Tutorial: ACD Sept/Oct 2014
Mastering Macarons with
Colette Christian, CEPC, CEC
A self-proclaimed “baking nerd” Colette Christian has spent years perfecting her approach to macarons. She shared her recipe for macarons and production steps in the Sept/Oct issue, but she also added several trouble-shooting sidebars and information on how to fill and work with macarons. If you'd like to dig deeper into Colette’s process she has two highly regarding baking and pastry classes on Craftsy.
Here are some addition tips from Colette on getting the best results for your macaron efforts:
Once you master the basic technique you can start to get creative with your macarons. The trick is not to overdo it. A little flavor goes a long way, and you need to be very careful not to add anything to the shell that will throw off its delicate balance.
Adding extracts: Most extracts are suspended in alcohol. They are also (with the exception of vanilla) usually very strong in flavor. I use an eye dropper when adding extracts to my macaron shells. No more then 2-3 drops for the base recipe. Too much extract and the shells will be super thin, delicate and almost translucent. This is because alcohol in the extract thins the egg-white protein. Alcohol-free extracts are equally problematic, while flavored oils leave blotchy spots on the surface of the shell.
Dried flavorings: As mentioned in the Ingredient section of the article, freeze-dried fruits, dry spices and loose tea can be added to the almond meal and powdered sugar when you pulverize it in your food processor. If possible, process the added ingredient to a fine powder before adding it to the powdered sugar and almond meal mix. This keeps your finished shell smooth. Add no more than one teaspoon to the base recipe. Anymore and your shell can be adversely affected.
Fillings: The Swiss buttercream featured in the article is delicious, and a half recipe will fill two batches of macarons. Macarons can also be filled with ganache, good quality jam, chocolate hazelnut spreads, thick lemon curd, marshmallow fluff or whatever store-bought sweet strikes your fancy. I often tell beginning macaron students to focus on perfecting the shell, then move on to the fillings—fillings are easy to master, shells less so!
To get the recipes to complete this macaron cake—the almond vanilla cake, meringue discs and Colette’s preferred fondant, click here for the PDF.
Last Bite: ACD July/August 2014
Sebastien Thieffine’s Modern Key Lime Pie
A classic Florida favorite that finds widespread appeal everywhere come summer, Sebastien Theiffine’s version is delicious and visually stunning.
Makes (1) 12x16 frame, cut into (32) 1.5 x 4 pieces
Graham Craker Crust
10 oz graham cracker crumb
1 oz all-purpose flour
.75oz granulated sugar
4oz unsalted butter, melted
1. Combine the first three ingredients in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed.
Add the melted butter until mixed evenly.
Key Lime Custard
40 oz sweetened condensed milk
8 oz egg yolks
Key Lime juice
1. Mix all three ingredients in a bowl with the paddle attachment, set aside and refrigerate.
Key Lime Whipped Cream
20 oz heavy cream
4 oz granulated sugar
zest of six Key Limes
1. Place in a bowl all three ingredients and whip until peak consistency.
Set aside in the refrigerator.
Place the crust mix to make an even shell in the 12" x 16" frame, by pressing the crust mix in the sides of the mold until it is evenly applied throughout the mold.
Pour the Key Lime custard in the shell until it reach the top of the sides or about 1" high.
Bake at 200°F until the custard is set and no longer feels wet to the touch, then refrigerate for two hours.
Cool and unmold the pie, cut in 1.5" x 4" and place the green glazed balls of whipped cream on top, decorate with the Key Lime pebbles and gold leaf. Refrigerate until served.
Sebastien notes: To create the green glazed whipped cream balls, pipe the whipped cream into white chocolate shells, then glaze. The Key Lime pebbles and gold leaf can be purchased online.
Tutorial: ACD July/August 2014
Buggin’ Out by Kelly Lance
As one of the projects featured in our July/August “Garden Inspirations’ showcase, Kelly’s project was sweet and funny…and it include a range of techniques. Download a PDF of her how-to steps.
Tutorial: ACD July/August 2014
Spanish Translation of Down the Garden Path
Thanks to Susana Martínez Zepeda who translated Joëlle Mahoney’s garden plot cake tutorial for ACD. Download a PDF of this tutorial in Spanish. For Joëlle’s Mahoney’s pastillage and royal icing recipes, click here.
Tutorial: ACD July/August 2014
A Dapper Mr. Frog by Patricia Moroz
To finish the full pond cake design as featured in our July/August issue, Patricia kindly supplied the rest of the instructions. Download a PDF of her how-to steps.
Last Bite: ACD May/June 2014
Bacchanalia’s Chocolate Strawberry Cake
The intention was to make a dessert for chocolate lovers a bit more decadent and indulgent. The kitchen team at Bacchanalia (executive head chef Ivan Brehm, sous chef Mark Ebbels and executive pastry chef Kostas Papathanasiou) wanted to play with something people recognize—the ubiquitous chocolate cake with strawberries—but make it their own.
The cake is constructed in several layers. The bottom of the cake is a similar texture to an unbaked cheesecake base with cherries and almonds incorporated to enhance the flavor and texture to another level. The second layer is chocolate sponge cake soaked in vodka. The vodka helps to bring a little balance to the dessert. The top of the cake is a strawberry jam that adds a smooth, pleasantly chewy texture and a welcome acidity.
These components are coated in the caramelized chocolate mousse which is lightly set. All layers combine to bring out the flavors and textures the kitchen team found interesting in the chocolates they were using (e.g. the fruit, bitter, caramel flavors and the brittle, crunchy, smooth and creamy textures).
Recipe makes 20 cakes
Chocolate strawberry base
120g/4.25oz milk chocolate
30g/1oz Nutrafresh strawberry powder
120g/4.25oz griottine cherries, (roughly chopped)
300g/10.5oz almond praline
195g/6.87oz chopped roast almonds
1. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie.
