible wafer paper
  • Create the same pattern design of a bridal wear
  • Add music notes or polka dots
  • These are only a few things that you can do to enhance your cake board, and I am sure that you can think of many more on your own.

    Cake Dividers

    Very much like, with cake boards, paying attention to how your dividers are displayed is just as vital.

    Stacked cakes do not necessarily require cake dividers, however, I get the occasional order for tiered cakes, in which the customer wishes to keep the cakes separate so that they can be handed out as gifts for guests.

    This is the custom within Pacific Island cultures and I have seen how difficult it is for a clean separation when the cakes are stacked straight on top of the other. I myself prefer dividers in between only because, of the food handling aspect. Too many hands (unwashed) on the cakes are not good.

    You will need to either buy “cake dummies” or cut some polystyrene ( I cut my own) to the same size of your cake/s (remember that each tier will be slightly larger with each lowered level).

    Each of the following designs can be used:

    Basic Fondant Covering

    You can use fondant with the same colors and patterns of your actual cake designs and cover the “dummies” just as you would a cake. This is the simplest way of creating a divider.

    Fabric or Cardboard

    With the use of a glue gun you can stick a print or patterned fabric or thin card paper around the foam “dummies” and then cover each rounded end with thin cake boards of the same sizes.

    You can also glue diamante or rhinestones and even have decorative edgings on top of your fabric or card paper, to add more bling, bling.

    Art-Thou-Cakes-home-made-cake-dividers

    Art-Thou-Cakes-Cake-Dividers-From-Cardboard-And-Foam

    Flowers

    Flower arrangements have become a very modern and popular way of dividing stacked or layered cakes. They are easy but can be very expensive, because flowers have to be fresh and stems covered with foil or plastic so they do not seep into the cakes. The alternative of course (still expensive) are the fake realistic looking flowers – however these can look tacky and need to be very clean, or they attract dust.

    Metal Dividers

    Hotels and professionals use large metal frames to with plates that slide on to a pole for the cakes to sit on. I saw a video of this contraption and totally dislike it. It required the cakes each having a large hole in the middle and slid through the one large pole. You cannot remove cakes cleanly, and it was just a task putting the whole thing together.

    Glass, Crystals or Clear Plastics

    These are lovely when you view the whole display from afar, and I have seen many people use upturned wine glasses and a rose in each glass, used to hold up each tier.

    I am quite wary of this because if your wine glasses are not made of real quality, guess what? they can crack and never mind about the cakes crashing, I am worried about some one eating any cake in the kitchen, without realizing there might be glass bits inside.

    Crystals are beautiful, and something that I have used, however, rather than use wine cups, I use large crystal bowls and upturned with the cake board sitting nicely on top of the flat end.

    For stability, I stick on self-adhesive foam tape so that the boards do not slip. The only problem though, is another cake board is required to be placed between the cake and the bowls.

    Plastic bowls and cups can be used in the same way as glass and crystal but they will not glitter properly.

    Plastic Columns

    These columns can be bought as sets from that cake shops or craft shops. They have small holes that you insert a wooden skewer through, to be embedded into the cake.

    Gumpaste Toppers

    You can create gumpaste models and then stick wooden skews right through the top and through to the bottom and use them as columns to hold up the separate cake boards.

    Again, the ideas listed above are only a touch of the extensive materials or items one can use. For example, I have seen an exotic wedding where they used mini fish tanks (yes, with actual fish inside, how cool is that!) to separate cake tiers. This was so long ago, so I could not remember where I saw it – otherwise I would have added an image for you here.

    Cake Stands

    Cake stands, has both practical and decorative value for your cake decorations and as long as they do not take away from your main feature, which is the cake, a stand can add a lot of valuable.

    I love using cake stands. I use them for displaying and beautifying.

    Very much like cake dividers, a stand can be made or added from just about anything. My favorite thing to do is scrounge the internet for used goods, such as, garden ornamental stands that have different levels. I found a lovely Rimu wooden plant stand with three level branches, which I keep for displaying cup cakes or small tea cakes.

    I asked (or forced my husband) into creating me three separate metal stands for larger cakes, with different heights, so that I can easily maneuver them around or lay a cascading silk fabric on top to hide the stands. Having these add versatility to my cake displays and they can be reused over and over for different occasions.

    Roughly cut wooden logs also add a gorgeous effect for rustic looking cakes with a nature theme.

    Art-Thou-Cakes-Wooden-Plant-Stand-Used-As-Cake-Stand

    Conclusion

    As you can see, each item that I have described add another decorative element to cake decorations and can give more height or depth (literally).

    I challenge you to try decorating a cake board, adding a divider or creating a stand as part of your next cake design or cake order. Your customers will love the additional attention.

    If you have any questions or would like to share your own creative ideas here then please leave a comment for me to reply to. Otherwise, follow me on any of my social media for more updates.

    Until next time,

    Cake Artistry Featured Image

     

    ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine Review – Dressing Up My Cakes



If you have a successful little cake artistry business at home, it is a good idea to have as many quality working tools for your different cake decorating mediums and techniques, as possible.

Why? do you ask…

… Because, the more you become popular, the more your business will grow, and the more quality of techniques will be required. Not only this, but people have so much access to information these days that they see an image of something that they like and will come to you expecting you to create something very similar to what they saw on a magazine, at a wedding, on social media, or even a celebrity’s fan page.

A lot of my orders are visual images sent to my messenger from potential customers asking if I am able to do this or that. Guess what my answer is always going to be? YES!

Again, why? you ask…

Every potential customer can become a regular customer, and if you say, NO – guess what? these customers can go down the road and get someone else who will say, YES.

But… You may think…what if I do not have the right tools or skills…

Ahem…doh!..that is exactly what I am trying to say here…get the skills (either online or learn from anything, heck my posts have given you so much information already) and buy the right tools.

Today, I am going to share one of those tools. A tool that I had mentioned in my most recent post.

It is the craft paper cutting machine.

The one I will focus on is the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine, which I will do a product review for (this is the latest version of the first one; Brother CM350 ScanNCut 1), to show you the amazing things that can be created with this versatile product.

Product Details

Brand and Name:


Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine Standard Cut Blade Bundle

The Cheapest Place to Buy:

Amazon

Price:


Click here for pricing

Shipping Costs:

Extra if outside of US

Dimensions:

22.9 x 10.5 x 10.9 inches


Shipping Weight:

14 pounds

Category Selling Rank:

Amazon’s Top 200 best-selling items in the Home Arts and Crafts category

Product Guarantee:

Yes

My Rating: 10/10

Specifications

  • Extra Large 4.85″ Non-Glare Color LCD Touch Screen
  • High Quality 300 DPI Built-in Scanner with RGB Recognition
  • Larger 12″ x 12″ Scanning Area
  • There are 631 Built-in Designs – and Includes 100 Applique Patterns
  • It has 7 Built-in Fonts
  • Wireless
  • Includes Standard Cut Blade and Blade Holder
  • Comes with instructions – operation manual and quick reference guide
  • Software program – Scanncutcanvas (optional use – as machine can be used as a standalone)

Included In The Bundle

  • A pouch with stylus pen (for the screen), blades, and small spatula
  • Black and red pens with holder for the drawing modem
  • AC power adapter
  • A scan and cut mat
  • Rhinestone trial kit
  • CD and Activation code for the Scanncutcanvas program

What Customers Say About This Product

The Amazon Customer Star Rating is 5/5!

“…I bought the first one on 2015 and no complaining at all, now I got this one on Christmas, it makes my work easier…[and]faster, before I had to use a USB driver all the time…Love it.”

“Great product and tons of fun to use. I love the CanvasWorkspace software too.”

How to Use The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine

Setting up is easy, you simply follow the instructions and turn on your machine, download software to PC and then you are good to go. The fact that it is wireless is even better, for experience and productivity.

Let The Fun Begin!

Okay, the fun part! I promise you will find this machine so versatile, probably more than any other product that I have used for cake decorations or for any other craft creating, I would like to add.

You can use prints from the internet (just make sure that you have rights to do so, though) and any images of your own (created on paint or photographed).

For edible decorations I would cut shapes for pop up art straight on to edible wafer paper:

  • Butterflies
  • Balloons
  • Unicorn horns
  • Wizard hat – or Cowboy hat as a 3D feature cake topper
  • 2D/3D Flowers stuck cascading down the sides of a tiered cake
  • Climbing Leaves
  • Roses
  • Flower Petal Shapes to be sprinkled as part of a wedding table decor
  • Edible Notes for customers, placed on cupcakes or desserts at a wedding
  • A page with writing as part of a book shaped cake
  • Shadows and shapes (I.e., cloud shapes, tree shapes, face shadows, Halloween ghosts, and Holiday themed shapes)
  • Lace doilies for cake boards or cake displays
  • Edible shapes for a cake board divider
  • Edible lace
  • Cut edible company logo shapes for your cakes
  • Cut out shapes of numbers and letters for cakes
  • Cut out shapes for Rainbows

Maintenance & Storage

Your machine can be stored in a cupboard within its box and brought out whenever you need it. It is easily maintained as long as you keep it away from dust and moist, it will keep for a very long time – until your next upgrade (if, that is, you are an avid craft maker, always looking for the next best thing).

Is The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine Only for Cake Decorating?

No, by all means, you can practically use this machine for anything else you want to cut, here are a few examples:

  • Create lovely scalloped edgings for table mats
  • Create stencils out of thin plastic for your edible cake laces
  • Use for cutting themed shapes into plain serviettes for dinner guests
  • Create nice fabric doilies
  • Create fun shapes to enjoy sticking into scrap books with your children
  • Create lovely themed hanging decorations for a baby shower, Christmas dinner etc.
  • Shaped food coverings
  • Lovely Wall paper art for your children’s bedrooms
  • Lovely plastic window stick on (I use large butterfly shapes for my car windows to keep my kids shaded from the burning NZ sun)
  • Create your business logo shapes
  • Any 3D projects (flower girls or bride’s bouquet)
  • T-shirt prints/designs/logos
  • Fabric appliques for cushions, clothes, shoes, pet clothes, blankets, quilts, table cloths, baby bibs etc.
  • Stuffed animal toy shapes to be sewn together

Watch this video for an example of how Rosa’s Creative Way utilises the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine:

The Brother CM350 ScanNCut1 versus The Brother CM350 ScanNCut2

Remember that I had mentioned at the top, that this is the latest version (second) of the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 1, Home & Hobby Cutting Machine.

This second version is said by many to have been an improvement to version 1. Let’s have a look at the comparison table below:

Overall we can see, that, the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine, is a much improved version, than its first edition.

However, we shall have a look at the pros and cons of the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine itself.

What customers say may not match its performance so we shall have a look below at my researched information.

Pros and Cons of Using The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine

There are pros and cons to every product ever produced, which means that even something as versatile and in my opinion, very useful for my decorating cakes, can still be difficult to understand or use – especially if you are new to using cutters.

This simplified table is information gathered from my internet research and so it is a general evaluation that will helpfully give you an overview of whether it is something you would get or not. Don’t worry even if you don’t want this, because at the end I will give you an option for a beginner’s alternative.

So, here are the pros and cons, which I found in my research:

Art-Thou-Cakes-Product-Review-For-Brother-CM350-ScanNCut-2-Home-&-Hobby-Cutting-Machine-Standard-Cut-Blade-Bundle

Why I have Given The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine A High Rating

I have given this product a 10/10 rating, only because I use it solely for my cake decorations and the pros and cons have no effect on the product outcome of my cakes as a whole.

Yeah, I know, but that’s my personal rating anyway, however, if you choose to use this product for other mediums and purposes, then yes your rating could come out quite different.

It is a decision that each customer will have to make on their own.

What About A Craft Cutting Machine For Beginners

Yes, I did promise to give you that option and the best alternative is to just purchase an easy to use basic bundle that will give you a lot to practice with before getting a much larger one like the professional Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2.

The alternative that I suggest is this small bundle mentioned in my previous post about edible wafer paper.

It is called the Bira Craft Cutter:

This little bundle costs much less and will give you much joy.

It is simple to use and there are no added tech stuff to worry about – and the good news is, it can still cut your edible wafer papers, and help you to still create your gorgeous cake decorations, within your budget.

Conclusion

In my humble opinion, you need to constantly up-skill when you run your own cake decorating home business, only because the competition is now the world of social media and internet information that customers have access to.

Not only do you need to up-skill via online courses but also in obtaining the most efficient tools to use for your cake artistry. The product review I just gave is an optional tool that not only gives you fantastic cake decorating ideas, but is versatile in its use with other mediums and home crafts.

The Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby Cutting Machine, will give you quality and productivity, when using edible wafer paper.

I hope that my article today will encourage you to get yourself the best craft cutting tool on the market for your cake artistry home business.

If you have any questions about this product or would like to add your own experience with it, then please leave me a comment in which I can respond.

Enjoy,

Cake Artistry Featured Image

 

ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

Pop up Art In Your Cake Artistry Using Edible Wafer Paper





Have you heard about edible wafer paper before now? Have you seen some amazing cake decorations that can be made using them?

I have mentioned these in my previous product review for an edible printer. Edible wafer paper can be used to print images on, similar to fondant paper (this one is slightly thicker and made of icing sugar).

Edible wafer paper, is a better alternative for those who do not wish to add more sugary decorations on top of their cakes. It is also an alternative for the people, who have specific diet restrictions.

Today’s post is about, how you can create pop up art in your cake artistry using edible wafer paper.

It is quite a simple form of decorating and can be something new, that you yourself, might like to try if you have never used it before.

It will require a bit of patience to create certain decorations, but I promise the outcome will be worth it at the end, just like every other decorating technique that I have written about.

Important Facts

Edible wafer/paper is the single most affordable product used in the edible printing industry. It is used by just about every large baking company for cake decorations.

I did look around for who first created it. However, after scrounging through the search engines, I was unable to come up with how edible wafer paper originated.

I can only figure, that, maybe each country has its own history, and that would mean a lot of researching for me and a lot of reading for you, so we shall leave it at that.

There are many versions of edible wafer paper – each created with various ingredients and each for different purposes.

In Europe the edible wafer paper can be traced back to the Renaissance and served as a dessert. A luxury food that was only enjoyed by the Aristocracy and upper middle class of society. It was made from potato starch – you can almost say that it was the historical version of our modern day ‘potato chips’.

Wafer paper also has significant religious symbolism for the celebration of the Eucharist (used as part of Catholic religious rituals). This paper is known as the ‘hostia’ or the ‘prosphorá’ (sacremental offering) – made from refined wheat flour, purified water, yeast and salt.


In Asian countries they are made using rice flour, hence the name rice paper. These rice wafers are use as food wraps (spring rolls etc.), edible candies or candy wrappers (My grandmother bought these for me as a child and I still remember how they slowly melted on my tongue, leaving an after-taste of, sweet and salty soya).
In my opinion, by the rate the world is going at the moment, using wafer paper for wrapping would be a great alternative to plastic – just saying.

