Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Little Cake Secrets.... Basic and Advanced!

I have taken some cake decorating courses through all of my cake decorating years, here are some tips that I have picked up from other instructors and as well as learning myself. You learn from your mistakes and everyone is different on what they prefer or what works for them! :)

Weather plays a big role when I do my modeling.  If its too dry everything will crack as you are making it.  I usually have a small fan going and or a steamer.  I like it when it is a bit cold and humid. 

I personally like to do all my cake decorating with gumpaste.  Some people use modeling chocolate.  ( I make my own gumpaste.)  When I started, I use to buy gumpaste from Michael's and mix it with a bit of fondant, try it out!  You can also add a little bit of tylose to your fondant.... Try different options to see what works best for you. 

Grey:  I discovered that making Grey Fondant is not easy.  TRUST ME...You can not simply have black fondant and mix it with white...You will get a purple shade.  There is a grey gel you can purchase but I also like to make my own.  You can mix Red and Green to get the right shade of grey you need.

Fondant / Gumpaste:  Cover your fondand / gumpaste with press n' seal after you use it and store it in a bag and or a plastic container with a lid.  It will last you longer and it will prevent it from drying.

Drums: (the board under the cake)  I hate leaving a drum uncovered... that is one of my pet peeves. 
I cover the drums at least a day in advance.  Once the drum is nice and hard I can move the cake on top and it will not leave marks.  Cover the edge with a ribbon of your choice.

Painting on cakes:  To paint on cakes I like to use creamy color mixes.  The thicker consistency it has the better.  Gel colors will not work. 

When painting eyes:  If you do a black dot and want to add the white dot.....wait at least until the next day.  If you do it right away the white will slowly leek into the black. 

Luster:  To paint with luster dust I like to use vodka.

Pedal dust:  I dust all my flower's after I finish them.  Not only used for flower's.... example.  Cheeks on figurines, to give it shades on decorations etc.  Dust will not go on a surface where water has touched. 

Color your fondant / gumpaste:  Fondant or gumpaste usually comes in white.  (They also sell fondant in different colors)  To color it, I usually take a little ball... I color that little ball to desire color and then add it little by little to the large amount of fondant or gumpaste.  I add and stretch the fondant/ gumpaste...repeat action until it is all incorporated into a solid color.

Melting Chocolate:  I like to melt the chocolate in the microwave.  (or when possible a fondue set)  If the chocolate is in contact with any water, the chocolate will start to harden and will not be runny to allow you to dip or pour.  If desire you can also paint the chocolate using luster dust for a shinny look!

Water as Glue:  I use water as glue for most of my decorations.  I use my smallest tip brush to make sure I only use a tiny little bit! 

Rolling out Fondant/ Gumpaste:  Some people use cornstarch or crisco.  I use cornstarch to roll out fondant to cover the cake.... I also use crisco to roll out little decorations some times... Specially if it is black etc... So I don't end up with little blotches of white dots etc... Works for me!

Tools:   There are a millions of tools you can use now to help you decorate a cake... I keep a box of little things that you would never think to use on a cake but anything adds texture!
I will give you some examples....
Buy a new hard toothbrush...gives you a sandy look. 
Straws can do little circles for eyes... if you cut the side of the straw you have a mouth!    
I use a screw for the neck part of the shirts.
The pipping tips can also leave imprints for texture.
I keep the end of the paper towel roll for the bows. You can also use paper towel.
The empty container of eggs for flower's or any other decoration that might need to stay in that shape. 
You have to be creative and use what you have and also think out side the box to create unique designs!  There are sooooo many more!

Music:  For me music plays a big role.  Most of the time I have to have music playing... if its a specific theme better!  I am not joking when I said you have to get into character!  lol.  

Patience:  I don't have much of it!  People see my cakes and say...."wow you must have so much patience!"  I truly don't!  I only really have patience for my children!  You should see how the room clears up when I am making a cake!  What I do have is a passion for this edible art!  When you do...magic just happens! 

These were only a few little tips that I could think about right now.  Please email me if you have ANY questions on any of my cakes. No need to freak out on your own!   I love to share with other cake decorators and inspiring cake designers' to be! 

Thanks for reading.  Till next time!

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