2. Once melted, fold Nutrafresh strawberry powder through followed by the remaining ingredients.
3. Transfer onto a sheet of parchment paper, place another sheet on top and roll with a rolling pin into a 2mm/.07” thin sheet. Place into the fridge to set.
300g/10.5oz whole eggs
90g/3.17oz inverted sugar
150g/5.3oz caster/superfine sugar
90g/3.17oz roasted almonds (crushed into small pieces)
145g/5.1oz bread flour
30g/1oz cocoa powder
9g/3oz baking powder
145g/5.1oz whipping cream (30ºC/86ºF)
80g/2.8oz Valrhona Manjari chocolate, melted
Melt chocolate and butter separately (in different bowls!)
In an electric mixer, mix eggs and sugar till ribbon stage.
Fold in dry ingredients
Mix cream, then butter, then chocolate
Pour into a 12x12cm/5x5in lined tin and bake in 180ºC/356ºF oven for 12 minutes.
6. Remove from tin and set aside to cool.
500g/17.6oz strawberry puree
350g/12.3oz caster/superfine sugar
6g/.21oz citric acid
1. In a mixing bowl place the sugar and pectin together and mix well.
In a sauce pan place puree, glucose as well as the sugar and pectin mixture.
Heat till 104ºC/219ºF. Add in the citric acid and pour into a mould to set for 1 hour.
300g/10.6oz whipping cream
300g/10.6oz whole milk
60g/2.1oz caster/superfine sugar
5g/.17oz leaf gelatin
440g/15.5oz Valrhona Dulcey chocolate (melted)
1. Bring milk and cream to simmer.
Allow mixture to cool down to 50ºC/122ºF.
Mix together eggs and sugar and temper with the hot milk mixture.
Put mixture back into the pan and heat till 84ºC/183ºF.
5. Take the mixture immediately off the heat, dissolve the gelatin in the mixture and pass it through a strainer.
Weigh out 760g/26.8oz of the custard mix and pour onto the melted chocolate in stages to achieve an emulsion.
450g/15.8oz whipping cream (warm)
1200g/42.3oz Valrhona Absolu Cristal Nappage
620g/21.8oz Valrhona Manjari chocolate, melted
1. Bring pectin gel to simmer in a pot.
Mix in warm cream.
Once all ingredients are fully incorporated, add melted chocolate.
4. Use the glaze once it has been cooled down to 35-40ºC/95-104ºF.
5g/.17oz inverted sugar
2g/.07oz gellan gum f
10g/.35oz lemon juice
250g/8.8oz strawberry puree
1. Combine water, sugar and trimoline into a pan and bring to boil.
Allow the syrup to cool down and place into an ice bath for 2 hours.
Return the syrup to a pan and add gellan f. Boil for 10 seconds mixing continuously. Return gel into an ice bath and allow to set completely.
Using a blender, blend gel, puree and lemon juice until smooth.
Assembly: All cake elements prepared above
1. Using a square metal cutter 5x5cm/2x2in cut the base of the cake and set aside. You should have 20 portions.
Portion the sponge and jam, using a ruler into 3x3cm/1x1in squares and set aside.
Next lightly soak the portioned sponges with vodka and place in the middle of the 5X5 cm square moulds, carefully place the jam on top of the sponges.
Place the cakes in a freezer and allow to cool for 1 hour.
Once the cakes are frozen, warm the cremaux with low heat to 50ºC/77ºF and pour into the cake molds.
Place the cakes back into the freezer for 6 hours or until completely frozen.
Take the cakes out of the freezer, with the help of a blowtorch or a heat gun slowly warm around the mould and remove the cakes from the mould.
Place the cakes back into the freezer for 1 more hour.
Heat the glaze to 50ºC/122ºF mixing with a spatula.
Remove the cakes from the freezer and place onto a wire rack. Gently pour glaze on top of the cakes until fully covered
Immediately return cakes to the freezer for 15 minutes, then remove and place into a fridge.
12. Allow cakes 2-3 hours to defrost before serving
Garnish the dish with macerated strawberries with toasted coriander seeds and coffee salt made from mixing 1 part salt and 1 part instant coffee.
Tutorial: ACD May/June 14
Kathleen Lange’s royal icing recipes
In her tutorial on Lambeth techniques, which turned out to be a mini-version of her famed Lambeth/Lange boot camp, Kathleen mentioned two of her preferred royal icing recipes and shares them with ACD readers.
Using paddle of Kitchen Aid mixer, beat water with meringue powder until blended; add powdered sugar and continue to beat at a medium speed for 7-10 minutes (10-12 minutes for hand held mixer). Mix until icing forms peaks and doesn’t lose its shape. Yield 3 cups.
Basic Royal Icing
This recipe is a very basic royal icing and can used for practicing borders and flowers.
6 Tablespoons meringue powder
10-12 Tablespoons water
8 cups sifted powdered sugar (approx. 2 pounds)
Excellent Royal Icing
Kathleen notes: Egg whites are for strength and the meringue powder is for volume and ease of handling. This is excellent for flowers and display cakes. Please make sure all bowls and beaters are grease free before mixing icing.
2 lbs confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ cup meringue powder
3 egg whites, approx. 3.5-4 ounces; plus enough lukewarm water to make ¾ cup liquid (or) extra egg white to equal ¾ cup liquid
1) Using a paddle on a heavy duty mixer; mix egg whites, meringue powder and water together until frothy.
2) Add confectioners’ sugar, beat on low to medium speed until icing forms stiff peaks.
3) Keep the icing covered with damp cloth at all times in a grease free bowl.
4) Store icing in a glass container and use within one day or place plastic wrap directly over icing and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days; let come to room temp and re-beat icing to reuse.
Test Kitchen: ACD March/April 14
Lisa Berczel’s Mokumé Gané Technique
Editor’s note: As part of her Test Kitchen column on natural colorants, Lisa wanted to try a process that would incorporate the color into the fondant, as opposed to just applying the color to the surface. Here’s what she came up with.
