Monthly Archives: December 2016

About Cake Decorating With Cake Lace

Do you fancy yourself the next great baker? Than you need to know about cake decorating with cake lace. This simple yet effective technique can take your baked goods to the next level.

It is one thing being able to bake a delicious cake but another being able to decorate it. Learning all about cake decorating will provide you with skills you need to turn your passion into an art form. There are a number of different cake decorating skills that you can attain. One of the most popular ones at the moment is using cake lace. Before now, many people would use actual lace or ribbon to put around the cake for decoration. Now it is possible to use cake lace making kits to make this decoration that is completely edible. It is extremely easy to use and comes in a variety of different designs. Whether you are wanting to make winter wonderland themed cupcakes for your Christmas party or simply want to add a touch of elegance to your cake you can do that with cake lace.

All you need to do is buy the mat and then follow the instructions from the manufacture on the recipe. It is as simple as that, and is normally ready within 30 minutes. The finished product will have elasticity which makes it easier for you to shape it onto your cake. There are also some designs that are available in 3D to really make your cake stand out. There is an abundance of colours for you to choose from. You can pick classic ivory and silvers, or be a bit more daring and go for deep reds and lumo greens. Either way you will be able to find the perfect solution for your cake inspirations. What’s more is that cake lace is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and anyone who suffers from gelatine, gluten and nut allergies. The sky is the limit when you choose to decorate your cakes with cake lace.

Other cake decorations to consider are edible diamonds and bon bons. These are elegant editions to any cake. The one thing you need to remember when learning about cake decorating is that less is sometimes more. You do not want to bombard your cake with a million decorations purely because you know how to make them. Instead pick 1 or 2 to use, a lovely combination is cake lace with edible diamonds. This is certainly one to use when making a cake for a sophisticated occasion. Pairing these two items together will give your cake that elegant edge without being over the top.

Discover the Wonder of Wedding Cakes

Cakes have always been associated with weddings, and the sharing of wedding cake remains as important today as it was centuries ago. Ancient Greeks made a mixture of grain and honey, which was formed into a circle, and baked. Once on the wedding table, it would be encircled with a ring of ivy, symbolising the unity of marriage.

An old custom in the British Isles, involved breaking a cake over the bride’s head as she entered her new home. And up until the 19th century some country areas still maintained this tradition by crumbling cakes over the head of the bride. The tradition of eating small cakes at weddings existed for centuries, until it gradually changed into one large cake, known as the ‘Bride Cake’. For hundreds of years, wedding cakes have traditionally been round – a circle denotes eternity. Round cakes are easier to bake and decorate, and in the past only round tins were available. And so, for many years it was the tradition to have one cake at the wedding. Even Queen Victoria, when she married in 1840, had a single cake – although it did measure nearly three metres (nine feet) in circumference. White icing, made from icing sugar and egg white, decorated the cake, and this has since become known as ‘royal icing’.

But by the time the Queen’s eldest daughter married in 1858, royal wedding cakes had grown considerably. Many of the designs were based on Victorian architecture. Doors, pillars and arches (made from icing) formed part of design. Royal cakes are enormous, in keeping with the size of the rooms. When Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother married in 1923 her cake was nine feet high. However, the majority of brides at the beginning of the last century only had a round fruit cake on their wedding day. But gradually royal icing was introduced, and bakery exhibitions sprang up, giving confectioners scope for their creative ideas. Eventually these ideas filtered down into the humble bakery and brides were able to order a professionally made wedding cake. Alternatively, the bride’s mother would make the cake and, because many of the kitchen ranges were unreliable, the baker would, for a small fee, bake it.

Wooden moulds were often used to make various designs such as bells, cherubs, scrolls and doves, By pressing gum paste – similar to flower paste – into the moulds, cakes could be quickly decorated With the introduction of pillars, wedding cakes achieved height. No records exist of when pillars were first used, but a London church is said to have provided the inspiration for a tiered wedding cake. For around 40 years, square wedding cakes were particularly popular as they were easy to cut into equal portions. To save labour costs, most commercial wedding cakes in the 20th century were decorated with standard designs of shells, scrolls, loops and dots, then leaves made from stiff paper, and sprays of wax flowers would be attached.

