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!
October 19, 2017
It's that time of year again- time for all things pumpkin! And while we concede that maaaybe the pumpkin spice fad has gotten a leeetle bit out of hand (pumpkin spice toothpaste? what?), we can't deny that we love a good homemade pumpkin bread. Sweet and moist and wafting that cinnamon-spice scent all through the house... no autumn is complete without at least one batch!
So today we're serving up our household recipe for perfect pumpkin muffins! We even baked them in pumpkin-shaped muffin tins, just to make them extra festive!
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (Bonus points if you grow the pumpkin yourself! But if you go with the canned stuff, that's 1 standard 16oz can)
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vanilla soymilk or almond milk (Any brand will work, but we're particular fans of Pacific Natural Foods vanilla milks)
- 1/8 cup molasses (blackstrap if ya got it, but Grandma's will do if you don't)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (10 - 12oz)
- Chopped pecans
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Raw (turbinado) sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
In a bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, soymilk, molasses, and vanilla. Mix it up real well. Add the salt, soda, powder, and spices. Mix until everything is well blended and you don't see any lumps or soda, powder, or spice. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans, then add the flour and stir until thoroughly combined.
Bake at 375ºf until the top starts to brown and a knife comes out clean. For muffins this is usually about 20 minutes, and for loaf pans closer to 30. But ovens vary and environmental factors can influence bake times, so check it often and rely more on your eyes than your timer.
And there you have a delicious seasonal treat! And also, your house now smells amazing!
October 10, 2017
It's that time of year again! Time to get spooky sweet with some Halloween treats! And what more appropriate choice for your Halloween cake than a decadent and delicious Devil's Food Cake?
This year, we wanted to make sure we had a cake that was truly worthy of the Prince of Dark(chocolate)ness, so we went straight to the source of all things spooky- Andrew Fuller of Guy Meets Cake. Here's Andrew's recipe for Drop-Dead Delicious Devil's Food Cake!
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick salted butter, softened or room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cold brew coffee, undiluted
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
In the Details
Combine and sift cocoa powder, cake flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
Using whisk attachment, starting slow and moving to a medium high speed, beat together butter and sugar until graininess is gone, texture is smooth, and color is lighter (about 3-5 minutes). Add vanilla and eggs, beat until incorporated.
Slowly add half of sifted dry ingredients to mixture beating slow-medium speed as it incorporates. Combine together the coffee concentrate and milk, stream into mixture while it's still going at a medium speed. Stop, scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining half of dry ingredients and beat at lowest speed just until fully incorporated.
Work for Idle Hands
Divide batter into greased parchment lined pans, greased pans dusted with cocoa powder, or lined cupcake pans.
Bake at 325º for 25-33 minutes, depending on so many variables. For me, it's usually about 30 minutes with a gas oven. Do the toothpick test and pull it out when it's clean.
I prefer to cool my cake for about 10 minutes in the pans, then turn onto a piece of cling film and wrap while it's warm to assure a nice moist cake. Let it come to room temperature and chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to use or pop it in the freezer for an hour before carving to reduce crumbs.
October 03, 2017
It's October! We could think of no more fitting guest artist for this month of macabre than that Master of the Morbid- Andrew Fuller of Guy Meets Cake!
Andrew is a collector of oddities, an avid traveler, a fan of all things macabre, and lives like every day is Halloween- down to the creepy, kooky aesthetics of his house. A self-taught caker, Andrew got into cake design just last March, after posting a photo of a cake he made with a travel theme. An artist at heart, he found a place in the world of cake with his sculpted pieces when he learned that if you make your art EDIBLE....people will buy it!
Today, Andrew has something special to make your Halloween even spookier- he's going to teach you how to make your cake... levitate.
If you can work this into a Carrie Halloween costume you'll win all the contests!
The Headless (hairless!) Horsecat of Sleepy Hollow
When I was asked to be the guest blogger for October, I knew I had to do something spooky, creepy, and surprising. October is the month I was born in and it's no secret to anyone who knows me that I live by the mantra "Everyday is Halloween". I'm pretty new to the world of cake, I'm honored to be here, and I hope I don't let you down!
So...what do I have for you? None other than a Headless Horse....CAT?! Not just any Headless Horsecat, but a Headless SPHYNX, AKA hairless cat. Not just ANY Hairless Headless Horsecat (still with me?!), but a Hairless Headless Horsecat with a levitating head...and I'm going to show YOU how to do it yourself.
