May 31, 2018
Have you ever looked as those perfect, doll-like figures you've seen on Pinterest, Instagram, and cake forums and wished you could sculpt that well? Did it look like an impossible task? Something unattainable? A superhuman feat of artistic devilry?
Not so, says we! You can sculpt like that, too! And Jamie Louks of Jamie Nicole Cakes in Seattle is going to teach you how! Watch this detailed tutorial and see how very doable it is! You'll be sculpting like the masters in no time at all!
Here's what Jamie used in this video:
We hope to see our Facebook and Instagram feeds full of fun new faces in the coming weeks! And if you want to see more work, inspiration, and instruction from Jamie, follow her on Facebook and on Instagram!
May 02, 2018
You probably know her as the face of Shinyball Cakes and Shinyball Creations- Rose Brown is a life-long artist and baking dabbler. Rose discovered the strong connection of sugar and art, and has been working on her sugar art skills for the last several years. Always trying to think beyond the traditional, looking for unique techniques and with a special love for hand painting, she creates cakes for friends, family and clients that are one of a kind. She also writes a blog - www.shinyballcreations.com - that shares tips, tricks and tutorials for sugar and baking enthusiasts. And this month, Rose is sharing her blogging expertise with us at Sugarworks, and we couldn't be more excited!
Read on for an excellent journey through bringing a concept into a finished cake as well as a step-by-step tutorial on the very unique technique of cake decoupage!
Have you ever entered a cake competition – a themed competition – and then been totally stumped on what to create? I have…and very recently!
I entered a local cake show competition where the theme was “Glitz and Glamour”. Glitz and glamour… visions of glitter and shiny things everywhere! But then reality set in. I had to face it – I’m not a glittery, fancy, embellishing kind of girl. It didn’t speak to me. That left me in a bind – what on earth was I going to do??
Well, like all internet addicts, I turned to Pinterest. However – here is a tip – don’t EVER (I really mean ever) search for cakes on Pinterest when you’re looking for inspiration. I have gotten that advice from other cake artists as well. Get your inspiration from art, fashion, pottery, paper crafting – anything but other cakes. It will open things up for you and give you ideas that will be uniquely yours as you envision your own designs.
Anyways…on to my Pinterest-ing. I searched for “glamour”, I searched for “Grace Kelly”, and that took me to looking at jewelry, which led to jewelry boxes, which led to vintage jewelry boxes, which led to perfume bottles, and in looking at all these pictures I started to form my concept. The image that solidified my concept was that of a vintage looking vanity table.
And from there, everything else fell into place. I could finally visualize what I wanted to create.
Initially, the concept was a table with a stack of things on it – a large jewelry box and an oversized perfume bottle with flowers. I did a sketch and started working, but as so frequently happens to me, I changed midstream, because the way the cake was coming together needed something else.
I’ll be honest here, some of the change came about because of the size requirements of the competition, the base HAD to be 14”, which is relatively big (which will lead to some of my equipment choices you’ll read about later, hint hint). I needed something that size-wise would fit between a jewelry box and a table. In thinking about my Grace Kelly pins from earlier, I thought about a hat box – I had the right size dummies ready and available! I started looking at pictures of hat boxes and found inspiration in ones that had decoupage on them.
Decoupage is a form of collage that is usually used to cover items that are 3 dimensional, like boxes or even furniture. In the traditional form, you cut paper images out of thin paper and then paste them onto your item and coat everything with a layer of glue, or modge podge or other transparent adhesive that dries clear, and usually a bit shiny, but not always. I have enjoyed this kind of crafting before, so I thought – why not on my cake, and why not on a hat box tier? Poof, I had my idea!
Now I’m going to show you how I did it!
What you will need:
For any cake decoupage project, you will need the following:
- Some sort of cutting blade or exacto knife
- Piping Gel
- Confectioners Glaze
- A small flat brush
- A large brush
- Wafer paper (not pictured)
- Edible ink printer (not pictured)
- Fondant Smoother (optional, not pictured)
The fact that I could lock the turntable in place when working on small details and then loosen it to be able to rotate it was great. Never mind that the cake base was over 16” in diameter, so when I needed to work on the cake board or the vanity table tier, the expander was also a great help – no balancing acts needed!
The first step here, is to cover your cake with fondant. In my case I covered a 4” high 12” dummy for the box and a 1” high 14” dummy for the lid. I recommend doing this step a little ahead of time from your decoupage project, so that the fondant firms up a bit. Otherwise, you may dent the fondant as you work.
