Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday - Snowman figurine in fondant icing


This super cute snowman figurine topper has been created for Kiwicakes by Lisa at the Whole Cake and Caboodle. There's a number of steps to creating this wee snowman, but followed step by step, it's actually quite easy.


I tend to build my figures on a cake dummy/polystyrene block if doing them in advance. Here I use a long kebab stick as support and poke it into the dummy. Make sure it moves by pulling it out and poking it in to the same spot a few more times…nothing worse than finishing your figure and finding the support is stuck. You can wreck it all in the process of removing it.


 Step 1: Get a large piece of white gumpaste or well stiffened fondant about 6-7 cm round. I have shown it in my palm for size against a polyball. Roll into a ball and then elongate into a more teardrop shape about 8cm tall. Place on stick and squeeze in chest a little at the top to give him a more pronounced tummy if you wish





Step 2: Roll a long sausage shape around 1cm thick. Hold against the body and decide how long you want the arms. Fold the sausage in half and cut two arms the same length. Flatten the shoulder ends a little so when they are attached they aren't bulky. Flatten the hand ends also and cut a thumb (per photo below). Then gently round the edges with your fingers and check the fit against the body. I have curved these at the moment as I wish them to be bent but will straighten them out. If they are too long cut them shorter.





Step 3: Using required colour for a cardigan roll out fondant to around 2mm thick. Then using an impression mat if you wish emboss the fondant. I roll away from myself but before you do so ensure your icing isn't going to stick to your work area by adding a light dusting of cornflour as the added pressure when embossing can cause it to do so. Cut two 10cm x 5 cm rectangles (per photo below).



Step 4: Using a slight brush of glue on one rectangle adhere like so to the body with a slight overlap at the top. Gently pushing in excess around neck using a touch more glue if necessary. Straighten arms and place on the lightly glued second rectangle and roll up. You can cut the rectangle in half and roll each separately if you wish but doing it this way doesn’t distort the pattern. Both arms should be covered by icing fabric but pull them gently apart to give it a light stretch if they aren't. Cut the 'fabric' and check that the joins are neat then bend the arms a little if you wish them to be in that position (see photos below). Gently squish the top of the sleeve together. Mark a bend with the back of a knife like so if you wish more definition and glue lightly to the body.








Step 5: Roll another smaller ball of white fondant about 4-5 cm in diameter. Using your finger push down at the front like so and then squeeze in at the sides like so. This gives him more definition for cheeks and where his eyes will go. Push it down on the stick to check size and shapes are pleasing. It doesn't matter if the hole goes all the way through as it will be covered. Remove and using the side of your finger indent a little to make more defined cheeks. Then using the ends of your fingers or a ball tool make indents where his eyes will be then gently smooth into a soft cheek outline. Using the end of a paintbrush or a small ball tool mark a nose position and using the end of a large piping tube make a mouth (as per photos below)








Step 6: Using a toothpick dipped into gel colouring mark the eyes by gently pushing into the head. Don’t push in to far otherwise you will make a huge hole. Eye position is best close together and close to the nose for the cutest look. If you put them to high on the head or to far apart they can look weird…just saying! The toothpick gives you a nice round controlled spot that is hard to obtain with a paintbrush. I use the ends of paintbrushes also but it can be too big. Practice on a spare bit of fondant first if you aren't confident. Using a light peach or pink dust your cheeks (as per photo below). I always put a touch on the brush and then remove the excess by brushing in the lid of the pot so you don’t over colour your item. I used Rainbow Dust Pink Candy. Using a pea sized bit of not too bright orange fondant roll a teardrop shape and lightly score lines in random spots to make it look more carrot like. Don't make your carrot too long. Place head on body and glue in place and glue nose in indent. I decided to tilt my snowman's head slightly to the side.