Originally only the bride made the first cut in the wedding cake. But many found the icing too hard to pierce, so naturally the groom came to her aid, and through the simple act of placing his hand over hers, the ceremony of cutting the cake became the first obstacle they faced together in married life. Any bride married during or soon after World War II did not have a lot of choice in her wedding cake. Even when Queen Elizabeth II married in 1947 (two years after World War II) many items of food were still rationed, particularly those classed as luxury goods. In those post-war days,some brides even resorted to hiring a dummy wedding cake. Made from cardboard these ‘cakes’ looked realistic from a distance, but underneath the covering would be a forlorn fruit cake, lacking both marzipan and icing. Eventually the soft ‘ Australian Icing’ reached Britain, and transformed cake decorating. By the 1970s this ‘roll-out icing’ was being used to decorate wedding cakes. Gone were the angular edges and sharp corners of a royal iced cake, and curves, flowers and frills replaced hard lines.

With the arrival of a new type of icing came a yearning for a break from the traditional rich fruit cake. carrot, chocolate, sponge or cheesecake, are now all acceptable as wedding cakes.

And so we arrive at the 21st century and what do we find? Well, many of the current wedding cake designs have rolled back the years. In Roman times they had lots of small cakes at a wedding, and today one of the most popular designs is for miniature cakes Another of today’s designs is to have cakes stacked, one on top of another. This method of displaying cakes was used for royal wedding cakes back in the 1800s. And for our final conclusion we end with the apt quotation – ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Animated Cakes

Animated cakes push the boundaries of cake making into what is more a work of art than a cake.

The origins of animated cakes, that is, cakes that have moving parts, can be sourced back to 2007. They were not pioneered by professional baking companies or by a famous artist, in fact they were first created by a Texan couple. Animated birthday cakes are probably the tip of the iceberg when it comes to luxury and personalised birthday cakes. They are hugely popular with children, and any child that sees one will instantly demand they have one for their next birthday, guaranteed!

The simplest form of animated cake has LEDs (light emitting diodes) embedded into parts of it with a lighting control board to make the lights flash on and off, or in a specific sequence. The next level up is implementing some motorized features into the cake. This could come in the form of turning wheels on a car for a children’s cake or a switching motor for a golfers arm.

These two components are the best and simplest way to get started with for making your animated cake, from there you will become more comfortable with using them. As you become more familiar with electronics and what it can do, you will find yourself coming up with crazier ideas and designs for animated cakes.

There are many other devices that could be used to make an animated cake:

  • A toy train smoke generator could be used for a house chimney.
  • A plasma globe for a witch theme cake.
  • Dry ice could be used for a graveyard or animated Halloween cake.
  • Miniature air and water pumps for various liquid effects like rivers.
  • Heaters to liquefy chocolate, such as a chocolate pond for dipping fresh fruit in.
  • Many other possibilities.

You don’t need to be an electronic engineer to add these features to a cake, they aren’t expensive either. LEDs can be picked up for as low as 5p (a few cents) each from any electronics shop and all you need to light them up is a battery, hardly rocket science! Motors may need a little more skill at setting up so that they do what you want them to, but for basic spinning motions they are as simple to setup as LEDs. Simply attached the thing you want to spin round and connect to a battery, yet again very simple!

Animated cakes open up a plethora of avenues for more creativity in cake design than ever before. Peoples growing desire to be more different and unique than others fuels this emerging cake genre. It won’t be long before we start seeing animated wedding cakes and even wackier birthday cakes!

Chocolatier – Chocolate Cigarillos

Cake decorating techniques remained unchanged for many, many years before the 1990’s. Since that time, literally dozens of new methods have emerged, giving birth to countless modern cake designs. Some names you may have heard of that helped spawn this dawn of advanced cake decorating, are people like John Slattery. A master chocolatier who created such things as chocolate cups, shapes and cigarillos, now he has a well established and successful chocolate gift business.

Heather Sweet formally known as Heather Higgins, has been the owner of the original Sweetart Cakes company in the UK since 1994. Her radical contemporary designs originate from her inspiration gained from famous artists like H.R Giger. She has always utilised modern methods when creating and decorating her cakes. In addition to being able to create any wedding cake her client has in mind, she is also a talented sculpture artist.

Decorating a cake with cigarillos is an increasingly popular and delicious addition to most wedding and birthday cakes. These delicate chocolate curled cylinders are painstakingly made, when one bites into it, it breaks apart easily in the mouth and quickly melts.

