Monday, June 27, 2011

How I colour my paua shells

I frequently get asked how I colour my paua shells (made using the paua shell moulds specially commissioned by Kiwicakes), after having explained it at length many times, I thought a photo tutorial might be quicker. If you need to know how to use a silicone mould see here
--> . The photos above have white hologram glitter on top of brown sugar, to look like twinkling sand on a hot sunny day.

My paua shells above I made using Dark Chocolate Satin Ice Fondant (you can use any colour, although colours don't show up well on white, or you can use melted chocolate and wait for it to set.) I greased my moulds with crsico, so I wouldn't have cornflour to dust off the dark colour fondant, this gives them a nice shine too.
I start with at least 5 colours of lustre, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 pink, 1 purple and the essential secret to making them come alive 1 gold (I often use more colours, but 5 is the minimum)

I line my paua up, open any colour of lustre and cover all of the pauas in random splats of that colour.

I repeat this process until of the paua are completely covered in splats of colour. At this stage, they look ridiculous.

Taking a large brush, sweep all of the dust off in one direction only, this blends the paua colours in one quick swift motion. I find the paper towel works well to stop excess floating around.

They are so quick and easy to make for cupcakes or cakes

They look good placed among other seashells & corals

And when required, even look good in paler tones, to match other colourways

Monday, June 20, 2011

Exciting new Kiwiana products just landed

I am a very happy camper today! These stunning new chocolate transfers have just arrived today. The kiwi & silver fern design is available in white and looks stunning on brown or black chocolate (to obtain black chocolate, add some black powder colouring to dark brown chocolate, or use americolor gel paste in conjunction with flo-coat)

Also just arrived this lovely double boiler from Nordicware. I never looked back once I got my own double boiler, so much easier than balancing a glass bowl on your pot. Priced at 39.95 Great for dipping your cake pops, it has a stronger taper than a bowl, giving you a deeper dipping area.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My adventures with Rose Nectar and our new white cake mix

-->  in Mt Maunganui. Now it's no secret I'm a great fan of a good deli (and seriously folks, this is a good one). But I must say, every trip to a good deli usually finds me on a scouting mission, for something new, something I haven't seen before, which I then challenge myself to do something with. And I found it (well 2 bottles actually made it in to my cart) Sence Rose Nectar. (check them out here for the full story). I was in love with the bottle and the colour of the liquid before I even knew what it was (the colour is identical to my Jean Paul Gaultier perfume and Oh that bottle!)

There are two types available, one being the sugar free variety. I opted for full sugar. At $6.50 per 250ml bottle, I thought it was a bargain, as lets face it, at the end of my project, I'd still have those cool glass bottles.
SENCE Rare European Rose Nectar is a beverage made from Kazanlak rose petals harvested during a three-week period from the end of May and early June in central Bulgaria. The concentrate of pink rose petals, natural preservative sugar and water is pasteurized at the peak of aroma and flavor, virtually the same way it has been produced for hundreds of years. Leonardo Da Vinci drank Kazanlak rose nectar from Bulgaria regularly – both hot, as a tea and chilled
It was while I was in Tauranga that a plan began to formulate in my mind, I had just taken delivery of some new white cake mix to trial - so Rose nectar cake it is! with rose nectar buttercream.

Whilst not everyone is a fan of cake mixes, this one has been developed with cake bakers & decorators in mind, especially for wedding & celebration cakes that need to be WHITE. If you've ever tried adding colouring to a cake that has eggs in it, you'll know what I mean (try to colour it pale pink and you get a lovely apricot shade). White cakes are increasingly popular for weddings these days.

This mix is super easy, you only need water & oil (or in my case rose nectar & oil). The egg is already in the cake mix, in the form of powdered egg whites. For those costing out cakes, the addition of 1/3 cup of oil, is the only addition to this cake, making the price quite reasonable.
I was impressed upon opening the packet, that the dry mix smelt quite nice. (no chemical smell, like some I've encountered). The addition of the rose nectar didn't alter the colour too drastically, so I added a tiny bit of pink colouring, so I'd end up with a nice soft pink cake batter.

I used this recipe for the buttercream, but substituted all liquids with the Rose nectar. Again I tinted it with just a little pink colour.
I opted to use a 7'' Hexagon Fat Daddio pan (for no other reason than I never bake hexagon cakes and it seemed more exciting than a round). Again it's another line I'm testing and I can say this I LOVE THESE PANS. Watch for an extensive range coming soon.

I finished my cake with buttercream rose swirls using a 2d tip. I was quite pleased with the results this simple technique offers. Whilst it is hard to portray in a photo, there is an impression of real movement and a light airy feel, despite only being a swirl, it also has the impression of being a stylised rose. Perfectly fitting for rose nectar cake.
For those that are interested how to use a 2d tip for the rose swirl, this YouTube video is one of many, that show the technique, this video is really good, because ypou can actually see side on, where the presenter starts and finishes the swirl.