Home Made Recipe

I found an easy online recipe created by Kathy Ceceri that consisted of 3 easy steps:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of Rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon of Potato starch
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 1 & half Tablespoons of Cold water

Process:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl, until it is a glue like consistency.**Note – you can add coloring and flavors as well to the mixture, during this stage.
  2. Stretch a piece of glad wrap (plastic food wrap) tightly across a dinner plate (must be taut) and pour the contents on to this, just as if you are pouring a pancake mixture into a pan, and spread it by tilting the plate in a circular motion (just like a pancake pan) – until the plastic circle is well covered.
  3. Place the whole plate into a microwave for 45 seconds on high (do not worry if it puffs due to the steam). Using Protective oven gloves, remove the plate and place it upside down on another plate or flat mat. This is will upend the cooked rice wafer and the glad wrap. Remove the plate and slowly peel the plastic wrap away. The rice paper will curl slightly as it cools. You can cut it into a square and store it in a zip lock bag for up to 2 days max.
  4. However, if you just cannot be bothered, like I feel at times, just go and buy a pack online or any cake store – they are really that cheap. They also come as wall paper prints or colored in different colors, which can be quite convenient for making a large order of cup cakes or large cakes.

    Best Tools To Use When Creating

    Before running off and creating your cake decorations, you may find that there are essential tools required, in order to do so.

    I have listed the most essential items:

    • Cake steamer (or what I use, our clothes steamer, yup just as good – if you can use it safely that is).
    • Large block of clean sponge (huh?? you ask, well you will soon see why)
    • Craft paper cutting machine (optional, you can draw by hand and cut your shapes out as well)
    • Edible Coloring pens or markers
    • Edible luster or pearl dust (these are better because dry paint dust does not have an impact on the shaped paper)
    • Edible Printer (optional, but it can actually make the process much faster)
    • Scissors if drawing shapes by hand
    • Edible oil paint or dry colors mixed with vegetable oil
    • A book of stencils or ideas
    • Gumpaste for gluing the wafer paper decorations on to the iced cakes

    Handling and Storage

    The best conditions for using or handling edible wafer paper is in a cool environment – any humidity or moist will curl the papers and make it hard to handle or shape – unless of course you use a cake steamer.

    Do not, I repeat, do not, ever place a cake decorated with edible wafer paper inside a fridge/chiller – the paper will dissolve into the icing. I suggest, instead, that you add the paper just before delivery.

    Remember that edible wafer paper is very light and one whiff of the outside breeze can blow them right off you cakes.

    Therefore, rather than put them all on, I would take a bowl of soft icing with me and add the decorations on after the cakes are stacked or placed at the reception/function venue.

    Otherwise, just use common sense.

    What Cake Decorations Can You Create?

    Again, what I share here is only but a few ideas and once again, you can pretty much create anything with your imagination.

    Here a few to whet your appetite for learning:

    • Rose petals
    • Any type of flower arrangement
    • Insects (butterflies are a favourite)
    • As mentioned before edible prints using an edible printer
    • Valentines notes
    • Edible Table Menus
    • Edible Guest Names
    • Edible bride & groom “thank you” table notes
    • Edible Lace prints or stenciled cut-outs
    • Printed Cartoon characters
    • Printed logos (for your own business or others)
    • Side decorations on cakes (i.e. ocean themes or sea creatures)
    • Edible leaves
    • Cupcake toppers
    • Hand written messages
    • Cut out circles for polka dots on your cake
    • Pop up dolls or houses
    • Pop up pages
    • Pop up books
    • Rolled Diplomas or parchments
    • Bow ties
    • Poetry or inspirational messages

    As you can see, and the list goes on and on and on…

    Why I Use A Craft Paper Cutting Machine

    The most important part of creating decorations with edible wafer paper, is to get the shapes. You can either choose, to use a scissors and draw your shapes, using cookie cutters and an edible pen, or you can use a craft paper cutter machine.

    I use a craft paper cutter machine, only, because I have tried cutting 100 individual petals with scissors, and my fingers were fat and sore afterwards, and my mood quickly changed from being happy, joy, joy to not so happy as well.

    The other reason why, I choose a craft paper cutter, is so, that all the shapes will be cut exactly the same with clear edges (unless of course, you want a realistic rustic look), and, I wouldn’t need to stay up till early hours ruining my petals with tears of frustration.

    These machines come in various sizes; larger ones for multiple and multi paper/material uses, or small individual shaped craft paper cutters. I actually prefer the much larger machines, and I suggest this if you frequently get large cake orders.

    They cost a little more, but the larger machines can be used for other crafting also; cake doilies, cake board decorations etc., and can use any paper or material using several die cutters to create many shapes.

    For those just starting out, there are cute little starter kits, that can be bought online or at any craft store.

    Some more modern ones, nowadays are computerized to be used with software, which makes them even more versatile. You can print a shape straight from a mobile device using the accompanying software products.

    The small individual shape cutters are, exactly, as they are named; only one shape per cutter and not versatile, in the sense that you can only cut one shape.

    Also, these individual ones can cost up to $60 USD each, whereas one large craft cutting machine costs between $150-300 USD – which is a big difference in value and product output. I know because I bought about several of these individual ones, before I found out that I could use the one large craft cutter for pretty much everything.

    Therefore, I encourage you to try to avoid my mistake if this is a cake decorating medium that you wish to specialise in.

    However, upon saying this, if you are only working on one type of flower decoration, and believe that you will never ever do any other edible paper wafer decoration, then by all means just buy the one, individualized craft paper cutter (Martha Stewart brands are great little starters).

    Rather than write out instructions, I decided to share a ‘how to’ video below, by pretty witty cakes, for those who are new to this technique. The instructions are clear and the videotography is good.

    Conclusion

    I hope that my article will give you, yet again another cake decorating option to use in your cake artistry business.

    As you have read, using edible wafer paper can be a great convenience in time and production processes, especially if you use an edible printer or craft cutting machine.

    You can make this at home and save money using the easy 3 step recipe, but personally, I suggest you only make this to roll your spring rolls in, rather than use it to decorate cakes with. I prefer the store bought ones because, it is affordable, comes in bulk and I can choose colors as well.

    If you need help or wish to give your own personal decorating experience using edible wafer paper, then please leave a comment below and I will endeavor to respond as soon as I can.

    Have a marvelous cake decorating day, until my next post,

    Cake Artistry Featured Image

     

    ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

Art-Thou-Cakes-Home-Made-Gum-Paste-Flowers

Using Gumpaste Creations To Bring Cake Art To Life





Introduction

Gumpaste, also known as Sugarpaste, contains certain ingredients that make them useful for creating stiff like shapes or fiurines which also help to prolong their shelf life.

Most cake toppers or sugar models sold at the cake shops are created with gumpaste/sugarpaste.

It is another versatile medium for cake artistry and you can create just about anything that comes to your imagination, if you have great patience and a love for art.

The great thing about this decorating form, is that it can be made apart from cakes and also sold on its own. People who would rather specialise in gumpaste modeling alone, can actually make money just from creating any type of edible cake topper – remember how I said that, in a previous post that I ended up making my own toppers because they were too expensive – well I actually was telling you the truth. A small cake topper, say for instance, a baby in a nappy, would cost $50 NZD and a wedding couple could cost between $120 – $200 NZD.

However, you would need the correct tools, training and a passion for creativity. Even if you only possess creativity, that in itself is enough. If you don’t have any of these then, it will probably be more beneficial for you to just buy a topper from the shop.

Unlike all the other decorating techniques where you can ‘wing it’ should we say, this is the one art medium and decorating technique that I would probably encourage you to do some course or do a lot of practice because, if you are going to sell something for more than $100 NZD, it is fair to say, that it needs to be worth what the customer is paying for it.

Today the purpose of my article is to introduce gumpaste in all its glory and to give you another decorating medium to play with. Therefore, don’t go away yet, because, I am going to show you how to use gumpaste creations to bring cake art to life.

Amazing Gumpaste Creations

I love gumpaste because it is the best medium to hand paint on. You can literally create just about anything with it.

Examples:

  • Baby bottles/teats
  • Babies
  • Baby Booties
  • Graduation regalia
  • Stuffed Toys or dolls
  • Wedding Couples
  • Sports paraphernalia
  • Holiday Themes
  • Nature (flowers, insects, trees, leaves, rainbows etc.)
  • Sketches (life or cartoons drawn on)
  • Paintings
  • Furniture
  • Vehicles
  • Marine life (fish, boats, rowing boats etc.)
  • Jewelry
  • Lace/filigree decorations
  • Painted Names or Numbers
  • Figurines or small statues (using molds)
  • Tools
  • Cartoons

Homemade vs Store-Bought

Home-made Gumpaste

I create my own gumpaste using tylose. There are several ways to make your own and I only use two recipes. Both are advantageous in the fact that they can create bulk amounts when they are required for large cake orders, however they do need a good amount of preparation and processing time.

Here is the first one.

  1. Making gumpaste from scratch (I only do so when I want a real stiff looking paste that will hold its shape forever).

Ingredients:

– 125 grams of egg whites (pasturised egg whites or an alternative)

– 725 grams of Icing Sugar (powdered sugar)

– 30 grams of Tylose powder (tylopur powder)

– A few drops of Food colorant (optional)

– Additional 100 grams of Icing sugar

– 4 teaspoons of shortening (animal or vegetable)

Tools and Utensils:

Kitchen aide stand mixer

– Scraper (stainless steel or FDA plastic)

– Spatula (preferably silicon)

Instructions:

a) Mix egg whites first for 30 seconds (pause the stand mixer)

b) Add the icing sugar and then mix it together for two minutes to a nice creamy consistency (should look like meringue with a soft peak or like a soft serve ice cream consistency)

c) At this stage you can add color, if you want a whole colored batch, and mix for another two minutes.

d) Turn the mixer on at a slow speed, and sprinkle the tylose powder in to the egg white and sugar mixture. Continue to mix for a few seconds until the consistency is thickened. Turn off the mixer.

e) Sprinkle a little of the extra icing sugar on to a flat clean bench surface.

f) Use the scraper to remove the mixture from the mixing bowl and the paddle onto the sprinkled icing sugar.

g) Add the shortening on top of the mixture and start mixing using your hands to ensure that shortening is incorporated into the mixture (very similar to making home made fondant – which is quite fun!)

i) Add more powdered sugar as you knead (just a little more) to create a soft and pliable paste that is not sticky. Test poke it – and it should have a spring back reaction a little like poking pizza dough.

j) Place the paste into an FDA plastic zip lock bag or tightly lidded container, and chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to its use. It should be taken out about an hour before it is actually used, so that it could be at room temperature and easily kneaded back to a soft consistency.

k) You can divide your paste and add coloring (gel or liquid). Otherwise, you can add coloring as you need, whilst you create your models or pastry shapes.

Okay, so I have just given you the long version. The next is the much-shortened version (the one that I use more often).

2. The Quick Version (I use this version when I am in a hurry and know that toppers do not need to be kept as a permanent memoir).

Ingredients:

– 750 grams of ready-made fondant (home made or store-bought)

– 25 grams of Tylose powder (tylopur powder)

– Required Food colorants (optional)

– 100 grams of Icing sugar

– same amount as the above recipe – 4 teaspoons of shortening (animal or vegetable)

Tools and Utensils:

– Scraper (stainless steel or FDA plastic)

– clean pair of hands

Instructions:

a) Knead the fondant until it is pliable and soft to work with – don’t shortcut this part even if it takes half an hour, because it will save you from popping any unwanted air bubbles later.

b) Sprinkle a little tylose and add a dab of shortening while you need.

c) At this stage you can add color, if you want a whole colored batch, and continue to knead.

d) Once the tylose is fully incorporated into your fondant, you are ready to start using the paste for your decorations.

I learned the quick version from Sugar By Donna – I have added her video below to show you easy it is.

Okay now, we move on to store-bought option below.

Store Bought Gumpaste

So you have read everything thus far, and you think to yourself, ‘the above versions look too daunting and time-consuming, just give me the easiest way’ and tell me what to look for in the store bought gumpaste.

Oakey dokey! The advantage of store bought gumpastes are,that, you have less preparation time and more fun playing time for creating.

You can order ready-made ones online and at any large grocery store. The ‘Satin Ice‘ brand is my personal favourite and they also come in bulk 5 pound buckets, for more convenience of storage.

You can start working with it straight away and no need to wait hours too. Just buy, follow the instructions and create.

Things To Note When Using Home-made Gumpaste

  • When I work with gumpaste, I always have some vegetable or animal shortening on hand because it can be quite a sticky business. Shortening also makes your models look smoother and results in a nice shine.
  • Try not to use too much tylose – it will harden your paste quickly and make it difficult to work with.
  • Toppers and decorations need to be left for a few hours to harden (24 hours at least to be nice and firm).
  • Use a mixture of equal parts sugar and warm water to make a thick edible paste to stick your model parts together.
  • Unused gumpaste can be stored but be weary of the fact that the raw egg-white recipe should be used within two weeks at the most (only if kept well chilled).
  • Importantly – and some people have tried this, is DO NOT PUT gumpaste sheets through an edible printer – NO it doesn’t have the flexibility as using plain fondant; not to mention, damaging your edible printer in the process.

Essential Tools To Use When Creating With Gumpaste

I have listed the most essential tools to use when you are making your gumpaste cake decorations:

  • Foam pads – for shaping and thinning petals
  • Modeling Tools – this can be bought from cake stores or craft shops
  • Paint brushes
  • Small fondant rolling pins with attached measuring rings (this is where some of you will say, “aha, that’s what those little rolling pins are for!.” – yup that’s what I said myself)
  • Molds (home made or bought)
  • Petal and leaf cutters
  • Veiners
  • Cutting Mats
  • Colorful luster or dusts

How I have Used Gumpaste

For, my younger sister’s graduation-celebration cake, I added a few gumpaste frangipanis, as shown in the image below:

Art-Thou-Cakes-Gum-Paste-Frangipanis

For a customer’s graduation cake, I added a gumpaste made black cap and tassel as well as a rolled degree parchment:

Art-Thou-Cakes-Gumpaste-Decorations-Graduation-Cake

For another customer, who wanted a themed cake for her grandson, I used normal fondant covering and a gumpaste for the topper face of Thomas the tank engine (notice the shine?):

Art-Thou-Cakes-Gumpaste-Thomas-The-Tank-Engine-Cake-Topper

I have many more examples but I think these will give you a few examples for your own ideas to how to use gumpaste.

Storing Your Gumpaste Creations

Make sure you store your fondant and gum paste at room temperature within a cardboard box away from sunlight, heat and humidity. I have successfully stored gumpaste flowers/roses for more than 6 months.

Another thing to keep in mind, is to keep them in a pest free environment (i.e., ants, mice, weevils and even moths).