I’m going back to Pinterest again! I searched simply for “decoupage flowers” and a treasure trove of things showed up, like this one!
I searched for images that matched my color scheme, flower preferences and style (for me, peonies and roses with a Victorian or antique flavor) and found ones that I liked. I printed them onto wafer paper and painstakingly (although without any finger cuts!) cut out a whole mess of images! Look for images like these:
Start arranging and attach the images:
Now that I had all my paper cutouts ready, it was time to arrange the images and adhere them to the cakes. The Turntable Expander made it extra easy, because it gave me a ledge around the cake to place the cutouts and figure out where I wanted them.
To attach the images, I painted a thin coat of piping gel to the back of each image. I used piping gel instead of water for a couple of reasons – water makes wafer paper dissolve, and it makes the ink run. I didn’t want either of these things to happen.
Once you coat the back of the wafer paper, it starts to soften, and then you can adhere the image to the cake, wherever you like. If the wafer paper feels stiff, use a little more piping gel or just use your paintbrush to massage the gel into the paper more, it will loosen up.
I attached the sticky side to the fondant and used a fondant smoother to help me press the images against the side of the cake and keep my fingers away from the fragile wafer paper.
If you look at other decoupage art, usually you will find that images are overlapped, creating a new look from the existing image. This is where you can get creative – making your own garden, for example, made up of mixed images. In my case, I chose to spread the images out, because although I wanted the decoupage to stand out, I also wanted the color of the box to show through.
Shine it up:
Once the images were all adhered, I went around and made sure that all the edges were stuck down well. Once they dried a bit, I took my larger brush and some confectioners glaze, and I covered the whole cake and all the images with a coating of glaze.
I tested the glaze on the front of the images before I did this to ensure that the image ink didn’t run, and although it ran a teeny bit, it did not distort the image, and gave it more of a vintage, aged look, which I liked. I recommend that you test your images with the glaze first as well, because there is nothing worse than you brushing on a whole mess of glaze and it ruining your hard work!
Notes about Confectioners Glaze:
This stuff is mega sticky and hard to get off of things like clothing, tables, etc. Invest in some glaze thinner as well so that you can rescue your brushes afterwards and clean up any stray drips. I also recommend using a disposable container to hold your glaze while you’re painting, unless you already have a designated glaze container.
Also – never put left over confectioner’s glaze down your sink, always dispose of it in the trash instead – your pipes will thank you.
To add a little more “glitz” (remember that theme?), I adhered some imitation gold leaf around the band of the box and covered that with some glaze as well. (My soft brush from Innovative Sugarworks was wonderful for smoothing down that gold leaf!)
I also printed out some patterns I found (yes, on Pinterest) onto fabric icing sheets and cut those up to look as if there were scarves trying to escape out of the box. You can use your imagination here and do all sorts of fun things to have peeking out of the box.
Now that the hat box was complete, it was ready to stack onto the vanity table base and have the jewelry box, perfume bottle and vase sit on top of it. I’m thrilled to tell you that even though I was originally stumped by the competition theme, there is a very happy ending to this story – my cake won 1st prize in my division! Wow…that was a shock and surprise, and I was so honored.
I hope you give this technique a try. It’s lots of fun to do, and it really makes an impression!
We hope you enjoyed Rose's tutorial on cake decoupage! It's a beautiful and striking visual technique that we don't see used very often. Maybe now that you've all seen it done, our Instagram feed will light up with decoupage!
If you want to see more of Rose's gorgeous work, follow her on Social Media:
And make sure you keep an eye on her blog - ShinyBallCreations.com - for more great tutorials, instructions, and caking advice!
April 03, 2018
Zoe Burmester is an internationally recognized, multi-award winning cake artist based in Somerset, UK. She is known for her highly detailed, realistic sculpted cakes, and a style defined by precise skill and a touch of whimsy.
In addition to running her own cake shop- Sugar Street Studios, Zoe has had her work featured on television, in magazines, in online collaborations, and at international cake shows. She is a regular contributor to Cake Decoration and Sugarcraft Magazine and a sugarcraft tutor.
Today Zoe is showing how she made this awesome Hip Hop Croc cake!
We hope you enjoyed Zoe's tutorial! If you want to learn more about Sugar Shapers, check them out in our shop here.
