Wedding Cake Pops Tutorial

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

Cake pops have without a doubt become one of the most popular sweet treat trends in years.  

While cake pops are certainly a fun treat to share and eat, they can be a challenge to create. I will start this tutorial with the recipes and method I used to make these Bride and Groom Cake Pops then I will expand the tutorial with a troubleshooting section that applies to all kinds of cake pops.

Cake Pops
Makes 20 pops

What you will need:

600g dark chocolate mudcake made from scratch or 600g of mudcake made from a box cake mix

115g cream cheese

160g sifted icing sugar

40g butter

0.5 tbsp milk

620g white candy melts

350g black candy melts

Lollipop sticks ( 7″ if possible )

Matching ribbon

1.   Make the frosting by mixing together the cream cheese, icing sugar, butter and milk.

2.   Crumble the cake into a large bowl or process in the food processor to fine crumbs then place in a large bowl and stir in half of the frosting. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined and thick like a truffle center. Mix in additional frosting if necessary.  You just want enough to get the crumbs to stick together when you roll them into balls.  Do not add so much that the mixture becomes soft and mushy!

3.   Roll mixture into balls weighing 30g and place on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer for 15 minutes then allow them to almost return to room temperature.

4.   Meanwhile melt chocolate in the microwave at 70% for 1 minute then stir well. Return to microwave for 30 seconds and stir well. If the chocolate has still not melted then repeat in 30 second bursts until fully melted and smooth ( always stir well before returning the chocolate to the microwave to avoid overheating). Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the the top of the cake ball.  Insert a little more than halfway.

5.   Place in freezer again for 15 minutes then allow them to almost return to room temperature before dipping them. Pops will crack if the temperature difference between the cake and the coating is too great. Carefully dip the cake pop into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and submerging in the chocolate till fully covered. Once covered, remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off too.

You want the chocolate to come over the platform you created when inserting the chocolate-dipped stick, but you don’t have to cover it all the way to the stick.

Tap off the excess chocolate. 

Once half the cake pops are on sticks that have been dipped in chocolate, I then put them in my freezer for 15 minutes and by the time they are ready to come out the freezer the remaining cake pops will be ready to go in. Chilling them helps set the chocolate and make the stick, chocolate and cake all come together firmly.

6.   Melt the black chocolate as before and dip half of the cake pops to make the ‘Grooms’. Dip at an angle and rotate a little to create the jacket. Fit a no. 2 tip to a piping bag and fill with a little of the black chocolate. Pipe on the bow tie and buttons. If the chocolate hardens in the bag or tip just ‘neuk’ the piping bag in the microwave at 70% for 5 – 10 seconds.

7. Fill a similar bag with a little white chocolate and pipe the ‘Brides’ as per the picture.

Troubleshooting Cake Pops

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

Cake Pops Cracking

The challenge I find with chilling the cake pops is that there seems to be a fine line as to how long to chill them – as having them too cold often results in the chocolate cracking after dipping.   I try and make sure my chocolate isn’t too hot, and that my cake pop isn’t too cold – letting it warm up a bit after taking it out of the freezer, even just a few minutes.

Another way I deal with this issue is that I do a “first dip” into chocolate. I then redip them in a second layer of chocolate, and decorate.  Kind of like a crumb coat in frosting a cake.   This sort of seals the crack into the first layer, leaving the second and outer layer looking nice and pretty, and yay – more chocolate!   This is also an option if you make your cake pop and the chocolate hardens before you get the sprinkles on it.  Just dip it again!

Here are some other sites that you can check out for more tips and advice on the chocolate on the cake pop cracking issue…

 Prevent Cracks In Cake Pop Shells from Honeycomb Events & Design

Why Do Cake Pops Crack from Beki Cook’s Cake Blog

Cake Pops, Balls & Truffles: Troubleshooting & FAQ from Veronica’s Cornucopia

Tricks Of The Trade from The Cake Pop Connection

Chocolate Coating Cracking from Chocolate Candy Mall

Cake Pops Falling Off The Stick

Dipping my cake pop sticks into the chocolate, then putting them into the cake pops and letting the chocolate set should avoid these problems.   I do have a few other things that help with this issue.

1.  Don’t make the cake pop too big. Keep cake pops on the smaller side between 27g – 32g as too much weight on that tiny stick has the potential to create problems.

2.   When dipping the cake pop into the chocolate, dip it in and get it out – don’t twirl it around. Twirling it in the chocolate increases the chances of the cake pop falling off the stick or chunks of the cake pop falling off.

3.  Never tap the stick on the side of the bowl too hard when trying to get the excess chocolate off.   Too hard of a tap and bam, cake pop in bowl. Do a very gentle tap or two on the side of my bowl, and then twirl cake pop, slowly and constantly, over the bowl to let the excess chocolate drip off.

4.  Holding on to the cake pop until the chocolate is close to set.   Once the chocolate sets, usually the cake pop and stick are pretty good friends then you can confidently set it down.