A few months back, I did a Super Mario Bros. cake with a floating mushroom jumping up out from the question mark block.
THAT has probably been my most asked about cake, so I decided to give up my trick for creating a cake that is sure to leave people scratching their heads and wondering HOW you did it. Shall we get started?!
A Decapitation Delight
First thing's first...the head. I happen to have four Sphynx cats and I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm slightly obsessed with them.
So I used my cat Hector as my inspiration and muse. The head is what will be levitating by way of a magnetic levitation device. It can only hold so much weight, unless you're ready to throw down some MAJOR cash, so we need to make it lightweight. The one I'm using today can hold 13.1 ounces, so I'm using styrofoam, aluminum foil tape, and modeling chocolate.
I used a styrofoam egg as my base, and a few 1/2" thick styrofoam discs to add some neck. Typically, when I do sculpt on top of styrofoam, I add pieces of chocolate or fondant to build a structure underneath my top layer, but here, we have to remember that it can't be more than 13.1 ounces, so I shaped it with some sandpaper and squeezing until I was happy with the shape, and then attached it to the neck and wrapped it with aluminum foil tape.
Before I decided to add the neck, I flattened and leveled the bottom of the egg and carved out a space for the levitation platform to nestle JUST under the surface. When I decided to add the neck, I did the same thing to that piece. I'm showing both photos so you know what to do depending on the decision you make.
Once you're happy with the shape, it's time to start sculpting your cat. I chose a sphnyx not ONLY because of my love for them, but also to showcase the versatility of modeling chocolate. To make sure you're not going over the 13.1 ounces, it's a good idea to weigh your sculpted foam piece and then weigh out your modeling chocolate. This way, you won't have to keep worrying about it and you'll know exactly how much chocolate you have to work with.
I have to give a shameless plug here to Hot Hands Modeling Chocolate. I have made my own modeling chocolate in the past, but nothing I've tried is comparable to this stuff. It stays firm, yet pliable, it doesn't get oily or greasy, and it can handle hot hands. I do wear gloves when I use it, but more so to avoid fingerprints and because I like keeping my hands clean. If you've not tried it, this is an awesome project for it because you can really create some nice wrinkles and creases....as well as smooth out creases you don't want.
Sphynx cats have DEEP and DISTINCT wrinkles, so while normally when I sculpt with wrinkled skin, I soften the rigidity with a soft paintbrush, today I'm using the small end of my mini soft round tip Sugar Shaper to create small valleys, the larger end for bigger crevices, and the mini soft pointed tip shaper to open up some of the tighter, smaller wrinkles and folds.
To create the nose and lip lines, I used the original-sized firm square tip Sugar Shaper to mark out my shape, and then I smoothed it out with the mini pointed tip chisel. I used the pointed tip to get the nostrils started, then opened them up and rounded them out with the round tip chisel. I used the small soft tip square chisel to marry the ears to the head. Because ears are thin and fragile, I sculpted them roughly directly on my surface and then let them sit to firm up before attaching to the head.
Now would be a good time to try him out on the levitation device, BEFORE you start to add your color. I promise you, it's going to take a while to get it to balance out and levitate correctly. If the head is too heavy on one side, it will topple to the other. Distribute the weight of the head by removing and adding chocolate. Adding in more wrinkles is a great way to add weight to the front if the ears are making the back of the head too heavy. Be patient. Magic doesn't come easy!
I really wanted to give him a realistic or almost wax figure look with some translucent effects, so here's how I did the base for his wrinkles. I lightly brushed the entire head with shortening and then used a blend of color dusts and corn starch. I ended up using a soft blush pink, dogwood brown, and plum purple.
I blotted the color into all of the wrinkles with the Deluxe Blending Fluff Brush, switching to the Deluxe Crease Brush where the wrinkles were tighter. Because I prepped the surface with shortening, I can now wipe away the color from the surface, leaving only color in the creases of the wrinkles. To give him his color, I dry dusted a blend of black and corn starch and lightly swept the surface with the Deluxe Oval Brush, concentrating on staying light and getting darker in the areas around the eyes, ears, and ridge of the snout.
Because this dude is undead, I wanted to give him bulging eyes with an eerie glow. To give them a gradient glow effect, I made some paints using a light blue color dust with some melted cocoa butter and white color dust mixed with cocoa butter.