And Sugar Street Studios has a brand new website coming soon! Bookmark this page and check back soon to see when it's up: www.sugarstreetstudios.com
March 13, 2018
March is a unique month for us in the Sugarworks Blog. Rather than reaching out to artists whose work we were familiar with, we held a contest for people interested in blogging. We were curious to see if anyone would respond who might be a little off our radar. And boy were we impressed with the submissions! It was so hard to choose that we ultimately went with 2 bloggers for this month, and we are super excited to introduce our 2nd March Artist- Brad Jarman!
Brad is having a wonderful time exploring the world of cake, cookie and cupcake decorating. Several years ago he began this journey with the Techniques and Art of Professional Cake Decorating program at the Institute for Culinary Education, where he had the incredible good fortune to study cake design under the legendary Toba Garrett. He is currently enrolled in the school's Introduction to Pastry and Baking course and is having a fabulous time playing with food and continuing to learn about the cake and baking arts.
Brad comes to the world of sugar from a decade of practice as an attorney. Being a lawyer is fun in its own way, but it is definitely not as sweet! Today, Brad is going to teach us how thoughtful design is as important as well-developed skill.
I want to talk a bit about cake design. I come to cake decorating after a decade spent practicing as an attorney - transitioning from that structured, organized setting into cake decorating, a craft of creation and creativity, was a stretch for me in many ways. In particular, I discovered that coming up with a workable cake design is not as easy as it seems! I still recall a cake I designed several years ago. In my mind it would be a towering celebration of my skills. A show-stopping extravaganza. An extravagant statement piece.
I wish I could tell you that’s how this story ended. In reality, when all was said and done? Child, it was a mess.
Techniques clashed, there was no coherent theme, and it generally looked like multiple tiers from different cakes were stacked at random. So what went wrong?
The problem was not technique. I had the skills I needed to produce quality work. The problem was my approach to my design - in my mind, only the most complicated, elaborate work would do. I felt like this was my only chance to show everything I had learned.
In reality, the designs that I most often find inspiring are simple, with components that complement each other gracefully (think of white tiers with draped fondant and a handful of sugar flowers - stunning!) In my previous life as an attorney I learned that legal arguments are best presented in an organized way with a coherent theory - couldn't I use that way of thinking for designing a clean and uncomplicated cake?
Don’t get me wrong - a complex design executed thoughtfully can be truly beautiful. For me, though, as I continue to learn about the craft of cake decorating, part of my growth as a cake artist means being open to cake designs that are simpler, with attention to the details that make the project feel clean.
I recently made this tiled cake, and using that piece as a backdrop I'd love to share my process for creating a simple cake design with you. While I am focusing on the design process here, and not the mechanics for creating this cake, I have to note that my Sugar Shapers were instrumental in making this cake. I used them for cleaning up edges around my tiles, and also for filling in the gaps between tiers (this is called "gunging" and Kaysie Lackey has a great video on it which I found super helpful!)
Cake design is truly personal, but hopefully my process will be useful to you as you come up with your own approach and clean designs.
- Limited colors. Creating and complementing colors is a wonderful part of cake decorating. However, just like a painter doesn’t use every color in every single painting, cakes with just a few colors can be gorgeous - a white cake with all white flowers never goes out of style. For my work, I used white tiles, soft pink tiles, and gold - that’s it. I considered an ombré effect because I am apparently obsessed with making things complex. However, multiple shades could have felt busy, so I resisted, and I’m glad I did.
- Embrace the space. If you’ve ever been in a room with too much furniture it makes the walls feel like they’re closing in. I hate that. One of the hardest things for me to learn was that empty space on a cake is not necessarily unfinished - it can often add a great deal to the overall design. Just like interior design, with cakes sometimes less is more. For this cake half of the bottom tier is undecorated, with more blank space as the tiers go up. I wanted a cake that was not busy or distracting, and this space is crucial.
- Limited elements. Don't try to cram every technique into a single work. No one wants to listen to a song where all of the notes are being played constantly - we like music when notes and rhythms are arranged in ways that are pleasing, and cakes are no different. For my tiled cake, I used three elements. The tiles, uniform in shape, represent the first element; these are combined with a gold-brushed tier, element number two, and topped by a single dahlia (many thanks to Innovative Sugarworks for making this great Dahlia cutter set, and the awesome video on how to use it!) I felt an urge to make the design more complex with a spray of flowers...I told you I have a problem. I decided not to, though, because it felt finished without it.
