Being an amateur in cake decorating and gumpaste flowers does not deter me from experimenting and I am now trying my hand at homemade sugar lace. Ready-made sugar lace paste is very expensive. Browsing through the internet for homemade sugar lace recipes is not easy. There are so many of them out here, but one in particular piqued my interest which is from http://www.sugartreecakerie.com/single-post/2016/09/16/The-Ultimate-Home-Made-Sugar-Lace
The recipe looks simple and I have almost all of the ingredients except for tylose powder, which I asked Kenneth to buy from Kitchen Capers. I bought some cheap sugar lace mats earlier as I was interested in learning how to make sugar lace. In early January I decide to try the recipe. I know it’s not easy as it seems to be, but I was determined to try. I followed the recipe to the T and made the paste, spread it on the lace mats and put them in the oven. Forty minutes later, I was thrilled beyond my expectation of the sugar lace recipe. It came off the mat easily without tearing and it was flexible. Happy with the outcome, I decided to make some more sugar lace pieces just for the fun of it. I kept them in zip lock bags to see how long they could last in our humidity without being discolored or becoming sticky.
In late January 2017, Alison (my sis in law) texted me that she wanted cakes for a fund raising project for Mamre Oaks on 18Feb17. Mamre Oaks Ltd is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of Caritas Social Services.
In fact she wanted 4 cakes of which 2 of them with icing. Immediately it came to mind the sugar lace pieces I made which will come in handy. It will give me the opportunity to showcase edible sugar lace which is actually homemade unlike the one I ordered for my niece’s wedding last year.
Are they perfect? Definitely not, but I am very happy with the sugar lace pieces. I know I have room for improvement where I went wrong. The cake on the right where the lace tore as I took it out to adjust it.
Well my photography skills is even worse as the cake seems slanted when it’s not. Anyway must improve in all aspects of my work.
Did I mention that the above cakes (7 inch square) were sold for $250 each? Thanks everyone who were involved in the charity event and their generosity.
I had a text message form my sister Liz asking me the cost of a wedding cake and that her daughter Adrienne wanted me to make it for her upcoming wedding in May2016. I told her that I normally gift the wedding cake if I am asked to make it for the couple. I only make wedding cakes for family members.
I also made it clear that I’m a home baker and will do my very best. I then sourced from the internet for some ideas and showed her a cake from http://www.cakestudio.ca/.
The flowers on the cake – I think they are peonies. I can’t make peonies and informed Adrie and agreed that we buy them. I sourced for the flowers from Phoon Huat and they only had fuschia, which is difficult to touch up to a lighter shade.
I was getting desperate as I can’t get peonies and I don’t know how to make them. My usual source of inspiration – YouTube to the rescue – “How to make peonies”. The search came out with a variety of designs and instructions on how to make them. I incorporated different ideas and different methods of doing the peonies to my capability. Well I don’t have any peony cutters and I ordered two different sets of cutters online. I was excited and waited patiently for them to arrive so that I could try my hand at making the flowers. The flower cutters took about one week to arrive and started making the flowers. As you can see from the photos below, the petals are shaped differently from one set of cutters to other.
I decided to try my hand at making them and it turned out quite alright or so I would like to think. I did a few and took photos of the peonies and sent it to Liz who showed it to Adrie – they were pleased with the flowers. I was happy that they liked the flowers and decided to try my hand in making them using wires. I saw some wired flowers – (that is petals are individually wired and later assembled to form a complete flower) and they were beautiful. I watched some tutorials on YouTube and tried making them according to the tutorial. It seems doable and I tried to make them, but I was wrong. The tutorial seems easy, yet when I tried making them I encountered many setbacks – wires come off the grove of the petals and assembling them was another problem. After several attempts I decided to let the petals dry completely before assembling the flowers, but not as lovely from the tutorials, and I was quite pleased with the outcome of the flowers. I managed to succeed after several attempts and realized that our humidity and my impatience played a part in my failure.
As you can see it makes a lot of difference before and after dusting the flowers. The flowers seem to come alive with the lustre dust and it’s worth the extra effort in dusting the flowers. I roped in help from Denise to colour and dust the flowers. Good job done bearing in mind that she has never done this before.
I have always liked SugarVeil when I first found out about it. It feels like real lace as it is flexible unlike lace made from gum paste.It is very expensive to do it on your own. I know the process of doing sugar lace – but whether I can be successful in attempting to make it is a different story altogether. The materials needed for sugar lace are lace mats and a specific type of icing meant for sugar lace. That being the case I decided to check online and lo and behold – Global Sugar Art recently added ready made sugar lace on their website and I ordered them. If only they had ready made sugar lace back then, I would have ordered for Kenneth’s wedding. Sigh….. It comes in white and I decided to spray paint them gold, as that was the colour theme of the cake.
The diamond pattern of the second tier of the cake was drawn on tracing paper and then transferred onto the cake using a cake-tracing wheel. The silhouette cake topper was ordered online from Etsy.
Everything went as planned with the cakes and décor which was assembled onsite. I am not good with placement of flowers etc. on the cake, but with the help of my sisters, Maude & Pat we managed to assemble and decorate the cake way before dinner. The bride and all the guests had good comments on the décor and also of the cake.
