Marilyn Bawol, the sugar artist and creator of Flexique, shared an exclusive tutorial from her fabulous Pastry Live entry for our May/June issue. Here is the tutorial in its entirety, including the showpiece of her creation– the mischievous Jack in the Box. Enjoy!
I always like to create three-dimensional, almost impossible sculpted cakes. This is a cake I created for Pastry Live 2015 where the theme was Toys. The rules for this competition require a dummy core which must also be re-creatable in real cake. I chose to showcase my newly discovered product Flexique™ and make it more unusual by using a bas-relief for the characters around the sides of the box.
Because of the complexity of the cake we will be concentrating on the two items that contain Flexique since that is the most innovative.
I used a 24” x 24” wooden base of ¾ inch plywood to which was attached a ¾ inch steel floor flange into which I screwed the ¾ inch male cpvc adapter. The base was made to look like a checker board. To the adapter, I cemented in a ¾ in CPVC pipe 12 inches long into which the 3/8 inch ID soft copper pipe 36 inches long was inserted. This was the support for Jack’s body, neck and head.
The 12’ x 14’ Styrofoam box was covered in 50/50 fondant/gumpaste and then the scenes with the bas relief characters were created on each side.
Wooden base 24” x 24” and ¾ inch
¾ inch steel floor flange and screws
¾ inch male CPVC adapter
¾ inch CPVC pipe, 12 inches long
3/8 inch ID soft copper pipe 36 inches long
72 inches of ¼ in OD soft hollow copper tubing
Copper tubing cutter
12” x 14” Box
Five 3×6 inch rounds (neck)
Three 5×6 inch rounds (hat)
One 8 inch round (Jack’s head)
3 x 3 ½ round (doll head)
Flexique™ (2 packs)
Flexique Glue (1 pack)
Wafer paper (1 sheet green and pink; 9 sheets white)
1 lb White Fondant
1/2 cup confectionary coating (Almond Bark)
Knox Gelatin (2 oz)
1 lb white modeling chocolate
Paint Brushes (1” and Artist)
Colors (White, Red, Gold, Pink, Yellow, Green & Brown)
3 small balloons
4 wooden tongue depressors
Silpat mat or other texture sheet
Small oval (3/4 x 1 inch) and circle cutters (1 and 1 ¼ inch)
Extruder with ¼ inch circle
There are several Flexique techniques used in creating both the rag doll and Jack, which I am anxious to share. The rag doll stands 1’ tall. Start by forming 1/4inch OD soft hollow copper tubing into a doll shape. Twist a 24” piece into a head, one arm body and one leg. Use a 14 inch piece for the other leg, body and other arm. More detail if desired
You’ll need a total of 217 grams of 50/50 gumpaste/fondant which does not need to be colored. Press it around the copper to create a basic shape of a doll’s body with the leg kicking out. Let it dry for two days.
In the meantime, create the Flexique fabric for the dress and Jack’s outfit. When you prepare the Flexique, add a few drops of white color. Paint Flexique on wafer paper and lay it out on a silpat mat or other textured mat to give the fabric a look of movement. Overlap three sheets of coated wafer paper to create an 11” x 24” section. Dust it with corn starch then flip it over on the other side and paint it with Flexique. Dust it with corn starch and let it cure for at least one day. Check out the tutorials on www.flexique.com/how-to for more details on how to get the most out of using Flexique.
At the same time use pink, green and white wafer paper (or color the Flexique) cut into strips 2” x 12” to produce Jack’s sleeves. Alternating colors and adding Flexique as shown on-line. Each sleeve is 12” x 12”.
Jack’s collar is made of 50/50 Flexique and confectionary coating. You have to melt the confectionary coating and Flexique separately as they melt at different temperatures (see on-line). Spread out the mixture 9 or 10 inches wide on two adjoining silicone mats 45 inches long with a spatula to about 1/16 inch thick. Dust it with a pearl luster after about 10 minutes (this mixture takes a little longer to set up). Now cut a ¼ inch strip and four 1/16th inch strips to be used for the doll’s dress and the puppet strings later. Cut two 4” x 45” pieces for the collar. Pleat each strip so that it hugs a 2 or 3 inch diameter object. Use Flexique Glue to hold the seam together. Support any outer edge pleats with paper towels. Let it cure for a day or two depending upon humidity.
For Jack’s hat, take about 230 grams of Flexique, add 4 drops of white, 2 drops of green and 1 drop of red color. Cover 12 sheets of wafer paper with Flexique one at a time. Cover one side then the other and overlap them in the pattern shown. Dust with pearl luster. Now measure and cut a 30 inch circle. Cut the circle into three somewhat equal wedges (32” arc). Carefully flip each wedge over and dust it with cornstarch or luster if you prefer. Let cure for a day.