- Gentle movement. Cakes invite the eye on a journey. Think about a cascade of sugar flowers spiraling around multiple tiers - the eye naturally follows the cascade, taking in the sights along the way. For this design I arranged the tiles in a soft arc curving right and then back to the left. The dahlia sits in the non-tiled space and keeps the eye moving along. Aim for gentle, relaxed movements, like ice skaters (the parts where they are gliding and twirling ethereally; not the movements they make when they attempt a jump and fall to the ice.)
None of these are hard and fast rules. A cake with numerous colors can feel quite simple if the design leaves most of the space on the cake undecorated, just as a cake with no blank space could feel elegant with a simple design repeated on every tier. While I will probably always struggle with being a complexaholic, the projects I've been most satisfied with are those that are clean and timeless.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - learning from each other is one of the most fun parts of this field! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Instagram: @bradandbuttercream .
We're super impressed with Brad's discussion of design and aesthetic! It's so easy to be so excited about all the new techniques you've learned that you want to cram them all into your next cake, but elegance is often achieved through subtlety and simplicity. We hope you found this as helpful as we did!
We also like to give a little shout-out to photographer Rob Yaskovic who photographed Brad's bio pic and his stunning tiled dahlia cake. Check out some more of Rob's work on his website, www.yaskovic.com.
March 05, 2018
This month we've got two amazing artists sharing the spotlight at the Sugarworks blog! Our first is noted cake artist, author, and fashionista Elisa Strauss!
Before shaking up the NY cake scene, Elisa worked as a designer for Ralph Lauren. In fact, it was a cake she made for Ralph (in the shape of a Bugatti, his favorite sports car) and the heaps of praise it received from fashion industry notables that inspired her to bring her design talents to the kitchen full-time.
Elisa founded her bakery, Confetti Cakes in 2000 and has since published 2 cookbooks and appeared several times on Food Network shows, including Extreme Cake Challenge where she won the grand prize. Her creations have appeared on the Today Show, Sex and the City, The View, and Martha, and her bakery has been featured in InStyle, Martha Stewart Weddings, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Elle, Vogue, Modern Bride, New York magazine, BRIDES, Elegant Bride, and The Knot. In 2008, Elisa was even selected as one of America’s Top Ten Pastry Chef’s in Pastry Art and Design.
Today, Elisa is going to walk us through how she sculpted a life-size replica of her son for his 1st birthday cake!
I was planning on making a cute little cake for my son’s first birthday- perhaps his favorite lovey or the car he likes to play in, but then I saw a photo on my friend Sachiko’s Instagram feed from Mimicafeunion.
I told my husband I wanted to challenge myself. He looked back at me wide-eyed and in silence; I can only imagine what he was thinking. Most likely, “Oh, no” or “Here she goes again: shirking household and child-rearing duties on me.”
I had never sculpted a human head before and I thought this was the perfect opportunity…since I was the client. I have sculpted many animals in my time: dogs (check), cats (check), dinosaurs, monsters, even an alien, shark and fish (check,check,check,check, and yes, check)- but never a human. Plus, I thought it would be fun to look at my cute baby boy all day.
So I plopped him down in my studio and asked him to turn to the side so I could snap his profile. Luckily, he cooperated :-). I also took a photo of him in the position I wanted for the cake and blew it up based on the size (and amount of cake) I needed.
This cake took lots of planning. Aside from just the size and amount of cake to make, I needed to make a base for the bottom of the cake, a middle support board, a board for the bottom of the head, and cut holes through ALL the boards AND cake. I cut a hole through everything because I glued a dowel through the cake drum to hold all the cake together (in addition to internal support dowels).
Once the cakes were all doweled, sculpted, crumb-coated and finally iced with buttercream I was ready to start on the head. I will admit this part WAS VERY EERIE.
After carving the head, I decided it was going to be too heavy. I had enough cake to feed my guests (I baked a red velvet cake, too, because it was my cousin’s birthday and that’s his favorite!) so I opted to make the head out of styrofoam (I find Rice Krispie treats too heavy). I covered the head and made all the features out of Fondarific’s sculpting chocolate, and thank goodness for Innovative Sugarworks' Sugar Shapers…not sure how I would have done it without them! I also love my small ball tool and veining tool.