Some decorators will tell you to store in airtight closed containers, but I do not agree. Following this advice is probably the worst thing that you do. the gumpaste needs to breathe, which is why I use cardboard boxes with a lid, and just cover them with a sheet of baking paper (waxed paper).

Conclusion

Gumpaste is an amazing medium, and you can have lots of hours filled with fun ideas, while you make and create cake artistry. Your kids can be involved in this also, and you can make it a family affair.

I have also listed a few ideas of what can be made, but you can add to it your own decorated items as well.

I have given you two options for making your own gumpaste (the long and the short), and if you don’t want to you also have the choice to go and buy pre-made gumpaste at and do not have to worry about taking time to prepare a whole batch.
Once you have decided on how you get your gumpaste, use my important tips and storage suggestions after you have created your decorations, so that they will last.

I have added examples of my own creations, in the hope that you be inspired to take on this new decorating technique. If you think that you need a few more skills, to make your art more professional looking, there is nothing wrong with learning via an online course.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article and wish you a wonderful day, and please leave me a comment, if you have your own ideas or questions for discussion. I am more than happy to respond.

I look forward to giving you more cake artistry inspiration in my next post,

Cake Artistry Featured Image

 

ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

Candy Like Cake Love – Making Sugar Decorations





Introduction

Hi again my dear reader, today I am going to write about using sugar candy in cake artistry. This is a very dangerous topic for sweet tooth and, if you are, I give you permission to go no further.

So, if you do, then beware of I did warn you, this is a very addictive content and a lot candy like cake love.

Basic Tools Required For Sugar Cake Art

  • Wooden spoons or silicon (FDA) spatula
  • Candy Thermometer (they now have modern all-in-one, thermometer with stirrer, cool aye?)
  • Saucepan (preferably a heavy bottomed one)
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Thick Baking Apron or Protective Bakers Clothing
  • Molds or items for shaping caramelized sugar on

Important Safety Notes

  • Prepare the work area and make sure that no-one is using the stove or kitchen area (send all pets with kids/partners for an hour walk if you have to).
  • On saying the latter, make sure that someone is at home while you make any sugar creations, in case you have an accident and burn yourself. Hot sugar on any part of your body is not pleasant and can be very be serious.
  • Work area should be free of dust or pet fur and tie your hair back – any of these can stick to your sugar decorations and it will be a cross contamination.
  • Floor area should be clean and no spillage of any kind.
  • Always wear protective gear, for your body and hands.
    • CARAMELISED SUGAR CAN BE EXTREMELY DANDGEROUS – if it sticks on skin you can be scarred for life.

    Different sugar consistencies that can be checked without a thermometer:

    The Thread Stage 223-235* F (106 – 113 Degrees Celsius)

    Consistency – The syrup drips from the spoon to form a thin thread in the cup of water. Good for: Glacé and candied fruits

    The Soft ball Stage 235-245* F (113 – 118 Degrees Celsius)

    A ball is formed as soon as the syrup hits the cold water, but flattens into fudge, once it is removed.

    The Firm ball Stage 245-250* F (118 – 120 Degrees Celsius)

    A small stable ball is formed, but loses its shape once it is pressed.

    Hard ball Stage 250-266* F (120 – 130 Degrees Celsius)

    The sugar liquid holds its ball shape but remains quite sticky to the touch.

    Soft crack Stage 270-290* F (130 – 145 Degrees Celsius)

    The syrup forms into firm but pliable threads.

    Hard crack Stage 300-310* F (145 – 155 Degrees Celsius)

    The syrup cracks when snapped.

    Caramel Stage 320-350* F (155 – 175 Degrees Celsius)

    The sugar syrup turns golden at this stage. This is suitable for Pralines.

    Glass Sugar Makes Engaging Views

    What is Glass Sugar?

    So what is glass sugar? Do you remember the old German fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel? Well that story had a witch that owned an amazing house made of ginger bread and candy.

    I have added a cute book slide for those who are unfamiliar with the story.

    Hansel and Gretel story book Patricia s from Crelgo

    The first time I heard this story read to me as a child, I listened with fixated intent as my aunt described each small detail about that house. I was literally ‘salivating’ by the time the story ended – Now that I am older it seems like a truly tragic story but everything about that house still remains imprinted in my imagination. I believe that witch’s house had sugar glass windows.

      How is Sugar Glass Made?

      The following recipe is a basic one and I find is the easiest to follow, you may find other recipes online also and that is fine as well.

      Using:

        1 cup of corn syrup

        2 cups of water

        1/4 tsp of cream of tartar

        3 1/2 cups of sugar

      Utensils:

      • Heavy bottomed saucepan (or cast iron skillet – although this could be quite heavy to lift)
      • Thick gloves to protect yourself from the heat
      • Wooden Spoon
      • Sugar Thermometer (for candy making)

      Extra items:

      • Any pre-made mold that you want to use for molding shapes into (optional)

      Instructions:

      Place all ingredients in to the saucepan.

      Slowly heat the mixture to boiling point, by continuously stirring (if you heat it up too quickly, everything will caramelize and will not work (this process should be about 1 hour – so it is a game of patience and sore arm).

      Use the thermometer to check that it has boiling point has reached 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

      If you are using food color, then it needs to be stirred in just before the syrup is taken off the heat.

      TIP: For those who do not have a thermometer.

      Use a spoonful of candy mix and pour it in a cup of cold water. Take it out and if it breaks like glass, the mixture is ready. This would be at the ‘hard crack’ stage listed, in the list of the desired sugar consistency results.

      Construction:

      This is wearing protective gear and using the correct tools is very important. Pour the hot liquid into your mold/s or on to a flat tray lined with baking paper (waxed paper). Leave it to cool and you have your glass to use for decorating.

        Today sugar glass can be a great addition to a themed cake. The following are a few examples:

        • Snow peaks or mountains/Glaciers
        • Christmas decorations
        • A glass slipper for a Cinderella cake
        • Sugar diamante or sugar diamonds/ different colored jewelry
        • A twisted unicorn’s horn
        • glass windows for a ginger bread house (of course)
        • Eye glasses for an elderly birthday cake
        • Halloween eye balls
        • Small glass bells for a wedding or christening cake
        • Glass angels
        • Water themes – water gushing from a fountain/ waterfall/Lakes
        • Blue ocean/sea
        • fake glass bottle or beer cups
        • A baby dummy
        • Glass eyes for a teddy bear or soft toy topper
        • Stained glass
        • Colorful Sugar bowls (using balloons for the shape) – and filled with ice cream and whipped cream…mm

      As you can see from the above list there are so many things that one, can easily make using sugar glass.

      Spun Sugar – A Twisting Delight

      Spun sugar can be the crowning glory or the twisted ornament on top of a cake. Have you seen those tall profiterole cake towers and fine sugar webs surrounding it. Those web like sugar strands is what Cake decorators call ‘spun sugar’

      The recipe for spun sugar would be exactly the same as the one for glass sugar, however the temperature and end result will be different. The temperatures would need to be at the thread stage. You only need to use one or two forks to dip with and then as the syrup drips draw quickly in the air and quickly across a large bowl or an overturned metal spoon. This is repeated over and over to get fine wispy hair like sugar strands.

      My written description does not do justice to how lovely this technique really is. Therefore, I have added a video by Technique de Cuisine, so that you can understand what I just wrote.

      Okay I need to confess something before you watch this video, it is all in French, however, the technique this guy uses is so easy, so even without understanding what he is saying you can actually follow what he is showing – and anyway, who better than a French to show us the arts of decorating with sugar – so prendre plaisir! (enjoy! in English).

      Ideas For Using Spun Sugar:

      • Decorate cold desserts
      • Create bird’s nests for easter eggs
      • Cobwebs for Halloween cakes
      • The gold parts of jewelry
      • Long spun sugar strands can be used to hang off cake boards to create cascading effect in between tiered cakes – add a little light system in between and you have a gorgeous effect coming through the spun sugar strands.
      • Create spirals to make cultural designs such as ferns and island dancing hair pieces or skirts as cake toppers
      • Spun sugar bowls for ice cream or whipped cream (yum!)

      Colorful Sugar Shapes

      This is another great sugar decoration and does not need any cooking or burning. You would only need, some water, (white) sugar, food coloring, baking/waxed paper, a medium-sized container with a lid (preferably see-through/clear) and cookie cutters (any shape you want).

      Basically, you fill your plastic container with the sugar, add a few (about three) drops of your chosen food color, close the lid and then shake, yup, shake, shake and shake some more…this is starting to sound like an ad jingle.

      Well, the idea is to get the food coloring into all the sugar, without stirring (so that it colors evenly). The result you want is the sugar looking like fine sand that was colored.

      When you are all shaken up and the sugar is all colored through, you add a few teaspoons of water and shake it again to get the water mixed right through. The best way to check is taking some in hand and squashing a bunch to see if they hold their shape. If not, you may need to add a little bit more water and re-shake the container until the sugar is completely moist.

      Place it on a flat mat and use a rolling pin, to flatten it out (not too thinly) and then use your cookie cutters to cut them into the required shapes. At this point, the sugar can not be lifted (they will fall apart), therefoe use the baking paper to slide under them and move where they are not in the way.

      These shapes will need to be left in the open to dry naturally and the longer the better they will hold their shape.

      Once they are dried you use them, as colorful toppers straight on to butter cream or fondant.

      Unicorn Love had a guest post from Nellie Cakes, where Nellie, shows us how to make these gorgeous little sugar gems in greater detail, all I have provided is general information. I encourage you to check their post as it will inspire you to be more creative with sugar.

      Image from Unicorn Love

      Bend It Like Isomalt

      What The Heck Is Isomalt?

      Isomalt is an alternative sweetener to sugar. It has the same texture as sugar except that it doesn’t turn a yellowy color when it is at a high temperature. It makes beautifully clear candy decorations for your cakes, and will stand up to humidity better than caramelized sugar. Isomalt gives 2 calories per gram and does not create cavities in teeth like sugar or increase blood glucose or insulin levels (and all those who love sugar breathe a sigh of happiness).

      Isomalt was discovered in the 1960s and created out of sucrose (sugar) and is used in both nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Examples:

      • Throat Lozengers
      • Mixed Herbs
      • To sweeten other medication

      It is a product that is versatile and valuable for those who wish to make healthy or dietary choices, without missing out on the taste of sweetness.

      Where Can I get Isomalt?

      It can be bought in bulk from most large grocery stores. They are produced as crystals or nibs .

      How To Use Isomalt To Decorate Cakes

      Isomalt is one of the hardest mediums to make and handle in cake artistry. This process may need some professional training to assist with perfecting this art.

      Please note that in order to get a crystal clear result, you must use distilled water, because the minerals in tap water can cause a murky effect. The amount of distilled water should only be enough to make the isomalt damp (similar to the damp sand used to make sand castles on the beach).

      It placed in a pot and slowly melted by stirring gently and consistently to prevent any sticking to the sides.

      The utensils used should only be stainless steel and silicon for stirring and never use less than 1.4kgs of isomalt, at a time as you do not want hot spots during the heating process (caused when using only very small amounts), which produces a yellow color.

      To prevent crystallization whilst heating, simply place a foil tent on top of the pot to create internal steaming, The Isomalt needs to be cooked until it reaches 338 degrees Fahrenheit and then removed from the heat at 333 degrees Fahrenheit (this is where the candy thermometer comes in handy). The pot needs to be placed immediately in cool water to halt any further heating.

      When the isomalt is at about 310 degrees Fahrenheit – food coloring (powdered, gel or liquid) can be added and stirred into until the boiling stops.

      Note: Never store unused or used isomalt in the fridge or freezer – this will cause it to dissolve the produced sugar pieces.

      Isomalt should be stored in a tight container, because it absorbs moisture in its raw form. I suggest that you place a some silica gels packages inside to extend its shelf life.

      On the other hand cooked isomalt can only survive if kept from humidity or humid environments – it will go sticky (this is seen in hard candy or lolly pops that have wrappers missing – found stuck in fur or other stuff under kids beds).

      Once the isomalt syrup has cooled enough to handle, wear protective gloves and start pulling or molding your Isomalt to whatever shape you like to decorate your cake with.

      Here are a few examples of what you can use Isomalt for:

      • Icicles – for children’s Frozen cartoon theme
      • Star Fish
      • Roses
      • Balloons
      • Balls
      • Buttons
      • Glasses
      • Glass eyes
      • Edible gems
      • Blown Spheres
      • Musical instruments – or notes and time signatures
      • Cinderella glass slippers
      • Birthday numbers
      • Cultural Arts
      • Statues and sculptures
      • Glass Swans or doves
      • Glass bells
      • Letters

      Conclusion

      Whether it be with sugar or isomalt, your cake decorations will definitely stand out in any gathering. Sugar is always going to be popular no matter what age – and as long as you still have teeth to bite them with.

      Therefore, I hope that my article will give you an insight to how sugar glass, spun sugar, sugar shapes and isomalt can truly enhance and challenge you in your cake decorating.

      If you wish to add your own thoughts to what I have written, ask a question or would like to just share how you use any of the above in your own decorating, please leave a comment below.

      May you have a day full of ideas, and I will see you again soon.

      Cake Artistry Featured Image

       

      ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

      Air-brush-Techiniques-Space-Cake

      How to Create Airbrushed Masterpieces in Cake Artistry





      Throughout my posts, I have alluded to the fact that I specialise more in cake painting than any other form of cake decorating.

      I love the way colors come together, and how painting can make fondant, appear to be ‘literally’ realistic. For example, when a treasure box cake needs to appear wooden, this is when, paint comes in handy.

      I have touched a little, on using paint brushes and that is, something that most artists use anyway. What I want to write about today is another painting technique called airbrushing. Airbrushing is very similar to using colored spray cans.

      Airbrushing has become a very fashionable trend, whether it be for makeup, nails, fake tans, or T-shirts. The younger generation has caught onto this like a flame and it is now also the latest fad for cake decorating.

      Airbrushing, takes away all the hassles, of buying different colored fondants. You can buy/make in bulk, batches of white colored fondant, for every decoration or cake color. Just cover the cakes in white fondant and swiftly airbrush them in another color, within, only a few seconds.

      If you haven’t seen the video that I had recently posted showing the beautiful life-like cake decorations by Emma Jayne, then go watch it, because her creations would have been airbrushed, so that she can obtain the right colors and textures.
      Some people may find, this cake decorating technique difficult, skill-wise, and will probably avoid, it altogether. These same people would probably prefer to print their cakes with edible printing rather than paint or airbrush.

      So what is airbrushing, you ask? and how will learning this technique help me in cake decorating?

      Let us not delay then in finding out. I am just as excited to tell you all about it, as you are to find out.

      What Is An Edible Airbrush?

      Okay, to explain this better and to give you an idea about this particular decorating technique, I will tell you how I first watched my husband, who is a registered mechanic and also steel fitter/welder, use an airbrush gun for our car.