I used a small paint brush to paint the outer edge with the blue, then added the white to the center. To create that gradient look, I gently blotted the whole area with a cotton ear swab until I got the look I wanted.
Spend some time on the details...color brings him to life...or in this case, UNLIFE. Add dimension by layering your colors, going back in with plums, pinks, and even blues. Use a fine brush and a light hand to give a veiny translucent look to the ears. Bask in his beauty, set him aside, and let's get to the cake!
Cake... or Death? (we'll have the cake)
I am using my Devil's Food Cake because it's great for carving, and I've chosen to ice the cake with dark chocolate ganache because it sets up beautifully on sculpted cakes.
We're going to create a bust, so I used two 7" round layers, a 5" layer on top, and then I used scraps to create shoulders and the back of the collar. Because this is a relatively small cake, I was comfortable sticking with two bubble tea straws for support. Ice your cake with the ganache, and use your Sugar Smoothers to round out the shoulders and give sharp edges where the arms meet the body. Pop int in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
A note on the levitation device:
There are a number of levitation devices on the market. I used this one by Yosoo and it's worked really well for my cakes.
The base has four LED lights to help you guide your platform into a spot to make it levitate, and be prepared...it takes practice to get it right. Use the lights to guide you into the right spot. Once you're comfortable, cover the lights with electrical tape to conceal them and then practice, practice, practice getting the platform to levitate without the aid of the lights to guide you.
Now it's time to wrap the base of the levitation device with Press N' Seal or cling film. I have some cardboard 4" square coasters that work perfectly as a board to rest the base on. You can find them online or just cut a cake board to fit. Place the wrapped base onto the board, angled so that the corner is at the front of the cake and the port to plug in your device is at the back of the cake. Using cake clay (or cake pop GUTS) made with cake scraps and ganache, build up the collar and neck scarf around the base. If your cake is well chilled, it will set up fairly quickly. Carefully, lift out the base to your levitation device, ice the cake clay, and chill again for an hour.
Time to cover! I chose to use Hot Hands Modeling Chocolate again so that I can have the freedom of adding and taking away without worrying about creases, as well as getting in details in the stitching and giving a fabric look with folds and wrinkles.
Create a vest by cutting the shape in two pieces, laying one side down on the surface and then placing the other on top to overlap in the center. Use the soft mini round tip Sugar Shaper to add in details like creases in the fabric and notches around buttons. Use your mini soft pointed tip Sugar Shaper to etch in a seam and poke holes close together to create stitching.
All Dressed up...
For the coat and buttons, I mixed my modeling chocolate with a 1/3rd fondant and colored it a dark navy blue. Buttons are simple. For the larger buttons, I cut circles with the large end of a piping tip and stamped an inner ring with a bubble tea straw.
For the smaller buttons, I used a bubble tea straw to cut the circles, and the small end of a piping tip I had on hand.
The larger buttons, I lightly brushed with Truly Mad Plastics Super Gold edible luster. For the smaller buttons, I painted them with a mixture of Everclear and the gold luster.
Roll out a large 1/8" thick piece of the navy, cover, and cut away the shape of the coat. Use your original sized firm round tip Sugar Shaper to burnish in the crevices around the collar and arms. Attach buttons to coat and vest with a small brush and water.
For the neck scarf, or cravat if you're really fancy, I used black modeling chocolate and the small soft round tip chisel to create the illusion of fabric.
For an added bit of flair, a nod to Halloween and the Headless Horseman, I mixed some bright red, bright yellow, a touch of brown, and white color dusts with some melted cocoa butter to make a pumpkin colored paint.
Because it's a repeating pattern on the cravat, you really don't need to make the jack o' lanterns perfect. They'll look great as a whole. Using a fine line paintbrush, paint the outline, divide the two eyes, draw a line for the mouth, and fill it in.
Replace the base of the levitation device, create a hole where the cord plugs in, and because the coat has a hood, simply plug in the device, and add a rounded sheet of the navy modeling chocolate/fondant mix and attach it to the collar, covering and concealing the cord. You can add feet to the base of your cake board and run the cord through a small hole next to the back of the cake to conceal the cord, or you can just place your cake in an area where the cord is concealed.
All that is left is the bloody neck splatters and covering the base. I colored some modeling chocolate with super red, chocolate brown, super black gel colors. Roll your chocolate as thin as you can get it because you want to get as much height on the levitation effect as you can! Cover the base and the top of the cake that is still uncovered. Now make some splashes and drips of blood by rolling various sized tubes of the modeling chocolate, tapering one end, and shaping with your fingers. Attach to the cake and remove seams by marrying the drips to the red chocolate with your soft square tip chisel.
