Easter Cookie Tutorial

These cookies are iced using the ‘Outlining and Flooding’ technique which is simple to learn. The outline works as a dam or wall to hold the runny icing which you use to fill in the main parts of the cookie.
I made these cookies in 3 delightful flavours: chocolate, vanilla and gingerbread.
 

Chocolate Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies
275g plain flour
100g self raising flour
75g cocoa powder
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter, diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg, beaten
Sift flours and cocoa, add sugar and mix well.
Add butter and using finger tips rub till mix resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well and add syrup and egg.
Stop as soon as a ball has formed.
Cover and chill till ready to use or roll and use immediately.

170C for 14-18 mins

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies

200g unsalted soft butter

200g caster sugar
seeds from one vanilla pod or 2 tsp of best vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
400g plain flour
In the mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla till well mixed and just creamy in texture. Do not overwork or cookies will spread during baking.

Beat in the egg till well combined.

Add the  flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms.
Cover with cling and place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Place dough on floured surface and knead briefly.
Roll out to 5mm thick.
Cut out your shapes, then, using a palette knife, lay them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Chill again for about 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 180C/170C fan and bake for about 10 mins, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool before decorating.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies
90g butter
150g soft brown sugar
90g golden/corn syrup
425g Plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp mixed spice
1 medium egg (beaten)
Gently heat butter, sugar and syrup until dissolved.
Cool slightly for five mins.
Pre-heat oven 180C and lightly grease baking trays.
Sift flour, baking powder and spices tog into mixing bowl and make a well in centre.
Add melted mixture and egg into the centre. Bind tog with knife then use hands to form soft dough.
Sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out the gingerbread to 3mm (1/8″)

Bake in centre of oven for 13 mins.

Transfer cooked gingerbread to a cooling rack.
I have been using a homemade Cookie Leveller to roll out my cookie dough. I have all the instructions if you would like to make one.
Cookie Leveller click here
 

Royal Icing Recipe click here

A thicker consistancy icing is used to outline the cookie shape and then a thinner one (like custard) to fill in.

Outlining

Outline your cookies first and leave at least 15 minutes before you flood the inside of the ‘dam’ (outline). If the outline is a dark colour, it is best to wait 24 hours so that the colours don’t bleed into each other.
Outlining the egg
To outline the cookie hold the bag at 45 degrees and position the tip on your cookie. Put enough pressure on the bag so that the icing comes out and you can start moving in the direction that you want your icing to go. Start lifting the pipping bag till it is a few centimetres above your cookie and the icing just falls in a continuous line onto the cookie below. Come back closer to the cookie at corners and when finishing also reduce or stop pressure on the bag to go more slowly or to stop.

Flooding

Use a number 3,4 or 5 sized piping tip depending on the size of your cookie. Fill in one area at a time quickly zig zagging back and forth. Don’t worry if you haven’t filled in every spot: speed is more important at this point. To fill in these little missed bits just use your piping tip, toothpick or small paintbrush (used only for food), to push the icing into your missed bits.
Using a squeezy bottle to fill in with icing
Using a toothpick to fill in the missing bits

Decorating

Bunnies with White Tummies
Outline and flood your bunny with your chosen colour and immediately add a circle of white icing for the tummy. The icing will quickly sink down till a smooth or slightly domed tummy area remains.
Once completely dry add cheeks and front paws.
Add nose and eyes once cheeks are dry or almost dry.

Bunnies with Spots 

Outline and flood your bunny with your chosen colour and immediately add little blobs of white icing to make the dots.
Once completely dry add the bow using a No.00 piping nozzle.  
Pretty Little Easter Eggs
Outline and flood your eggs with your chosen colour and immediately add little blobs of white icing to make the dots.
Once completely dry add the bow using a No.00 piping nozzle.
Yellow Chicks
Outline and flood your chicks with yellow and when completely dry add little feather details, a pink beak and an eye.
Bunny Faces
Outline and flood each face with your chosen colour leaving the centre of the ears icing free.
Once dry add the cheeks in the same colour.
Once completely dry use a contrasting colour to make the nose, whiskers and middle ear. While still wet sprinkle the ears with coloured sugar sand or similar. If you are worried about the sprinkles sticking to the nose and whiskers you can add the nose and whiskers after the sprinkles have been added.
Finnish by making the eyes.