I covered the body with a combination of Satin Ice’s chocolate fondant and Fondarific’s sculpting chocolate. Then I THREADED the cake through the dowel and attached the cake to the board covered in pale blue fondant. Once I got the head pretty close to the shape I wanted then I attached everything together, the head was also threaded on dowel.
After a snow storm, a couple of sleepless nights, I finished the cake ONE HOUR before the guests arrived. And luckily for me, my awesome cousin, Jordan Pique arrived just in time to take professional photos.
I used an extruder to “embroider” his name onto the cake with Satin Ice’s pre-dyed gum paste.
On this detail shot you can see the texture I created on the “spots” with my Marvelous Molds impression mat and the zipper painted with gold dust and vodka.
My poor baby boy didn’t know what to make of the cake! I’ve already started thinking about his cake for this year.
We hope you've enjoyed this look into the challenges of sculptural cake making and how to overcome them! We can think of no sweeter tribute than to sculpt your loved ones out of cake, and Elisa did a phenomenal job with her son's likeness!
If you want to see more of Elisa's work, you can visit her website, www.elisastrauss.com or follow her on social media:
February 15, 2018
We give you a lot of recipes for sweets, desserts, and confections (for obvious reasons...), but sometimes you just crave something savory, yet still rich and indulgent. Clearly, bacon must be involved. So today we're giving you Kaysie Lackey's to-die-for Bacon Cheddar Scones. Breakfast just got dangerous.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (frozen)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 chives
- 12 pieces of bacon, cooked & chopped
- 3/4 cup extra sharp cheddar, with additional to sprinkle over tops
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Take the frozen butter and grate it into the dry ingredients. Combine using a pastry blender or rubbing between your fingers until it is in pea sized lumps. Cut in cheese.
Place back in freezer while preparing the fillings and wet ingredients.
Mix together 1/2 cup buttermilk, sour cream, and chives in a bowl. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. Fold in Bacon.
You want your dough well-blended, but don't overdo it. Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!
With floured hands, pat scone dough into balls 2 to 3 inches across, depending on what size you want. Place onto a greased baking sheet, and flatten lightly. Let the scones barely touch one another.
Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with cheese if desired. Let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are golden brown, not deep brown.
Now sit back and enjoy this decadent, savory delight.
February 07, 2018
It's February- the month of love! And we are excited to feature an artist we absolutely love as our guest artist this month- Kassy Jimenez of Cakes & Crafts by Kass!
Kassandra Jimenez AKA Kassy is a self taught home baker from California and is currently located in Central Texas. She prides herself on being upfront to her followers, enjoys connecting with her “peeps” on social media and always being there to help anyone who may need it. From running Sweets University with her Cake Sister Wife (just go with it), Joyce of Toxic Sweets Shop to blogging about all things cake, running a popular YouTube channel, and putting on a Cake Show, she is always working on something! Her style is very much her own- modern, bold, rustic and detailed cakes. Kassy has been featured in magazines, has appeared on Food Network's Cake Wars, and is a brand ambassador for Icing Images! She is a wafer paper addict and buttercream is second nature to her.
This month, Kassy has invented something meta- a way to serve your cake... on cake. We'll never use a silver platter again!
Kassy has used Innovative Sugarworks Sugar Structures to build a central armature to turn two cakes into a 2-tiered serving platter, which she then piled high with delicious treats. This is truly the cross section of innovation and decadence!
In the video below, Kassy shows you how she made the whole thing, from the wood paneled base board to the armature construction and cake making. Check it out!
And if you liked that, be sure to subscribe to Kassy's YouTube Channel for more awesome tutorials and crazy cake ideas!
You can also follow her on Facebook:
And on Instagram:
And keep up with own cake blog on her website:
January 01, 2018
Christmas might be over, but it's still cold outside! Warm up with these Mint Chocolate Mitten Treats! With that perfect winter pairing of chocolate and mint, you may not be able to get your hands in them, but you certainly won't be able to keep your hands off them!