When you're ready to add the head, carefully get the levitation platform into position. If you get it wrong, the magnets will pull it down, mar your chocolate and you'll have to smooth it out again. This is a good reason to use modeling chocolate instead fondant here. Once you have it levitating, again, slowly and carefully place your cat head. If you've done it correctly, you'll be in business! If it is off balance and spins out of control or keeps falling, don't fret. This is why I encourage you to test it out many times after you've sculpted the head. It can be a challenge, but all is not lost...You can cut away pieces of the neck, drive pieces of skewers into the bottom on a side that is too light...get creative with it and you'll get it. There's no exact way to do it. You're relying on a device that uses magnetic forces to create actual levitation. It's magic....but it's tricky! I've spent absurd amounts of time trying to get a piece to levitate to the point of giving up, but as you use it more, and I'm betting you will, you'll begin to understand it more.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and find creative ways to make TRUE gravity defying pieces of edible art! Thanks, BOILS and GHOULS, for letting me be a part of your Halloween season!
Was that a spooktacular tutorial, or what? October's only just begun, and we're betting Andrew's got some more creepy confections up his sleeve! Follow Guy Meets Cake on social media to keep up with all his twisted treats and devilish delights!
September 04, 2017
Our featured guest this month is Seattle's own Jamie Louks of Jamie Nicole Cakes! Jamie is one of our hometown cake heroes, famed for her quirky sculpted cakes and imaginative approach to special requests. Combine Alice in Wonderland with the Green Lantern? Yup, she's got it. Zombies, sports, Coca Cola, and a rock band all in one cake? Not a problem.
Jamie's very first job at age 15 was at Basin Robbins and this, along with her intense love affair with sugar, inspired her to make desserts into her life's work. She has an obsessive urge to perfect every recipe and believes desserts should taste even more amazing than they look. (And that's a high bar with how amazing her desserts look!) Jamie has worked in some of Seattle's finest cake and dessert shops before taking her own business full-time. Today, she's showing us how she perfects the scale and proportions of a giant cake based on a tiny figure.
How to make a tiny object into a BIG cake
These are Meeples.
They are tiny, about 3/4" tall. I need this guy to be about x17 this size.
A Meeple is easily recognized by every board game geek on the planet. The proportions need to be spot on if this is going to be an amazing cake served to a room full of die hard board gamers.
Creating a giant version of a tiny object can be a difficult task. I've learned the hard way that rushing through planning creates something that is either too short/tall/fat/skinny or even 'WTF happened'! Don't let this happen to you. Dust off your handy calculator and #2 pencil, brush up on your middle school algebra and do it right from the beginning. Let's get started!
Templates: No, really- you need them.
If you can, find an image online that you can mess with on your computer. Print 2 of them, one for now and one for later. I found a meeple outline and then printed it in different sizes until I found one that my Sugarworks Sugar Structure fit into perfectly.
Trace an outline of your Sugar Structure onto your stencil keeping in mind that the top of the feet of the armature will be level with the cake board. (Pretend your cake is standing on the armature's feet).
The Cake and the Boards
Now decide where cake boards need to go and how many tiers are needed. Things to consider:
- Thickness of your cake boards
- Thickness of your cake layers (each tier could have different thicknesses to accommodate for proportion)
- Thickness of your filling layers
- Thickness of your final icing layer
- Thickness of your fondant covering
So many numbers to think about! Be sure to write them all down. Notes are your friend! Measure and draw where each cake board will go. This will definitely come in handy later. Don't forget to draw a line about 3/8" in from the edge to show frosting and fondant thickness.
You can repeat this process from a side view also. This dude was a pretty simple flat profile, so no need for another stencil.
From this stencil, you can now measure the size of each cake board, the size and amount of cake you will need to bake, and exactly where holes need to be in your boards and layers so your Sugar Structure will fit beautifully.
Now CHOP UP YOUR STENCIL! Alright, maybe don't 'chop' it up, but cut your stencil into its separate tiers so you can use them as guides while building.
You can also measure your straw supports off of this.
Place your cut straws in the tier, then frost on top of them. When you drop the next tier on top, you'll be right on target for a perfectly proportioned cake!