For the cake base, I wanted to create an interesting spin on marbled fondant and tiedye. After looking through my library, I adapted a polymer clay technique called Mokumé Gané (based on a traditional Japanese metal working pattern). This technique is fun and a great way to use up scraps of colored fondant. There really is no set amount to how many layers, but the higher the stack, the more variation in the final project.
Start by rolling out thin sheets about 1/8” thick. I use a square biscuit cutter to neatly cut and stack different colors in random order. For my tiedye, I wanted to focus on a white background with accent colors that really showcased youth and vibrancy.
Next, I squashed the stack. This helps stick all the layers together. (I could see that my edges were dry and cracking – a result of using too much tylose to stiffen up my sticky fondant. Next time, no tylose for this technique!)
Randomly spaced holes are poked into the fondant stack. For this project, holes were poked all the way through to the mat, but they could just as easily have been at random depts as well.
The holes have to be closed up. I squeezed the sides in from left and right, then top and bottom till a square loaf was created. Waves and ripples can already be seen on the sides of the loaf.
I put the loaf in the freezer to get it good and chilled so it would be easier to slice. Next comes the real fun part! The chilled loaf is turned on it’s side so slices can be made WITH the grain created by the color layers. Cut ACROSS the top stack layer in 1/8” slices with a THIN, SHARP knife. A dull knife will smash the loaf and distort the color changes.
Each slice will be different as the knife travels from one end of the loaf to the other. Random swirls and concentric rings of color will be exposed as the knife slices through the holes that were poked into the stack. Lay out the slices next to each other in a patchwork quilt arrangement. To help the slices bond to each other, cover with cling wrap and start rolling. The thinner the slice is rolled, the more the pattern will show. (A solid backing of white fondant can help keep the pieces in place and allow for thinner rolling. Just be careful that the individual pieces are firmly attached to each other or they will spread apart, allowing the backing fondant to be seen – which could be an interesting project for another time.)
I laid a couple of 1/16” thin sheets onto my cake. The sides went on smoothly but I had trouble with the top – once again because of my reusing the tylose-stiffened fondant I used for molding. My marzipan roses were placed around the base and the second project was done!
Lisa used the following natural food colorants in her Test Kitchen column:
Cake Safe airbrush spray booth
SoS CoPacking Solutions & SoS Flavoring
And for some of the research she did on the FDA’s current standards and approach to natural colorants for food she provided the following links:
Food Industry: Color additive Status List
Summary of Color Additives for Use in US in Foods – see Part 73 and Part 74
Food Additive Status List
Dahlia Edible ImageArt Cake
Crystal Candy recently introduced a new line—Edible ImageArt—consisting of 12 exclusive looks designed to be used in conjunction with its Crystal Lace icing and silicon lace mats. To demonstrate how these work together, the company shared the following steps.
1. Make a few strips of edible lace using Crystal Lace and store in plastic till required.
2. Cut the edible print into three strips.
3. Brush the sides and top of your cake with a touch of water.
4. Remove the edible print from the backing and position on the side of the cake. Gently smooth into place.
5. Optional step: To create a torn, irregular and creative effect for the cake top, brush the print with a touch of water and using a knife or artist’s tool, scrape away any unwanted print, then remove from the backing. This is an easy exercise when the print is damp.
6. Place the print on the top of your cake and smooth down.
7. Remove the lace from plastic wrap that you created in step 1.
8. Brush the back of the lace with a touch of water and position into place.
Teatime with Alice
The whimsically elegant Alice topper created by Chef Jessie Anne Reilly was only one wonderful feature of a design that took third place in the 2013 Art of Cake competition at Pastry Live. There were too many details to cover from this cake to fit in the Jan/Feb issue, so we’ve featured some additional information about this design here.
The Tea Cup
The tea cup Alice is leaning against is made from pastillage, using an actual tea cup. With the cup facing down, lay the rolled out pastillage over the cup. Cut around the edge and let it dry.
Create the saucer the same way: Lay the pastillage over a saucer, cut the edg , then press with another saucer over the top to form it.
Dust both pieces with a little with confectioners sugar. Jessie notes: You can place the second saucer on top again to flip it over once it dries a little. This way it dries a little faster and easier to remove. Decorate as you like for your design.
The Flower Faces
All the flowers at the base of the cake were hand molde and each has an individual face.
Take a blown ball of sugar approximatel, 2" in diameter. While cooling the ball, press in with your thumb and index fingers where you think the eyes should go. While the sugar is still warm form the nose. Then use a small bent metal spatula and press in the mouth area.
Jessie notes: If the sugar ball cools just work back and forth under the heat lamp. You can also heat your spatula( a little) then use it to line the mouth and also make some wrinkles where ever you might need them.
For the eye lids, pull a small round piece of sugar between your thumb and index finger and cut the round in half and place them over the eye area while still warm. Jessie notes: If they cool just use a little heat from your torch and stick them on, but be careful not to use too much heat!
Then pull flower petals and place them around the face to create a flower. Jessie notes: Try to give each one a different personality!
In keeping with the period theme of her cake, Jessie baked the following for he entry.
Chocolate Beet Cake with Roux Buttercream
Jessie notes: This type of chocolate cake was relatively common use in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
2 cups puréed beets Jessie notes: Save the juice from the beets, you’ll need it further in the recipe. If using fresh beets, this is about 4-5 medium-sized beets, peeled and boiled until tender. You can use canned beets packed in water.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar Jessie notes: you can use just 1 cup if you want less sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder Jessie notes: You can use either Dutch-process or regular in this recipe.
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
Dash of salt, 2
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm beet juice Jessie notes: You can use water, but I prefer to use the beet juice because it intensifies the color and the taste of the cake.
1/4 cup oil Jessie notes: I use canola sometimes and olive oil other times. Either one works fine.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. coffee
1. Set the oven to 350°F. Then, spray and parchment line two 8" round cake pans.
2. Whisk together all dry ingredients then whisk in eggs, oil, vanilla, coffee, warm beet juice and then beet purée. Continue at medium speed just until all ingredients are combined. Be careful not to overmix.
3. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and place in oven. Check after 30 minutes with a wooden skewer. The cake is done when there is a little crumb on the skewer.
4. Cool in pans for 5 min. Then turn out onto cooling racks. Cool to room temperature, then wrap and chill overnight refrigerator.
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup room temp. sweet butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Jessie notes: Make the roux while the cake is baking so it can also chill overnight.
1. In a saucepan whisk together milk and flour, heat on medium always whisking as it thickens. Cook for about one minute or until it becomes thick and difficult to whisk.
2. Remove from heat. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the roux. Refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat again.
4. Next beat in one-half of the roux and thoroughly incorporate it before adding the other half. Once all roux is in, beat until light and creamy. Jessie notes: Honestly, the more you beat it, the better it gets!
Lady’s Hat Project by Tami Utley
Inspired by Gary Chapman’s Fabric Effects in Sugar, this is a continuation of the By the Book column in the Sept/Oct issue of ACD.
1) Cover a 6" x 4" round cake with ivory fondant. Place it on a 10" board also covered in ivory fondant.
2) To form the leaf, roll a thin sheet of gumpaste and cut into a triangular shape with equal sides. I found a pasta machine works well for all these fabric techniques and results in a uniform thickness. Each of the two sides of the leaf should then be rolled with your finger to form a nice point at one end.
3) Pleat the top of the leaf at the widest end. Pinch and remove any excess gumpaste. Small pieces of foam or a flower former can be used to help shape the leaf for the cake. Place the leaf on a slight curve and let dry.
4) For the rose, roll the gumpaste thinly and cut using the rose template from the book. (a tapered rectangle).
5) Turn the gumpaste over and fold it in half. Seal the edges (with a bit of water if needed) and roll to thin, but take care not to damage the folded edge.
6) Then gently stretch the folded edge to reduce the thickness. The strip should be re-trimmed if necessary with the narrow end cut to a point. Starting with the narrow end, roll the paste to form a neat bud.
7) Use both hands to pinch and tuck the gumpaste around the bud as you turn it.
8) The length and growing width of the strip of gumpaste will help to build up the rose as you turn and make little tucks while pinching the gumpaste at the base, using water if necessary to attach. Gary warns against pushing up the center bud as you build the rose—instead strive to maintain an even height. Pinch off the excess gumpaste at the bottom and use a paintbrush to adjust the petal shapes.
9) The buds are next. This is just a circle of gumpaste, so any circle cutter can be used based on the size of the desired finished bud. After cutting a circle, turn the gumpaste over, fold the circle in half and seal to make a semi-circle.
10) Then reduce the thickness by rolling the bottom (where the edges meet). At the top fold each end toward the center, meeting the ends at the bottom. If this is a large bud, it can be folded inward again, or just pinch the bottom together and seal with water. Again, use a paintbrush if needed to adjust the folds.
11) Next I made the concave flowers which are also made with circle cutters. I found the finished flower will be the same size as the circle cutter used.
Roll the paste thinly and cut a petal with the cutter (I used a
1 ¼" circle) Turn the gumpaste over, fold the circle in half and seal to form a semi-circle, being careful not to damage the folded edge. The instructions say to roll, elongate and gently reduce the folded edge. But I have to admit that I got a little lost here and the diagram didn’t help me—the written instructions and pictures just didn’t match and I was unable to fully understand his directions. I did, however, feel that I understood the basic information.
12) Fold the side edges toward the center bottom and pinch together. Use water to seal and leave a small stem for joining. This will form a cupped pleated petal.
13) Create four petals and join them together in groups of two, then join the two groups together to form one flower, sealing the stems and petal sides with water. Gary uses a ball tool to indent the center and places a ball of paste into it. However, I thought a sugar button would be fun for a ribbon flower, so I molded a fondant button and attached it with water to the center of the flower.
14) While letting the flowers dry, start the ribbon layers for the cake itself. Roll the gumpaste thinly and cut a long rectangular strip double the height desired for the finished ribbon. Since I wanted a 1" finished ribbon, I used a ribbon cutter to cut my strip 2" high. Then turn the gumpaste over, fold in half lengthwise and seal it with water. Be careful when folding not to damage the folded edge.
15) Now cut each end to a point and brush water on one side.
18) Spray the cake with super pearl luster spray and dust all the flowers with a super pearl luster dust in corresponding colors (pink for the pink roses, green for the leaves, etc.). Attach the flowers to the cake starting at the center bottom with royal icing or gum glue.
16) Starting at the top of the cake, place the strip onto the cake, folded side up, and wrap around the cake. The strip doesn’t have to reach all the way around the cake—just overlap the starting and stopping points of each strip until the first layer is complete. Then work each subsequent layer below the previous layer, overlap each strip on the sealed edges of the layer above.
17) Although he doesn’t state to do so, I also staggered the starting/stopping point as he did in his cake.
Chocolate Lace with PhotoFrost
Tricia Allen made this project with PhotoFrost icing sheets
Working with my eBosser, it’s easy to do to decorate cakes with the PhotoFrost Colored Icing Sheets without the use of a computer. They come in 8.5 x 11 sheets on a special backing paper so that you can print photos on them if you want. I used them to die cut right in my eBosser!
1) Wash all your cutting plates and dies in warm soapy water before starting, and then dry everything thoroughly.
Cut the PhotoFrost Chocolate Icing Sheets with a scissors into the sizes needed for die cutting. Place the die (cutting side up) cut wax paper (for easy release from the die), the PhotoFrost Icing Sheet, another sheet of wax paper. Tricia notes: I used the waxed paper layers just so the icing sheet would not stick or pick up any imprints from my cutting plates.
3) The eBosser cutting plate combination, from the bottom up, is C, D wax paper, die with cutting edge up, wax paper, PhotoFrost Icing Sheet, wax paper, A, E and B plates. Use a toothpick if necessary to remove the icing die cut.
