Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Competition - create a new fudge flavour for Kiwifudge at Kiwicakes

How would you like to have the bragging rights to having help create one of our Kiwi Fudge flavours? We're looking for a new fudge flavour to create and we want you to help. 
Simply add in the comments section below this post, your idea for a new fudge flavour. If your idea is selected by the Kiwicakes team as the winning flavour to be created in our fudge kitchen, you'll receive 1kg of the finished fudge.
The competition closes Wednesday 29th October. The winner will be announced on our facebook page and here on the blog. The fudge will be delivered to the winner anywhere in NZ once the recipe has been finalised and the finished recipe has made it in to production. (which will depend on the amount of development time required to perfect the recipe)

You can check out our existing fudge flavours here 

Fondant Owl Figurine tutorial

This lovely owl tutorial was created for Kiwicakes by Lisa from The Whole Cake & Caboodle. Lisa never ceases to amaze me how she can create anything, using tools she already has on hand.

You need two colours of fondant a light and darker version of one and a contrast colour. I have used a lime/apple green in light and dark and a bright pink. All icing has been stiffened with CMC/Tylose.

Using the lighter green roll a ball about the size of a large marble and then lengthen and thin the top to make it look like this 

Trim a small portion off the top to make a flat surface for the head to sit on.

 Using either a round piping tube or a cutter with a wavy edge make feather shapes on its breast. I have staggered the marks made with a piping tube and you can see the difference between those and the fern cutter I also used. You can also leave it plain if you wish

With the darker green fondant make a ball about 2.5-3 times the size of the body and flatten a bit. If it seems too large make it slightly smaller by pinching off some and re-rolling. Set aside for the moment

Roll out a portion of the pink and a portion of the darker green fondant. Using a leaf cutter cut two wings from the green. I have used a small ivy plunger cutter that is about 2cm wide but didn’t make the imprint on it. You can vary the size that you use making them really small if you wish. A rose leaf plunger cutter works well also.

I also cut out two of the flower shape as shown out of the pink. This is a marguerite daisy plunger about 2cm in size.

Trim the daisy like so. This makes a fabulous birds foot. They are fine as they are as any untidy cuts will hide under the owl but if you want a tidy foot for a different bird then smooth the cuts. Keep one of the trimmed petals for the owls beak - put aside somewhere really safe so you don’t forget and tidy it up!

Glue the feet to the base of the body with a bit poking out the back. Poke a toothpick or other support through the body with part out the top for the head to rest on. I like to anchor figures into a cake dummy or piece of polystyrene while they are drying.

With a touch of glue stick the head onto the body. Your body needs to be firm or the head being so much bigger will collapse and squash it. If it isn't firm leave it to dry for a bit but it should be ready by the time you are at this step.(see notes at end of blog post on CMC/stiffener)

Glue wings on at the sides pulling the bottom out so it has a little movement/action.

Roll ears starting with a ball the size of a large pea. This is then elongated at each end as shown and then trimmed in half. I have included a ruler as a size guide. 

Glue ears on in a pleasing position.

Cut some circles out of white fondant to this approximate size. If you haven't got a circle cutter this size check out the base of your piping tubes as they make great cutters. The petal that you set aside for the beak is shown here and is a diamond shape 

Using some black fondant and a #10 tip or similar in size cut out some black circles for pupils. You can also roll balls if you wish

Glue eyes and beak in place like so and what a hoot!

This size of owl will fit nicely on a small 6 or 8 inch cake. They will need to be made smaller for cupcakes or larger for a larger cake. Colours can vary of course and they look very cute in browns with egg yellow beaks and feet
CMC/TYLOSE NOTE. Your body should be feeling firm after about 30 minutes. If your body is soft to the touch or has a wrinkly elephant skin look to it when touched then you are not using enough CMC.
Most issues with any modelling can be solved with more hardener. Your icing should have the feel of chewed gum (eww I know but you know how it toughens/hardens upon chewing don’t you!). It should be quite elastic when pulled but not at all soft. I use around 1 tsp per 250 grams of fondant and have been known to stiffen gumpaste when it doesn’t behave in certain weather conditions. You can use your stiffened fondant immediately as it will start to react pretty quickly. If using gum trag I find it needs some time (overnight) to react.

If you do premix the CMC/TYLOSE and leave it overnight it will be quite hard but should loosen upon kneading. If you over stiffen your paste so when you roll balls you are constantly getting wrinkles/cracks you can't roll out, then mix in a touch of normal fondant to loosen. The best way of doing this is to get a little stiff fondant and mix a bit of normal fondant in with it. If you try and mix in really soft fondant with a lot of stiffened fondant it can be hard to do. Do a little at a time. Have a play with different stiffened icings until you get the feel for it but most of all DON’T GIVE UP!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How to make fondant stars on wires - Tutorial Tuesday

Roll out gumpaste or stiffened fondant (using tylose) to a thickness of around 4 x the wire thickness. The photo above shows the wire used & icing. If it's too thin and the wire will show as a bulge or break though

Use a selection of sizes for interest and cut how many you need, the more you use the better the display. The cutters I have used range from 2 cm - 4.5cm. Sets of cutters with different sizes are great to use, smaller sizes can be used but I wouldn’t go to much bigger than 4.5cm, or they may droop or be too heavy to stand up.