Storing

Let the cookies dry for 24 hours before you package them.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place out of the sun (sunlight can fade the colours). The cookies can keep for up to 2 months but I prefer to use them up within a month.
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Valentine Heart Cookies Tutorial

This year I made my Valentine Heart Cookies from gingerbread. I did this as I will be selling them at Pottsville Beach Markets on Sunday 5th February 2012 and the biscuits will have to keep for a couple of weeks. Gingerbread easily keeps for a month in cello bags and is my best choice but if you would rather make a Buttery Sugar Cookie recipe then click here.
 
 

Gingerbread Cookies

90g butter
150g soft brown sugar
90g golden/corn syrup
425g Plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp mixed spice
1 medium egg (beaten)
Gently heat butter, sugar and syrup until dissolved.. Cool slightly for five mins.
Pre-heat oven 180C and lightly grease baking trays.
Sift flour, baking powder and spices tog into mixing bowl and make a well in centre.
Add melted mixture and egg into the centre. Bind tog with knife then use hands to form soft dough.
Sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out the gingerbread to 3mm (1/8in).
Bake in centre of oven for 13 mins.
Transfer cooked gingerbread to a cooling rack.
Outline and fill the cookies at the same time using RI (Royal Icing) with a number 2 piping nozzle and remember that RI takes 24 hours to set.
Royal icing
Traditional royal icing is made with real egg white, however, because of the slight chance of salmonella poisoning, I now prefer to use dried egg white instead.
20g (3/4 oz) dried egg white
90ml (2.5fl oz) cold water
500g (1lb 2 0z) icing sugar
method
Mix egg white and water in a bowl until smooth.
Sieve the icing sugar into a grease free bowl.
Tip in the egg mixture and beat on the slowest speed for 5 mins until the icing stands up in peaks.


Planet Cake Royal Icing using real egg whites.
250-300g pure icing sugar, sifted
2-4 drops acetic acid (white vinegar)
1 egg whitemethod
Beat icing sugar, acetic acid and egg white with electric beater on medium-high speed for 4 minutes for ‘soft peak’. Add extra sugar if the icing is too soft.
Achieving the right consistency for Royal Icing can be difficult but practise makes perfect, so if icing is too thick or too thin just empty your piping bag and add more water/vinegar or icing sugar. You will soon work it out.

Place icing in airtight plastic bowl with a lid. Lay a piece of cling film directly on top of the icing and replace the lid.

DONT put the cookies in an airtight container until they are set (24 hours to set) need the air to help dry out.

Pipe on your designs once the cookies are set using a number 1 piping nozzle. If you would like to use my designs then click on the image above to enlarge and then copy the same or similar on your cookies. For the straight lines, in particular, touch the cookie with the nozzle at the beginning and end of line only, pulling your line of icing in the air. This way you get the straightest line possible. For the heart-shaped outlines you sort of hold the nozzle above your cookie and let the icing gently fall/glide into place. Do not drag the nozzle along the cookie surface at any time. Very few of my cookies are identical as I adapt my designs as I go. Feel free to experiment. If you would like to make these cookies using a Buttery Sugar Cookie recipe then click here.

Wine Bottle in a Crate Cake

The label is wet in this photo. it dried out later on.
 
Step 1 – Make the wine bottle out of gumpaste or fondant at least 3 days ahead:
Use a real wine bottle as a mould and dust with cornflour to keep the fondant from sticking to it…a lot of cornflour. Knead some black fondant with Tylose (helps it dry harder and faster), roll it out to about 1/8″ thick, then lay it over the top half of the wine bottle making sure there is plenty of corn starch between the fondant and bottle.  Smooth out the fondant over the bottle and trim off the excess.

I made two bottles just in case one went wrong!!



Tip 1:  Be sure to trim it at the half way mark down the side of the bottle so that you can just slip the fondant off the bottle once dry. You can make 2 halves separately then glue them together with sugar glue if you want a 3D bottle.