Creating a chocolate cigarillo is a very slow process for beginners and requires a lot of practice and patience. The basic pieces of equipment needed are:

  • A plastic, sharp cutting knife.
  • Freezer.
  • Clean, smooth slab of rock, preferably marble.
  • Plastic bowls.
  • Gas cooker and utensils

1. Begin by breaking the chocolate up into a large plastic bowl with high sides (you will see why later).

2. Beat the chocolate with a wooden spoon so the chocolate breaks up even more. Don’t hold back, give it a good whacking with the spoon. If you have a mixing machine or blender you could use that to pulverise the chocolate for you. Make sure your bowl has high sides, or you will end up with more chocolate around your kitchen than in the bowl.

3. Bring a half full saucepan of water to a simmer, making sure that the plastic bowl that is going to sit on top of and inside the saucepan doesn’t touch the water.

4. Put every bit of chocolate into the previously mentioned bowl.

5. Slowly and carefully stir the chocolate, getting faster and more rigorous as it becomes softer. Continuing for awhile when it has totally melted. Be sure to keep the chocolate moving to avoid any chance of overcooking.

6. Turn off the heat, take out your marble slab that has been in the freezer for a few hours, and pour a little of the chocolate onto the slab.

7. You will notice the chocolate behaves abnormally, it is soft and flexible. Now cutout a rectangular section with your plastic knife.

8. With the edge of the knife, carefully slide the knife under one side of the chocolate rectangle by about half a centimeter, and turn through 180 degrees.

9. This folds the chocolate and it begins to curl as you repeat this process as quickly but steadily as you can.

This may take several attempts, you can reuse the chocolate as many times as you want provided you don’t over cook it. When you are successful you will end up with a very neat and tasty cigarillo!

Beach Wedding Cake Toppers & Beach Wedding Cakes

If you’re destined for a beach wedding, you may be interested in beach wedding cakes.

Beach weddings are often destination weddings, a popular choice by many couples who are looking to wrap their honeymoon and wedding into one, or to have a smaller, intimate and inexpensive event. To boot, getting married near the shore is extraordinarily romantic, and can make your wedding experience and memories, that much more special.

If you’re a bride-to-be, looking for a beach wedding cakes, what design should you be looking for? What design makes a cake so “by the shore”? Well, that depends on a lot of things. It depends on the couples’ style, interests and hobbies. It depends on theme of the event, the time of year, the characteristics and layout of the location…just to name a few. To get ideas on which cake may be right for your beach wedding, we’ve rounded up lots of ideas that we’ve included below:

Sea Shell Cakes – You just can’t go wrong with sea shells on a beach wedding cake. So what shells? Beaded periwinkle, Florida cone, and maculated ear moon, are some of the most beautiful sea shells for decoration. Small pieces of coral, is also another great choice. The sea shells can be real (wash them well!), or can be made from a variety of icing, molding paste or chocolate. Sea shells can be used subtly or as the main design of the cake. A cluster of shells, as the seashell cake topper is a must for this cake design.

Marine Wild Life Cakes – Incorporate enchanting sea creatures, such as anemones, turtles, tropical fish, sea lions, jellyfish, sea stars, dolphins, whales, or sea horses. We did a wedding in Monterey a few years ago, and the reception was at the Monterey Plaza Hotel – which is right next door to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The entire wedding party visited the aquarium the day before the wedding, experienced a private tour and had a wonderful time. The aquarium was the perfect inspiration for the theme of the cake. The cake designer subtly incorporated some of the sea creatures from the aquarium into the dessert. The topper was a large pearly clam with jewels and pearls pouring out of it, cascading down the side of the cake. (not real pearls, but fondant balls covered with pearl dust!)

Surf Cakes – Crashing waves encircling the cake is the perfect trim for a cake with a surf theme. This style cake is most appropriate for couples who surf, or just love the waves. The surf can be puffy foaming waves, or just subtle hints of wave shaped frosting. Incorporating some blue into the cake can help it look more like the ocean. Airbrushing blue onto cake’s frosting, gives a real nice blended, and realistic effect. Add in a surf boards or figurines surfing as your cake topper, and you’re set.