If you'd like to try our new white cake mix, click here to get some The rose nectar is available at good deli's.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kiwicakes member cake

Many of you will have heard me say before just how much I love receiving photos of your work. I was thrilled to receive this photo in my inbox, along with a testimonial regarding the Satin Ice from Fiona Hume.

Hi Sandra

Just thought I would drop you a quick line and let you know that I tried out the Red Satin Ice on the weekend!

Man that stuff ROCKS!

It rolls like a dream, no stretching or tearing, goes on easy and no cracks or elephant skin! Yah, yah yah!! Also, it sets up nice and firm – so was ready to add more decorations quickly.

I would definitely reorder it

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Her magazine profile

What a surprise I got today when I opened up my latest Her Magazine and found myself profiled towards the back of the magazine. And I'm in good company for this issue, there's an article on cakes which features cakes from BJ's, Custom cake designs, City Cake Co, Iced & Rosebowl. Over the page is a great article on the lovely ladies from Bite me Cupcakes. There's even a lovely ad for Annah Stretton featuring loads of CUPCAKES! Great to see all things cake getting such good coverage in a magazine devoted to fashion & business.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Demonstration of Lambeth Method Royal Icing piping Whangarei June 25th

Saturday 25th June 2011 -  Thea Poole from Cake Couture, Auckland is coming to demonstrate the Lambeth Method of Royal Icing. This is what was featured on the Royal Wedding cake. $5 to cover costs (click here for map of our club venue). We will have a shared tea so please bring a plate of finger food food to share. Tea at 6pm with demo to follow. Thea will have her ribbons for sale. All welcome! bring a friend.

A quick and easy fern leaf using the FMM cutter

This quick how to make a fern leaf, using the FMM fern leaf cutter came about, because a customer is having trouble with the fern cutter. I thought some of my other beginners might enjoy it too. I am not an overly experienced flower & leaf maker. In fact there are many in NZ that specialise in teaching this art and I'm not one of them. This "how to" is merely meant to convey the steps required to create a leaf for those who aren't familiar with how it is done.

-->  using  green gel paste I rolled it out very thin and created a thicker vein up the middle of the paste. This can be done using a grooved rolling board, or by simply rolling from the centre outwards, first from one side, then the other, leaving a vein in the centre, that you never roll over.

If your paste is thin enough, the item you've cut should stay right there on the board. My first cut left a little paste in the gaps, I just flicked it out with my scribe. If you're worried your paste will stick to the cutter, you can over hang the bottom end of the cutters fern stem 2mm past the bottom edge of the paste, this allows you to pop your scribe in to the gap and flick your stem out of the cutter, this works well as it is the thickest part. In my case, this was not necessary, but can often be helpful if your paste is a bit hot or sticky.

Using a ball or dog bone tool on a foam pad, soften the cut edge of the fronds, to take away the sharpness of the cut.
I heated my wire in a flame and inserted it in to the thicker stem of the fern at this stage, as I wanted the wire to adhere immediately, so I could move forward with photographing the steps.

Once your fern has dried you can dust it with dusting powders or lustre, to give it's finished colour. And wire in to your finished floral spray.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to use a silicone mould

This short tutorial shows how to use a silicone mould. I am using a silver fern mould, but the principles are the same, no matter what shape your mould.

The first step is to make a size guide for your fondant icing, that you will use to fill the mould. After some practice you can skip this step, as with time, you begin to be able to eyeball the amount of fondant required. It is much quicker to use the correct amount of fondant to fill the mould, than to try to trim it afterwards.

Quickly press down in to mould, to see if the amount you have is too little or too much.

Once you have the correct amount of fondant for your mould, roughly shape it in your fingers to the shape of the mould

Then dust the fondant (not the mould) with a little corn starch, potato flour or icing sugar.

Press to fill the mould, you only need press gently. If your icing if very soft & squishy, it may stick. If it does, it is far quicker to start again, thean to mess about trying to unstick it. knead a little corn starch or icing sugar in to your fondant if it is very hot & sticky.

To release the shape from the mould, turn over on to a work surface or the palm of your hand, and peel from one end, moving along the length of the fern. The finished shape may show some cornflour on it, this can be brushed off when the shape is dry, or you can use a little clear alcohol on a brush (NOT WATER!)

However if you wish to cover in lustre, such as I have here (I've used starlight comet white) there's no need to even worry about brushing the cornflour off, as you'll never see it.

Our full range of silcione moulds can be used with fondant icing, melted chocolate or gumpaste. I mostly use fondant, as it's works best on cupcakes & cakes. If oyu need the item to stand up and set hard, then you need to use gumpaste or add a hardener such as tylose or gum trag to your fondant.
If you use chocolate, it will have a matte finish, as the interior of the silicone moulds is not polished. However for items such as the paua shell this doesn't matter, as the entire surface is covered with lustre.
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