- 5 ½ cups mini marshmallows
- 6 cups cocoa-flavored crispy rice cereal
- 3 tbs sweet cream butter
- 1 cup Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
- 2 cups chocolate candy melts or tempered chocolate
- 2 cups crushed peppermint candy
- Red, green, and white “50/50” mix of fondant and modeling chocolate
- Silver dragées or sprinkles for tree ornaments
Make Your Mint-Chocolate Crispy Treats:
- Line a pan, or cookie sheet with at least a 1/2" edge, with parchment paper
- Microwave butter on high 30 seconds or until melted
- Microwave marshmallows in 30 second increments until melted
- Microwave Andes mint chips 30 seconds or until melted
- Mix together butter, marshmallows, and Andes mints
- Incorporate melted mixture into crispy rice cereal
- Press into parchment lined pan and cool until firm
- Run a knife along edge of the crispy rice treats, invert pan
- Peal off parchment paper
Dip Those Mittens:
- Use cookie cutters to press mitten shapes out of crispy rice treats (invert for left and right mittens)
- Let shapes cool until firm
- Melt 2 cups of candy melts, add vegetable oil until smooth or use tempered chocolate
- Dip shape face down in chocolate, tap to remove excess chocolate
- Dip shape in crushed peppermint
- Set aside and allow to cool until chocolate is set
Now comes the fun part- the decorating! We'll show you how to use your Sugar Shapers to make a great knitted pattern for your mittens, as well as how to make a pom-pom wrist tie for them!
Make Your Mittens look Mitten-y:
- Roll out red 50/50 blend until ¼ inch thick
- Use Red “Tri-Tip” Sugar Shaper™ to make knit pattern
- Press mitten shape out of 50/50blend (invert for left and right mittens)
- Put onto crispy rice treat mitten (the shape you've made out of the blend will go on the side that does not have the chocolate and crushed peppermint coating)
- Press a ball of 50/50 through fine mesh strainer
- Cut with the backside of a pairing knife in a circular motion to make the toggle or pom-pom of the mitten
- Twist some thin ropes of 50/50 blend together to make a coil
- Press out white fondant snowflake and place on mitten
And why not make some Winter Pine Trees as well:
- Use a tree cookie cutter to cut some pine trees out of your crispy rice treats just like you did with the mittens, and dip them just the same
- Roll out green 50/50 blend until ¼ inch thick
- Press tree shape out
- Use Red “Tri-Tip” Sugar Shaper™ to add texture to tree
- Put your tree-shaped blend cut-outs onto your crispy rice trees
- Add silver dragées or sprinkles for ornaments, or powdered sugar for "snow"
- Decorate however you like- add a star, garland, etc!
And there you are! If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, these Mint Chocolate Crispy Rice Mittens and Pine Trees will surely sweeten the bitter pill of winter! Give them a try, and post pics to our Facebook page! We love to see what you make!
December 08, 2017
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the sweetest reindeer of all?
I'm talking about Rufus, of course! Kaysie Lackey's adorable and oh-so-delicious reindeer cake!
Rufus's basic form uses the Sugar Structure 4 Legged Standing kit, and we're going to show you in pictures how he came together!
This is what you'll need:
- Sugar Structure 4 Legged Standing kit
- Base board: 12" x 16" plywood
- Cake boards: 2 sheets 8" x 10" foam core
- Cakes: 9" x 7" x 1.5" (3 layers)
- Ganache: 750g
- Head: 4" foam ball and 5" foam egg, 50g modeling chocolate to fill gap, 75g m.c. for each cheek
- Primary body color: 800g fondant + 400g brown modeling chocolate
- White body color: 150g fondant + 75g white modeling chocolate
- Chest: 200g modeling chocolate
- Front legs: 150g modeling chocolate each
- Back legs: 200g m.c. each
- Neck: 200g m.c.
- Tail: 75g m.c.
- Muzzle: 75g primary body color + 75g yellow modeling chocolate
- Nose: 40g m.c.
- Hooves: 40g m.c. each
- Antlers: 100g m.c.
- Collar: 75g m.c.
Ok, let's get started! The first thing you want to do is cut your cake boards for Rufus's body. You're going to want 2 foam core boards to sandwich around your structure. Here are Kaysie's templates for the boards.
Next, assemble your 4 Legged Standing Sugar Structure according to the kit instructions, but splay out the legs a bit to give Rufus some motion.
Now sandwich those cake boards around your structure. Hollow out a bit of the boards where the rods will sit so the two boards fit right together around the armature, then hot glue them together.
Next stack your cakes and carve them into a nice chubby reindeer body. We find it handy to use your Sugar Shapers to draw in guidelines of where you're going to make cuts.
Refine the body's shape using small cuts- it's easier to cut more off than to add back on. The fatter your reindeer, the more servings you get.