Here are some other sites you can check out with information about preventing your cake pops from falling off of the sticks…

Common Cake Pop Issues & Tutorials from Miss Candiquik

Cake Pop Tutorials and Q & A from Not Rachel Ray

How To Get The Sticks To Stay In The Cake Pops from Babycakes

FAQ from My Little Cupcake

 Cake Pops Tutorial from Mandy Walls Photography

Getting the Chocolate Smooth and the Sprinkles To Stick

Keep the cake pops moving, slowly twirling the cake pop until the chocolate sets.   It’s a bit of a balancing act to find when to add the sprinkles and when to put the cake pop down.   If you put the sprinkles on too soon, they can slide off and take the chocolate with them.   Wait too long and they won’t stick.   There is definitely  a sweet spot time wise to adding the crystals, and I think a lot of it just takes some practice and patience to find what works.

Stick to lighter sprinkles, the ones that weigh the least, such as sanding sugar, sugar crystals, jimmies and the like.   The sanding sugar and sugar crystals are the easiest.

Do not submerge my cake pops in sprinkles. Hold the cake pop over a bowl, and sprinkle over it, catching the excess sprinkles.

Bride and Groom Wedding Cake Pops

80s Theme Cake

This 80s Theme Cake was made for Jessica’s 30th Birthday Bash in Brisbane. It is made from white chocolate and dark chocolate marbled mudcake, filled with dark chocolate ganache and covered with sugarpaste. The Rubik’s Cube is a really delicious truffle.
The birthday girl wanted hot pink, turquoise and yellow as her colours but you could use whatever colours you wish. To celebrate her 1980s themed birthday the cake incorporates the MTV logo, Pacman arcade game, Rubik Cube, Boogie box, fluorescent colours and animal print fondant, not to mention the giant number ’30’.

 
Baking Diary
DAY 1
Colour sugar-paste. Hint – You can buy ready coloured black sugarpaste which saves a big mess. Also I used Wilton’s Rose edible gel colour for the hot pink.
Make ganache click here for detailed ganaching info

Bake cakes
Wrap cakes in foil and place in fridge overnight.
Cut finger nails. There is nothing worse than making a mark with your long nails on your completed cake.
DAY 2
Take cake out of fridge first thing in the morning and allow to come to room temp.
Torte and ganache cake then leave it to set. click here for detailed ganaching info
Once set cover with sugar-paste.
DAY 3 
Decorate and complete the job.
DAY 4 
‘Stuff up’ day. You never know what might happen when making a cake so always pencil in a ‘stuff up’ day (I had a day with my feet up when making this cake as I had a toenail removed, ouch!)
DAY 5  The day of the party
 
Marbled Mudcake
The three tiers are made up of a 7″ round, a 5″ round and a 4.5″ square. The rubik cube (1.25″ / 3 cm) is made from the cut offs from the Boogie box mixed with left over ganache formed into a large truffle cube and covered on all sides with a thin layer of ganache.Make the light and dark mudcake batter in separate bowls then pour the dark in first filling your pans to half the usual height then fill each with the white choc mud batter and gently stir round a little to mix and bake for 1.5 hrs at 150C
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (Pam’s recipe)
187g butter
150g dk choc
1 tbsp coffee, powder or granules
1 cup water
1 cup SR flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Method
    1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
    2. Grease and line base and sides of cake pans with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
    3. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
    4. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
    5. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
    6. Pour mixture into prepared pans stopping at half the height you normally fill to.
No need to be delicate with this one – just make sure that the chocolate mixture has cooled sufficiently so as to not create a thickening reaction when the flour is added.
 
White Chocolate Mud Cake (Planet Cake recipe)
185g butter
185g white chocolate
170ml water
95g SR flour
185g plain flour
250g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

White Chocolate Mud Cake Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Grease and line base and sides of cake pans with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
  3. Combine chopped butter and water in a saucepan.
  4. Stir over low heat until butter is melted. Turn off heat, then add the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is well combined.
  5. Sift flours into a bowl. Add sugar, a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre.
  6. Pour chocolate mixture, egg and vanilla into the well then stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  7. Add the white batter to the already half full pans and fill to their normal height.

Marbling
To create the marbling effect simply gently stir round a little to mix (Do not overdo) and bake for 1.5 hrs at 150C. Check the small cakes before their time is up.

 
 Dark Chocolate Ganache click here for detailed ganaching info
1600g dark chocolate, finely chopped
800ml pure cream
  1. Grind the chocolate to fine granules in a processor.
  2. Put the chocolate in a large bowl
  3. 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.)
  4. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

Decoration
Templates can be found on my Free Stuff page click here
I used a whole lot of edible glue on this cake. I even stuck the tiers together with glue as it wasn’t a big heavy cake and the glue would survive the 200km round trip delivery.