Tip 2:  Allow at least 2-3 days for drying time to avoid the fondant losing its shape.


Step 2 – Decorate the bottle:
You can paint the bottle with clear piping gel tinted burgundy (AmeriColor Gel Paste) if you want a shiny glass look but I just left it matte. For the label, I purchased an edible image but you may prefer to paint on the label yourself. Mark the label position before applying and lightly paint the area with water or edible glue.Tip 3:  Pop the edible image in the freezer for 2 minutes before peeling off the backing paper. 
 
 
 
 
Step 3 – Make the wood panels for the box at least 2 days ahead:
For the side panels of the box, make 2 shades of fondant, a light brown and beige .  Rolled each color out into a thick snake them twist them together and kneaded it a little bit until it started to marble.  Then rolled it out flat to around 3/16″ thick.
Tip 4:  Don’t knead too much or else the marble will blend away.  Rolling it out will help it marble more anyways.
Tip 5:  You don’t want to roll it out too thin or else you risk the panels breaking apart.
Cut out 4 panels:  2 panels at 14″ x 4″ and 2 panels at 6″ x 4″.  Lay them over parchment paper, then over a cookie tray to dry.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to dry a little then take some tools and score lines down it, poke holes into it, dent it, etc…just stress it out and get it to look like wood.
Tip 6:  Letting the fondant sit for a couple minutes before scoring and marking it, it will help the design stay.  If you start scoring it too early while the fondant is too soft and pliable, the marks will smooth away.
As for the base board, I used a 16″ x 8″ x 9mm thick MDF covered in decorator’s foil, firmly glued down with PVA wood glue.
Step 4 – Bake the cake 2 days ahead.
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (from Planet Cake Cookbook)
Ingredients for 10″ square cake
330g butter
330g dk choc
35g coffee
240ml water
190g SR
190g plain
75g cocoa
.7tsp bicarb
720g caster
6 eggs
10.5 tsp oil
150ml buttermilk
Ganache
1800g dark chocolate
900ml pure cream
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease the tin and line the base and sides with a collar that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, coffee and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
  3. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the combined egg, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 2 hours (for 11’5″cake) or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean, though it may be a little sticky. Leave the cake in the tin until cold.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Method
  1. Blitz the chocolate in a processor till each piece is the size of a coffee granule and place in a large bowl
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.








Step 5 – Torte, fill, and crumb coat the cake 1 day ahead.
The side panels of the box were cut to make a box 14″ L x 6″ W x 4″ H.  
Cut the 10″ square Dark Chocolate Mud Cake to fit.  Torte each layer to 1-1/4″ tall and filled with 1/2″ of Dark Chocolate Ganache = 3″ tall cake.  Place the cake over a 14″ x 6″ set up board covered in foil.  Use piping gel to help the cake and board stick together.  Cover the cake with ganache using the board that the cake is sitting on as a guide to getting the correct thickness. Leave the cake overnight to harden and make it easier to work with. 


Step 6 – Final Assembly:
Use a very sharp blade to trim each panel to size, if necessary, and gently press up against the side of the cake using edible glue to stick them on. Gently place the bottle in the middle and fill the area around it with white chocolate shavings.  

Black and White Tiffany Wedding Cake

I made this cake for a wedding on the Gold Coast yesterday!
The top tier is a 10″ Hummingbird Cake filled with Cream Cheese Frosting and some Decorator’s Buttercream to go directly under the sugarpaste.
The bottom tier is a 12″ Dark Chocolate Jaffa Mud Cake filled and coated with Dark Chocolate Ganache and covered in sugarpaste.
Making and using black sugarpaste can be a nightmare and so for this special cake I purchased ‘Satin Ice’ Ready Made black sugarpaste. The white sugarpaste is Bakel’s.
Quantities of Sugarpaste
5 Kg white sugarpaste
1.3 Kg black sugarpaste
Three of the sketches used in the design stages.
Ingredients for the 12” square dark chocolate Jaffa mud cake 
500g butter
500g dk choc
55g coffee
360ml water (replace some of this with the juice of 2 oranges)
280g SR
280g plain
110g cocoa
1.5 tsp bicarb
1080g caster
9 eggs
Zest of 4 oranges
16 tsp oil
225ml buttermilk
Ganache
2700g dark chocolate
1350ml pure cream
Method for the dark chocolate Jaffa mud cake 
Preheat the oven to 160C (Fan Forced). Grease the tin and line the base and sides with a collar that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin. Add baking strips (made from damp cloths wrapped in tin foil) around the outside of the cake tin.
Put the butter, chocolate, coffee, water and fresh orange juice in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the combined egg, orange zest, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 2 hours or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean, though it may be a little sticky.
Once removed from the oven, use a pastry brush (or similar) to brush the top of the cake with boiled water to keep it moist and save it from cracking and forming crusty bits on top. Then cover with a clean tea cloth to reduce evaporation. Repeat the brushing with boiled water step two or three times at half hour intervals as the cake cools.
Remove the baking strips once they can be handled or use oven gloves to remove them.

Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before taking the cake out of the tin.

Wrap the cake well in cling film (do not squash cake) and put in fridge till morning.
Method for dark chocolate ganache
  • Find out how to make ganache and fill / cover your cake with it Click Here

Ingredients for 10″ square Hummingbird Cake 

A 250ml measuring cup was used for this recipes.
440g can crushed pineapple in juice or syrup [or 62ml (1/4 cup) pineapple juice/syrup and 110g (1/2 cup) well-drained crushed pineapple]

300g (2 cup) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
250ml (1 cup) oil (we use peanut oil, but any mild-flavored oil could be used)
780g (3 cup) mashed very ripe banana
450g (2 cups, firmly packed) brown sugar
170g (1 1/3 cup) pecan nuts, broken or chopped into pieces
Cream Cheese Frosting (to fill the cake)
245g (1 3/4 cups) icing sugar
40g butter
80g cream cheese
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5ml) lemon juiceDecorator’s Buttercream (a nice firm buttercream to spread on the sides and top of cake)

(Very stable in very hot weather which we get in the summer here on the Gold Coast, Australia. Probably the best buttercream for covering the outside of cakes as it firms up nicely and forms a crust)

250g Lurpak butter
250g copha or solite
1 tbsp lemon juice
around 750g Pure icing sugar (just keep adding till you are happy with the consistency)
one and a half tablespoons of ‘Pavlova Magic’.
1/4 cup of water (don’t freak out if the icing seems to curdle, it comes together fine.)
Method for Hummingbird Cake

If using a can of crushed pineapple, empty the contents into a strainer over a medium bowl. Set aside to drain.

Grease a deep 10” square cake pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced). If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven so the centre of the cake will be in the centre of the oven.
Stir or whisk self-raising flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined.
Measure 62ml (1/4 cup) pineapple juice/syrup and 110g (1/2 cup) pineapple flesh.
Place eggs, oil, banana, brown sugar, pecan nuts, crushed pineapple and pineapple juice in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients together until well combined.
Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake cake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out without any batter attached.
Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan.When cool cut in half and fill with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

 Place icing sugar in a mixer and mix on high speed for a few seconds to remove any lumps. Add butter, cream cheese and lemon juice to the food processor. Process on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and use a spatula to scrape down the side of the bowl. Process for a further 15 seconds, or until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Make a dam of Decorator’s Buttercream around the edge of the cake and fill in the middle with the frosting.
Decorator’s Buttercream
Melt/soften the copha (make sure soft all the way through, or just melt) (Solite is already soft, so just add straight to the bowl).
Add copha/solite and softened butter to mixer, start mixing, add lemon juice.
Add the icing sugar a cup at a time, once combined add pav magic, and water. Leave to mix for about 10 minutes.
Smooth over the sides and top of the cake and leave till firm.
Covering the cake with sugarpaste
Knead some white icing to a pliable dough and roll it out to 3 mm (1/8 in) thick, using a large rolling pin.
Cover both cakes with white sugarpaste.Making the strips
Cut out 3.5 cm wide strips of black and white sugarpaste the height of the cake. You will need 20 black strips and 16 white strips plus 4 white corner strips which you can custom cut to fit once all the other strips are in place. Start off each side by marking the midpoint and sticking the first black strip right in the middle.