And don't forget the reindeer booty!
Cover the body with a layer of ganache and use modeling chocolate to build out the chest.
Now make your legs out of modeling chocolate. Remember to split them open and carve out a space for the rod. Enclose the legs around the rod legs and shape as needed to attach them to the body in a natural manner. Smooth the edges over with ganache.
Now let's move on to the head. We generally use foam for heads because it's not worth the trouble of cutting cake boards, attaching, and carving for the small amount of servings you'd get from the head. So shape your foam pieces into a head by cutting the tip off the egg (this will be the top part of the head) and trimming a flat side into the ball (this will be the muzzle). Hot glue them together. Use modeling chocolate to fill in and space where the two pieces meet, to fill out the cheeks, and to build up the neck.
Rufus's basic form is made, now it's on to the fun part- making him look like a reindeer! Start by covering his whole body with the primary body color blend, then use the white blend to cover a strip running from his throat all the way to his bum.
Add on his tail, then cover the muzzle in the lighter blend and make some holes where his antlers will go.
For the ears, use a teardrop shaped cookie cutter and cut two teardrops from both the body colored blend and the white blend. Use your lip chisel (blue) and tri-tip chisel (red) Sugar Shapers to give a scalloped shape to the inside ear shapes (the white teardrops).
Attach the ears with the white side facing out. Then fold the ears downward and shape until you've got them how you like them. Use a wooden skewer to hold them in place until they dry.
Make antlers by shaping wire and wrapping it in floral tape. Tape the ends to pieces of sharpened dowels. Cover the wires in modeling chocolate and use pliers to place in the antler holes on the head.
For his eyes, use an oval cutter to cut out eye shapes and use the same cutter make whites to place in the eye holes. Add pupils in black.
Make a triangle out of dark brown modeling chocolate for his nose. Use your bone chisel (orange) Sugar Shaper to work in nostrils and your tri-tip chisel to draw the split in his nose.
Then use your Sugar Shapers to model a mouth.
If you want, you can add a collar with sleigh bells for a festive touch. Then just dust to add dimension and you're done!
November 21, 2017
Are you tired of bringing pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving dinner every year? Or are you just tired of finding 5 pumpkin pies on the dessert table because everyone has brought pumpkin pie?
Well, Kaysie Lackey has cooked up an amazing solution to your T-Day dilemma- Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart in a Gingerbread Crust topped with Mulled Wine Poached Pears! Let her show you how to one-up everyone at this year's holiday dinner!
It's my favorite time of year! Autumn and the holidays mean taking a break from the cakes and focusing on breads, rolls, pies, and, my new favorite- tarts! This tart in particular is full of all the fall flavor staples- cinnamon, cloves, anise, ginger... plus wine! (It is the holidays after all!)
All the elements can be made ahead of time and then assembled day of for a show-stopping holiday dessert that will "Wow!" your guests. And as an added bonus, you can either reduce the pear poaching liquid to a decadent dessert sauce... or just reheat and drink it! I think I will do the latter :)
There are three things you'll need to make for this tart- the wine-poached pears, the tart crust, and the creme brulee. Let's start with the pears.
Mulled Wine-Poached Pears
- 2 cups zinfandel wine
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 orange, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 3-4 1 by 3-inch strip orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch thyme
- 3 firm, ripe pears (I prefer green d'anjou)
In a 3- to 4-qt. saucepan, combine wine, orange juice, zest strips, sugar, and spices. simmer until sugar has combined. Peal, halve, and core pears. Add pears to poaching liquid. Reduce heat and place a plate on top of pears to submerge them in liquid. Cook, covered, until pears are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add thyme sprigs and cool to room temperature. Store in poaching liquid overnight to get a deep ruby color.
Now let's move on to the Creme Brulee.
Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1/2 of a vanilla bean, split
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 2 whole star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
Place cream in a heavy saucepan. Take the vanilla bean and scrap the inside seeds into the cream. Place the scraped bean into the cream as well.
Add the cinnamon stick, nutmeg, cloves, star anise and chopped ginger. Bring cream to simmer. Turn heat off and cover with a lid or a piece of foil and let the spices steep in the mixture for two hours (or overnight)
Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain into a large mixing bowl or pitcher to remove the ginger and other spices.