4) I kept some of the more interesting cut outs to enhance the separating tiers of the cake. Tricia notes: The horsehead die is Vision by Cherry Lynn and the main pattern is Cherry Lynn’s Mediterranean Lace Rectangle.
5) To adhere, place some edible glue on the back of the die cut icing sheet and placed the die cut icing sheet on the cake.
6) Trimmed the edges with scissors and match the ends until the cake is completely wrapped.
Mike Elder is the owner of Black Sheep Custom Cakes and a three-time winner on TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off. He has since appeared on other TV cake shows, taught cake design and construction classes around the world and founded the Kansas City CakeFest, which he launched to help raise money for local charities.
Mike’s Top 10 Airbrush Tips
1. Buy a good brush. Buy yourself a gravity feed brush with .2, .3 and .35mm nozzles. The finer nozzles will be great for overall and details, while larger is better for pearlescent and metallic colors, which are too heavy for the smaller nozzles. Don’t bargain shop—with airbrushes you really do get what you pay for.
2. A brush is only as good as its compressor. There are tons of compressors available. I prefer piston compressors with an air control valve and moisture trap built in. Better compressors last longer and will give you less grief when you need them most.
3. Learn to take that thing apart and put it back together. I know I’ve already said this but knowing how your equipment works will save you time and frustration in the long run. Airbrushing is great fun, but not if your gear isn’t clean and working! Pretend you’re in boot camp and make sure you know what’s what and how your machine is put together. This is the only way to ensure you have a clean airbrush and that it is in working order. Don’t wait until you have a problem at 2am to try to figure it out.
4. Keep it clean! A dirty brush is a waste of your time and if allowed to stay dirty it will only get worse. Imagine the insides of the brush as you would your arteries… as plaque builds up the arteries clog and eventually you die. The same is true for color inside your airbrush. This is also why a good brush is better than its cheaper alternative as better brushes have finer finishes inside them to allow less gunk and color to stick permanently. Poor quality brushes will corrode and gunk up, even if you try to clean them.
5. Back to the basics. Practice the basics, and I mean really practice them. In my classes many students quickly quit even trying to do the basic stuff like lines and dots as they are a bit boring and not as much fun as drawing a picture or using stencils. Do them anyway! Remember that a paper towel roll is an awesome canvas for this. Always have a roll handy to test your skills and brush before doing it on cake.
6. Light to dark. Always layer your colors. Just because a goldfish looks bright orange doesn’t mean that’s all it is. Start with a white base (nearly all my cakes start out in solid white) then move to yellow, then lightly add orange and then brown only in the darkest areas. Avoid black as a means to darken anything but black. Using black food color to shadow or darken any color of icing, fondant or even other colors will create a dirty, dingy and unappealing look—and you don’t want that.
7. Give yourself time. Just as any other technique takes time to master, so to does airbrushing! Practice, have fun and paint a picture for your friends or kids. You’ll be much more confident and confidence equals quality.
8. Stencils are your friend. Stencils are great. They can help you letter a cake, create great backgrounds for cakes such as tombstones, clouds and a sky at dusk. They can even be used on cakes that you have to do a patterned piping technique on. Use a Cricut or cut it by hand, and spray the pattern on your cake in a pearl or ivory color. The stencil will create a pattern that you can then pipe directly over and create a perfect design that looks completely free handed. Try it, you’ll love the ease at which you can create intricate and symmetrical patterns with your piping.
9. Experimentation is awesome… but wear a cap! I am always looking to learn something new and find a better and simpler way to accomplish my work. Watch others and ask advice when ever you can. Be willing to share and you’ll usually find that others will give it right back. Looking for a hair or feathered pattern? Try using a tattered 3” paintbrush. Looking for smoke? Try cheese cloth. Tear a paper towel and use it as a mask/ stencil…you may find that it looks just like a distant horizon. While you’re doing it, be sure to use an airbrush that has a reservoir cap. You really don’t need the color splashing out of the cup onto your nearly finished cake!
10. Have Fun! Ok, I know I said this before as well, but it bears repeating, I know many of you may have had bad experiences with airbrushing and it has affected not just your confidence but the amount of fun you have doing it. Many of you may avoid airbrushing all together. But only by practicing and by gaining the confidence, even the muscle memory within your hands, will you really begin to enjoy airbrushing. Get out some of your kid’s coloring books and go to town, create 3D images of the characters and images inside just as you would if you were using crayons. Have fun and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Just don’t wait until you have to do it on cake to learn it!
Setting Up Camp: Fishing Hole, Fishing Boy, Campfire and Campfire Kids
In the July/August issue of American Cake Decorating Marian Franza shared her design for a campground cake. We didn’t have enough room to print the "off-cake" design elements she had on her cake board, but you can complete your piece with the steps shown here.
26. Make a boy for the fishing hole: start with a ¾" (1.8cm) ball of taupe modeling paste. draw in open eyes, a smiling mouth, and different hair.
26. Hacer un agujero chico para el agua de la pesca: comience con un ¾" (1,8 cm) de bolas de pasta de modelar marróns, sólo dibujar esta vez los ojos abiertos, la boca sonriente, y el cabello diferente.
27. For his arms take two balls of ¾" (1.8cm) taupe modeling paste and shape them into cones 2" (5cm) long. Thin at one end to form a wrist and a hand. With a fine-tip scissors make the thumb by snipping one straight cut, then one on the diagonal and remove the excess paste. Round off this section and then make three other cuts to form the remaining fingers. Thin slightly while adding some shape to the fingers. Bend the wrist and elbows for movement.
27. Para los brazos prepare dos bolas de ¾" (1,8 cm) de pasta de modelado marrón y darles forma de conos de 2" (5 cm) de largo. Delgada en un extremo para formar una muñeca y una mano. Con la punta fina de la tijera hacer el pulgar haciendo un corte recto, entonces uno en la diagonal y eliminar el exceso de pasta. Para rematar esta sección y luego hacer otros tres cortes para formar los dedos que hacen falta. Delgada ligeramente al tiempo que añade un poco de forma a los dedos. Doble la muñeca y codos para el movimiento.