In my opinion every time I make a cake is a learning curve, which is on going – learning from my past mistakes and moving on to new ideas and improving my skills. I am still far from my goal in doing a perfect cake.
I had a few ideas for Emma’s 1st birthday cake like making a doll cake, a throwback to Denise’s birthday, but then Emma wouldn’t know how to appreciate it being only a year old. Maybe later she can have a doll cake and get excited over it.
Denise came up with the concept, design and colour theme of Emma’s birthday cake. As I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough cake, I decided to make a chocolate cake with Denise’s help. She did the chocolate cake while I did the semolina (sugee) cake.
We wanted to have blocks on the cake with her name on the blocks, but then the squares for the blocks were too big and difficult to make. We ditched the idea and decided to have a heart shaped styrofoam instead. Oh I also wanted to have a fondant giraffe but when I made the giraffe it was really out of shape – ditched the giraffe. I will definitely try my hand at modeling animals and hope to succeed.
I started to cover the heart shaped styrofoam using a piece of fondant which I thought was the best way but it turned out to be a disaster. The fondant was not smooth, looked like elephant skin and it was ugly.
When I showed it to Denise, she said it was terrible and wanted to try her hand at re-doing it. She did it in a different way – paneling instead of using a piece of fondant to cover the entire surface. She cut out the heart shape on a tracing paper then used it to cut out the fondant pieces and glued them on the Styrofoam and cut strips to cover the sides. It turned out much better – smooth and seamless.
We did the teal trimming on the sides of the Styrofoam using a clay extruder.
Her name was cut out using FMM funky alphabet tappits and glued each alphabet onto the hearts. The colour scheme and the happy birthday sign were also of the same colours -purple as in her name. Well done for her first time in handling and modeling fondant.
Chocolate cake was easier to manage as ganache was used. We had three layers of sponge cake and spread each layer with whipped ganache. The top of the cake was also covered in ganache, which was just poured over so that the excess will just slowly go down the sides of the cake and then patching up where necessary. The final touch is the chocolate shavings scattered on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t judge the simplicity of the cakes’ décor and photographs as lighting was poor . It is ooh so chocolaty and yummy. The guests truly enjoyed both cakes as we received many compliments.
As we did both cakes Denise likes to call it (MnD) that is mother and daughter team. Well till her next birthday!
I had a few ideas brewing in my head. Do I do baby figurine or shoes? As I have done both medium of figurines, I decided to do the baby figurine with a twist. I decided to put clothes on the figurine.
With that in mind I used my baby mould which I bought sometime ago from First Impressions Moulds – USA. Their moulds are very detailed and I love them.
The baby figurine was done in advance as it has to be dried and I kept them in the dry box. I made five of them as not all were moulded properly and I chose the best for the cake.
A month before the christening, I made the shoes, baby bottle, ABC blocks, her name and the frilly base for the top of the cake. All the decorations on top of the cake are done with gum paste.
Everything seems to be going smoothly including the cakes which I baked. For Eurasians, as far as I know any celebration, the cake is always sugee. Any other seems like a sacrilege.
I covered the cake with marzipan and fondant on Friday and Saturday and placed the cake in a box to be refrigerated. On Sunday morning, I took the cake out to put the rest of the decorations on top of the cake to find that the cake was ‘weeping’. It s a term bakers used when the fondant is wet and sticky and all the fondant decorations is like melted wax flowing down the cake. Its a no no and I immediately placed the cake in an air con room hoping that the dry air will somehow dry the fondant.
With the decorations on side and base of the cake looking like melted wax, my idea is to place a ribbon on the sides. As it was almost 11am and the christening at 3pm, I was fighting against time. I did not have a suitable ribbon and I immediately went to Spotlight and bought a suitable ribbon to place on the sides of the cake. When i came back at 12noon, the cake was exactly as it was ‘weeping’ and I decided to strip off the fondant and replaced with a new fondant. I always have spare fondant with me. I was working against time and by 1pm was finished with the covering of new fondant on the cake. Phew!!!! it looked so much better and I was relieved.
In no circumstance would I even think of delivering a cake with ‘weeping’ fondant. Regardless, whether its for Emma or any other customer, I will redo the fondant. The plus point is that I normally put my decorations for the top of the cake at least half and hour before the cake is to be collected.
Lesson learnt after all these years is never ever put decorated fondant cake in the fridge. An air con room is suitable as the air is drier, I think.
This couple is a very good friend of Connie (my sister-in-law’s sister) and she requested that I do a sugee cake for them. I surfed wedding anniversary websites and found that the gemstone is emerald and it’s commonly known as ‘paper’anniversary. Lily is the flower represented for this anniversary.
I combined whatever information from the internet to create this cake. Tried as much as possible to replicate emerald colour for the fondant without much success and decided to use this shade of green which I obtained by mixing avocado green and leaf green on the white fondant. The lily was store bought and the sides of the cake was decorated with some sort of frills which I made by using a round fluted cutter, cut into half and frilled the edges.
The letterings were done using the ‘FMM funky alphabet cutter’ using 100 per cent gum paste and then painted it with pearl dust mixed with the same shades of colours as the fondant.
The humidity was so bad that the frills (even though I used half and half of gum paste and fondant) on the sides of the cake were not holding its shape and decided to place the cake in an air-con room. Luckily I thought of it early and the frills held it shape or else I have to start all over again.