As if this Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee doesn't have enough of the taste of the season for you, we're going to put it in a gingerbread crust. It's like eating a French confectionary delicacy out of your favorite Christmas cookie.
Gingerbread Tart Crust
- 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
- 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) cake flour (plus more for rolling)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- ½ cup (175 grams) molasses
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, spices, and salt. Sprinkle butter cubes over the top and pulse until they are roughly the size of peas. Drizzle in molasses and pulse until mixture comes together into a ball. Turn out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roll dough into a 13x10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to a 8x11 inch tart pan. Trim dough so there is a ½-inch overhang, then fold the overhang inward, creating a double thick side. Use a paring knife to trim the top edge of the dough so it is flat. Poke the crust all over the bottom with a fork.
Freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Press foil, shiny side down, tightly against the crust. Fill with dry beans or pie weights.
Bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and beans, then bake for another 5 minutes uncovered.
Remove tart shell from oven and reduce temperature to 300°F.
Put tart shell (in pan) in a 4-sided sheet pan. Put in oven, then pour custard into shell. Bake until just set but still slightly wobbly in center, 40 to 45 minutes (custard will continue to set as it cools).
Remove tart from sheet pan and cool on a rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator to firm up for about 1 hour more.
Remove the pears from the liquid and drain on paper or kitchen towels before slicing and topping the tart with them.
Arrange the pears on top of the filling. Because it’s hard to move the pears once they’re on the filling, you may want to practice your pattern on an empty sheet pan before placing it on the tart.
Place some apple jelly in a small saucepan. Simmer and whisk to form a smooth glaze. Allow to cool slightly.
Brush it on the exposed pears, being careful not to pull up the cream filling from below. For a final visual touch, brush some star anise pods with gold luster dust (made into a liquid paint) and place on tart.
Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve.
And there you have it! A stunning holiday dessert that is most decidedly not pumpkin pie.
November 06, 2017
The winter weather has started to settle in here in the Pacific Northwest and the gloom was starting to get us down. Chef Mitchie of Mitchie's Munchies in Las Vegas swooped in with the sweetest solution! These delicious, shimmering white chocolate seashells have got us dreaming of summer days by the seashore!
Take a look at how she made these and bring a little touch of summer into your own winter doldrums!
Mitchie started these seashells by casting melted white chocolate in chocolate candy molds. Once set, the shells were released from their cavities and Chef Mitchie used our Sugar Blade to trim off excess from edges of shells.
Next Mitchie got out her Sugarworks Artists' Brushes and an assortment of pearl Luster Dusts.
Separating out small quantities of all the colors you plan to use onto a plate, paper towel, or work surface allows for easy access and blending and eliminates the risk of cross-color contamination in your jars.
Our Artists' Brushes are ideal for working with dry dusts. Dry dusting candies like these chocolate seashells allows the color to blend into the chocolate without the potential for streaking you might get painting on liquid colors.
The dry dusts make it easy to get soft and natural looking gradations to your coloring.
Chef Mitchie used edible lacquer spray to seal color onto chocolate. Then she finished off her project with some edible sand.
These seashells are great for sumptuous table centerpieces as well as individual party favors.
We hope you've enjoyed this project by Chef Mitchie! If you want to see more of her amazing edible creations, check out her website- MitchiesMunchies.com and follow her on social media!
If you live around Las Vegas, you can even take classes with her!
And if you'd like to watch these seashells come to life, take a look at this little video montage!
November 06, 2017
We bet you've heard the word "vanilla" used disparagingly to mean bland, boring, or common. In our kitchen, there are few greater insults than suggesting that vanilla can't be exciting and exceptional! If, like us, you believe vanilla is as unique and mouth-watering a flavor as any other, you're going to love Kaysie Lackey's delicious Vanilla Bean Cake!
- 1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp vanilla paste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 6 oz. whole milk
Pre-heat your oven to 325ºf.
Grease and flour, or parchment line one 9"round cake pan. If you're making cupcakes, line a one dozen-cupcake tin.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salt and both types of vanilla.
Slowly incorporate the egg white, scraping the bowl regularly. Sift the dry ingredients and alternate additions of dries and milk. (Begin and end with dries.) Scrape well and beat on medium for about 20 seconds. Bake until the top edges start to golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
We hope you enjoy this Vanilla Bean Cake! It's a delicious and versatile flavor that pairs as well with fruit as it does with chocolate! You can even add sprinkles for a fun-fetti effect!