Step 7: Roll and emboss another rectangle about 12 x 5 cm and cut like so. It doesn't have to be exact but the top shorter length is now around 6cm. Before gluing check that it fits around the snowman's head, adjust size if needed. Glue on in this position gluing joins, fold the top ends in lightly like so then bend back lightly like so 






Step 8: Using a piping bag or disposable piping bag pipe on royal icing eyebrows and an edge on the hat, jacket, jacket sleeves and a larger ball on the end of the hat. I piped in a wiggly zigzag motion. It doesn’t have to be exact or perfect its just to give it a bobbly effect. You don’t need good piping skills. You can mix up your own using an eggwhite beaten and then adding enough icing sugar to make a stiff pipable icing or buy a mix 


Step 9: Using a slightly darker colour roll out a length of icing around 30cm. Emboss all along the length. If your embossing mat isn't that long do a length then line up the mat again giving it a slight overlap of 5cm and then reroll the next bit. Start pushing/rolling a little away from the edge like so of the mat so you dotn create a line. You should have a continuous strip with a negligible join. Cut a scarf about 1 cm wide and around 25cm long and fringe both ends (as per photos below)






Step 10: Wrap up your snowman. I have started gluing the scarf like so, covering his neck and any joins, make sure its not to high around his mouth. At the front make a little fold and flatten and mark as so to simulate a knot. Drape and glue the end of the scarf where required




NOTES
Finish him off if you wish with a snowflake on his hat, or in his hands. I have lightly painted the woolly edging with Rainbow Dust pearl white and painted his scarf with a Rainbow Dust royal blue dust mixed with vodka and Rainbow Dust Paint-It spring green to add extra interest.

Fondant must be stiffened with cmc/tylose, in some cases gumpaste can do with a little extra stiffening as well. If your figure is slumping or wrinkling it is not stiff enough.
You can remove the kebab stick once your figure sets a little if you wish. I like leaving them in as the part that is in the dummy will then extend into your cake to make the figure more secure so it doesn’t topple over. Always let your recipient know when there are inedible supports



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday - Folded Mens Shirt Cake


To raise awareness for the recent NZ Cake Decorators Guild conference in Whangarei, our local club members made dummy cakes for display in various shops around town. My contribution was this folded mens shirt cake on display in Mullengers Menswear. It boasts 100% edible decorations! 

You may find like me that when it comes to buying gifts or thinking up cake designs, females are always easier to plan for. Sometime I need a little more inspiration for manly ideas. This shirt cake could be used for Graduation - Uniform - Busy Dad - Retail Store - Career Promotion - New Job etc. 


I started out looking at images of folded business shirts (saved me doing any actual folding!) and then sketched what I thought were the important elements to include on my cake. 


I used an 11" square polystyrene dummy that I trimmed to a rectangle shape roughly 11' x 9". If I was covering an actual cake I would bake in a rectangular sheet cake pan. I'd round every single edge (including the base where it joins the board) with a serrated knife to soften the finished look. Lastly cover with truffle filling and rolled fondant.

I mocked up templates for the main features with paper and laid them on the cake to ensure I had the right size and placement. For example I thought the pocket and cuff looked funny when they were parallel so I purposely offset them a little. For the collar I kept lifting and trimming and trying until it  looked right. I used a couple of sterilized needles to mark corners or hold pieces in place. If you do this make sure they are easily identifiable by threading with a bright cotton so they do not end up part of the finished cake!



I traced around my paper templates on rolled fondant with a cutting wheel and stuck them to the cake with a little edible glue. With white gumpaste I doubled over the cuff and collar to give them thickness and authenticity. I used a quilting wheel tool to create 'stitch' detail on the pocket, cuff and as top-stitching across the yoke. I used an impression mat from this manly set to add texture inside the collar.



To make the tie I used a stripe technique featured in a you tube video by Gobake here but you are not limited to stripes. The tie can be personalised with any colour, logo or texture for the occasion. 



I sat my tie onto the shirt before the I put the collar in place. I used scrunched up tissue paper to support the gap overnight while the collar was drying. The finishing touches were slightly different size fondant buttons simply pressed out of this silicone mould and a personalised label written with a edible marker pen and adhered with sugar glue inside the collar.


You could go one step further and add text such as "Congratulations" to your cake board  with fondant lettering made with Clickstix now available in various fonts.
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