      It was a small hand-held spray bottle (very similar to what hairdressers use) attached to some kind of compressor machinery. He placed some liquid paint into another small attachment and then slowly spray, lightly at first to get an overall first cover. He would then respray over and over again, to leave the car completely covered. This painting technique is called airbrushing.

      I am happy to tell you that, that is how we spend time together, I enjoy watching my husband at work – and he even helps me paint my cakes, when he is free as well (though with the edible paint lol). Happy wife, happy life (and all the women, say, “Yeah!)

      So now that you, have some kind of mental imagery, I can tell you that airbrushing a car, is more or less the same technique that is applied to a cake. It is fun and it is faster than hand painting.

      In cake decorating, the airbrush gun systems, which are used have several varieties – single action with bleeder, double action – non bleeder, and variable single action bleeder or non-bleeder. I am sure by now, you might run for the hills for all the confusion. However, I do promise that if you continue to read, you will view a video that I have provided for you to explain all this, by an expert in cake airbrushing. Therefore, hang in there and it will all be clear.

      The purpose of my post today, is to provide you, with another cake decoration skill, that will hopefully challenge you, in further developing, your creativity.

      Now, I will show you, how to create air-brushed masterpieces in cake artistry.

      Edible Airbrushing Kits

      Before you can do any airbrushing, you will need to obtain, borrow, or purchase a special kit used only for cakes ( and no, you cannot use the one that your husband/boyfriend/dad uses on the car! or steal your cousin’s).

      A good Edible Airbrush Kit Should Contain The Following:

      • At least one airbrush gun (I prefer dual/double action system for better control and it is non-bleeder). However, the single action is the most commonly used. If you get two guns with one of each in your kit, that would be even better!
      • The color loader – should be attached to the airbrush gun, or detachable as a small bottle at the bottom.
      • High Performance Air Compressor with air filter water trap with pressure regulator.
      • Air hose (at least more than two meters)
      • An airbrush holder
      • Airbrush cleaning system – this helps to stop the clogging of coloring inside the airbrush
      • Airbrush clean pot (with filters) – this is useful when you need to change colors in between spraying or cleaning the left over coloring out, at the end of its use.

      Other required items:

      • Proper airbrush food coloring (must not mistake this for the normal food coloring used with icings/baking). Choose either ethanol or water based airbrush food coloring.
      • A splatter wall or large box/ or an actual air spray booth, to protect other household areas from unwanted color sprays
      • Food stencils for decorating on fondant
      • Small knife, to easily remove and lift airbrushed fondant off a board, or dummies, to be placed onto the top of a cake
      • Plenty of paper towels

      Safety Notes:

      • Always maintain safety when using any motorised device and follow the user instructions in the manual.
      • Prevent cross contamination by using only the FDA approved or Kosher manufactured edible food coloring used only for airbrushing.
      • Clean the appliances with the correct chemicals.
      • Wear the correct protection gear, i.e. wear goggles if your eyes are sensitive to paint mist.

      Tips For A Beginner

      • If you need to buy yourself an airbrush gun, try to get a kit that gives the whole set (including a good sized compressor) and the dollar mark up at $150 or more. You can still use the smaller ones for less of that amount, if it is only for touch ups, or using short small sharp blasts, for not as many jobs. However, smaller ones tend to overheat faster and you have to give it time to cool in between uses. The bigger the compressor, the fewer interruptions to decorating.
      • If you can do so, try to get a double/dual action airbrush gun – it will assist with better control over the pressure required for specific actions. A single action airbrush system only has a pressure system for the paint, but not to control the air. The double will slow the air pressure or quicken it depending on how you want the food coloring to spray out.

      • I suggest before you even start on cakes, to practice, practice, practice – use medium-sized cookies or fondant covered cupcakes as your practice mediums.
      • If you use a cake board that will be slightly larger than your cake, cover it with fondant also then airbrush it with the same color for a much nicer presentation (it is all about the presentation folks!, you already taste it with your eyes, before it enters your mouth).
      • For first timers, I advise you use a stencil for your patterns/designs until you get comfortable enough to start free hand styling.
      • Spray thin layers, so that you give the colors time to dry quickly and avoid any smudges.
      • Have a rubbing alcohol nearby (I prefer vodka, as it can be utilized in other ways, when stressed – grin) in case you do make a small error (i.e, going over a line when you shouldn’t have).
      • Clean and store your airbrush kit appropriately, so that it ensures quality output and the longevity of your product.
      • Last but not least: take your time, have fun and turn off your phone (I mean it, it can be really distracting, when you are in the zone, leave it on silent, just in case your loved ones, really are dying and not just wanting the TV remote).
      • Always follow the instructions of the kit manual to ensure safety and quality of usage

        Common Issues When Using The Edible Airbrush

        Never be afraid to make mistakes, especially if you are a beginner, that is the reason why, I advised above, to first practice, on fondant covered cookies and cupcakes. Cake decorating courses, use cake foams or dummies. This is unnecessary, if you are a home cake business and I personally hate waste.

        Using a cake dummie, requires the use of fondant that won’t be eaten or used (unless of course you end up covering a cake with it). Anyway, cookies or cupcakes will be much appreciated by your nearest and dearest, and no-one wouldn’t care less about all your mistaken squiggles. As long, as they are yummy mistakes.

        Here a some common problems that you may encounter while using edible paint brush:

        • Airbrush, normally splatters sometimes, and leaves undesirable spots
        • Airbrushing the wrong side or part of your cake, or simply just going over a drawn outline of a specific design
        • The stencil was not held in place and the sprayed areas are not clearly defined
        • Accidental spillage of the coloring, which often happens when you do not hold the airbrush in the correct position
        • Tangling the hose while moving around
        • Color does not spray – coloring can cause a blockage, if the airbrush is not cleaned after its use, consistently
        • Your hand is not steady and your design gets ruined because you forgot to turn your phone off while working
        • You are in a rush and left everything to the last minute, which means your decoration is incomplete and you will kick yourself for doping so

        Fixing A Mistake

        If you had used the wrong colors or just want to start all over again, because, everything really does look that bad, then just take some paper towels, soak them in a bit of vodka (take some yourself if it really is, that bad) and then slowly wipe the areas needed to be fixed. If it starts to run, don’t worry keep wiping with vodka until all the colors are gone. Pick up the airbrush and start again. Just like that.

        Putting It All Together – in 4 Easy Steps

        Every edible airbrush or multi use airbrush kit, will come with an instruction booklet or pamphlet. The only time you will not get one of these is if you borrowed it, or bought it second hand at a garage sale/op shop.

        If you do not have any, just search on the internet, or follow my four simple steps in the instructions below:

        1. Remove the compressor, hose and airbrush systems from the box together with the manual.
        2. Attach the hose to the compressor (every airbrush kit is different so, you will need to follow the user manual in this part)ensure that this is screwed on tight.
        3. Remove the ring and hose connector from the airbrush system. Connect the compressor hose.
        4. Ensure that you clean pot is also ready to be used with its filter (this is optional and I have given a home made alternative below).
        5. Turn on the compressor and start creating magic.

        How to Clean The Edible Airbrush

        Okay I won’t go into much detail here because I just want you to watch a really straight forward video by DecoPac, that will show you how to do this. Enjoy!

        The Fun Part – Using The Edible Brush

        Before delving into what you can do with an edible airbrush, we need to look at how to handle one. There is a certain way to holding it, and how to control the pressure.

        After you have installed the kit, turn on the power, and point the airbrush gun, at the center of your pal, to check the airflow. If you can feel it, then it is ready to be used.

        The next step is, to add the food coloring. This is easily done by holding the airbrush system at a slight angle and adding 4-5 drops of the color into the color/paint holder of the airbrush system. 4-5 drops at a time per use is enough.

        Once you have added the color, use a piece of white paper to do a few doodles on to ensure that the airflow and color comes out right using the lever to check the dual system/single system functions well. Another good reason for this, is to also check, that the color comes out just as you want or not.

        The three important aspects of airbrushing are: speed, pressure and angle. All these three components are also the most important components, in just about every other decorating technique.

        Practice first, by spraying a few different colored lines, using different pressures as you press/pull the lever pull.

        After a few practices, you are now ready to paint your cake with airbrush. I suggest that you spray a few trials on paper every time, prior to your applying it directly on to your cakes, so that you can manage any pressure issues or blockage beforehand.

        Use your other hand to guide or add support as you spray. If you do not have a clean pot, then use a plastic bowl of sorts (i.e a large empty yogurt container, with a lid) and punch a small hole, big enough for the pen-end of your airbrush gun to go through in the center of the lid.

        Place a wad of paper towels inside and close the lid again. You will have a home-made alternative cleaning bowl, that you can spray into, when you want to change colors or empty your left over colors at the end.

        Finally, here is the video tutorial, that I promised at the beginning, and kudos to you for reading it up to this point. Hopefully you will be able to see how much more you can do with your cake artistry, using the airbrushing technique. You may even learn about what types of airbrushing kits are suitable for your own home business.

        How To Airbrush Cake Masterpieces

        The edible airbrush decorating technique, is very easy to use. Giving you examples of what amazing decorations can be created, will be too many for me to list. Here are only a few that I have listed below:

        • Ombre Cakes
        • Space/Galaxy Designs
        • Stenciled Shapes to form outlines/shadows- fairies, butterflies, people, wedding couples
        • Ocean colors
        • Sky or clouds
        • Nature – leaves, wallpaper of roses or flowers
        • Metallic Cakes – gold, silver, rose gold, bronze
        • Emotions – smiley faces, hearts
        • Seasonal themes – pumpkins with stenciled cut-outs
        • Tattoos on cakes
        • Rainbow hues
        • Floating Halloween figures

        Actually, there are thousands more ideas that can be added here and I would not have the room to place the many images that can be included as well.

        To show you, just how awesome edible airbrushing is and how easy it is to use. I want to show another one of my favourite videos, by Cakecraft Collection, using stencils and an edible airbrush (easy even for beginners).

        Conclusion

        If you want to challenge yourself, beyond just being ‘normal’ and quite ordinary in your cake decorating techniques, I suggest that you invest not only in, learning more from professionals, but that you purchase tools that will help you to create masterpieces in cake artistry. One of the best ways to do that is to use an edible airbrush kit.
        I hope that you are inspired by today’s post and please share your experience with airbrushing or even ask for help.

        Have a wonderful day,

        Cake Artistry Featured Image

         

        ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

        Sweet Sensations in Decorating with Chocolate Art Thou Cakes

        My Sweet Sensations When Decorating With Chocolate





        In my previous post, I touched a little on how chocolate can be used as an edible lace technique. However, it is probably the most popular ingredient used in Cake Artistry, since its creation.

        It can be part of a cake ingredient, used for decoration, as part of a structure or topper, and of course, just as good, on its own.

        If you do not like chocolate, then you are a very rare human being indeed, and I am very sad that you have no idea what you are missing out on.

        You just need to go back and watch ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (the classic one, in which, Gene Wilder, starred as Willie Wonker- this will always be my favourite version), to understand what chocolate can do to those who love it.

        Oh my, who can forget, that famous scene, where Augustus fell into the chocolate lake and sucked up into the large pipes? A scene that has always stuck with me, and I couldn’t wait, in my child’s mind, to grow up and go see the factory.

        Well what do you know, I was so utterly disappointed when I grew up and found out that Willie Wonker and the Chocolate Factory was all made up. It doesn’t matter that a company has made chocolates branded with ‘Wonkers’, in my mind it is a poor way of trying to make up for all the heartbroken reality of false hopes. What a let down.

        This is why when I decorate with chocolate, I try my best to re-live the wonderful ‘Chocolate Factory’ experience all over again, and that is no fake.

        Therefore, my post today, will portray how I create the most amazing, sweet sensations when decorating with chocolate, which I hope will help you further explore and enjoy in your own cake decorations.

        No Special Skills Required

        Like with all the other decorating/icing techniques, there are no special skills required when using chocolate in cake artistry. I believe that every cake decorator/artist has one or two techniques or medium which they specialise in. Chocolate is just another. 

        As stated before, I specialise in painting, but use every form of decorating to enhance the appearance of my cakes and using the analogy of music, “to be in harmony with the musical tune that my clients play”.

        However, if you would like to specialise in chocolate itself or any other decorating medium/technique, but do not have the essential skills to do so, then I suggest you register for an online course.

        Useful Tips – Before Decorating With Chocolate

        Utensils

        Tools and utensils should be clean and without any oily residues, which may have an impact on how your chocolate icing/frosting turns out. Generally speaking, the following utensils should be readily available for use:

        • Double Boiler – Stainless steel or glass bowl to be placed in a saucepan with simmering water (I prefer stainless steel).
        • Heavy-ended Saucepan – I suggest this type, as it will not over boil water, the lighter ended saucepans do not heat evenly.
        • Wooden Spoons – for stirring, I find wooden best, as it will not conduct too much heat causing separations.
        • Silicon or Wooden Spatula – for placing melted chocolate into piping bags or spreading.
        • Stainless steel icing spreader or large flat knife.
        • Glad wrap/plastic film.
        • Cake turntable.
        • Cake slice baking sheets/trays – these are used together with an upturned bowl for ganache pouring. They are also used for chilling the chocolate decor in the fridge.
        • Temperature gauge (optional).
        • Food scale (electronic is the best for accuracy).
        • Chocolate Pattern Mats or transfer sheets – if you are free styling your designs you would not need these. 
          Sweet-sensations-in-decorating-with-chocolate
        • Acetate plastic sheets for piping designs onto and from which chocolate can be easily separated and removed
        • Piping bags – I prefer to roll baking/parchment/wax paper rather than actual icing bags, so that I can just biff them in the bin – paper can be turned into piping cornets
        • Piping tips – I do not use these – which is why I prefer using paper as piping bags
        • Small paper scissors to snip piping paper to required tip size
        • Microwaveable bowls
        • Kitchenaid or similar brand stand mixer
        • Food processor (optional)

        Other Required Ingredients

        • Eggs or an alternative ingredient.
        • Butter – unsalted is best, for a fresher taste and will not affect the flavor, however it may not last outside of a fridge whereas salted butter can, but adds a slight salty taste (I do not find much difference, although some recipes are strict on which type to use). You can look at alternatives to this if you are dairy intolerant, however, the rest of the ingredients needs to be consistent also, if you do use an alternative, so that you ensure the right flavors come through.
        • Full Milk/heavy cream (aka full-fat in NZ) – again look at the alternatives if you have food intolerance.
        • Gelatin paper or powder or tylose powder (if gluten intolerant).
        • Vegetable fat/oils and Animal fat – can be used instead of butter in some recipes.
        • Flavorings – Vanilla Essence (pure is the best for quality), caramel, rum, brandy, almond, peanut butter, hazelnut and mint are among some of my most loved favourites.
        • Confectioners sugar/icing sugar/pound sugar.
        • Left over chocolate cake from crumbing (well frozen and less than two weeks old) for using in structuring toppers or structures.
        • Cacao or Cocoa Powder – sometimes this gives an extra chocolate boost (100% pure is my preference – for a richer flavor).
        • Ground coffee – real rich coffee is the best.
          • Chocolate liquor – which is also known as, unsweetened baking chocolate, (be aware: this is not chocolate liqueur, which is a very different product and should never be substituted for the other). Chocolate liquor, has no alcohol. It is made from grinding the nib, or meat, of the cocoa bean and is a thick, gritty, dark brown paste that liquefies when heated. Chocolate liquor incorporates half mixtures of cocoa butter and cocoa solids.