Making the lids

Let the cakes sit for a couple of hours to allow the icing to dry before you make the lids. Brush the top of the cakes with a little water (or syrup) and run the brush around the top inch of the side of the cakes. Knead 700g of the white icing for the top box lid and 900g for the the bottom box lid.Once the dough is pliable, roll out each piece till they are at least 8 in larger than the width of each box. Roll the icing over your rolling pin, lift it up and roll it over the cake. Smooth the top and sides with a flexi-scraper. Use a ruler to mark the edge of the lid on all 4 sides. Trim the lid with a sharp knife.
Making the ribbon

Knead 500g of the black sugarpaste to a pliable dough and roll out. Measure length of ribbon needed. Cut out 4 strips of the required length by  3.5 cm wide. Trim one end of each ribbon into a point to help fit the ribbons together on top of the cake. Stick to the cake with water or edible glue and trim excess ends with a knife.


To make the bow simply follow this video.
Once the bow is completely dry use edible glue to stick it to your cake.

I hope you enjoy making the cake as much as I did.

Beach Cake Tutorial



This fabulous Beach Wedding Cake is covered in ivory sugarpaste and decorated with matching handmade and painted sugar-paste shells.


The bottom tier is a 10″ dark chocolate mud cake filled with dark chocolate ganache and the top tier is an 8″ white chocolate mud cake filled with white chocolate ganache.

Ingredients for 10” Dark Chocolate Mud Cake round
270g butter
270g dk choc
31g coffee
200ml water
155g SR
155g plain
60g cocoa
.6 tsp bicarb
590g caster
5 eggs
9 tsp oil
125ml buttermilk
 
Ganache
1475g dark chocolate
740ml pure cream
 
Fondant
1.475kg sugar-paste
 
Baking time
1 hr 50 mins
 
Method for Dark Chocolate Mud Cake click here

Ingredients for 8” White Chocolate Mud Cake round
240g butter
240g white choc
215ml water
120g SR
240g plain
315g caster
2.4 eggs
1.25 tsp vanilla
 
Ganache
1025g white chocolate
350ml pure cream
 
Fondant
1150g sugar-paste
Baking time
1 hr 20 mins
 

Method for White Chocolate Mud Cake click here

 
How to make ganache and cover your cake with it click here




Sugarpaste
I coloured all my sugarpaste at once using Wilton’s gel paste in Ivory.
1.475Kg for the bottom tier plus 1.150kg for top tier plus 500g for the shells

How to colour sugarpaste and use it to cover your cake click here 


How to assemble a 2 tiered cake click here 

I used Poly-Dowels from GlobalSugarArt.com to support my cake this time and found them easy to use. They are easy to cut with scissors and more hygienic than the wooden ones, I think.

Sea Shells
Using 500g of the ivory sugarpaste, I decided to make a 50/50 mix of sugarpaste/gumpaste (read ‘Successful Molding’ below for other suggestions for mediums to use with molds). I used the recipe below for gumpaste but only used half the quantities to achieve a 50/50 mix.


I used 3 First Impressions Molds which I ordered from America from GlobalSugarArt.com


S102 4 Shell Set
S188 Shell Set 6 (21398)
Clam Shell Press 2 pc.


I made 10 of each shell making a total of 130 shells.



Gumpaste Ingredients:

 
500 grams of sugarpaste (I use Bakels Pettinice, but any will do)
 
2 teaspoons of Cellogen (if you use CMC, Tylose or Gum Trag then only use 1 to 1.5 teaspoons)
 
1/3 teaspoon raw egg white
 
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
 
Instructions:
 
Use a little Crisco (here in Australia I use Copha which is a solid white vegetable oil) on your work surface and knead up your sugarpaste so its nice and soft.
 
Sprinkle the Cellogen, or alternative, over the work surface and knead it into the fondant.
 
Make a well in the mix and pour in the egg white, knead until mixed through, it may feel a little sticky, add more Crisco to the surface if you need to or some icing sugar to stop it sticking to your hands.
 
Sprinkle the Cream of Tartar on the work surface and knead into the mix until all incorporated.

