Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beach Ball Blowout

Cue the Beach Boys Music:

Na na na nare nare nare na na nare na na......

(that was that electric guitar Beach Boy-ish music...)

It's summertime! Time for swimming pools, the beach, flip flops and frozen drinks.....

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a beach ball blow out cake? This is one of my most popular designs, and I get tons of requests for info on how I did the ball, so here is the scoop:

The ball is 8 inches of pure unadulterated......... Styrofoam. Bet you thought I was gunna say cake, huh? Do I look nuts?..... No seriously, you could do it in cake just the same way, but we did not need that much cake.

Figuring out how to get the beach ball pattern on there was challenging. My first few attempts were shall we say, less than stellar. Then it hit me. The stroke of genius. The Divine intervention. The best idea I have ever had in my entire life!!

I drove my little self right over to Walgreen's (making one pit stop at the gas station for a fountain Diet Coke because they have the best syrup to carbonation ratio of course.) And I picked up an inflatable beach ball. I cut out one segment of the ball and scanned it in two pieces with my scanner. I then cropped the two halves together in my editing program, and voila! I had one perfect jpeg image of a beach ball segment, that I could then resize to any size I needed to fit any size ball I needed.

I printed it out the size that I needed, and cut it out to make a template. I love templates. I use them for everything. I am not sure which I love more: templates, Diet Coke, or cornstarch. They all play such a huge roll in my life. (I think cornstarch is winning; I adore that stuff.) Then I used that template to cut out the sections of colored fondant, and applied them to the piping gel covered ball. White circles on the opposite ends of the ball were applied for authenticity.

And the cute little fishies. The fish were made by cutting football shapes with a circle cutter. I made the gills by impressing the end of a piping tip into the surface. The fins were made by freehand cutting little shapes from fondant and scoring and ruffling them with a toothpick, then gluing them on the fish body. I attached them to wires with melted chocolate on the back. (Use royal icing in the summer or your fish will swim away.)

The curlies are made by wrapping strips of fondant around a dowel rod until they are firm enough to hold their shape. Then slide them off, shape as desired, and let dry fully. I demonstrate this in the Topsy Turvy DVD.

The life preservers are simply made from cutting white fondant discs and applying red stripes, then wrapping a clay gun string around as the rope. I demonstrate this in the Boxes and Bows DVD .

Now it is your turn to give it a try.


Happy Summer,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back to Basics DVD Preview


Learn everything you need to bake sturdy, level, and delicious cakes. See how to cool, level, freeze, torte, fill and decorate a dessert style cake. And more!

Bonus Section: Cake Balls!

Recipe Booklet included.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Winter Roses for a Spring Wedding

Hi Sugar Babies!

Sorry for the delay in posting. I have been working hard on the editing of the new DVD so we can release it ASAP. Plus my a/c went out for a few days, and that threw my whole schedule behind. Ain't it always sumthin'?

So a few months back a lovely bride brings me this magazine cover for her wedding cake. She wanted it exactly the same, except for the appliques not to be snowflakes since she was having a spring wedding. The magazine did not give credit to the artist, so at the time I did not know it was the amazing Liz Finch of Britain. I have since found that out, and contacted her to thank for such a gorgeous design, and to let her know I copied it. She was very lovely and sharing.

I hoped that my version would do her incredible art justice. I was pleased with my rendition in the end, and the bride was happy with it too.

The bow was satin, and the brooch was costume jewelry purchased by the bride. At the time that I made the cake, I had no idea what those flowers were, so I just tried to copy them as closely as I could with the materials I had available to me. Liz has since told me that they are Christmas roses, and there is a cutter set available for them. Good to know for next time!

So I just winged it based off the magazine photo. I started with two types of stamens I purchased online here and here.

This photo is washed out, so you can't really tell that the tips of the stamens are yellow. I gathered up a few of each type, and used white floral tape to assemble them around a short floral wire.

Then I used this small eight petal blossom cutter to cut the shapes from green gumpaste.

I pinched the ends of the petals to elongate them just slightly, and then pushed the slightly dampened stamen wire down thru the center of it.

I then let them dry upside down until they were fully dry. (Yeah, that is a cooling rack on a Viva paper towel roll... I am just so high tech! LOL)

Next I cut out little discs of white gumpaste, to provide a base to glue the flower petals onto. Liz has told me that her flower petals were individually wired, but this worked in a pinch!

I let the discs firm up a good bit, and then slipped them up the wire. Notice that I left a space between the green blossom and the white disc. We need that space to place our petals. The white discs did not want to stay in place , so I cheated and put a dab of hot glue under each to keep it from sliding around.

Then it was time to cute the petals. I used this rose set, the same one I used to make the purple flowers on my TLC cake. It was the closet shaped cutter I had to what I saw in the magazine photo. I rolled the gumpaste to number 5 on the pasta roller, and very barely softened the edges with a very light touch with the ball tool. The petals looked to me to be on the thicker side, than say regular roses, so I purposefully left them that way.

I placed some foil over a cup, and stuck the stamen down into it.

Then I dampened the white disc and applied the petals around it.

Overlap each one as you place it, for a total of five.

I pinched the petals to give them movement, and lifted and turned them slightly to make them look more realistic. I propped the petals up with cotton to achieve the shape that I wanted.


After they were fully dry, I dusted the insides of the flowers, down at the base of the stamens, with some yellow and kiwi green. Then I gave the whole flower a dusting with super pearl luster dust. The dusting really makes gumpaste flowers come to life. When I assembled the cake, I put them in place and glued them down with just a small dab of melted white chocolate.

A little bling added to the topper. I also dusted the fondant appliques with super pearl. I brought the cake in 2 sections and finished the assembly at the venue. It was really quite striking and beautiful in person.

I was very excited to be able to do such a beautiful design, and something different. It was very ironic to later found out that I had made Christmas rose for a spring wedding cake!


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Happy baking everyone!