          Process

          • Ensure that the working area is always clean and free of dust.
          • Ensure that you weigh ingredients, unless of course, you are ‘near 99%’ accurate, in eye balling measurements, after many years of experience.
          • If separation happens (hey, this happens to the best of us), just microwave for 30 seconds on high, and mix again for the right consistency.
          • Make sure that ingredients are at room temperature before they are used – this will give the best results in mixture consistency.

          Handling and Storage

          Always make a good habit of applying, the food/health and safety rules for everyone’s assurance.

          • Store chocolate frosted cakes in the fridge with a clean film or plastic wrap, to curb any cross-contamination or flavor influences from other neighboring foods in the same compartment, i.e. pet food etc., (I use a separate chiller/fridge so this, is not such an issue for me)
          • Freeze any chocolate that has eggs or any other fresh ingredient – this can be stored for up to 3 months and reused
          • Alternative natural/raw ingredients can be stored for up to 1 month, before they can no longer be used (this is because the taste of fresh ingredients diminish quickly and consistency changes). However, anything raw don’t last because they can be really, really delicious!

          The Best Chocolate To Use For Cake Artistry

          Okay, I learned the hard way, when I first started using chocolate for decorating, about which chocolates types are the best to use. Being a person that always puts flavor at the forefront of my creations, I mistakenly used a normal Cadbury’s milk chocolate once (a NZ favourite when it comes to chocolates) on a very hot day, to my shock and horror! the decorations started to melt, OH NO!

          Yeah, this experience taught me that there are quintessential qualities, in various chocolates that need to be considered, when using them for cake decorating.

          So what is the chocolate that I actually consider the best to use? Well, its a good question that cannot be satisfied with only one answer. 

          In fact, I have listed a few, equally excellent brands that have individual flavor and character. I suggest that you never use cheap brands, because some use not so good oils/fats, that give a ‘plastic’ consistency and a yuck taste. Believe me, I have tried and will never go back there.

          The darker or higher the percentage of chocolate, the richer the flavor in cakes and in decorating.

          The other things I look for, when choosing the right chocolates to use, is the way, they were produced and whether it was ethical/moral. I am a strong advocate of conservation and animal rights – so how, where, what and who was harmed in its, manufacturing process, are my constant measures for quality. The chocolate brand should be fair trade.

          However, despite my personal standard, do not let that discourage you from choosing any chocolate brand that you want. 

          All I have added here, is a bit of education for each person to make an informed decision of their own, and also depending on your budget for cakes, you can still use non-ethical brands. 

          If you do want to use ethically produced chocolates/cocoa, the best way to check, is to research for yourself in Google by typing exactly the following text: “Fairtrade'”+”Cooking Chocolates” and it will come up with a good list.

          Lindt-cooking-chocolate-100%-fairtrade-in-Art-Thou-Cakes-Sweet-Sensations

          As I had previously stated, here is my list of true and tried top chocolate brands to use for cake artistry:

          • Lindt – Rich and beautiful flavor (also produce gluten free) – Fairtrade certified – aims to be 100% ethical with trace ability
          • Ghirardelli – Fairtrade certified – Company is active in fair trade and helps to eliminate child labour
          • Sunspire – Organic – Fairtrade Cacao Chocolate Chunks
          • Wild Foods – 100 % Organic Raw Cocoa Powder – Fairtrade certified
          • Bennetto Natural Foods Co – Fairtrade Certified

          These are only, but a few that I have used, but you might find many more in the country that you are from. I find that, farmers markets are great places to find organic and ethically produced food products, which have been manufactured by small local producers, not known in the global market.

          Chocolate Frosting

          Okay, we have finally reached the different types of chocolate icing techniques and although,they are not technically difficult to master, are sometimes confused by what they actually mean.

          Chocolate frosting is the most generally used decoration of all icings, because it is quick and tastes good (the proof is in what the kids eat off a cake). It is often the ‘go to’ for a child’s birthday party, when you need to whip up a convenient icing.

          A basic chocolate frosting recipe includes:

          • Butter
          • Icing Sugar (pound/confectioner’s sugar)
          • Milk or Water
          • Vanilla Essence
          • Cocoa powder

          As you see, these are the usual products that are found in many household kitchens and explain why a chocolate frosting is so convenient.

          I use Lauren’s latest basic recipe it is easy to follow and has lovely pictures to show her process. This same frosting is great for cupcakes also – and you can add a sprinkle, of colorful decorations to glam them up, and you are done.

          What is chocolate Ganache?

          According to EVS, Global translations, the definition of ganache might have been a contrived 19th Century culinary folklore, but it effectively goes something, like this: Ganache is the French word for “fool” and only appeared for the first time, as a type of confection in the 1922 issue, of the world’s first illustrated weekly news magazine.

          Interestingly by contrast, a blogger in Quora, says that its meaning is “lower jaw”. In a humorous twist, a commentor known only as ‘french baker’ quickly responded by refuting this definition, and wrote that the true legend came about, because a young cooking student had poured hot cream into chocolate bits by mistake. His angry Chef called him a ganache (meaning ‘moron’ in French). However, this mistake resulted in a lovely outcome, so the name ‘ganache’ stuck. 

          I actually believe that ‘french baker’ is correct and backs up the first definition of ‘fool’.

          There are two different decorating approaches to using ganache as an icing. I have described them below under their own headings.

          Ganache Frosting Technique

          As we just learned, ganache is made by mixing half-and-half of both, heavy cream and melted chocolate together, to create a luxurious icing spread or chocolate drip. This is easily applied by hand using a spatula and/or piping bag.

          I like how this icing results in a thick yummy layer of chocolaty smoothness in your mouth, the taste is heaven! The other thing I like about it, is that it turns out very thick, and the cake remains very moist, even after three days, if it is not refrigerated.

          Now, my one issue with this chocolate technique, is that you need to work very quickly when spreading the icing, or it can become quite sticky and you end up tearing some cake. To resolve this, I always have a tea towel and hot boiled water in a large bowl handy, so that I stick my spreader or knife into it and wipe with the tea towel/paper towel, while I smooth the ganache consistently over the whole cake.

          For this icing, I follow a recipe used by Rose Levy Beranbaum Signature Series these are quite old-fashioned videos, but I like how she explains everything in detail as she decorates. Also, I love how she makes processes so easy. Watch this video as she creates a ganache frosting in a few seconds with a food processor. Very educational!

          Mirror Glaze Ganache Technique

          Now Mirror Glazing is in a league of its own. It has become a new decorating sensation. Mirror glaze, has a mirror or glass like look and is not only limited to just chocolate alone. It can be created in any, array of flavours and colors. Mirror Glaze can incorporate fruit and makes a perfect top layer for cheese or mousse cakes.

          There are many recipes and each varied, according to how its used or who created it. My favourite chocolate mirror glaze recipe is from Road to Pastry blog.

          Although I like YouTube videos, I am still quite old-fashioned in many ways and choosing to follow written recipes is one of them. That’s because I can print, or scroll the screen up and down without the frustration of replaying or pausing.

          If I do watch a video, I still write everything down, rather than just follow it by view.

          Chocolate Garnishes

          The beauty of adding chocolate garnishes, is that they can enhance beauty for any cake. I find this, especially true, when matching them with a plain, pastel colored buttercreamed cake.

          What you can make into chocolate garnish, is far-reaching and I can only give you a few examples to get you excited:

          • Chocolate lettering/messages (block or script – written/traced)
          • Outline drawings of bows, butterflies, flowers etc.,
          • Chocolate swirls
          • Chocolate Patterns
          • Chocolate easter eggs, Christmas trees
          • Lace/Filigree patterns
          • Chocolate cages/baskets/nests

          Most of these garnishes are easy to make, just melt the chocolate and place in a paper piping back, cut the tip off and start drawing outlines – even the mistakes make extraordinary and unique designs. Once they have hardened you stick them onto your cakes, desserts and even ice creams 🙂

          A small tip: If you do not know how to follow your own creative design then just print some off Google and place it under a waxed/baking paper and use the print to trace your chocolate lines (and no-one will be the wiser).

          Tempered Chocolate

          Tempered chocolate, is melted gently over a low heat, then cooling the chocolate while it is being stirred. This puts it into temper. It leaves a smooth and flawless appearance, once it is cooled to the right temperature. When you touch it, it should feel firm but gives a nice ‘snap’ when broken off. When eaten, it should melt slowly to leave a long-lasting end flavor.

          What is Tempered Chocolate Used For?

          It is useful to create toppers with and is very good for making your own home-made chocolate (lovely gift ideas).

          Another great idea, for tempered chocolate is when making ice-cream birthday cakes – cover it with tempered chocolate and it is like having a nice ‘topsy’ topper.

          The Science Behind Tempered Chocolate

          The chocolate needs to cool enough to the point of hardening. The process can take long if not done properly. Tempering, needs to be repeated until it reaches that point.

          The melting temperature must never reach above a certain level, for each type of chocolate or the stability of the cocoa butter crystals will begin to melt and you lose the temper:

          • 92°F, for the dark chocolate
          • 88°F for the milk and white chocolate

          Quick Tip

          • Remove the bowl from the hot water (double boiler) and keep stirring to disperse the heat evenly.
          • Test the chocolate on your skin to make sure it is still cool.
          • Use chocolate bits or buttons for quicker melting.
          • Avoid using short cuts, such as using the microwave or freezer/chiller, the end results may not be satisfactory
          • If you are going to do something then you need to do it well

          Toppers & Poppers

          Tempered chocolate can also be created into small toppers using molds or free styled by-hand:

          • Baby shower ornaments (shoes, baby bottles, babies etc)
          • Twigs and nature themed items
          • Wedding themed figurines
          • Sports themes (balls, tennis pats, bicycles etc)
          • Cheeky adult or romantic themes(I will not go into detail as already some of you, have your imagination already running wild with vivid imagery)
          • Political Themes (some can make really good statements, when you don’t wish to say it verbally)

          Poppers are small cake/chocolate balls stuck on to lollipop sticks or short wooden/bamboo skewers. They are very popular with the kids and at any large gathering, where you need to feed extra people or when your one cake is not enough to feed a large crowd. 

          Another great use for poppers, is when you need a quick ‘go-to’ recipe for the children’s school fundraisers – make a hundred and sell them at $2 each. That will make the kids happy, the school happy and yourself proud.

          Poppers are fun and are easy to make, by using popper moulds. Pour them in and stick the small sticks through the holes and decorate with some 100s & 1000s or little clown/comic heroes”s faces, place them into the chiller and voilà!

          Large Structual Art

          I have always been interested in the structural techniques involved, with using chocolate. Although I have never personally created any large chocolate structures as part of my cake artistry (only for the fact, that there has never been any reason to do so, considering the effort and costs involved, and that it will be devoured, within an hour of its creation), I aspire one day to achieve it. Well maybe not in the scale that some people have done, as you will see in my list below.

          I am thinking about ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ again here (Big Grin).

          Did you know that the world’s largest chocolate Easter Bunny in the Guinness book of Records was built out of 3014kg of brick chocolates? The company who sculpted it, Craft Corner built it on behalf of Duracell.

          I have listed some examples of the most fabulous and world record-breaking chocolate structures, that I have ever seen:

          Okay, these could be a little too big, but at least you now, understand how using chocolate has no limits to what can be created, whether small or large.

          Conclusion

          From simple poppers to enormous structures, we can see how, chocolate is not only delicious to eat, but very versatile in its use within cake artistry.

          I encourage you to use ethical chocolate, where possible to help make this world a better place.

          I hope you enjoyed my post and that you are inspired to try a few, of my sweet sensations when decorating with chocolate.

          If you do so, please feel free to come back and share. Should you have your own tips or techniques or just want to leave a question, I am more than happy to answer any comments.

          Thank you for visiting,

          Cake Artistry Featured Image

           

          ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

          Sensational-Lace-Frills-Make-Beautiful-Cake-Artistry-Lace-Mat-and-Sugar-Paste-Technique

          Intricate Lace Frills Make Beautiful Cake Artistry





          We all know what lace is. It is a delicate fabric decorated in intricate web-like patterns using yarn or thread made both by machine or hand.

          Among my other creative hobbies, I also do sewing, knitting, crocheting and handcrafts (which I was taught by my grandmother Ana from a very young age – designing clothes for my ‘too’ many barbie dolls.

          Once upon my many lives, I had taken a fashion design course in which, I watched in awe, how lace was made by hand. Although the outcome was beautiful, I had no desire to follow that skill; watching the woman at work exhausted my patience.

          In the past, lace used to be made from linen, silk, gold, or silver threads. Now cotton thread, linen and silk threads are used. Manufactured lace is mass-produced from synthetic materials for what we see on clothing nowadays.

          Okay, so why am I talking about lace again? Oh yeah, that’s right…you can now use lace in your cake decorations and eat them too.

          Adding lace to a cake, is like having Cinderella’s rags being transformed into a spectacular ball gown, where you and I play fairy god mother.

          Therefore, my post today will be about using intricate lace frills to make beautiful Cake Artistry.

          What is Edible Cake lace?

          Cake lace, is another elegant form, of cake artistry, that can make the difference between a ‘great’ cake and a ‘wow’ cake.

          There are several edible lace techniques, which I have listed below under their own headings. All techniques are similar yet unique in the way they improve the appearance of a cake for the beholder.

          Items required

          • Small flat angled artist’s paint brush
          • Royal Icing or Fondant paste (made with the addition of a little water)
          • A small piping bag
          • Patterned textured mats or rolls
          • Lace Molds
          • Rolling pin
          • Lace Mat/s
          • Tracing paper – if free styling your own lace patterned design
          • Sugar paste or gum paste
          • Tylose powder – to create pliable yet slightly hardened molded fondant and sugar lace paste
          • A little bowl of animal/vegetable fat
          • Pearl luster dust to enhance the look of the dimensional effects of the patterns
          • Any fabric or stencil lace pattern can be copied/traced
          • Baking paper (waxed parchment paper)
          • Scissors
          • Edible spray paint

          To Note

          • I suggest practicing on a piece of rolled out fondant until you can master the technique first before using it on an actual cake.
          • Use your fore finger and thumb to remove excess icing build-up on the brush, as you make the strokes for the brush embroidery technique.
          • Ensure hands are always clean and nails trimmed without any additional nail embellishments.