(Thanks to Fran for this gumpaste recipe which I have adapted a little.)
 




Successful Molding by Alan Tetreault
GlobalSugarArt.com

 
 
Successful molding using silicone molds is all dependent on the medium you choose. Many decorators call me in frustration that they cannot get a good impression with a silicone mold using sugarpaste.  Generally, for larger or detailed molds, I recommend using at least a 50/50 mix of gumpaste and sugarpaste.  If the mold has a lot of details or undercuts (details that are cut out of the mold that you cannot see from the opening) I use 100% gumpaste.  On a large mold that is very detailed, I recommend adding Tylose to gumpaste to make a very firm and strong gumpaste.  The more detailed the mold, the firmer the gumpaste should be to achieve the best results.  Here are my suggestions:

 
It helps to use a small dot of shortening (Crisco) on our fingertips while pushing the sugarpaste or gumpaste into the mold.
 
1.  For small molds that you want to be able to cut through or eat, use only sugarpaste.  For each pound of sugarpaste, knead in about one cup of confectionery sugar or enough so that the fondant no longer sticks to your hands or the surface you are kneading on.  This will make molding easier and you can handle the finished product without it stretching out of shape.  This also works well on side designs, drapes and borders that you are molding with a silicone mold.  Adding a flavoring to the fondant (like orange, lemon, almond, peppermint, etc.) can be a nice finishing touch.  Especially since it is usually the children that try to eat the decorations!  Freezing the molded fondant for 5-15 minutes before removing helps keep the detail.
 
2. For larger figurines, flowers and borders like pearls and ropes, I recommend a mixture of 50% gumpaste and 50% fondant kneaded together.  This makes a mold that can still be cut through with a knife when you serve the cake but you may not want to eat the pieces.  Freezing the molded fondant for 5 -15 minutes before removing from the mold helps with removal and keeps the detail.
 
3.  For large molds or molds that have undercuts, I use all gumpaste.  Freeze 10 minutes before removing from mold.4.  For very large or detailed molds, I add 1-2 teaspoons of Tylose to one pound of gumpaste and knead it well. Allow it to rest overnight in the refrigerator in a sealed bag.  The next day, break off a piece and knead it well before using it to make a mold.  It will be very firm. Freeze 10-15 minutes before removing from the mold.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These shells were molded using 50/50 gumpaste/sugarpaste with no added confectioners sugar.  
I placed the filled mold in the freezer for 15 minutes then removed the shells from the mold and lightly dusted with non toxic Luster Dust in Spanish Moss (bronze metallic look) by Sunflower Sugar Art from GlobalSugarArt.com. I used a paintbrush to apply the dust.
 



This YouTube clip will give you a good idea how to use silicon molds even though it shows a baby mold and not a shell mold.

 
Leave the shells to dry for at least 24 hours before gluing them onto the cake with edible glue
Edible Glue
Also called Gum Glue
Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to a quarter teaspoon of Tylose Powder and allow the Tylose powder to melt. Don’t worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending. Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the
morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.
 
The glue should be a dripping consistency. If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a toothpick .
 
The edible glue should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
 
To apply the glue, use a good quality paintbrush and brush on to the area where you are going to be working. Leave until it begins to dry a little so that the area is just tacky to touch.
 
I left 16 assorted shells to place around the cake and sprinkled some raw caster sugar to look like sand.

 
I hope you like my cake and try making one yourself. Please share your efforts with me as I would love to see what you come up with.

