Friday, October 31, 2014

National cake decorators come to town November 2014



November 7th and 8th the New Zealand Cake Decorators guild will be holding there national conference here in Whangarei (it alternates each year between North Island & South Island and is held every November). This is the first time Whangarei has hosted the conference.

Some parts of conference are open to everyone. If you're interested in cake decorating, and can make it to Whangarei. Come on down to "The Old Library" in Rust Avenue. For just $3 entry you'll  be able to take advantage of the cake decorating traders from around NZ. Kiwicakes will of course be there. And we've got some mind blowing bargains all lined up for you to take advantage of.
You'll be able to view the competition entries from national cake decorators for the sugar flower competition which is a Magnolia. You'll also view competition plaques from clubs around the country (sugar craft plaques that groups of members have worked on and submitted as a team). There's also lots of display (non competition) cakes.
You'll also be able to purchase a raffle ticket for some great cakes. And if you're interested in joining a cake club (in any region) there will be people available to talk to you about this.
I belong to the Whangarei Cake Guild and I've visited many other guilds/clubs around the country - I can say without a doubt, it's the best money you'll ever spend on your cake decorating (to join Whangarei is just $45 per year and this includes the national magazine being posted out to you)

Check out the map below of the old library above to find Kiwicakes, you simply need to enter the front door and take a left to the "Off The Cuff " room (at right of photo). Where you'll find us along with the team from GoBake. Trish from Gobake has amazing demos lined up all day Saturday & Sunday &; she tells me she has some lovely taste tests lined up. We're taking an enormous selection of goodies from Kiwicakes and did I mention we've got some mind blowing bargains! (I'll be listing some of these on facebook closer to the time)
Opening Hours: Saturday November 8th 8.45am - 4.30 pm Sunday November 9th 8.35am - 1pm


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wafer paper bow cake tutorial - Tutorial Tuesday


Our tutorial Tuesday is Too-Hoo cute! - this lovely wafer paper bow with owl cake was created for Kiwicakes by Lisa from the Whole Cake & Caboodle. The owl tutorial can be found here. The star tutorial can be found here.


Decorate your cake as required. I have used a variety of stars on wires and the small owl from the last two Tutorial Tuesday tutorials.


Cut strips of edible wafer paper to the width that you require. Make sure the pattern at the ends matches as close as possible


Paint some water onto the cake around the base to stick the wafer paper to. Just a very light coating is fine and adhere the strips to the cake making the final join at the front. This way if the pattern doesn’t match very well it will get covered by the bow. If you are just having ribbon then make the join at the back of the cake.


Cut some triangles to the size you require for the ribbon tails making sure they are approximately the same size. Placing them together cut a notch out, this makes them both even. Then using a touch of water stick the ribbon tails to the cake - you may have to hold it in place if you wish to add some movement until it sticks but be careful your fingers don't stick to the ribbon while its slightly damp.


Cut similar shapes to make into bow loops. You will need two. I have made these around 18cm long by 7 cm wide with a slight curved edge. This isn't overly necessary it just cuts down on paper when its gathered. Spray lightly (or brush) all over on the back with a small spray bottle, the bow will lightly curl. These bottles are great to control how much water you use and to do it quickly. They can be bought at variety shops in small travel packs for a couple of dollars.   


Pinch the short edge together like so.of each end of each bow piece. You will have two pieces that look like small boats 


If needed brush a small amount of water to the gathered ends and press together. 


Place bow pieces on the cake leaving a small gap in between pieces and stick to the cake where needed with a small amount of water.


Using a small piece of fondant icing make a centre part to cover any joins. Check the fit against the gap.


Spraying or brushing the back of a small piece of wafer paper place gently over fondant piece ensuring it is well stuck and covered. It should just tear off but you can use a craft knife or scissors if it doesn’t Smooth down any ragged edges being careful the damp part doesn’t stick to your hands. Glue in place to the centre of the bow.



 I decided that the stars I had made needed some paper on some to carry the print through. Stick the paper to the star and trim using a sharp craft knife. You can use small scissors but they don't cut as well…and voila!