 I have used a #20 wire to support the shapes. This will cope for all of the star sizes above but a size #18 would be better for the larger 4.5 cm shape. Dip your wire in edible glue made from CMC. If you don’t use glue to stick the shape it will move on the wire and can come off. 

Hold your shape and gently screw the wire into the star. Moving your fingers with the shape as the wire goes further in. This allows you to feel the wire as its guided in and gives support so you don’t poke it out the back, front or top. Stop inserting about 2/3rds of the way through

Lay your wired stars out to dry. This will take from a few hours to a day depending upon how stiff your icing was or how big the star was. If they are only small they can be used relatively quickly. You can also put two stars on to one wire. To do so -  make sure you brush the spot on the wire that the star will sit at with glue so it sticks and stays. Thread the wire all the way through making sure it is evenly through the centre of the shape. Then glue the top of the wire and thread another star on - you can do as many as you wish as long as you leave them to dry so they don’t slide down the wires.

 If you wish to have added sparkle you can add glitter to them. I have brushed edible glue to the shapes and then using the dusting pump bottle and a sheet of paper, I've  sprayed glitter over the shape turning as I pump to coat evenly. These bottles are great to give an even coating to all surfaces. Doing this over a sheet of paper means your can then funnel the excess glitter back onto the bottle. Just be aware that this is a decorative only glitter so the recipient needs to be made aware that the elements shouldn’t be consumed.
Please note as with everything there are multiple ways to do things, choose what suits you best. You can also glue two shapes together sandwiching the wires in the centre. Alternatively you can make a small hook at the end of the wire and insert that into your shape for added support 

  • Make a few extra than what you think you will use as if you are anything like me you underestimate what's needed. Breakages can occur…this is normal and happens to everyone at some stage but its better to have a few spare than not enough. These can be pulled off the wires and the wires reused if necessary.
  • Make sure when inserting wires into cakes you use a posy pick or straw to keep the wires from touching the cake.
  • Alternate the heights of the stars by trimming the wires to make a pleasing display
  • If the cake is travelling and you don’t want the wires shaking during transit tie a loose length of ribbon close the shapes to hold them all together…like a flower bouquet
  • Old tylose/CMC containers make great glue pots, new glue can be mixed from the last dregs of powder stuck in the edges. Insert liquid put on lid and shake. Add a little extra liquid to thin, or a touch extra powder to thicken
  • Larger shapes can have a number glued on to celebrate a birthday. Cutters such as Groovy numbers Clikstix are great for this and fit well
  • Alternate coloured stars and stick smaller stars of different colours onto larger ones to add interest 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Racing Fever Party - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Racing Fever hit our house last weekend with a little man turning 4. In the spirit of the party he asked to be called 'Throttle' for the afternoon! Kids had a sausage sizzle and races on trikes before hitting the sweet treats table...

Cupcakes in finish-line themed gingham black & white cases iced with Lightning McQueen and Mater sugar decorations and international racing flag picks went down well.

These racy fruit cars were made by a dedicated Nana. She dipped the cored apple wedges in lemon juice and skewered two toothpick axles with halved grapes as wheels. Brooom brooom!

I made this chocolate brownies ahead of time and froze it until the day before the party. Cut into fingers with a few drops of icing and colour-selective smarties later we had instant tasty traffic light fingers. My kids loved helping to assemble these.

Racing car chocolates were made with melted milkybar chocolate in an 8-piece mould. Racing features were painted on with a red clicktwist brush. An even easier option would be to use bright candy melts in either blue, green, orange, red, lime or yellow to match your party colours. 

These racing teddies are always a hit. This time we used tasty pineapple lumps for the body of the cars and used a little leftover chocolate icing to stick on mini m&m wheels and candy teddies. A nice size for little hands to enjoy!

As a take home gift I made towtruck Mater cookies with a cookie cutter and embosser setPackaged up in favour bags they looked really neat and the kids could all identify this hero character instantly! 

I baked and cooled chocolate cookies, cut and embossed fondant shapes then adhered them to the cookies with sugar glue. Once the fondant had hardened overnight they were detailed with a black click twist brush on the wheels, a green food pen for his eyes, a pearl white click twist brush for his teeth (and importantly) only one headlight, a red click twist brush for his tongue and a dark gold click twist brush for some random rusty spots. 

Lastly here is my skite photo. Could this little man be any cuter!? Watch out for a tutorial on his Race Track cake to be added to the blog shortly.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Baby bootie or sock cookies for baby shower

Todays fun post comes from my American friend Autumn Carpenter. Autumn designs and manufacturers a broad range of cake decorating supplies, which I'm proud to stock at Kiwicakes.

Such a simple yet sweet and fun idea for a baby shower. Customise your fondant colours to suit your theme.