28. To make his shirt take a 1" (2.5cm) ball of red modeling paste and shape it into a cone. Flatten the wider part and push downward. Create a neckline by hollowing out the top with a ball tool. Adjust his shirt by adding contrasting colored sleeves. For the hood, take a 1/3" (1cm) ball of the blue modeling paste, shape it into a cylinder and thin the ends. Flatten into a triangle and shape with the modeling tool to form an opening. Attach this around the t-shirt neck.
28. Para hacer su camisa toma una 1" (2,5 cm) bola de pasta rojo y forma un cono. Aplanar la parte más ancha y se empujan hacia abajo. Crea un escote empujando la parte superior con un acocador. Ajuste su camisa añadiendo fundas de colores contrastantes. Para la camiseta, toma una bola de la pasta de modelar azul 1/3" (1 cm), darle la forma de un cilindro y marca los extremos. Acoplar en un triángulo y la forma con la herramienta de modelado para formar una abertura.
29. For his legs take two 1" (3cm) balls of taupe modeling paste and shape each into 2"(5cm) cones. Thin to form a knee and flatten at the other end to form an ankle and foot. Use a fine-tip scissors to create the toes.
29. Para las piernas tienen dos 1" (3 cm) bolas de pasta de modelar marrón y dar forma a cada uno en 2" (5 cm) conos. Delgada para formar una rodilla y aplanar en el otro extremo para formar un tobillo y el pie. Use una tijera de punta fina para crear los dedos de los pies.
30. For the shorts blend blue with a pinch of violet modeling paste to form a ¾" (2cm) ball. Shape into a cylinder, cut in half and shape the two halves into cones. Hollow each with a ball tool on the wider end to make room for the legs. Texture the sides with a quilting tool and airbrush some blue to add detail. Attach the narrow end to the t-shirt shape and add the legs.
30. Para los pantanloncillos cortos azul con una pizca de modelado violeta. Pega para formar un ¾" (2cm) de bolas. Formar un cilindro, cortar por la mitad y la forma de las dos mitades en conos. Realiza un hoyo en cada uno de los cilindros con una herramienta de acocado en el extremo más ancho para hacer espacio para las piernas. Textura los lados con una herramienta de acolchar y utiliza el aerógrafo en azul para añadir detalles. Conecte el extremo más estrecho a la forma de la camiseta y agregue las piernas.
31. To create the stone seat take two 1 ½" (4cm) balls of brown modeling paste and shape into irregular forms. Let dry for awhile and then work the shapes a little more before placing one on top of the other. For the pond border, take a 2" (5cm) ball of brown modeling paste and shape it into a long, irregular cylinder. Attach one end each to the stone and shape into a semi-circle. Airbrush both the border and the stone with brown, green and black.
31. Para crear el banco de piedra llevan dos de 1 ½" (4 cm) bolas de pasta de modelar de color marrón y realiza formas irregulares. Deje secar por un tiempo antes de trabajar en las formas un poco más antes de colocar una encima de la otra. Para el círculo del estanque, tomar una bola de plastilina marrón 2" (5 cm) y darle la forma de un cilindro largo y irregular. Conecte un extremo de cada uno de la piedra y la forma en un semi-círculo. Aerografía tanto la circunferencia como la piedra de color marrón, verde y negro.
32. For his fishing rod, make a small cut in the end of a toothpick and insert a piece of fishing line.
32. Para su caña de pescar, hacer un pequeño corte en el extremo de un palillo y coloque un trozo de hilo de pescar.
33. Mix glucose with blue modeling paste to make water for the pond.
33. Mezclar glucosa con pasta de modelar azul para hacer el agua del estanque.
34. Position the boy with the rod in his hands on the stone. Add trees and flowers as you like.
34. Coloque al niño con la vara en la mano en la piedra. Agregar árboles y flores a su gusto.
35. For the girls around the campfire follow steps 26-30 making adjustments for different facial expressions, hair, etc. and vary the color of the shirts and shorts.
35. Para las niñas alrededor de la fogata siga los pasos 26-30 hacer ajustes para diferentes expresiones faciales, cabello, etc y puede variar el color de las camisas y pantalones cortos
36. For the boots take two ½" (1.5cm) balls of reddish brown modeling paste and shape each into a cone ¾" long. Shape each cone between your thumb and index finger to form a boot shape and then flatten the base. Hollow out the top of each to fit against the leg.
36. Por las botas hacer dos ½" (1,5 cm) bolas de pasta de modelar de color marrón rojizo y dar forma a cada uno en un cono de ¾" de largo. Forma cada cono entre el pulgar y el dedo índice para formar una forma de bota y luego aplanar la base. Retirar la parte superior de cada uno para que se ajusten contra la pierna.
37. To create the backpack, start with a ¾" (2cm) ball of burgundy modeling paste. Shape it into a 1" (3cm) cone, place the base on the table and flatten. For the top flap, take a 1/3" (1cm) ball of green modeling paste, shape into a ¾" (2cm) long cylinder. Flatten and mark with a quilting tool. For the button detail, take a tiny ball of the burgundy modeling paste and apply to the flap. To create the pockets, take a ¼" (.5cm) ball of green modeling paste and shape it into a ¾" (2cm) cylinder. Flatten and cut in half for each pocket. Mark each all around with a quilting tool. Bend the curved part down to form the pocket flap.
37. Para crear la mochila, comience con un ¾" (2cm) de bolas de pasta de modelar color burdeos. Forma en un 1" (3 cm) cono, coloque la base sobre la mesa y aplanar. En la solapa superior, tomar una 1/3" bola de pasta de modelar verde, forma (1 cm) en un ¾" (2cm) de cilindro largo. Aplanar y marcar con una herramienta de acolchar. Para el detalle de botón, tomar una pequeña bola de pasta de modelar burdeos y se aplican a la solapa. Para crear los bolsillos, toma de ¼" (0.5 cm) bola de pasta de modelar verde y darle la forma de un ¾" (2cm) cilindro. Aplanar y cortar por la mitad para cada bolsillo. Marque cada uno por todas partes con una herramienta de acolchar. Doble la parte curva hacia abajo para formar la solapa del bolsillo.