NOTES:
1       Wafer paper gets very gluey when damp so it will stick to the bench or your fingers. You may find it easier to work over glad wrap, wax paper, computer paper etc

2       You will need 2 sheets for this project for an 8 to 10 inch cake. There will be some spare but make sure you keep any small bits as they can be used for another project

3       If you dot feel confident pinching the bow ends practice on a small scrap piece first
4       changing the colours can make this a cake for all ages and sexes. Adding numerals to the stars on the wires will personalise it more


Monday, October 27, 2014

Cowboy boot & hat cookies


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.

I adore these cookies, I own quite a few pairs of cowboy boots (they often feature on my birthday cakes see here and here and here for pictures)

Tools and Ingredients
boot cookie cutter
hat cookie cutter
dark brown fondant
light brown fondant
white fondant
black fondant
turquoise fondant
brown luster dust
silver luster dust
flower and scroll embosser/cutter
small flower cutter

Boot: Bake and cool cookies. Roll dark brown fondant and texture with crocodile leather texture mat. Use the cookie cutters to cut out pieces and then trim with pastry wheel. Attach to cookie with piping gel. Paint with brown luster dust mixed with lemon oil to add shiny look. Roll out white and black fondant. Cut with cookie cutter and then trim with pastry wheel to fit around textured fondant. Emboss white fondant with scrolls and flowers. Paint embossed areas with brown luster dust. 
Hat: Bake and cool cookies. Roll out light brown fondant and cut out with hat cookie cutter. Attach to cookie with piping gel. Roll dark brown fondant and texture with crocodile leather texture mat. Use pastry wheel to cut thin strips. Attach to cookie with piping gel. Paint with brown luster dust mixed with lemon oil to add shiny look. Roll white fondant thin and cut with small flower cutter. Use small circle cutter, knife and pin to texture flower. Mix silver luster dust with lemon oil and paint piece silver. Attach to cookie with piping gel. Attach small turquoise fondant dot in center of flower.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sweet cents - making edible metallic money for your cakes & cupcakes


Metallic edible money is so easy to make!. I used these sweet cents lollies from Mayceys NZ. You can also use edible chocolate coins with the foil removed.


The lollies come in a variety of colours 


I used edible light gold, dark silver and copper metallic paint from Rainbow Dust


When first painted they look quite wet, don't be tempted to keep adding more layers of paint, they will dry in an hour or two.



Once dry they're ready for your pirate treasure cakes or cupcakes, or those cakes we make to poke fun at the beans counters in our lives. Your party guests will be surprised they can pop the money straight in their mouths, without having to remove a wrapper.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sugar-Swap Chocolate Scroggin Bars - from Kiwicakes test kitchen



With all the recent media surrounding the dangers of excessive sugar consumption we decided to try out alternatives. I started with a favourite family recipe so we could taste the difference. The finished result had a chalky texture (in a nice way!) and a cold after taste that we really enjoyed. I used a sweetening product called Norbu that in its own words "harnesses the clean sweet taste of Monk fruit." 

Sugar-Swap Chocolate Scroggin Bars

1/2c Norbu natural sweetener
120g soft butter
1 large egg
1&1/2c flour
1t baking powder
2T sifted cocoa
pinch salt
2/3c peanuts (or other nuts)
2/3c raisins (or other dried fruit chunks)
2/3c chocolate drops (or white/dark choc)


Spread natural peanuts on a side plate and microwave in two one minute bursts, shaking them in between. Let cool for 5 minutes before using. Line a sponge roll tin with a baking sheet and set aside. 

Beat the Norbu with the butter until creamy. Incorporate the lightly beaten egg. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt then mix to combine. Mix the 3 scroggin components through evenly and press into prepared tin. Bake at 180'C for 15 minutes or more. Place on a cooling rack then slice into 20 squares while nearly cooled.

NB. 1/2 cup of Norbu replaces 1 cup of regular sugar. I always bake in double mixtures so I liked the fact that I fed my family two less cups of sugar that week! It was a hit in the lunchboxes.

You can check out the Norbu facebook page here

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 

Tips
  • 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 

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