Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tiki head Hawaiian cupcakes

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.

The manner in which these cupcakes are piped with royal icing could be used with any impressionmat from any of Autumn's range, not just the tiki head.

Tools and Ingredients
standard size cupcakes
buttercream icing
brown rolled fondant
assorted colours of neon or electric run sugar icing
parchment bags
CupcakeTop Fondant Cutters

Ice cupcakes with buttercream icing. Roll fondant to desired thickness. Roll tiki texture sheet over fondant to make recessed images and use cutter to cut tops. Apply to top of cupcake. Fill parchment bags with icing and fill in recessed images with run sugar icing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kiwicakes Sprinkles in the making

I was recently invited to visit our New Zealand based sprinkle manufacturers factory, I'm not sure what I expected, but a scene reminiscent of Willa Wonka's greeted me. At Kiwicakes I'm proud we have our own brand of sprinkles and sugar pearls produced right here in NZ, which are nut free, gluten free & suitable for vegetarians. Where possible our sprinkles manufacturer opts for natural colourings too.

First of all I had to costume up like a sprinkles maker.

They even make their own icing sugar right here in the factory, starting with good old NZ Chelsea brand sugar. 

They make a heap of each colour at one time (the sugar pearls start off as non pareils and are grown larger, to the size required the more time they spend spinning in the drum)

I wonder how many years it would take me to use this many yellow sprinkles?

Here's how the sprinkles called Jimmies or Hail are made - it's just like a giant mincer. Once the sprinkles are extruded, they are chopped up and enter a low humidity drying room, the temperature and atmosphere is so pleasant in that room, I could have stayed there all day, not just because of the gorgeous smells permeating the room. The sprinkles are dried in there for a few weeks.

What you cannot tell from my photo is that these drums were spinning around and around, quite quickly and noisily. I sure had a blast visiting my sprinkles manufacturer and am proud to be selling Kiwi made merchandise.

Butterfly Party Food - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Last month our wee girl Indie turned 4. She's into all little insects, bugs (and even slugs!) so we ran with a butterfly party theme. This is her cake and it is followed by plenty of plenty of sweet treat ideas below...

As I do with all my kids parties, I popped a keyword into the Kiwicakes Quick Find box for decorating inspiration. The search "butterfly" currently brings up 41 varied products to enhance cakes and parties. Our party table was full of edible fluttering beauties.

These ever-popular honey rice bubble cakes were made by my mum. Bless! The mini butterflies on top look like they are ready to take off. They were made the day before with thinly rolled pink fondant (with a pinch of tylose worked in) stamped out with a mini plunger cutter, sprinkled ever so lightly with some pink glitter and set to dry resting in a v-shape overnight. Like all pink/purple fondants remember to keep these in a dark place away from fading UV light. Shoe boxes are great for fondant decorations as they are dark yet they still breathe. The sparkly butterflies were adhered with a wee dab of electric pink coloured royal icing just before serving. Royal icing can also be made, coloured and refrigerated in a piping bag in advance.

These pretty cookies are a basic chocolate biscuit base shaped with a butterfly plunger cutter. Coloured fondant was plunged with the wing design and adhered to each baked cookie with sugar glue. Again these can be made in the days leading up to the party.

Here's a twist on regular fairy bread - just use the same butterfly plunger cutter as for the cookies above. It makes a nicely sized item for small hands!  Lightly butter soft white toast slice bread and dip into/sprinkle over non pareils of your choice. You will get 4-5 butterflies per slice of bread. To stay fresh these must be assembled right before serving so enlist some help! I know I am mad but I proudly save the crusts and trimmings so later on I can turn them into an easy and colour-spiked bread and butter pudding with currants and zesty lemon that everybody loves. Yum.

These winged beauties were made on the morning of the party. All you need is a bag of pretzels, a bag of pascall clinkers, a wee bit of melted chocolate in a disposable piping bag and some edible bling! This is best achieved as a 2 person job as you need to work quickly while the chocolate is still warm. Kids loved seeing the surprise colour inside the chocolate clinker and the pretzels added to the savoury mix on a very sweet-laden table offering.

Inside the birthday cake I electrified my everyday cake batter by marbling 3 coloured batter portions. I used a wee squirt of gel colours neon colours , swirled them together with a cake tester before baking. I made a double mix to fill a round and a square tin. The butterfly torso was 1/3 of the square cake and the remainder was cut in half for the top wing shapes. The bottom larger wings were two halves of the circle.

To crumb coat the butterfly body and wings I made a ganache using 2 Cadbury blocks (so 440g dairy milk chocolate) chopped and added into 180ml almost boiling cream. The fondant-covered cake was decorated with flowery panels utilising my floral impression mat set and topped off with pastel coloured share-pack mini mentos lollies.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Frozen Snowflakes & Melted Snowman - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

These winter wonderland treats are right on trend and are particularly fitting for these chilly winter days we are experiencing. So much for living in the winterless north!

To achieve todays yummy crafts I cracked into some modelling chocolate, which tastes divine as well as having great stick-ability and moulding qualities.

