Thursday, April 20, 2017

Perfect Little Teddy Bear Topper




Hello Cake Couture fans!  This is a quick tutorial on how to make a cute little teddy bear cake topper.  The biggest trick here is getting the measurements right and that is exactly what I have for you today! Let us begin:).

What you will need:

Fondant in desired color
Powdered sugar and shortening (prefer crisco) for work-ability)
Gum Tragacanth OR Tylose Powder (I prefer the gum but I think most people prefer Tylose)
Black Sugar Pearls aka dragees which are available at Michaels or your local cake supply shop
Stitch rotary tool available from your local sewing shop
Scale to weigh fondant
Sugar glue (Use a fork to mix 1 tsp Tylose and 1 tsp sugar with 2 tbsp super hot/boiling water and let set)
optional items: Bow mold available at Michaels in the wax molding area (I think) and contrasting fondant color

Steps:

Step 1. Mix some gum or tylose with your teddy bear fondant to initiate firmness.  If you wait about 10 minutes or so this will help with modeling firmness.

Step 2.  Make a pear shape body with 3 ounces of fondant.


Step 3. Make the head ball out of 1.7 ounces of fondant




















Step 4.  After head and body have dried a little, make two long tear drop shapes with 0.2 ounces of fondant for the arms




Step 5. Make 2 more similar tear drop shapes, but shorter squishing the bottom flat for the legs.


Step 6. With head and body a bit firmer/drier connect the head to the body with sugar glue and with the help of a toothpick if needed.  Assemble the legs and arms using sugar glue soon after you shape them to incorporate a soft look.


Step 7.  Cut a flat round piece out for the mouth area (you can secure this with shortening to avoid fondant mistake issues).  With mouth area piece in, mark eyes and nose spots and apply carefully.  Also add a tail if you like!  Make little ears by rolling a small ball and using a round tool or dowel for the hole.  Affix with sugar glue.




Step 8.  After teddy bear is more or less dry, very carefully run the rotary tool in desired areas to get a nice stitched look.  Also add the bow in contrasting color if desired.  


And that's it for Teddy Bear making!!

Happy Caking!








Friday, January 20, 2017

The Pokemon Pikachu Cake!



Hello Cake Couture fans!!  Here is a SUPER fun cake that I had never posted about!!  I made this cake back in 2015, but WOW it has had about 8,000 pins on Pintrest!

Thank you for loving this cake!<3 And btw when you see the pin now that I added the link to this post it reset the counter to 0 haha!

This post is a descriptive summary of the decor that went into this cake.

Below we will talk about the special font, the lightning, the ball, and modeling!

DISCLOSURE: I am sooo sorry for not having more working pic.  Sometimes I get so consumed in cake making that I forget to take pic!:-/

The Font

There are awesome font generators online for unique fonts. 

For this Pokemon font I went to:  http://fontmeme.com/pokemon-font/

Scroll toward the bottom and type in the text you want to generate.  When you generate this unique font save/copy it and transfer this to a word doc where you can further manipulate it to get it into the size that you want.    

Then cut each letter so you will have a paper template of how the letters will come together.  With these templates cut out your text backing and text letter fondant pieces!

Here is a PDF showing you the text in the sizing I used and images I used to reference for modeling:  Pokemon PDF


The Lightning

For the lighting I cut out from what I have in the PDF, HOWEVER, I realized that it was just much too thick to fit at the shoulder of the base case tier so I trimmed them down thinner.  

You can see that I kept some that were thicker on the cake itself.

For the lighting on the cake, roll out fondant and use a thick shortening (I liked using high-ratio shortening and NOT Crisco) to make the cake items (including the font) stick to itself.  I am not a fan of using water since that makes it impossible to fix a problem without compromising the clean look of the cake.  

For the 3D lightning pieces I mixed in a good amount of Gum Tragacanth (or you can also use Tylose Powder or other gum hardening agent) into the fondant.  Roll thin, cut out, and let dry at least overnight if not two nights.
Next using a skewer and small fondant pieces with a tad of water, affix skewer to the lightning piece and insert into the cake

The Ball

This ball is made from a 3" styrofoam ball.

First, position the styro ball using a skewer or toothpick into another styrofoam surface for support.

Then coat the entire ball with high-ratio shortening (remember, this sticks much better than Crisco!).

Next cut out a circular white piece approximately 5" in diameter.  Although that is technically close to the real measurement I think I actually guesstimated through trial and error lol.

Repeat these steps for the red piece on the opposite side of the sphere.  Make sure to do the red side last so no skewer holes show!  And prior to laying on the red piece you can plug the skewer hold on that side with a little bit of fondant

Finally cut out a couple of fitting gray rounds, a black round, along with the black strip.

Modeling

Modeling is all about reference, reference, and more reference.  I used the exact print outs from the link above to make each piece here.  