          Brush Embroidery – Adds a Gorgeous Adornment

          This technique is one that I would save only for very special occasions that require finesse and old-fashioned elegance. It requires a little more time and patience, along with a steady hand. Despite the work, it is a very simple technique that results in a gorgeously adorned cake, fit for a wedding or christening.

          Of all the lace techniques, I prefer the brush embroidery, because it doesn’t entail rolling out more fondant or sticking extra sugar stuff onto already sweet fondant/royal icing.

          You can follow a traced pattern from any kind of fabric lace traced straight on to your cake (the cake must be first covered of course, with either fondant or royal icing) and then, the lines are piped with royal icing or liquefied fondant. The paint brush is used to created brush strokes inside the drawn shapes, as seen in the image below.
          Sensational-Lace-Frills-Make-Beautiful-Cake-Artistry-Brush-Embroidery

          Appliqué – A Nostalgic Imprint Of The Past

          Now, this technique, leaves a nostalgic imprint of the past, when blankets and clothes were hand sewn with engaging handiwork.

          Nowadays, just about everything is done by technology and is not as special anymore as when things used to be admired for a person’s handiwork stills.
          Fabric appliqué was the application of smaller pieces of fabric, hand-sewn onto a large fabric to give a 2D effect. When applied to cakes, the technique is still the same. Lace patterns can be pasted on to the covered cake.

          However, the exquisite patterns are either rolled onto the fondant before it covers the cake, or push cutters to make each small fondant piece before being pasted one by one onto the cake.

          Using a mold also, saves a little more time and is the best item to use when you need to define the smaller details of a laced pattern. In a previous post, I wrote how I make my own home made molds, which will save

          money. However, these molds can also be bought for convenience.

          Embossing – Truly Magnificent

          Fondant can be embossed with a lace pattern using textured mats or textured rolls. The textures are imprinted or impressed onto the rolled fondant before being placed onto the cake. The cake is a magnificent piece of art, when it is finished, especially when a plain colored luster dust is brushed on the patterns to give them a lovely sheen.
          Sensational-Lace-Frills-Make-Beautiful-Cake-Artistry-Embossing-Technique

          An issue, I find with this technique is the handling of the fondant, as one needs to be very careful, when covering the cake. If the fondant is pressed too hard when rubbing it down, you may accidentally remove the imprinted pattern.

          A texture mat and roll are not the only items that can be used for embossed decorations. You can use lace molds, small fondant cutters/embossers and plastic stencils as well.

          Lace Mats and Paste – Ingenious Modernity

          Edible lace made from spreading gum paste, fondant paste, or gelatin paste on to an imprinted silicon lace mat, specifically designed for this purpose, has become the latest Cake Artistry craze. It is the simplest technique and the easiest to use with minimal mistakes or damage to the cake.

          You can make your own lace or buy it from a store. The same is with the mat, you can buy it or create your own using home made silicon molds.

          You can find many versions for home made edible lace but my favourite is Veena Azmanov’s egg less and vegetarian home made lace recipe. Unlike other recipes I have used in the past, this one is may favourite, not only because it does not need many ingredients, but also, for the fact that I do not have to bake it (although it gives the option, to quicken the drying process), as you would with the gum paste recipe. It can be left overnight.

          I also find that this recipe results in a softer and pliable lace, very similar to fabric, which makes it easier to handle and apply.

          The lace paste is spread on to the lace mat with a spatula and left for a few hours. Once it is dry, it is removed by easily peeling the lace off the mat and pasted, using gum paste, sugar paste or buttercream straight on to the cake.

          Chocolate Lace Wraps- Decadently Decorated

          Chocolate lace wraps look like crocheted lace and actually looks beautiful when you have dark chocolate against a pastel colored cake covering.

          For this technique, I suggest using buttercreamed cakes rather than fondant, only because the chocolate needs to stick to a moist icing. I have never tried it on Fondant or Royal Icing, so you can try it yourself and see, however, for me the flavours also need to be accounted for, and chocolate on fondant/royal icing are for my husband a Holden part stuck onto a Mercedes – it just does not’t make sense.

          This technique requires the greatest patience and an even steadier hand.

          Time and temperature also factor into the process. The chocolate ganache needs to be quite liquid to work with, and you need to work fast enough so that the chocolate lace does not crack, when it is placed around the cake.

          Using baking paper or waxed parchment paper made piping bags, filled with chocolate ganache. Intricate symmetrical lace designs are piped onto a longer piece of baking paper (the length about the full length of the circumference of the cake).

          The lace design is first drawn onto the length of baking paper and each point connects, similar to a spider web, so that when the chocolate is later separated, it can be removed as a whole piece and wrapped around the cake.

          Sensational Lace Frills make beautiful cake artistry - Chocolate Lace Wrapping

          Spray Painted Lace – Classy Graffiti

          This technique uses edible sprays (I like to use Wilton’s color mists) and a stencil (I just buy a nice fabric lace). I suggest this technique be used on royal icing or fondant covered cakes, unless of course, you use a buttercream recipe that crusts well, if it doesn’t, your colors will bleed (as in bleeding lipstick) and the details will be a runny mess.

          Spray painting is a really simple process: the lace or stencil is held in place with a few pins, ensuring that the stencil does not move and you spray quickly and evenly over it. Leave the paint to dry for a few minutes before removing the stencil or piece of lace, to reveal the beautiful pattern underneath.

          The end result should be a clear pattern design of what you had placed on the cake (if it was pinned well).

          This could be a fun technique to play with, especially if you use metallic colors, to have a shiny sensation.

          Conclusion

          Each edible lace technique has its own unique look and process, and can turn a plain looking cake into a glorious display of art.

          I have only given a general overview of edible lace and the different techniques used. If you would like to learn the skills and excel in using lace, then finding an appropriate cake baking course is a must.

          If you wish to obtain skills to start your own business, then I suggest an online course which I personally recommend, who lays out everything that you need to start; Cakers School. Their courses are concise and their business tips are excellent.

          I hope that my post today will give you another perspective of cake artistry and that now see, how lace can be a simple yet elegant addition to your cake designs.

          I encourage you to vary your cake decorating skills by trying a few of these lace techniques. If you have your own lace technique, and it is not included here, you can comment below and share it too.

          May you have a wonderful day,

          Cake Artistry Featured Image

           

          ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

          Art Thou Cakes Alternative Ingredients in Cake Artistry for Food Intolerance

          Alternative Ingredients in Cake Artistry for Food Intolerance






          My post today was inspired by a comment made by one of my readers, Emily, from my post about royal icing being the queen. She had asked bout using alternative ingredients in place of egg whites. I promised to write a post specifically for this and about using alternative ingredients in Cake Artistry for food intolerance.

          I used to work at a natural medicine college, where I learned about the holistic make up of my health.

          From as young I as I remembered, eating dairy or gluten always left me with side effects. Dairy made me sprint to the bathroom, and gluten caused me to bloat so much; my stomach hurt. I found that I was losing energy, not sleeping well, and often blamed it on work related stress etc.

          Fortunately for me, all my colleagues were practicing naturopaths, who advised me to get a hair test in our clinic. I took their advice and what I suspected all along was confirmed. I am both, dairy and gluten intolerant, as well with egg, banana and a few other foods.

          Once I understood and accepted this knowledge, I tried my best to refrain from any gluten or dairy products (okay, to be honest, I actually really struggle with this – I love cheese and hot white bread).

          I have used a great recipe e book ‘Grave Bakery Gluten Free Cook Book‘ – this is a great starter for desserts that do not to include: gluten, grains, peanuts, refined sugars and soy.

          I also, researched alternatives to what foods I could tolerate and ones that I couldn’t. I also gained a lot of knowledge about the range of alternative ingredients that I can utilise in cake artistry, to help those who have food intolerance, like myself.

          Egg White

          Even if you are not intolerant to eggs, you may still hate that ‘eggy’ taste in meringues or other light cakes. I dislike sponge cake and pavlovas, only because of the strong egg flavour, I only include sponge cake in my Christmas trifles and pavlovas are always smothered in fresh cream, with layers of fruit.

          Aquafaba

          A lovely alternative to egg, is aquafaba,(further information can be found on the Vegan Society’s page).This is the name given to legume brine.

          It is by far the cheapest and most perfect replacement for egg white. The brine can be drained straight from the can of legumes or chick peas. The other way to get this liquid is from slowly cooking dried beans in water for a few hours, until the brine becomes like the egg white consistency (of course it needs to be cooled first).

          Other acceptable aquafaba is water from packaged tofu. The measurement of aquafaba per egg is 3 tablespoons (although according to the Vegan Society, this is not a hard-fast rule).

          Aquafaba can be whisked and layered into sponge cakes, meringues and pavlovas. This liquid is also just as delicious and effective in creating meringue type buttercream icings.

          Aquafaba can also be an alternative to using meringue powder (which is dried egg white powder) in royal icing.

          Flour

          Okay, I know that this ingredient is really for baking, rather than for cake artistry/decorating, however the information is still useful for those who need an alternative for gluten/wheat.

          You can purchase gluten free flour from the stores, my favourite is the Namaste brands. Remember that food intolerance vary in levels to how much a person can handle, and for those who are high (such as celiac disorder), it would be better to make your own mix of flour.

          12 alternative flours:

          1. Chickpea flour
          2. Quinoa flour
          3. Buckwheat flour
          4. Sorghum flour
          5. Almond flour
          6. Rice flour
          7. Tapioca (also known as Starch flour or arrowroot flour)
          8. Potato Starch
          9. Xanthum gum (guar gum) – this is also used together with fondant in creating toppers or pasting icing decorations
          10. Coconut flour
          11. Polentia flour
          12. Chestnut flour

          Each flour type has their own specific taste and texture and I suggest that you research recipes, that are suitable to what you are creating/baking. Some have a stronger smell than others and could easily be disguised with natural flavourings.

          Dairy

          Here are 5 alternatives that can replace dairy products:

          1 – Milk

        • Cashew Milk
        • Rice Milk
        • Soy Milk – if you are not allergic to this of course
        • Almond Milk
        • Coconut Milk
        • Hemp/ Flax Milk Again, as with flour, these different milk substitutes have varying effects on the recipe being used. For much thicker consistency, I suggest using coconut milk – which also can be bought from organic stores without flavours.2 – Butter
        • Coconut oil
        • Olive Oil
        • Vegetable spreads (not a fan of these)
        • Avocado (mashed) – this is only good when the recipe is an uncooked food – great as a chocolate cake icing
        • 3 – Cheese

          4 – Whipped Cream

          • Thick coconut cream – whipped

          5 – Condensed Milk

          • Mix Coconut milk and maple syrup (yum)

          Sugar

          I use pure organic maple syrup (you are lucky if you live in Canada, because these are so expensive anywhere else)

          I have friends who are from Canada and they gave me a taste of their mayple syrup bottle (specially delivered from Canada to New Zealand) – after that I came back home and threw away any fake syrups in the cupboard. I never bought any more non-pure, maple syrup again.

          The other organic sweetener, that I use as a subsitute for sugar is 100% pure honey, now that is one thing that I can say I am blessed for, living in New Zealand. Our honey is among the best in the world, especially Manuka honey, which is renowned for its healing properties.

          You can also use stevia, isomalt or coconut raw sugar too, as an alternative to using white sugar.

          Conclusion

          Now, if you are following a specific diet or health program, you will be able to find just about every type of food can be substituted, however, for the sake of cake artistry, I have only listed the main food items that I would use as alternatives in my cake artistry.

          I do not get much cake art orders that require gluten free or dairy free products and I certainly do not profess to be a pro in this area.

          It is my intention that this may help a reader find some alternatives to their own food intolerance, especially when creating cake art.

          Please comment or share your own experiences with food intolerance, so that I can learn and that it may further help other readers as well.

          Until my next blog,

          Cake Artistry Featured Image

           

          ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

          Art Thou Cakes best cleaning ingredient baking powder

          The Best Cleaning Ingredient to use – in Cake Artistry





          In this post I digress from creating to cleaning. Food preparation must always go hand in hand with hygiene and cleanliness, and, although the Food Safety regulations require the use of strong chemicals to maintain a 99% germ free environment for food preparation, I still prefer to use my own natural or home made cleaning products.

          There are several ordinary kitchen ingredients that I use when I clean my kitchen and baking utensils (actually I use these for just about everything in my house).

          I use white vinegar, lemons, olive oil/vegetable oil, baking soda, used green tea bags, baking powder, walnuts and a list of many other ordinary kitchen products and ingredients. Each item has their own valuable use. However, you will be surprised to know that my favourite of all these items, is the humble baking powder…hold on, you might say, “but, don’t you mean the baking soda?”

          Nope, I meant the baking powder – I do know about the baking soda and how it is also useful, but I will prove to you why I believe the baking powder outshines the baking soda, and why, it is the best cleaning ingredient to use, in cake artistry.

          Art Thou Cakes The Best Cleaning Ingredient for Cake Artistry Baking Powder

          Background Information About Baking Powder

          In the past, the process of baking was very painful (when pounding or kneading for hours to get the correct texture) and used to take hours waiting, for the baked goods to rise under the correct temperatures. Failure to rise meant that the whole process had to be repeated or the household was forced to eat rock breads and cakes, (hey, I remember this in the Flintstones cartoon!).

          According to an article written by Ben Panko, in Smithsonian.com, a British Chemist by the name of Alfred Bird, created baking powder in the late 1840s. He combined cream of tartar with baking soda, as a way to assist his wife’s bread making. However, cream of tartar was too expensive and each ingredient had to be used separately to avoid reacting too early prior to being baked.

          The patent and refinement of baking powder into what we now know and use, came about in 1856, by Eben Norton Horsford a young chemist, driven by the search for an alternative product. Later in history many other companies joined in further improving this food chemical ingredient. Baking powder has become a multi million dollar industry, which is hard to believe when you look at how cheap and humble the ingredients are.

          Ingredients in Baking Powder

          Originally, and in fact quite interestingly, baking powder, was made from a combination of mono calcium phosphate (extracted from, boiled down animal bones) and baking soda. The resulting compound was an acid that created the much-needed CO2 bubbles.

          Nowadays, it is made from mined mono calcium phosphate (rather than boiled down animal bones, and this is the part where all the vegetarians sigh in relief) and baking soda.

          As far as baking is concerned, I am happy with the fact, that I do not have to pound or wait for hours for my cakes to rise.

          So why do I use baking powder for cleaning?

          Simple: it can be used on its own or just with water. Huh? you may say…

          I will repeat it: it can be used by itself or with water. It is cheap to buy.

          Then you might respond, how did you come up with such a brilliant (or dumb) idea?

          Well, I came upon this, by accident.