Zoom ahead to built cake, perfect height and ready to be shaped. Use stencil #2 that you set aside for just this reason.
Cut off 3/8" on all "frosted" surfaces of the stencil. Place this frosting-less stencil on the cake and trim any excess. After trimming, fill any gaps with cake spackle (cake crumbs mushed together with frosting), give it a good crumb coat, and chill well before final icing.
From this point, its easy peasy lemon squeezy. Final ice 1/4" thick, cover in fondant 1/8" thick, and decorate your little heart out.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine and admire your perfectly planned cake :)
We hope you've found this tutorial by Jamie helpful. Scaling up small figures to make large sculpted cakes is a daunting endeavor that can be intimidating for both new and experienced cakers alike. Jamie is a master of replicating pop culture icons, figures, and characters and we think this instructional is one of the best guides we've found for getting your proportions spot-on!
August 07, 2017
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the talk of the town is the upcoming total solar eclipse. It's supposed to be pretty epic- the first total solar eclipse visible from mainland USA since 1979, and the first visible across the entire contiguous United States since 1918. Hotels in Oregon have been booked for months and they're predicting the worst traffic in the state's history.
All this cosmic excitement inspired me to make my own solar eclipse... out of chocolate, of course!
First, let's talk about smoothing.
To make this moon, I started by rolling a ball and squashing it down with the palm of my hand. This made lots of little palm lines in the chocolate. You can see them in the second frame below. (Can you find my love line? No? Me neither...) I smoothed the top of the orb with my fingers and the edges with my Tri-Tip soft Sugar Shaper (the red one). The chocolate smoothed so easily; it took just a few seconds and the whole thing was perfect.
Next, I wanted to establish the moon in front of the sun. I drew in a moon shape with my Tri-Tip chisel Sugar Shaper again and then hollowed out the area that would become the sun by scraping a little bit off the top with the same red Sugar Shaper, then pushing and drawing the chocolate out with my Square Tip (yellow) soft Sugar Shaper. The chocolate was pliable, but not so soft it became hard to manipulate. I could hold it in place with my left hand while I worked with my right and there were no melty or greasy spots where my fingers held it.
Then I went in with the smaller end of my firm-tip Bone Chisel Sugar Shaper (the orange one) to give the moon a lip, or beveled sort of edge. This pulled up some of the chocolate, which I then went over with the soft-tip bone chisel and it smoothed back together seamlessly.
For the craters in the moon, I used both firm and soft Bone Chisel Sugar Shapers. The chocolate held up well with both. I found that the firm tips actually worked best for the shallow craters- just a light press. For the deeper, wider craters I used the soft shaper, pressing and swirling it. The chocolate built up into nice crater ridges without ripping or roughing up.
Next I drew some patterns into the larger sun rays the soft Tri-Tip Chisel and used the soft Bone Chisel to add some depth to the smaller rays. (This is the Tri-Tip and Bone show, ladies and gents!)
Lastly, I wanted to give the sun rays some movement and 3-dimensionality. I curled them around my Sugar Shapers and left it to set overnight. When I removed the tools, the sun rays held their shape perfectly- no drooping, sagging, or unfurling.
August 02, 2017
For those who don’t know me, my name is Myriam Lafond, owner and cake designer at Imaginacake. My native language is French, but being surrounded by amazing cake friends from all over, I quickly learned English. My creative side is really strong so when I started making cakes for fun, I found a passion that made people happy. My friends and clients started sharing my work, my business grew, and for the past 5 years, I have been making cakes full-time. I also give classes to people who want to learn my craft, in groups or in private. 3D cakes and figurines are my favorites, and I was really excited to work on this tutorial for my friends at Innovative Sugarworks.
For me, baby showers are always a good time to be creative. The Converse baby shoes are a classic and an easy way to represent the new family member to come. I really love adding some cute characters to create a unique cake each time.
If you don’t know how to make the shoes, you can follow my step by step video slideshow on how to create them. For the shoes seen in the video you can find the template to print and some extra information here on my French blog . As you will see I translated that page for you. I'm also happy to let you know that my entire blog will soon be translated to English.
Once you have the shoes done, you can start following this step by step pictorial to make the cute little monkeys for your shower cake.
You will need some modeling chocolate. You can use your own recipe or buy some amazing Hot Hands Modeling Chocolate, which I used for this project. Mix some food coloring in your modeling chocolate to get the brown for the body and some skin tone for the face and the inside of the ears. You will also need a set of Sugar Shapers (I used firm tipped Mini-Tip Sugar Shapers) and some black and white fondant for the details.