Now let’s make three bells for his hat. Add 2 1/8 oz or 59 grams of Knox gelatin to 4 oz of cool water in a microwavable cup. Make sure to mix quickly and mixture will be very thick. Cover and let bloom for at least 1 hour. Then heat in the microwave until gelatin is dissolved. Scoop and discard any foam off the top. Inflate each water balloon to about a 1 inch ball, tie it off and apply a very light coating of shortening and wipe off excess. Immerse into warm gelatin as shown until fully coated then turn it straight up so that the drips are at the knotted end. Wipe off any excess drips. After about 5 minutes, dip it one more time and hold it upright until it dries a little then insert a skewer into the knotted end (careful not to deflate the balloon). Leave hanging until it fully dries.
Use a 3.5 inch Styrofoam circle 2 inches thick to create the doll’s head. Use a rasp to round off the edges and make a groove in the head into which the copper tubing can fit then coat it with shortening. Into 132 grams of 50/50 fondant/gumpaste add a touch of pink gel color plus 1 drop of lemon yellow coloring and mix well to create a flesh tone. Roll out thinly. Cut two 4 ¼ circles and apply to both sides of head form. The seam will eventually be covered by hair.
Out of the 11 x 24 inch section, cut a piece 6” x 22” to use for the skirt. Water down a tablespoon of red/brown colored Flexique with a tablespoon of water. Warm up this mixture and paint lines as shown. It will dry immediately. Do the same thing in the opposite direction to create a gingham effect. If the paint starts getting too thick, rewarm it in the microwave and add a few more drops of water.
Now with the textured side facing down, turn back a hem of about ¼ inch and paint with warmed Flexique glue and press together as you move along.
Pleat the opposite end to fit loosely around the doll using warmed Flexique Glue and holding in place for a few seconds until it cools.
Wrap the skirt around the doll. Cut a 5” x 6” piece of the fabric to use as a top cutting in slots as shown. (Be sure to measure your doll first). Apply the top and attach it with Flexique Glue.
Mix Flexique with red colored pastillage 50/50, coat it and the extruder tube with shortening and extrude it for the hair. Braid it and apply to the head with Flexique Glue.
Roll out some black, white and red fondant and cut out shapes for the collar, face and shoes.
Using the pre-cut strip, tie a belt with a bow around the waist as Flexique handles like material.
Drill a hole into the gumpaste in the back of the doll and attach a dowel. The doll can then be supported by drilling a long screw in from the bottom of the base and into the copper tube of the dolls leg then inserting the dowel in the dolls back into the box.
Now to focus on Jack – first create a drawing of his face.
Start with 8 inch ball. Trace the face and begin carving. Start with the sections that protrude the most such as the nose, ears, cheeks and forehead. Then shape the rest of the face according to your drawing taking just a little bit out at a time shaping the head more into an oval.
Smooth out with a rasp as best as you can and cover it with modeling chocolate. You can now cover it with flesh colored 50/50 gumpaste/fondant. I used a tan color because I wanted it to look more antique. (If using cake, you can remove the face mask you created with the fondant/gumpaste after it dries and apply it to your cake) For finishing touches, add the eyes, color the lips, tongue and cheeks, and paint in the eyebrows.
For the neck, shape 6 inch rounds 3 inches thick tapering the tops and bottoms. Do one at a time since they will be slightly different. You want to have them fit nicely onto the one below them as they bend. Punch the holes in the neck in a pattern that allows the neck to bend. Cover the top and bottom of each section with complimentary colored fondant and add an extruded rope as accent on the seam.
Attach 4 sections of the neck to the center pole. Use a 30 inch length of ¼” OD soft copper tubing for the arms. Bend a two inch hook at each end then wrap it around the center pole at the middle and bring the ends around the front to form the arms crimping it in place on the center tube. Pleat each end of the 12” x 12” tricolored sheet to form a sleeve and attach it to the center pole and wrist positions on the copper support tube using Flexique Glue. Now add the last section of neck. At this point attach the collar to the top neck section and add the head on top of the collar.
Cut three triangles of Styrofoam (or crispy rice) and glue them onto the head as support for the hat. Attach one wedge of hat material to each triangle securing the seam with Flexique Glue and making sure that there is enough material to gather into the middle of the head. Connect all three sections together in the middle and cut off any excess. For each hat section, take one of the pre-made bells, deflate the balloon and remove it. Make sure the hole is big enough to insert the end of the hat material into the bell and attach with Flexique Glue.
Extrude some 50/50 golden brown colored gumpaste/fondant into strands and fill in around the cap as hair where needed.
Form each hand out of modeling chocolate and attach to the hooks on the end of the copper tubing of the arms. One of them will be attached to the edge of the box making it look like Jack is leaning on the box. Create a puppet control bar by using two crisscrossed tongue depressor sticks covered in fondant impressed into a wood grain impression mat. Drill a small hole in each end, thread in one of the pre-cut puppet strings and tie a knot in the end. The other end will eventually be attached to the doll. Form the other modeling chocolate hand around this control bar and secure it using melted modeling chocolate.