38. For the straps, take a 1/3" (1cm) ball of the burgundy modeling paste, roll out thinly and cut two 2" x ¼" (5cm x .5cm) strips. Attach these to both sides of the back of the backpack.
38. Para las correas, tomar una 1/3" (1 cm) bola de la pasta de modelar burdeos, extienda una capa fina y cortar dos 2" x ¼ "(5 cm x 0.5 cm) tiras. Péguelos a ambos lados de la parte posterior de la mochila.
39. The skewers for the marshmallows and sausages are made with the 26 gauge black wire. Add small pieces of white modeling paste for the marshmallows and use the reddish brown modeling paste for the sausages.
39. Los pinchos de los malvaviscos y salchichas están hechas con el alambre calibre 26 del cable negro. Agregue pequeñas piezas de pasta de modelar blanca para los malvaviscos y utilizar el modelado de color marrón rojizo pasta para las salchichas.
40. Make the logs from four ½" (1.5cm) balls of dark brown modeling paste. Shape each into a cylinder and then into a slight cone shape. Texturize and airbrush for detail.
40. Realice los anuncios de madera con cuatro ½" (1.5 cm) bolas de pasta de modelar de color marrón oscuro. Forma cada uno en una forma de cono ligero y luego en cilindro. Texturizar como madera y después aerografiar para darle el detalle.
41. For the flames, take a ½" (1.5cm) ball of yellow modeling paste, shape into a cylinder and then into a cone. Extend the tip as thinly as possible. Make another one this size and then two more that are slightly smaller. Airbrush with red, orange and yellow or use petal dust.
41. Por las llamas, toma de ½" (1.5 cm) bola de pasta de modelar de color amarillo, forma en un cilindro y luego en un cono. Extienda la punta lo más finas posible. Haz otra de este tamaño y luego dos más que son ligeramente más pequeñas. Aerografía con rojo, naranja y amarillo o usar el color en polvo.
42. Arrange the flames on the logs and the campers around the campfire, adding more trees, signage, flowers, etc. as you like.
42.Organizar las llamas en los troncos y las caravanas alrededor de la fogata, la adición de más árboles, letreros, flores, etc que desee.
Seersucker Fabric Texture with SugarVeil Icing
In the July/August issue of American Cake Decorating we cover the London Cake International show. Michele Hester, the creator of SugarVeil Icing was the featured international artist at the show, where she debuted a new technique, creating seersucker texture. She graciously shared the process with ACD.
1. Mix SugarVeil Icing as directed. Grease a sheet of parchment paper with solid fat (Crisco-like) and place onto the back side of a Confectioners' Mat. Using the 'Heavy Lines' edge of the Confectioners' Comb, comb lines of SugarVeil onto the greased parchment and allow combed lines to set.
2. Mix pink food color into a portion of the SugarVeil Icing and add a few teaspoons water to make a 'painting' consistency.
3. Just before painting with the pink SugarVeil, use a wet sponge to dampen the Confectioners' Mat beneath the parchment paper.
4. Using a soft brush, paint pink SugarVeil over the set lines of white SugarVeil, and allow to set.
5. Moisture rumples the parchment, and SugarVeil will precisely mold to the seersucker-like texture. When set, lift the fabric to reveal the right side of the seersucker.
6. Form the SugarVeil seersucker fabric into a bow by cutting it into three pieces, two 4" x 12" piece and one 2" x 3" piece.
7. Cut four strips of wafer paper, each 1/2" x 11" and fold each in half lengthwise.
8. Moisten the back edge of the 12" piece of seersucker and enclose one of the folded strips of wafer paper in order to make a hem. Repeat for all other 12" edges.
9. Cut four strips of 3/8" x 3/4" wafer paper. Place this at the 4" edge of the seersucker and gather the edge to fit. Repeat on the other 4" edge.
10. Bring the gathered ends to the center, moisten the back of one and overlap to secure.
11. Take the other 4" ax 12" piece and twist it one full revolution in the cetner to create tails for the bow.
12. Take the 2" x 3" piece and gather the 2" ends against one of the strips of wafer paper. Attach the bow to the tail and the wrap the short, gathered strip around the center of the combined bow and tail. Overlap the ends at the back and moisten to secure.
13. Trim the bow ends at an angle, shape the bow and tails as you like, using rolled parchment or other filling to hold the shape until dry.
Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Making Iced Flowers
Making poppies using author Ceri DD Griffiths’ method
By Maria E. Malkun, owner of Mayu’s Cakes, Pembroke Pines, FL
For a review of this book, please go to our book review page.
One of the first things the author states about this project is that they are very fragile—and they are! I would advise anyone who wants to make these beauties to make double or triple the amount of petals they think they need.
1. I made my stencil using a plastic sheet for stencil making from the crafts store, which worked perfectly.
2. Cut the squares of parchment paper to give yourself at least an extra 1/2" on all sides. This is helpful both when applying the icing and afterward for the dusting and other handling.
3. Place your stencil over a parchment square and apply the icing. For my first batch of petals, I spread my royal icing too thin on the stencil, which made for very delicate petals.I did the next batch with a thicker coat of royal icing for easier handling. The author did not say anything about the thickness of the petals but given my experience, I think that would be a helpful note!
4. The author suggested placing the petals, each on their own sheet of parchment paper, onto dimpled foam in order to shape them. But I found the dimpled foam didn’t accommodate the paper very well, so instead I used an egg crate, which I felt worked better for this purpose.
5a & 5b. I let the petals dry overnight and then dusted them while they were still on the parchment paper because I thought it was safer to handle the petals this way. Once dusted, I carefully removed the petals from the paper. Following the author’s instructions, I then attached the petals using royal icing in the center and completed the flower successfully.