Step 1: The tail
Roll a small ball of brown modeling chocolate into a tube to make the tail and place it inside of one of the shoes. Try to keep some realistic proportions.
Step 2: The body
Make a tear drop shape for the body of the monkey and place it inside the shoe.
Step 3: the arms
Roll a tube and try to keep one end more round to be able to make the hand. Then press the rounder end down gently to form the hand.
With your trip-tip chisel sugar shapers (the coral one) mark the fingers. I use it tip down.
Cut your arm at a good length (it depends on the size of your body so try to keep it proportional.) After this, you will be able to stick the arm in place. You can also use the same tri-tip chisel Sugar Shaper to mark the elbow fold. Then repeat the same step for the second arm.
Step 4: The head
You can use a wood skewer to maintain the head in place on your monkey body. Roll a proportional ball for the head and with your pinkie just gently press the top to create the forehead.
Place the head gently on the skewer, pushing it down, then carefully push the skewer in the body to be sure it doesn't move.
Roll a small amount of skin tone paste into a tube. Try to keep the ends round. Then press it down in the bottom of the face.
With your round tip chisel tool (the lime green one) create the mouth. You can also mark the line over the mouth with the trip-tip chisel tool (the coral one).
Roll a tiny ball of skin tone modeling chocolate to create the nose,place it on the face and make some nostrils with your small bone chisel tool (the orange one)
Use the same tool to form the eye cavities then add the details like black eyes balls and some white small light in it. You can also add some eyebrows
For the ears, I use a small amount of skin tone paste that I put over a bigger part of brown paste then I press it down with the round chisel tool (the green one). I also pinch the bottom then cut it straight to get a bigger area to stick it on the side of the head.
You can also give your monkey a plush look by adding some stitching using your square tip chisel tool (the yellow one). Then use some pink powder and a small brush to color the cheeks.
You can always put more monkeys by following the same steps. Just sit them near the shoes. Add some legs, some foot prints and other details like a bow to make it unique.
I hope you have enjoyed this pictorial.
Have fun and be creative
We hope you've enjoyed this tutorial by Myriam Lafond, and we're looking forward to seeing millions of little monkeys on everyone's Facebooks and Instagrams!
If you want to see more of Myriam's work, check out her website- www.imaginacake.com and her blog- www.parlonsgateaux.com.
And if you'd like to take a class with Myriam, keep an eye on her events page for class offerings!
You can also follow her on social media:
July 10, 2017
Yanira Anglada is the mastermind behind Cake Therapy in Puerto Rico. An exceptional cake designer and instructor, Yanira is most famous for her exquisite sculpted figures and cake toppers. Today she is going to show us all the many applications she's discovered for the pointed tip Sugar Shaper, AKA Mr. Blue.
The Blue Mini-Tip Sugar Shaper is one of my favorite tools due to its versatility. I use it regularly. Here's some examples of how I use it to achieve different textures:
After using a firm bristle brush to add texture to the gum paste or fondant of your choice, I use Mr. Blue to make zigzag movements to add dimension. Then I slightly press towards the inside at the edges.
After flattening the gum paste to about 1/8 on an inch, I use Mr. Blue to add indentations following an almost straight movement. I use the same tool to make "wood knots" in various sizes.
After mixing white and brown to achieve a marble effect, I form a guitar pick shaped piece of gum paste and start moving Mr Blue from the narrow end to the wider end with the tip of the shaper towards the narrow end of the shell.
Make a fondant tear drop and press with the tip of the shaper aligned with the tip of the tear drop.
Hair is very similar to the moss technique.
Roll a ball of gum paste or fondant to form a piece that has 2 pointed ends and slightly flatten it with your hand or a rolling pin. Use the blue shaper to make indentations from tip to tip, following the shape of the "strand". Use your hands to adjust the hair strand as you wish and add movement.
I love using Mr. Blue to add details to the "fabric", specially when I'm working with simple modeling figures and baby clothing.
I can use it to add seam lines, folds, dots and make scalloped edges.
To make faces, I use a few different shapers, and I use Mr. Blue specially on the lips to define the inside of the lips and pull the lip upward from the chin using the side of the shaper.
I use the blue shaper to create cleavage and define the clavicle. When I'm working on busts I also use it to separate the arm.