Tropical Flower Cakes – Hibiscus, cymbidiums, tuberose, or any of your tropical favorites. They can be used as a flower cake topper, they can cascade down the side of the cake or tiers, or used sparingly throughout. Tropical flowers can also completely cover the cake, or be used just on the base. Wherever placed, they will dress up the most plain and dull cake – and make it instantly gorgeous looking, and smelling.

Sandcastle Cakes – Sandcastles on wedding cakes, are usually used as a toppers. But, we have seen entire cakes shaped like castles, or at least the top half of the cake shaped like a castle, with a few traditional wedding cake tiers below it. To get the sandy effect, the cake can be sprinkled with fine graham cracker crumbs or brown sugar.

Palms and Coconut Cakes – To remind you of your beautiful location, how about a subtle design of palm leaves circling the outside cake? A few coconuts as garnish? A cake topper oasis? How about a cracked open half of a coconut as a cake topper, with bride and groom figurines lounging in it, as if it were a hammock?

Buried Treasure Cake – You don’t have to be in the Caribbean to pull this off. The topper could be a treasure chest with gold coins and jewels pouring out of it, cascading down the side of the cake. If you’re in love with Pirates, make have figurine cake toppers of a bride and groom…one as Captain Jack Sparrow, and a fair maiden in her wedding dress, of course.

Bamboo and Tiki Cake – Coat the outside layers of the cake with confections made to look like bamboo. You can also incorporate Tiki masks. We once attended a luau wedding and the cake had miniature tiki torches sticking out of the top, and around the cake on the table. When the bride and groom cut the cake, tribal drums were playing in the background.

Ocean Activity Cake – Love to go snorkeling, fishing, diving, boogie boarding, or kayaking? How about bride and groom figurines fishing for wedding rings off of a pier? This would be easiest to incorporate into a cake topper, but don’t forget figurines can be anywhere on the cake! Get creative! Any of your favorite ocean activities can be incorporated into your cake.

Sea Bird Cake – Sea birds in flight, in love, with their long necks forming a heart. Best as a cake topper, but can be incorporated throughout the cake tastefully if sea birds are your thing.

Lighthouse Cakes – Is your wedding near a really cool lighthouse? We’ve seen a lot of lighthouse cake toppers, but we also had a client who had her baker create an entire cake as a lighthouse. Another client had the two bottom layers of the cake as tiered rounds, and the top half of the cake was a lighthouse and its surrounding area, right down to the boating docks below it.

Sand Cakes – Not real sand! Many bakers use crushed crumbs, like graham crackers, or brown sugar. The base of the cake can be covered with “sand”, or the top of each exposed layer…or the entire cake! Our favorite, is when a pile of “sand” is formed at the base of the cake and spread out on the table a couple inches around it. Something can then be written in the sand, i.e. “Charlie and Beth Forever”, or “CV + BE, 9/12/08”. You get the picture.

Nautical Cakes – Go Nautical! Anchors, ropes, buoys, wooden docks, life preserver rings, etc. These can be made from marzipan, subtly sprinkled around the cake, placed as the base, or used as a cake topper.

Beach Relaxation Cakes – Our absolute favorite beach wedding cake is 2 Adirondack chairs as the cake topper, with 2 pairs of flip flops beneath them. Figurines of the bride and groom sitting in the chairs is optional. A regular beach or lounge chair can also be used instead of the Adirondacks. One of our other favorites was a figurine bride and groom snoozing in a large hammock as the cake topper, with sand and miniature beer bottles beneath them.

Swimming Pool Cakes – Not with real water, we promise! Picture this: the top cake layer made to look like an endless swimming pool. This can be done by cutting the top square edge off of the cake (like a router would carve out the edge of a wooden table), to simulate an endless pool. Figurines of the bride and groom’s heads could be sticking out of the top of the pool, with shades and sunhats on, holding cocktails of course!

Hawaiian Cakes – How about leis as a cake topper? Or a hula bride figurine enticing the groom on the top of the cake? The cake could be wrapped with a sarong, or beach umbrella, Hawaiian cocktails, pineapples, or anything else Hawaiian could be incorporated.

Beach Colored Cakes – Just want to use beach themed colors? Stick with white, tan, off-white, teal, and of course, blue. The use of blue can be subtle as the color of the frosting, or air brushed onto the outside of the cake for a blended or accented look.