Monday, 21 September 2009

Patchwork Cutters

Today I used my butterfly patchwork cutters to make a 3D relief. Previously I had only used cutters to emboss fondant, and I was surprised at the range of effects these tools can make. Here's a brief tutorial on how I made my butterfly:

1. Press the cutter into sugar paste where you would like the 3D relief to go, to make a soft embossed design. Lift the cutter away using the handle to prevent fingermarks.

2. Roll out coloured Mexican paste (50% sugar paste, 50% flower paste) very, thinly on a non stick surface using a non-stick rolling pin. To aid in the release of your cutter, rub a bit of white fat (e.g. Trex) on to the cutting edges.

3. Press the cutter firmly into the mexican paste and lift up.

4. To remove the paste from the cutter, use a cocktail stick and/or gently tap the sides of the cutter. Peel away excess paste and use tweezers to remove any small unwanted pieces.

5. Stick pieces of paste into place on the embossed design in the fondant, by moistening the area with water.

6. Repeat the process until all the embossed sections that you wish to cover have sugar paste on them.

7. To make the picture 3D, build up certain parts with multiple layers of paste; sticking the layers on top of each other with a little bit of water. For my butterfly, I made parts of the wings and the body higher than the other sections by using 3 layers of paste.

8. Once the paste is dry, use paints or luster dusts if desired.

There are all sorts of different patchwork cutters available. Patchwork Cutters has a full range of cutters to choose from for all occasions.

Happy decorating!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Miniature Cakes

Yesterday I went on my first cake decorating course at Cakes4Fun in Putney. I had a great time with 6 other decorating enthusiasts learning how to prepare and decorate miniature cakes. It took a whole day to prepare 6 cakes, but it was worth the effort - I was really pleased with the final result and picked up some great tips which I'll be trying out on my next baking project.

The cakes were cut into cylinders from a rectangular block of madeira cake and filled with raspeberry jam and buttercream, before being covered in fondant. We were then left to decorate the cakes, and here's the end result:

Friday, 4 September 2009

Cookie Bouquet

Yesterday I prepared 2 cookie bouquets as gifts for friends who were celebrating their birthdays. This was my first attempt at baking a cookie on a stick and it was surprisingly easy!

I added the cookie sticks into the first batch of cookies as soon as I took them out of the oven. It was a bit tricky holding the hot cookies in place, but they turned out ok. For the second batch, I baked the cookies with the sticks already inserted. This proved to be the more successful technique, and the sticks felt more secure within the cookie.

Once the cookies were cool, I decorated them with royal icing, then put them into individual cello bags.

Next, I assembled them in a ceramic mug lined with tissue paper, using blu-tac to hold some of them in place. Lastly I wrapped the mug with tissue paper and cellophane to make it look like a flower bouquet. Here's the end result:

These bouquets make a nice centrepiece during a dinner party. I'll definitely be making more soon.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Iron Cupcake London - Round IV

On Tuesday I entered the 4th round of Iron Cupcake. This month the theme was 'Cupcakes of the World' and there were 34 entries from 22 bakers! Each month the competition is becoming more popular and the standard of the entries is amazing. I can't wait until next month. Here are some of the cupcakes I sampled......

The one on the plate with the green swirly icing and little pink flower won on the night - it was also my favourite - green tea and red bean paste mousse- and was absolutely divine!

I made 2 entries again this time - sushi cupcakes (Japan) and champagne cupcakes (France). I didn't win, but I had a lot of fun baking and decorating!

Here are the French chmapagne cupcakes decorated with little red/white/blue fondant flowers. They were really light and fluffy - think it must have been from the champagne bubbles.

The sushi cupcakes were dark chocolate and green tea, decorated with fondant sushi pieces. I used white sprinkles as rice for the nigiri sushi pieces and little orange nonpareils for the salmon roe. The nori rolls had gummy lollies as their filling. I'll definitely be making these again!

Happy baking x