          One day whilst cleaning my bath tub, which was ringed with greasy dirt residue (my least favourite area to clean), I wanted to use something that wasn’t going to make me high and queasy. I had read many reviews about baking soda before being used together with white vinegar, so I got some from my kitchen and mixed as required in a spray bottle.

          I was amazed by how quick and easy the application was. The bath tub shone, like it was never used (I banned my family from it for a few days but that didn’t last).

          Okay, so I wanted to bake a cake that evening and after rummaging through my cupboard, found my baking soda untouched and my baking powder all used up.

          Hmm, I thought, surely I bought a new box (both baking soda and baking powder have very similar Edmonds packaging). It dawned on me that I had used the baking powder by mistake. That’s when I also realized that I may have found my miracle cleaning ingredient. Aha! Baking Powder.

          I do not fully understand the full chemical stuff that goes on behind baking powder, but I do remember when I was young many eons ago) having being told to use baking powder to oust a fire on the stove. This practice still works, you know. However, other than that, the only thing I do know for sure is that there is something about baking powder that makes it slightly different as a cleaning agent.

          I guess, this I will understand in due time with more research, but for now, it cleans very well and that is all that matters.

          There are many ways that I would like to share about how I use baking powder, but I would like to show you how I use it specifically, for when I have finished my cake artistry. So here we go.

          My Kitchen hack for cleaning baking ware

          If you are like me, and have to clean a lot of baking ware/pans with hard to clean cake residue then follow these simple instructions. I promise you that you won’t need to scrape or scratch your baking tins so that they end up looking like my image below.
          Art Thou Cakes the Best Cleaning Ingredient for Cake Artistry Scratched Bake Ware

          To my family’s delight I woke up early this morning and baked a few cupcakes (all eaten by the time I took these photos), so that I could show you how I clean my bake ware with baking powder.

          I purposefully created a mess so that I can have some hard to clean baked residue. These spots harden when cooled and are very hard to clean.Art Thou Cakes The Best Cleaning Ingredient to use in Cake Artistry hard to clean residue

          1. First pour or spray cold water into the baking tin.
          2. Use a food grade brush to brush the baking powder on to each spot to be cleaned.Art Thou Cakes The Best Cleaning Ingredient for Cake Artistry Baking Powder Use a Brush
          3. When the baking powder has been brushed on to the baked residue, spray again with water and leave for 5-10 minutes.Art Thou Cakes The Best Cleaning Ingredient for Cake Artistry Baking Powder with Water
          4. After the minutes are up, use a water soaked kitchen cloth and wipe the spots off. You will find that they come off easily.Art Thou Cakes the Best ingredient for Cake Artistry Wipe with water soaked clothArt Thou Cakes the best Cleaning Ingredient for Cake Artistry Wipe with a cloth
          5. Rinse the baking tin under cold water to clean everything and to make sure that no more residues have remained.Art Thou Cakes The best Cleaning Ingredient Rinse with Water
          6. You will now have a beautifully cleaned bake ware, and best of all there are no harsh scratches.Art Thou Cakes The Best Cleaning Ingredient baking Powder leaves no harsh scratches behind
          7. A closer look below

          Art Thou Cakes the best cleaning ingredient for cake artistry a closer look

            Conclusion

            And there you have it. Baking powder doesn’t need vinegar, the cleaning process is quick, and your bake ware, will be left without any scratches. Baking powder is a non toxic chemical that will not fume you to high heavens, and is very cheap to buy. Try it and see, for yourself.

            Thank you again for visiting my post. What are your most favourite bake-ware cleaning products/ingredients? Do share if you found this post useful to you in any way, or comment on anything that you may need help in.

            Have a lovely day and see you again in my next post,

            Cake Artistry Featured Image

             

            ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

            Most used cake artistry cake decorating techniques

            Royal Icing – The Queen of All Frostings





            Royal icing, may appear to be a difficult and outdated cake decorating technique, yet it still results in some of the most elegant and splendid cake designs that exist today.

            My attraction to Royal Icing

            I used to stand for hours, at a local cake decorator’s shop window, transfixed with the way her skillful hands, caressed the royal icing around her cakes. I had no cake artistry skills in those days, or had any knowledge of what royal icing was, being a twenty-something year old, who was on the wrong track of life heading into the nowhere, at this time.

            I thought back to when I used to day dream of decorating cakes, some day, with that same level of expertise.

            Fast forward, many years into my mid-thirties: divorced; living with three kids; as a solo mum, on an income that was dependent on the government’s generosity. I could view my lost dreams again, once I got back on my feet towards independence and taught myself how to breathe once more. My dreams to become a cake artist, became a reality.

            The first cake order, that I had ever made, was for a twenty-first birthday. The first icing that I took the time to learn and use, was royal icing. I believe that it was the best cake that I had ever decorated by hand. Sadly, I was too poor at the time to a have a means to capture and save a picture, but it will forever be imprinted in my mind, as being my first and ‘almost’ professional looking cake.

            Today, I can honestly say that, after meany years of cake artistry, royal icing is, the queen of all frostings.

            Basic Requirements

            Here are some basic requirements to note before you delve into the art of mastering royal icing:

            • You will need a good quality kitchen aid stand mixer to prepare your icing, and especially if you have more than one cake. I use the KitchenAid KSM7586PSR 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer Sugar Pearl Silver. There are other excellent kitchen aid mixers, also designed by other brands but I prefer this one, as it is durable and the style is much more “non-fiddly”. By this I mean that the mixer can be moved up and down, so that the mixing bowl can be easily removed, unlike the usual design of twisting the mixers off (getting icing all over the place). Also, it is much cheaper than most brands, but has all the qualities required to make beautiful icings/frostings. 
            • You also need a set of cake spatulas and a long stainless steel ruler (to get precise and straight edging) 
            • Use large food grade covered bowls to store un-used icing inside a chiller/fridge. 
            • Once cakes are covered, they should be stored in dry, dark areas free of ants and other small pests.
            • Ensure that you have a quality stainless steel set of piping equipment and reusable piping bag/s.
            • Use food grade gloves – it could be a very sticky business.
            • Allow yourself plenty of time to decorate your cake/s. 
            • Always try to use fresh ingredients to enhance the flavors and to get quality results.
            • Make sure that you work promptly when covering cakes – as royal icing can harden within minutes of application. 
            • I suggest using turn tables for round cakes only, and to just work around square cakes one side at a time.
            • Cakes must be crumbed first using, either; a layer of marzipan, or a thin layer of fondant, before being covered in royal icing. 

            To Egg, or Not to Egg? That is The Question?

            Royal icing can be either, purchased from a store or made with your own home made recipe.

            As usual, and if you have been following me in my posts this far, you will know that I prefer to make my own icings from scratch, unless, of course, there is absolutely no other option. Royal icing do not involve too many ingredients and can be whipped up ahead of time and stored in the fridge/chiller at least 3 days ahead.
            Basically, there are two ways to make royal icing; with or without raw eggs. I like both, however, my choice to use one instead of the other, is purely based, on the amount of time to prepare it, before the cake is to be eaten.

            Using Eggs:


            If a cake is made to be eaten within a day of its creation, I often leave the decorating until the evening before, for when the temperature has cooled down, and to also ensure that egg whites are still safe to be eaten.

            Always try to obtain fresh organic eggs, as this will lesson any food safety risks in your ingredients. Fresh eggs always taste so much better and has a better outcome to your icing.

            When I wish to incorporate raw eggs (whites only), I use Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing Recipe, which uses basic (affordable) ingredients and is easy to follow. However, instead of water, I use lemon juice. The addition of lemon juice adds a nice balance to the overbearing sweet taste of icing sugar (pound sugar or confectioner’s sugar). People who have tasted my cakes welcome the tartness as a pleasant surprise.

            Not using Eggs – The Alternative:

            The second method to making Royal Icing, uses no eggs. The alternative ingredient is to use Meringue Powder – which can be bought or made ( in my opinion, the process for making meringur powder, is so time-consuming and  “niggly” that I choose to just buy the stuff instead).

            Technically, and the irony is: Meringue Powder is actually made from eggs, but it eliminates the use of raw eggs – It is great for those who are allergic, vegan, or have some sort of intolerance to raw eggs. Meringue Powder helps the royal icing to harden in less time and can hold its shape, in both cold and hot weather as well.

            When using meringue powder, I follow the basic recipe created by Sally’s baking Addiction which is just as simple as Martha’s raw egg recipe. Again, I use lemon juice instead of water, for the same reasons that I gave with the raw egg method.

            Both Royal Icing methods, can be flavoured and coloured accordingly. They can both be  made ahead of time and chilled a few days before their use.

            My Story – Why Lemon Juice Instead of Water?

            Well, there is actually a story to why I like to use lemon juice and it is one of my many childhood memories of, now, what shall we call it? “un-witnessed crimes”. The story goes like this:

            My family was invited to one of my many cousins’ one – year old birthday celebrations. I was about six years of age at the time (1978), and my aunt had left her baby girl’s lovely pink birthday cake, (that she had lovingly made), on a small hall side table, covered in thick lace.

            The children were told to strictly stay out of the house and away, from the birthday cake. We were all banned to the backyard to play hide-and-seek. 

            Now, I had seen the cake just before my aunt had covered it and I was so intrigued by the cute little rosettes, that I couldn’t help sneaking back into the house, when the adults weren’t watching.

            Royal icing Queen of all Icings-using lemon juice

            I started by sniffing, the delicious smell, then I thought, just one little touch wouldn’t hurt, but after a rosette broke off, I had to eat it, (to get rid of any evidence) and before long, I had eaten a big chunk of the corner, leaving a massive hole. 

            OMG! It was so, so  delicious! – homemade chocolate cake and yummy, yummy, yummy lemony pink royal icing…mmmmm. I quickly composed myself (when I realised what will happen if i got caught),  covered the cake, wiped my mouth and took off outside to continue hide-and-seek with the other kids, just as if nothing had happened.

            I do not remember much of the cake being brought out later, but I do remember my aunt being furious and only caught snippets of my parents asking, who would’ve done such a terrible thing. Needless to say, I didn’t say a word, and as you do, being a child,  forgot about it, growing up. But, I never forgot the taste of that glorious tangy pink royal icing, the reason why I endeavor to make my icings taste just as good as they look.

            There you go, I have just admitted to a crime that I was never punished for, and hopefully that cousin of mine won’t ever read my blogs.

            You may ask, so what was the purpose of this story again? The purpose is to show you, that sometimes I use a particular flavour, because I reminisce about something amazing that I had tasted in my childhood (and try to incorporate it in my cake artistry) so that my cake eaters can experience my stories, as well.

            Despite this, if you prefer not to use lemon, then by all means, it is, after all, your preference that matters.

            Using skills that are unique to Royal Icing

            Unlike fondant, royal icing cannot and should not be rolled. Instead, it is applied by hand, using a lathering technique, a little similar to how buttercream is applied. However, royal icing is much trickier, when trying to be precise in straight and sharp edgings.

            Royal icing Queen of all icings mastering royal icing

            Decorating with royal icing takes a lot of patience to master, and might, at first sight, appear to be really difficult, but as you get familiar with using icing tips – you will get better and much faster at it. 

            Royal icing looks more elegant with the use of smaller tips. Actually the smaller the icing tip used, the more intricate the detail/designs.This is what I prefer, when piping designs straight onto my covered cakes.

            Instead of a scraper, I choose to use a large and long cake spatula or stainless steel ruler (as seen in the image). It takes longer to cover a cake because you need to follow a rule of thumb; 24 hours for each covered side to dry, before the next side is to be covered in icing. A circular cake may in comparison, not be as time-consuming to cover and to dry, although the rule of thumb will still apply.

            The reasons for this? So, that each layer of covering is given enough time to harden and to dry completely, before the next layer. Failure to do this, will result in your cake sagging, or losing its shape if its foundations are not dry. This also results in decorations falling off the main structure (trust me, you don’t want this happening while everyone is watching).

            So in effect, a cake needs to be covered at least a few days ahead, so that you can give yourself time to get the decorations done in time. I suggest doing this, at least a week or two before you start decorating.

            Mastering Such Finesse

            In regards to simplicity and elegance, I rate royal icing to be the best above all the other icing techniques. Although it is outdated, It is a skill that cannot be mastered without much practice and help from more experienced cake decorators short online courses and, watching lots of other people’s cake videos and blogs. I suggest that you do the same, if you are serious about starting a cake artistry business.

            I continue to up-skill myself in mastering this icing for my cake artistry, and still believe that royal icing is the queen of all frostings. It is my hope that this post will help you also, to improve your own knowledge/skills in using Royal Icing, as part of your cake artistry.

            Please leave a few words below, on your thoughts about royal icing or, ask me anything that I may help you with.

            See you again soon,

            Cake Artistry Featured Image

             

            ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

            Art Thou Cakes Creating Cake Artistry with Printed Edible Images Logo

            IcingInks Professional Edible Printer Review – Creating Cake Artistry With My Own Images

            The product I am reviewing, is an item that many people believe, is only accessible to the large manufacturing or baking companies.

            It is the edible printer.

            It still amazes me today, how many people have not yet heard of, let alone used, this product in their cake creations.

            Art Thou Cakes Creating Cake Artistry using Edible Printer Guilty Pleasure

            For me, it is my ‘dirty little secret’ or my ‘guilty little pleasure’, because within the cake artistry world,  it is almost like purposefully cheating.

            Of course, I love to create, using any type of cake artistry media, and I like to make  my creations from scratch, but there are, rare moments in my life, when I am just too lazy to decorate.

            I am human, after all.

            This is, when I utilise a product or service, to make cake artistry a little easier and much faster, without diminishing the quality of outcome.

            I would like to show you in this product review, how, having an edible printer gives me the capacity to create spectacular cake artistry, with my own images.

            It is not my intention to prove how good this product really is, but to give you enough information to decide for yourself, whether it is useful for you, or not.