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.
The animal print is made up of thin strips of black sugarpaste.
Some sugarpaste shapes for the Boogie box, Rubik’s Cube and Pacman
Pattern pieces for the more complicated shapes can be found on my Free Stuff page. Flat pieces such as the ’30’ and the ‘MTV’ logo should be made early and left flat. Curved pieces such as Pacman should be stuck to the cake soonish so that they can mould themselves to the shape of the cake. Add Tylose powder to any parts that need to be very stiff such as the MTV logo. I added just a quarter of a tsp of Tylose to a lump of pink which I used for the ’30’ and the ‘MTV’. Knead the powder into the sugarpste till well combined.
To make the handle for the Boogie box use some plastic tubing with cocktail sticks pushed in at the ends. Stick the sugarpaste on with edible glue.
You will need 45 coloured squares in total (none on the bottom) and stick them on with edible glue. Each square is 1cm x 1cm. Secure to the cake using two short wooden skewers and edible glue.
I used this image in the background of my cake picture. I made the image a couple of years ago with camper vans and surf board, typical of the Gold Coast and reminiscent of the ’80s. I changed the colours to suit the colour scheme of the cake.

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.

Star Wars Death Star Cake

This Death Star Cake was such fun to make that you just won’t know when to stop! It is made of Dark Chocolate Mud Cake and filled and covered in Dark Chocolate Ganache then grey Sugar-paste. Use two 8.5″ or 9″ metal kitchen bowls to bake the cakes.
 
Dark Chocolate Mud Cake
 
Ingredients
to fill two 8.5″ metal bowls
500g unsalted butter
500g dark chocolate
2 tablespoon instant coffee
2-2/3 cups warm water
3 cups self raising flour
2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
 Instructions:
1. Grease and line base and sides of bowls with one thickness of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm above side of pan.
2. Combine chopped butter, chopped chocolate, coffee, and water in a saucepan.
Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Cool 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl of mixer.
3. Add caster sugar to mixture and beat well until dissolved. Add sifted flour and cocoa, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
4. Pour mixture into prepared bowls.
5. Bake at 150C for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Test with skewer. Cool cake in bowls.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
 
Ingredients
1.2 kg dark chocolate
500ml pure cream
Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble, pour over chocolate (which you have blitzed in the food processor to coffee granules size) and let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool.
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens to a slightly thicker peanut butter consistency. Since I don’t have the patience to wait, I just let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover because you might get condensation). It would  usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).

If you prefer a really soft filling for your cakes then just whip ½ cup cream and add 2 tbsp of the Ganache and whip a little more. This makes a delicious and easy chocolate mousse.

For more information on ganaching your cake click here.
Sugarpaste
750g in grey to cover Death Star
350g in black to cover board
360g in dark grey for stick on blocks
Royal Icing 
to decorate the blocks

250-300g pure icing sugar, sifted
2-4 drops acetic acid (white vinegar)
1 egg white

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. Add black edible colour until the correct shade of grey is achieved. Fill a pipping bag fitted with a number 1 tip.

Step 1. Line tins with greaseproof paper and add a collar of around 20 cms.

Step 2. Bake the cakes and place on 9″ round thin cake boards. Fill and cover in ganache using the instructions above. Make sure that the bottom half of the cake has a flat bottom to sit on.
Step 3. Cover with sugar-paste. If you would like to find out how to colour sugarpaste and use it to cover your cake click here

Step 4. Insert 4 thin plastic dowels as shown and one thick one in the middle which will fit over the small wooden dowel which has been inserted into the base board by first drilling a hole in the middle of the board. These plastic dowels can easily be cut with scissors.

Do not assemble the cakes on the base board until all decoration is fully complete.
The dowel in the centre locates into the hollow dowel in the cake base and helps anchor the cake to the board especially if travelling by car.
Step 5. Roll out the dark grey sugar-paste as thin as you can and cut out all the shapes that you think you will need. Glue them onto the cakes with edible glue (or a little water) and pipe with the Royal Icing making up your designs as you go. Use the pictures of the finished Death Star as a guide only.

Step 6. Roll out the black sugar-paste making a little hole in the centre. Slip the hole over the dowel in the centre and cover the cake board. Lift up the sugar-paste and paint on a little water underneath to help the sugar-paste stick to the board.
Add a little icing or edible glue around the wooden dowel. Slip the bottom half of the Death Star onto the dowel. To attach the top half of the Death Star apply PVA glue to the cake boards or use a knife to spread on some icing. Make sure the concave circle is facing forward and is centralised.

I hope you have as much fun making this cake as I had!
May the Force be with You!

More Star Wars Cake Tutorials

Click on the images below to go straight to the corresponding tutorial.

Jawa
Jawa Cake
Millennium Falcon Blue
Lego Millennium Falcon Cake
Star Wars r2d2 Cake
Star Wars r2d2 Cake

Other Star Wars Cakes, without tutorials

Stormtrooper Cake, hand painted
Stormtrooper Cake, hand painted

 

Darth Vader
Darth Vader

Darth Vader

Star Wars Death Star Cake

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.