This snowflake was handcrafted out of light blue modelling chocolate made with 1 part blue plus 4 parts white. It was rolled 4mm thick and snipped into shape with kitchen scissors then dusted with sapphire edible glitter

Although these look like cake pops we actually cheated and used ferrero rocher chocolates for the centres. It's an easy no-bake solution. Just unwrap, stab the ball with a cake pop stick then wrap with a circle of white Chocit. The red round cutter from this cookie cutter circle set is the perfect amount to mould into position. Just use clean dry hands to roll into a smooth ball. It seals the ferrero rocher in and adheres to the stick without any need for edible glue. Then the coated ball can be dusted with white edible glitter for some texture and shine.

Decorations like the blue snowflake stick magically when you press it gently onto the ball and they easily hold their shape! This is also true for the snowman decorations like his arms and all facial features. My snowman's hair is the only part that does not self-support for very long so he might need a quick hair touch up before serving. His nose is made from a wee bit of orange Chocit and it too sits proudly without wilting, I just used the end of a paintbrush to make a divet to press the carrot nose into. His arms, hair and other features are made using a little Brown Chocit rolled thinly and cut into strips. Rainbow packs are a great way to start your modelling chocolate collection. 

To make the melted snowman cookies, roll out your favourite cookie dough and make snowflake cut-outs to bake.This is a really effective shape! When cooled, top each biscuit with a rolled round of chocit, press into place and trim the base. 

Then gather his edible accessories, stack on top and smush into place to resemble the effect of melting!  

A snowflake also looks good in light blue or turquoise with a basic shape etched on top. This is where your flower modelling tools come in handy.

Finally the magic is completed with some edible glitter on the edges...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eiffel Tower Cookies - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

These perfectly Parisian cookies can now be made in the comfort of your own home! Your two secret weapons are the delicate Eiffel Tower cookie cutter and the striking wafer paper edible sheet of eiffel towers, which specifically fit our cookie cutter.

Use the cutter to shape your favourite rolled out cookie dough and bake. When cool, paint with a little sugar glue to make the top surface tacky. Use the cutter again, this time on 2-3mm thick rolled white fondant (with a pinch of tylose worked in) and transfer a shape to the top of each biscuit. I used the middle notches as a placement guide and then eased the fondant on gently.

Cut around the wafer paper prints with fine kitchen scissors. This step can be done in advance and remember that care taken with cutting will show in your final product. Use your sugar glue again (really sparingly) to moisten the top of the white fondant and lay the print on top, pressing to adhere.

These cookies just fit into a favour bag and look great with our styling tags which also come in green, red, pink and blue. Use them to personalise cookies with the theme or individual names.

These cookies can also be showcased vertically for impact! The golden cookie dough we used looks great on this gold cake board. 

The four sides of the tower are cemented together with a touch of royal icing (recipe available in an earlier blog here). I love how you can see through this tower like you can through the real thing!

This structure would also work as an impressive cake topper for french themed occasion. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Peacock cookies - quick and easy with Rainbow Dust lustres

We recently showcased these cookies at the Cake Expo here in Auckland this weekend passed. These rich & lustrous cookies were made with the tools shown below and Rainbow Dust edible lustres & metallic edible paints. We baked a simple sugar cookie recipe using the Autumn Carpenter autumn carpenter peacock set . Once cooled we attached Satin ice chocolate fondant that had been embossed with Autumn Carpenter peacock impression mat set using edible glue from Rainbow Dust.

To decorate I started with the eye of the feather, dusting a little gold lustre, followed by either of the two blue metallic paints - midnight blue or royal blue (As I did a number of cookies, I used different blues on different cookies). Using a large fluffy brush I alternated brushing the cookies with irridescent lilac fusion, irrisdescent green fusion, starlight comet green and blue shimmer lustre dusts. Once the cookies were completely covered in lustre dust, I took one large brush and in a single sweeping motion blended the colours together. This merged the eye of the feather with the lustred area. 
Rainbow Dust lustres come in a wide variety of colours, that represent well metallic colours of everyday items we try to replicate in cake and cookie form such as as metal, feathers, nail polish, eyeshadow, jewellery and much more. At Kiwicakes we stock every colour in the range - see here 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Awareness Ribbon Cookies - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Many charities in New Zealand now identify with a specific colour ribbon to generate awareness and support for their cause. With an awareness ribbon cutter you can easily make coloured fondant cookies for charities you support throughout the year. Here are a couple of the well-known ones...

Breast cancer = Pink ribbon
Violence towards women = White ribbon
Epilepsy = Purple ribbon
Child poverty = Blue ribbon

This cookie has been overlaid with appropriately coloured fondant. It has been embossed with a floral texture mat from this set, shaped with the same ribbon cutter used for the cookies, stuck on with sugar glue, sprinkled with non-toxic hologram glitter and bagged with a ribbon tightly for freshness.

These are quick to make en mass and can be made ahead of time and frozen all ready-to-go.

With the same cutter you can make fish shapes by adding a candy eye to the side and suggesting gills by using 3 moon-like impressions from a scallop & comb tool. Its tail can be finished with markings from the comb end.

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