            Reasons For Using a Quality Edible Printer to Enhance My Cake Artistry

            If you do not have an edible printer and think that, it is too expensive or you will not have that much use for it,  then I will give you my reasons, for why having a good quality edible printer, is going to be worth it, in the long run:

            • It Saves time
              – Images can be created on the computer,  printed immediately, and pasted straight on to the covered cake.
              – No need to order online and wait for one sheet of printing to arrive 4 to 7 days (sometimes arriving after it is needed).
              – It is there, it is available.
            • It Saves money
              – No need to buy any extra decorating stuff.
              – Saves me from having to pay shipping costs for just one sheet of A4 (costs $20 per sheet + freight $15 = $35 in total!! for just one lousy edible sheet!). See where I am going with this?
            • You are in control 
              – Sometimes, what I ordered from a shop, does not look anything like I wanted it to be, and then I have to re-order or change my design (this always sucks big time, when I am running out of time).
            • It Looks Professional
              – Images are sharp and clear – I usually print my letters/text or numbers for a perfectly inscribed look.
              – If you have an order from a business/organisation – you can add the logo to a cake.
            • Any image can be printed
              – I can print my own website/business logos/personal signatures on cupcakes or cakes (to be given to my customers, as a small token of appreciation).
              – I can print small quotes or messages for the top of my cakes.
              – I can add my children’s pictures on top of  their birthday cakes.
              – I can add children’s favourite cartoon characters (just note that you may need to consider any copyright, when doing so).
              – The images can be printed in either colour or monotones.
              – I can create prints and patterns, that is normally traced by hand.
              – For those who are not so artistic, you can: print tiny details for toppers,
              such as face details for a figurine/model; buttons on a fondant model’s shirt; detailed butterfly or bumble bee wings; toy details, that can be pasted on; details on leaves, petals or, musical notes;  and basically anything that you can imagine.
              -Printable fondant sheets and rice wafer paper can be used.
              – Colours are easier to access and are better matched to what you want.
            Art Thou Cakes Creating Cake Artistry using Edible Printer for Text and Logos

            My sister’s graduation cake – using edible printed details for her Thesis cake

            • Ease of use
              Edible paper goes in one end and prints come out the other end, just like a normal document printer.
            • Easy to maintain and clean
              – It doesn’t take up much room to store.
              – It can be cleaned easily with self cleaning products (usually included with a printer bundle/set).
              – Additional products can be conveniently re-ordered online, such as fondant sheets, wafer paper and edible ink.
            • Quality Products
              – You can ensure that all products used are of high quality (more than often the fondant sheets used in a purchased print is not what I anticipated, and fondant is either too thin or too thick).
            • Life is sweet!
              – An edible printer makes my life, that much easier, and  I can use my saved time to ‘chillax’, enjoy coffee and eat cake.

             

            Okay, now you know what the benefits are, in owning your own edible printer.

            Would You Like To Know Which Printer I Prefer?

            I use a top of the range IcingInks professional edible printer, in creating cake artistry with my own images. It is the current bestseller of its kind,in the market right now.

            Kitchen & Dining reviews, has listed the IcingInks professional edible printer package, as one of its top 10 Edible Ink Printers, in 2018.

            Including the IcingInks Professional Edible Printer as part of your cake decorating products, will be an added bonus for you. Especially, if you are wanting to run a small baking business from home.

            It will add a touch of professionalism to your cake artistry or whatever cake design you create. You can also use it to get some money back by selling your printed toppers to others who do not have their own edible printer.

            Product Specifications for the IcingInks Professional Edible Printer Package

            Art Thou Cakes IcingInks professional edible printer package

            Product Name: IcingInks Professional Edible Printer
            Price: in USD ***CLICK FOR CURRENT*** PRICE >>>
            Actual Worth:  More than $430 USD
            Cheapest place to buy: Amazon

            Shipping: International and local

            Shipping Weight: 28 pounds
            Size of the printable fondant paper:  Prints up to 8.5″ x 11.7″,  (22cm x 28cm)
            Guarantee: Lifetime free technical support within USA and 12 months company warantee.
            My Ratings: 9.5/10

            Items Included: Frosting Sheets, Icing Sheets, Sugar Sheets, Wafer Sheets, Rice Paper, and Chocolate Transfer Sheets Edible Ink Cartridges Canon CLI-271XL/PGI-270XL , worth more than 190 USD

            – Set of 5 Edible Cartridges XL Size model name CLI-271XL, PGI-270XL,  worth worth more than 65 USD

            – Set of 5 Edible Cleaning Cartridges XL Size model name CLI-271XL, PGI-270XL, worth worth more than 65 USD

            –  Refill Edible Ink 4 Bottles (120ml each bottle of 4 colours), worth worth more than 67 USD

            – Injector Refilling tools, worth more than 5 USD

            – Pack of 12 Premium Frosting Sheets (Icing Sheets are FDA, Kosher All of the products are made in the USA using high-grade food colouring material), worth more than 25 USD

            – Edible Printing Instruction Manuals & Free Life Time Image Editing Designing From IcingInk

            – Edible cleaning cartridges, worth more than 68 USD

            ** Note that the prices quoted are all in USD and may be can changed by Amazon at any time.

            Art Thou Cakes Creating Cake Artistry with edible printer butterflies

            Other Price Comparisons

            Fishpond sells this same item for almost twice the price it is sold for,  in Amazon.

            Amazon Customer Star Ratings

            4 and a half out of 5 customer review stars

            Awesome Features Which I Discovered

            • You can send and print images straight from your mobile phone or tablet.
            • The lights blink when cartridge has been place correctly.
            • The quality of image is excellent.
            • Customer service and care is outstanding.

            Things to Note When Applying Edible Prints to Cakes

            • If the weather is hot, place printed fondants in the freezer for a few minutes, before using it, so that the image is not stretched out of proportion.
            • If the weather is too cold, then warm the printed fondant sheet between your hands with waxed or baking paper, between your hands and the fondant sheet. This ensures print to be pliable enough to stick on to the cake without cracking.
            • Make sure that the cake is at room temperature and quite dry to the touch, before pasting the printed fondant sheet on to, the top.
            • Removing the edible paper may get a little sticky, but if you use a sharp knife to scale it off the backing paper (as if filleting a fish) then the fondant will be easier to remove.
            • Rather than wet the fondant sheet with water, I suggest using a little buttercream so that it is not wet and the colors won’t run.
            • Once they are topped with edible printing, do not store your cakes, in the fridge, this will make the fondant sweat with condensation. It is best to keep them in a dry shaded place, inside a paper box.
            • Cut printed shapes out while they are stuck to the backing paper before removing and sticking onto cakes.
            • Feed the edible paper/fondant straight to get the best alignment and to avoid the paper being scrunched in the process (another waste of product!)

            Cleaning and Maintenance

            Not all items or products last forever, and cleaning your edible printer after each use, with the proper cleaning products and services supplied by IcingInks, will ensure longevity and quality results.

            My Personal Review

            Now that I have told you all the benefits, of having an IcingInks Professional Printer, I would now like to share with you why I gave it a rating of
            9.5 out of 10.


            There are pros and cons to this product and it is only fair that you should know, so before you go and open your purse, hear me out, so that you can make an intelligent and informed decision, rather than an impulsive one, based on my positive review.

            Pros and Cons

            You may notice, from the table below, that the cons are low, compared to the pros, but it is still important that you factor these in, when considering any product, and before making any purchase.Art Thou Cakes Creating Cake Artistry using Edible Printers Pros and Cons

            Sometimes the ink cartridges will get stuck when being removed. This is understandable – with all the sugar being utilised. However, this happens only randomly and on rare occassions. It is a matter of being patient. Remove, clean then replace it again.

            Another issue is, that once an image is printed you cannot correct it and this can be a waste of products, as well as being costly.

            Despite these small issues with the product, IcingInks products and services are of high quality and is one of the top brands in anything to to do with edible printing, whether it is for printers, inks, edible paper, edible cleaning products and even edible printing software.

            The added guarantee of a life time customer service from IcingInks, is a given hallmark to their brand, and not to mention the extra items they include. This is the reason why,  I trust and prefer their edible printer package above any other.

            Conclusion

            Hopefully my product review has supplied you, with enough information to help you, make a better judgement, on whether, the IcingInks Professional Edible Printer Package, is right for you or not.

            However,  I do have to say this, that with all the good reasons, that I have written so far, surely, you have to admit, it is a darn good product to own, for your Cake Artistry.


            Also, imagine this: your decorated cakes will be the new rave among your family and friends…but, only if you don’t share your “dirty little secret” of course! ? Shhhh… (wink).

            Feel free, to leave a comment about your own experience with this product, and whether it was beneficial to you, or not.

            If you have any questions or other concerns about my product review then, I am more than happy for you, to email me personally, and I will endeavor to respond to you, as soon, as I can.

            See you again, in my next post.

            Cake Artistry Featured Image

             

            ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com

            cake decorating ideas

            My Simple Process To Get Easy Cake Decorating Ideas





            Sometimes, for many of us, thinking up cake decorating ideas can be really difficult, and can create many sleepless nights of dreaming and endless hours spent googling. I am going to write a simple process, that I follow, to get easy decorating ideas for my cake artistry.

            When I receive requests for specific occasions, I get really excited, but what excites me more, is when I am asked by my customer to surprise them with any unique design; I can pretty much do whatever I want.

            However, despite this permitted freedom, I ensure that the people, I am making the cakes for, are involved in every step; from start to finished product.

            Regardless of skill level, this simple process will assist anyone to design and create unique cake art.

            The Occasion or Purpose

            When I receive a cake order or request, I try to have an initial consult with my customer. My first question is always: what is the occasion or purpose.

            Getting this information, is crucial so that, designs can be customised according to the occasion. Some cake art designs, factor in cultural backgrounds, or to portray funny memories/thoughts, or even weird items/themes.

            You  find out about any diet requirements too, during this initial consult.

            My cousin’s children graduated from university recently and I had the pleasure of creating their cakes. She requested that some of our Tongan culture be included in the decorations. I created each cake with the university logo and decorated the sides to look just like our Tongan tapa mats (all hand painted by the way).

            Graduation cakes for my cousin

            My cousin’s children’s graduation cakes

            Another aspect to finding out about the occasion is, to get details to where the ceremony will be held. For example, if the venue/ reception will be outside, and during summer, the design of that cake will need to withstand bugs and the heat.

            Therefore, finding out the occasion or purpose, will give you, an idea of the ingredients needed and how the cake should be designed.

            Budget

            Sometimes, the amount of money that the customer can afford, will have an impact on your cake art design also. I personally like to customise my cake art to how much my customer can afford.

            For example, if a young couple cannot afford a lavish cake design, I try to offer them a more affordable yet beautiful design. This is my way of giving back to the community, nothing gives me more pleasure than to see people happy. Money does not make beautiful cake art, people do.

            For people who can afford to pay, I ask for a small non-refundable deposit (20%) to guarantee that I am paid for my time, should there be an early cancellation.

            I  would list down all the required items including my labour and make up a budget. This budget is what I use as foundation to what I use, as a final price to quote for my service and end product (less the pre-paid deposit).

            Budget list for cake orders

            I usually give ‘mate’s rates’ for friends and family, which is usually a large discount (if you are reading this and you are my friend/family – this is how much I love you, but all good since, I do get to take home a mat or large ‘doggy bag’ in return).

            I suggest that you try and get a mutual agreement for the final price, before giving your service and heart to any new project (verbal agreements are fine, if its someone you know but I suggest having it written via quote/invoice).

            Another thing to consider when agreeing on a budget and also for your decorating ideas, is, to ask about, the amount of people attending and eating the cake/s that you will be creating.

            I sometimes make an extra cake or two, as a back up, not only for any extra people (uninvited gate crashers are normally expected at our Tongan celebrations), but also, in case of any unwarranted accidents and I need to fix any cakes at very short notice (especially, for long distance deliveries).

            Note: If you make a full-time earning from your cake creations –  include any taxes to be paid (GST or Income Tax) in your budget/quote/invoice.

            Icing Type, Colors & Flavours

            Okay, this should be quite straight forward. Getting the right icing type, colors and flavouring are crucial to your cake decorating ideas/designs – this is where, constant communication with the customer is advised.

            When I was working on a recent wedding cake order, the customer changed the colors about four times during the process, because she couldn’t make up her mind what colors to use for her bridesmaids. So expect to have a few leftover unused decorations after your cake art is completed.

            Another way to get the exact coloring is to request a sample color of the fabrics being used for the venue decor, or bridal party. A photo with the intended colors is also very helpful.

            Coloring and Flavours

            Sometimes, I make a 6-inch sample cake for the customer to test, with all the required icing, coloring and flavours. I then, tweak the cake art according to the customer’s opinion.

            If my customer gives an outlandish, impossible flavor, I advise them so. However, I am always up for new challenges and if I do not find a recipe, I create a new recipe (my poor family have to test drive these new flavors of course – before I offer it to the customers).

            About 95% of the time, though, I can say, without a doubt, that I have been able to accommodate most of the flavours requested. My nephew’s wedding will be held in October next year, and he requested a yam flavored cake, which I look forward to posting about later.

            Decorating Mediums

            Some designs or decorations require different mediums for greater effect. My main specialty is hand painting and sketching on fondant. This takes great patience and time, but the special effects are worth it. I encourage you to find which medium that the customer might wish to have. If you like to specialise on a specific cake art medium, using photos of your previous work, can help your customers to choose what you prefer as well.

            Hand painted decorations on cakes

            I am not a fan of sticking on pre-made or pre-bought decorations on my cakes – as this will not be true, to what I believe true ‘cake artistry’ is all about. I do my best to create everything to at least over 90% edible decorations, rather than have plastic or non edible stuff, including sweets and ‘what nots’ added, for the sake of saving time.

            Adding fresh flowers too, for me, is not being really creative, because they were not created by you! personally, I think real flowers are just another added expense and for all their glory, leave cakes looking naked once they are removed.

            Now that I have said it, feel free to add your own thoughts into the comments section. However at the end of the day, if you disagree, just do you, so please don’t shoot me!

            Basic Design

            This is my favorite part. After, I have gathered all of the above information from my customers, I make myself a cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable spot, with an art sketch book (used specifically for my cake art) and draw to my hearts content.

            This is similar to ‘brain storming’ but I call it ‘cake storming’. I lose myself in my drawings (very therapeutic) and when I believe I have a design, I take a screen shot with my phone and send it to my customer for their final comments/approval.

            Cake storming ideas

            Sometimes, if time is not an issue, I create a miniature 3-D cake model, made from glued cardboard paper and foam, and decorate with the colors. This helps me to visualise a final product and to stay focused during my work.

            I try to remain true to my customer’s requests, in my cake art. If I am given no requests, I try to use the customer’s personalities and likes, to allow them to be still a part of the process.

            Sometimes, I ask permission to view their social media pages. In this way, I am always focused on what my customer’s wants are, and not about how good I think my cake art is.

            Conclusion

            I would like to conclude this blog with a brief summary of what I have just written. In order to create unique cake art, you must have some cake decorating ideas or designs in mind. Sometimes this is the most difficult hurdle to jump.

            Have a consult with your customer and find out: what the occasion is and/or the purpose for the cake/s; how much your cake art will cost for both the customer and yourself; get detailed information on icing type, colouring and flavouring; ask what decorating mediums are required.

            With this information sketch a basic design or make a miniature model of your cake.

            Last but not least, always keep in mind that your customer’s needs and wants are more important than a showcase of your own creativity. Therefore, by following my simple process, anyone can easily discover cake decorating ideas for their own cake artistry.

            Please comment if you have found this post useful or would like to share how you get your cake decorating ideas. Despite my suggestions, I encourage you to always remain true to you.

            Best wishes,

            Cake Artistry Featured Image

             

            ilaisaane@artthoucakes.com