Maria Malkun runs Mayu’s Cakes in Pembroke Pines, FL, with her husband Luis. She grew up learning baking in her mother’s kitchen in Columbia. Her passion for baking led her to attend classes from some of the world’s top baking and cake design experts including Colette Peters, Marina Sousa, James Rosselle and Kaysie Lackey. However, she didn’t immediately consider a culinary career, instead taking her degree in International Business and worked her way up the corporate ladder. But eventually her desire for creating cakes became too much to ignore and decided to follow her dream of opening her own business.
Squires Kitchen’s Guide to Making Iced Flowers
Making iced ‘stick’ roses, using author Ceri DD Griffiths’ method
By Ceri DD Griffiths, author and instructor
The following is based on a step-by-step featured on Ceri’s website, which is very similar to the process shown in his book. For a review of the book, please go to our book review page.
1. Rub a little shortening on the top of your cocktail stick (or toothpick if you’re making tiny roses) this will ensure that the rose will release when dry. Create a teardrop of gumpaste or and push the cocktail stick into the base. This will form the base shape for your bud.
2 & 2a. Holding the cocktail stick in your left hand, between your thumb and index finger, roll the cocktail stick in an anticlockwise motion. At the same time touch your icing tip to the base shape then pipe a spiral layer of royal icing to form the first layer of your bud. This is done by bringing the piping tube towards you and down while piping.
3. Holding the cocktail stick in your left hand, between your thumb and index finger, roll the cocktail stick in a clockwise motion. At the same time touch your petal tube to the base of your bud and then pipe away from yourself in an arching motion as shown below. At this stage pipe three petals. When finished piping, take a dry brush dusted with corn starch and shape these petals and tidy up the base of your rose. It is wise at this stage to leave your rose for several hours to dry so that the weight of the petals still to be piped will not misshape your rose.
4. Once dry, use the same method to add another three petals, always remembering to shape and tidy with a dry corn starch-dusted brush.
5. Repeat the petal process, this time adding five more details, remembering to shape and tidy as you go. At this point leave your rose to dry for several hours before proceeding onto the last steps.
6. Dependant on how large you wish your rose to be you can keep adding petals, the rose shown here has had an extra seven petals added. The next layer of petals would be a nine.
Ceri’s helpful hints:
• I always pipe my roses in pale colors and use flower dusts afterwards.
• Do not rush these roses, especially the larger ones. Because of their size, if a layer of petals is not crusted or fully dried then the next petals will slide and misshape your rose.
• Always use royal icing as firm as you can pipe, this gives you the ability to manipulate your
finished petal with a dry corn starch brush. It also gives a ragged realistic edge to the petals.
• Use up any spare pieces of gumpaste or modelling paste to create the bud’s base shape
in advance. Complete step one and when it is dry, store it in a dry, dust-free box. This means you never throw paste away because it is a color you don’t use often.
• Speed up the drying time by placing these roses under a desk lamp with a 60W bulb.
• Leave your finished roses to dry for twenty four hours then remove them from the cocktail
sticks and store in a moisture-free container for future use. Color them with dust after storage and not before.
• Using a small leaf tube or leaf cut piping bag, pipe a calyx in pale green royal icing and then use this to stick the rose onto the finished cake or plaque. By attaching the rose with a wet royal iced calyx you reduce the risk of breaking the calyx’s fine tips.
Each layer was carved with 2 layers glued together with buttercream icing and cut on angles using smaller cardboards as guides, one on the top and one on the bottom.
This was the second tier, covered in fondant and the stringwork in royal icing with gold dragees. The edges were indented where the gold fondant cord would be attached with piping gel.
The bottom tier of the cake on a textured fondant covered board. The elegant mold is from Earlene Moore’s new mold collection.
The Finished Pillow Wedding Cake
How To - Pillow Wedding Cake
By Kim McCall of The Pastry Bag
In this How-To, we learn about a neat creation called the “Pillow Wedding Cake,” as well as its creator, Kim McCall.
How cakes have evolved over the past 25 years! When I first started decorating cakes 28 years ago, it was the simple stars, shell borders, buttercream icing, staircases with bridesmaids and groomsmen, separator plates, columns and stick-on plastic pieces, not to mention a prayer for getting your cake set up before anything happened during transport.
It started out as a hobby to make a child’s first birthday cake, or to be asked to furnish the cake instead of bringing a dish for a party or a shower, for that friend who would rather gamble with their wedding cake and let them be your guinea pig. Over the years, the hobby grew and my name got out there, and I realized I could actually get paid for something I loved to do.
Back in 2004, a friend approached me and asked me to go into a cake decorating business with her. I was a little hesitant, because of all the nightmare stories that I’ve heard about business partnerships, but I did it anyway. Boy, was that the best decision I have ever made. Two and a half years later, her husband took an out-of-state job that relocated the family, which brought an end to the partnership. I was at a crossroads: continue solo or totally get out of the business. With the reputation already on a strong foundation, I decided to make a go of it, hook, line and sinker.
In 2006 I had heard about ICES, and in 2007 I became a member. I had attended several Louisiana ICES meetings and then attended my first ICES convention in 2008 in Orlando. Once attending that first convention, I was hooked. Since joining ICES, my network of cake friends has grown and the opportunity to be exposed to some of the greatest teachers and training in the cake world has broadened my knowledge.
This pillow wedding cake is my latest creation. But it would be unfair to take 100-percent credit for this cake. Earlene Moore was the first outstanding cake decorator that I met and studied under; I learned so much from her, and I recently purchased one of her new molds and used them on this cake. The puffed base under the cake was also from her instructions that I purchased. I also have been using Sharon Zambito’s buttercream high-ratio icing and ganache recipes.
And then there is Martha Hebert and Becky Guidry, the Sweet Southern Ladies, for presenting a mini-cake class at one of our Louisiana DOS on doing a pillow cake. After that class, I knew I could do this cake with confidence.