Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Threadcakes Competition

Sorry for my lack of a cake this week (since the cake contest for this weekend got rescheduled)-- hopefully there will be a new cake post next week.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this cake contest with you:

The information just got posted in the last couple of days-- it is a web/ photo contest but you have to submit photos of your entire creation process (including the baking AND EATING!) to prove that you've used real cake.  It looks like fun to me and you've got till mid August to enter.  Check it out!

I will probably enter once or twice-- you can look forward to posts about that after 4th of July.

Other things in the works:  a stringwork cake, new recipes, and *hopefully* a gum paste flowers class at the Nicholas Lodge school at the end of July...  :) 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cute Pony Cake

I was asked to make a birthday cake for a 3 year old girl who loves ponies, and this cake was the result!

I put a lot of elements into this cake, from the cereal treat/ fondant/ modeling chocolate pony adorning the top of the cake to the little molded, hand painted fondant ponies running around the sides.  I tied everything together with buttercream grass and fondant fantasy flowers.

To make the top pony, I molded rice krispies treats around some skewers and toothpicks.  Here he is with 3 legs...

Then I covered the whole thing in a blend of modeling chocolate and fondant.

It was hot and humid, and I had a terrible time with things melting.  I had to trim down the skewers and in the process the legs almost buckled.  So the pony had pretty big feet when all was said and done, but at least he pulled through. :)

I used a clay gun to extrude stringy fondant for the mane and tail, then I added little bows.  I covered the whole body in white sparkle luster dust to add to the fantasy/ girliness of the whole thing.

 The birthday girl's name was Pam, so I put it on little hearts on the pony's body.  Here is the completed pony:

Meanwhile, I baked, stacked, filled, and iced my chocolate blackout cake with buttercream icing.  I stuck 4 straws into the cake to support the pony's feet, and stuck him on with a little buttercream. 

I iced this cake using the upside-down technique, though I ended up re-smoothing the top because of air bubbles and wrinkles in the parchment.  However, I was really happy with the result.  Then, I molded 4 fondant ponies in a chocolate mold and hand painted each one with various luster dusts in purple, blue, and pink.

They were heavier than I'd envisioned, so I had to let them rest on the board a little bit.  Also, if I had it to do over, I would have painted the details on after they were on the cake so that the surface would have been less dry when I went to attach them to the rounded cake side.

Then I started adding some green pastures, and a triple shell border around the top.

I finished the whole thing off with some fondant fantasy flowers, and piped in the centers.

Happy Birthday to Pam and I hope she liked her pony cake!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Tale of Two Shoes

These two sweeties are all dressed up with nowhere to go.  These gumpaste stilettos were to be two of 3 individual shoes featured on a cake that I was going to make for a local competition at the end of June.  However, that competition got canceled and rescheduled for September 12.  I don't think I'll be able to save them for that long-- although I don't expect anyone to actually eat them, they're kind of delicate. 

So please, my wonderful readers, enjoy their stories.

 The shoe on the right you should recognize from my previous post.  It's just been dressed up a little. :)



To my knowledge, I haven't seen anyone else use stringwork on a gumpaste shoe.  Each little string was hand piped in black royal icing using a PME tip 1.   For more information on stringwork, you should really check out the fabulous tutorials being posted at Mel's Cake Walk.

Some specific notes on this-- I used royal icing made from pasteurized egg whites instead of meringue powder.  This makes the icing easier to work with and it dries stronger.  I also used the PME tip rather than a Wilton tip.  I recently invested in a set of 20 PME tips.  I bought these for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that they are seamless, which means your icing is less likely to kink while you're stringing.  Additionally, the set comes with round tips 0 and a tip 00, and a tip 1.5, none of which are available in the Wilton line.  

FYI, I own the Wilton Master Tip Set which is generally great, and I've bought several other individual tips and acquired yet others from class kits.  

After piping the strings, I added little dragee accents at the points.
Finally I added my own little signature label:

Now let's talk about the other shoe, which is legitimately a stiletto heel:

I made the heel by cutting out tip 12 circles from 1/8" gumpaste and carefully stacking them over a skewer.  I then custom molded a top piece to fade between the sole and the skinny heel.  For the back of the shoe, I made myself a cardboard pattern and cut it out from both white and black gumpaste and added some stitching in the white layer.  I attached it to the dry sole using tylo glue.

I did something similar for the toe piece, which you can see drying supported by paper towel.  I keep the shoes sitting on that green foam so that the bottoms still get air exposure.  

The floating ankle strap was challenging to attach-- it takes the tylo glue a little while before it firms up.  Once it did, I supported the strap with paper towels.  You can see the stitching and little holes in the floating strap, as well as a gumpaste buckle.  

The inside of this shoe was painted with white sparkle luster dust to make it look more like satin.

To give the shoe a really classy look, I added silver highlighter and 2 mm silver dragees to the buckle as though it were covered in crystals.

Lastly, I added a signature label.

You can't have couture without a label, right? :)

It's a shame that the show got canceled, but I've learned a lot making these shoes.  First lesson-- go after every last little detail.  Even in looking at how the pictures progress, every time I added a detail, it took the work to a new level.  I also developed some useful patterns that I can use in the future, as well some techniques for heel construction and even incorporating stringwork.

I don't know yet if I'll use my same design concept for the show in September... we'll see. :)