Retro Birthday Cake

This stunning 8″ round cake is a Vanilla Buttermilk Cake layered with Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream and covered in sugar-paste.
One thing I really like about this particular buttermilk cake is that it is essentially a one bowl cake, not following the regular cake pattern of creamed butter and sugar, eggs added one by one and then alternating dry and wet ingredients. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it is imperative that you scrape down the bowl often, all the way to the bottom, overdoing it even. Otherwise, little deposits of unmixed butter or flour will sneak up on you.
Otherwise, the cake is really quite simple.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake 8’ round / 7’ square cake
Ingredients
700 ml cake flour
 (replace 6 tbsp plain flour with corn flour) explained below
470 ml sugar
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.4 teaspoon salt
230 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
245 ml plus 60ml buttermilk
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 160C / 325°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake tin. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 245 ml of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 60 ml buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition.
4. Bake for 2 hours, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack by placing a rack on top of the pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liner and let cool completely. When cool, place a cardboard cake board on top of the cake, invert again, and lift off the rack. Wrap the cake on its board completely in plastic, so it doesn’t dry out, and refrigerate.
What is Cake Flour?
Replace 2 Tablespoons per cup (per 240ml) of all purpose flour (plain flour) with cornstarch (corn flour) to reduce the gluten content without sacrificing volume.
Recipes that call specifically for cake flour should have liquid volumes calibrated accordingly, so the won’t turn out dry, as long as you don’t ADD the corn flour, but incorporate it, so that the dry volume is the same.
Commercial cake flour is also finer than regular flour. Sifting a few times through with the cornstarch or zipping through a food processor can really help when you’re trying for a lighter-textured cake. “All-purpose flour” seems to be labeled “plain flour” in Australia.

Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream

This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns.
The recipe makes enough to fill a 3 layered 8″ cake or for 24 (or 18 if piping a tall topping)  cupcakes.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
250g Caster Sugar
pinch of salt
250g Unsalted butter/ softened
1.5 lemons, zest only

Directions

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in lemon zest and a little yellow food colouring gel (optional). Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes

Once the cake is layered with the buttercream it needs a crumb coat. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is not much use for this as it is quite soft. On this occassion I have added a very thin coating of white chocolate ganache but could have used a crusting decorators buttercream instead.
This nice firm crumb coat will make it easy to get a nice finnish on the sugar paste covering.

Brush the cake with a thin layer of water (boiled and cooled) this will help the sugar paste stick to the cake.
I used just under 1 kilo of white sugar paste to cover the cake and coloured a further 200g pink, 200g orange and 200g yellow.
I used a pizza cutter to cut out Paisley pattern teardrops, triangles, long ovals, circles and flowers then randomly placed them all over the cake. I stuck them down with some edible glue but a little water would have worked just as well.
Back view
Side view

Pink Tatty Teddy Christening Cake Tutorial

7” White Chocolate Caramel Mud Cake Round
Ingredients
180g butter
180g white choc
162ml water
90 SR
180g plain
120g caster
120g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
250g nestle Top’n’Fill Caramel
Ganache
780g white chocolate
270ml pure cream
Fondant
780g sugar-paste
Method for the 7″ round white chocolate Caramel mud cake 
(adapted from Planet Cake Cookbook)
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease tin and line the base and sides with a collar of baking paper that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin. Add baking strips (made from damp cloths wrapped in tin foil) around the outside of the cake tin. Put the butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter has melted. Turn off the heat, then add the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is well combined.
Sift the flours together in a bowl. Add the sugars, a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre.
Pour the chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla into the well then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add Top’n’Fill and stir till combined
Pour into the cake tin inserting a flower nail in the bottom of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked into the middle of the cake. Cover with foil halfway through if the cake is browning too quickly.
Once removed from the oven, use a pastry brush (or similar) to brush the top of the cake with boiled water to keep it moist and save it from cracking and forming crusty bits on top. Then cover with a clean tea cloth to reduce evaporation. Repeat the brushing with boiled water step two or three times at half hour intervals as the cake cools. Remove the baking strips once they can be handled or use oven gloves to remove them.

Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before taking the cake out of the tin.

Wrap the cake well in cling film (do not squash cake) and put in fridge till morning.
  1. Process chocolate till it resembles breadcrumbs and place in a large bowl
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

To torte and cover your cake with ganache click here

To make the teddy. Colour white ready made sugar paste with pink gel colour and add half a teaspoon of Tylose powder and kneed till incorporated. Model all the little bits and pieces in the picture above and leave to harden for an hour or two.

Use dark pink petal dust to brush onto the Teddy’s cheeks with a dry paint brush. Use wooden cocktail sticks to attach arms, legs and head to body along with edible glue made from water and Tylose powder. Use the same method to attach the finished Teddy to the cake.