Tools and Ingredients
baby bootie cut-out cookies
baby bootie cookie cutter
pink colour
blue colour
green colour
yellow colour
piping gel
pastry cutter or knife
rolling pin

Colour fondant. Roll fondant then lay texture sheet over fondant and roll pin over sheet. Use cookie cutter to cut shape. Cut pieces to fit cookie. Roll fondant of the same color and use cutter to cut shape; cut pieces to match cookie. Attach pieces with piping gel or buttercream icing. Make matching color bows with fondant and attach with piping gel.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Silicone moulds - uses tutorial and tips

Silicone moulds, some love love LOVE them, and for others they are the bane of your existence. They look great in the pictures, but when you try to un-mould them they suffer distortion or they stick and break. Don’t panic this is for you and hopefully will help solve some, if not all of your problems. There are three different moulds used with the basic process being the same. Each mould has different areas where problems can occur. Please be aware though that we all have troubles at times it's natural but it's also fixable!

Step 1 Get your silicone mould, fondant and CMC/tylose. I mix at a ratio of around 1 tsp of CMC/tylose per 250gms of fondant, to make a suitable modelling paste. Weather and colour can affect this though so the best way I can describe the finished texture is like blue tack. If you pull some blue tack from its paper holder its quite stiff but elastic. You need a paste that is stiff like that with an elastic quality. If your modelling paste is to soft you will have problems, so add more tylose. If it's too stiff add a small amount of fondant to loosen it up.

Step 2 I dust my moulds with cornflour, make sure you get into every little corner and then tip the mould to expel any excess

Step 3 Use a piece of stiffened paste that is a little bigger than what you require and start pushing into the mould. Its best to start at the larger portion of the mould or in this case with the flow of the detail. I am pushing it in in the same direction as the leafy side details flow.

Step 4 Keep pushing it into the mould gradually filling it and pushing well to ensure you get all detail

Step 5 When you get near the end tear off the majority of the excess paste and finish filling up the mould removing the final excess

Step 6 If your mould has a little too much and you have made the back lumpy then you can trim with a sharp knife in a sawing action. If you just slice you may drag the paste out of the mould. Make sure all detail is showing and that you haven't got any paste overflowing the mould edges, use your finger or a small tool to ensure the edges are clean and the paste is pushed back into the mould

Step 7 Gently flex the edges of the mould…all around ….from every angle. This ensures the paste is loose and isn't going to grab into the moulds nooks and crannies as you try and remove it. If you have a small part that doesn’t want to move you can use a pokey tool to get it out. This is one of my favourite all time tools from LVCC.

Step 8 Finished moulded paste will just drop out…truly!

Step 9 Some moulds like this fabulous pukeko have quite small details. Start at the larger body part and fill that cavity first heading towards the skinny legs. I always push away from myself which is why this is upside down!

Step 10 Remove most of the paste and push gently into the small channels. If you remove too much make a thin sausage of paste and press into the gaps. A little pressure at the join will meld it together and you wont see it when it unmoulds. This also works the same way with the strap of a handbag mould

Step 11 Flex to loosen at the main body and gently at the legs. The body is the part that will be unmoulded first. If you try to get the legs out they will stretch and distort. You should see that it is all moving away from the mould.

Step 12 Remove body from mould, the legs may stay depending upon the angle you unmould it but a little flex in a different direction should  loosen them. If it doesn’t the pokey tool will gently flick them out.

Step 13 Reposition legs in correct place to dry if they move when they come out

Step 14 Some moulds like this pohutukawa one have a lot of detail and also vary in depth. This is quite deep around the flowers and very shallow at the leaves and stalk.. Make sure you brush it well with cornflour

Step 15 If you have hollows once you have pushed in your paste make sure you even out the surface with added paste balls pushed flat so the end result will sit cleanly on whatever surface you want to stick it to

Step 16 Loosen the paste at the thicker part. If its slightly stuck in the nodules you may be able to flick it free with a paintbrush dusted with cornflour

Step 17 If you have removed the paste from the mould and have a distorted part somewhat, push that part back into the mould to reform. Here I squashed the stalk a little and a leaf fell off. The stalk I reformed by pushing back into the mould at that point. The leaf I dealt with after

Step 18 Shows the stalk all reformed and the leaf I have pressed gently back onto the mould with a small hard tool.

If you have sticking and stretching as you unmould add more tylose to the paste as its likely too soft, if it feels sticky you will have issues!
Also make sure you dust the mould well, if you push paste in and it sticks in an area unmould and redust. You may be able to resurrect the unmoulded part by gently pushing it back in to reform.
If you are struggling to push the paste into the mould then loosen it up a little with some fondant, you will get the feel for what works. Don't give up you do need to play a few times to get the feel for the paste and using a mould
There are also release agents that you can rub a little onto the mould - I don't use them but they may be what you prefer
If none of the above helps you can put the mould in the freezer until firm. You should also be able to unmould easily. You should unmould onto baking paper or a dusted surface as it will sweat as it comes to room temperature before it dries out and may stick to the surface you have placed it upon if you don’t. All the best 
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