My fondant modeling tips:

  • You have to have patience!  It take a long time to get a shape just right so just try it! 
  • Make pieces like the head, arms, or body by kneading in your preferred gum AND letting the piece(s) dry separately overnight.  
  • Put dried and hardened pieces together using toothpicks and sugar glue (about 1/3 cup of super hot water with about 1/2 tsp of TYLOSE powder) 
  • Work from light colors to dark colors during one seating to prevent major hand washing/dry hand issues lol








Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Throw a Cake Decorating Cake Party!


This was the third time that I hosted a cake decorating party.  The first two times they were run as fundraisers for our preschool and they were fun and successful!  Fyi I charged $15 per cake decorator but $20 is probably a better rate:).

The last time I hosted this party it was for my daughters birthday.  And boy was it SUPER fun!!!  We had about 30 children coming so I knew it was going to be a little bit of a challenge.  But hey I'm always up for a challenge lol.  All the kids had SOOO much fun and myself as well watching and helping them:)!

So here is my quick tutorial on how to host a cake decorating party!
BTW I don't have a huge house so we had to be create on how we cleared out the entire living room,
dining room, and kitchen to make everything work!

Step 1. Prep

Buy all of your ingredients one or two weeks prior to the party.  I used Betty Crocker cake mixes in Chocolate.  My formula is for every 2 cake mix boxes use one LARGE Jello instant pudding mix and one EXTRA egg (and follow the recipe accordingly).  I also made my buttercream, however, despite my homemade intentions I bought fondant at Michael's.

Step 2.  Bake

Bake all of your cakes about 3 or 4 days prior to the party.  I used six 6" pans at a time filling them
just over 1/2 full and baking them for about 40 minutes at 345F (the lower degrees allows for slightly more even rising).  When the cakes are done I pull them out and place a cutting board on top of the cake dome poking out of the cake pan to 'squish' it down.  This avoids the need to cut it out avoiding a mess and any wasted cake.  After about 30 seconds remove the board on top and now you have even baked cakes!:)

Once slightly cooled invert the baked cakes onto a cake board or plate.  This will be what the child will use to decorate the cake on.  I have used cardboard cake boards or the foil coated boards as shown above.  To source these look for a Cash and Carry, try to buy some supplies from a local cake maker or cake decorating shop, or craft shop (Michael's or Hobby Lobby).  However you can always use disposable plates!:)

Once all your cakes are cooled FREEZE them.  This might depend on your freezer...I have a dedicated freezer where I can freeze the cakes unwrapped for best results.  However, my regular freezer can cause freezer burn so in that case I would put it in a tupper but not plastic wrap (the plastic wrap can cause softening which makes it more difficult for kids to decorate).

Step 3. Icing

Buy or make your icing about 2 or 3 days prior to the party.  I use the following buttercream recipe:  http://everybakingmoment.com/recipes/janis-buttercream and make about 1.5 batches per 15 cakes (roughly).  Storing at room temperature is just fine for this.  If you do store it in the fridge make sure to bring it to room temperature prior to the guests using it for decorating!

The day of the party fill decorating bags with a few different icing colors.  In my case I used pastel blue, pink, purple, and green.  I also used different style tips for different colors to make it more fun!

Step 4. Set-up

After having done this a number of times I found the most effective and efficient way to set up is to designate specific tables.  Once the child is done at the Frosting Table they can move on to other decorating tables:  

Table 1 - The Frosting Table
On this table set up lazy Suzan's, I used six lazy Susans each with a small square of non-skid material to allow for holding down the cake to the turntable and one small off-set spatula for icing.  Also allow for bowls of icing.  In this case I placed two bowls between each pair of turntables (see pix:)).
Table 2 - The Piping Table
On this table set up your colored icing bags.  This is where the kids move on after frosting and if they want to do some pipe work.

Table 3 - Fondant Table
For this I had taken the fondant that I bought, split the whole batch into three and colored them a matching pastel pink, blue, and green color.  I also set this table up with small fondant rollers.  No need for additional powdered sugar this fondant was very similar to marshmallow fondant and did not stick to the plastic table covering!  I also placed on the table fondant molds and cookie cutters for the kids creation:).

Table 4 - Decor & Sprinkle Table
On this table I placed sprinkles and other decor items.  I used to decorate cakes so I had extra flowers although I did have to limit them per child.  You can also fill the table with candy or sugar decorations from the craft store.  

Step 5.  Cake Boxes

Provide some sort of box for the kids to carry the cake home.  The cake decorating is the party activity AND the party favor!  I used retail cake boxes because I used to sell cakes and had these left over, however, even in bulk these boxes are expensive.  You can also find cake boxes at the craft store or you can try to cut cost if you save and use Costco-style cardboard boxes. 

Some Party Tips:

1. When a child arrives give them their cake straight from the freezer FROZEN

2. Use a sharpie to write the child's name on the cake board or their box

3. We didn't have a cake!  My idea was for kids to cut their cakes and share it with their families but really that was going to get crazy messy and complicated.  Plus the kids get really connected to their cakes so everyone liked the idea of saving it for later.  My girls definitely enjoyed us eating their cakes for the next few days;).


That sums it up!!  It is a lot of work but SOOO much fun!  
Have a great party!