Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tiara for Elena

My friend wanted two cakes for her little girl's birthday; one for school and one for home. She actually wanted the tiara one for school and a Strawberry Shortcake one for home that night, but I got it the other way round! Luckily she didn't mind at all! :)

For the tiara cake, she showed me this photo which she found on Flickr. It belongs to Alexandra Caribe and she makes very beautiful fondant cakes.

I made the tiara a few days ahead, but it was a bit problematic. I put the gumpaste tiara on a round container for it to harden, but as the container was smallish, the gumpaste kept slipping off at the sides and warping the shape of the tiara. In the end, when it had hardened, the shape was a bit off and it also broke in a few places!! I don't think I'll be making this type of tiara again soon!! :)

I did my best to fix the tiara. I used another band of gumpaste around the bottom to hide the cracks and placed lots of red curls around the base to distract from the uneven shape of the tiara!! Luckily it looked okay in the end.

This was the first time I used silver powder. This stuff, as well as gold powder is very expensive, but I found that a little goes a long way! Also the effect it produces is well worth the price.

I brushed the silver powder on with a dry brush. This method unfortunately caused the excess silver powder to drop onto the cake. It made the surface of the cake look a bit 'dirty'! Next time I shall try using a wet brush, or maybe apply the powder before mounting it on the cake.

 Overall, I think the cake looks good. I shall be playing with silver/gold power or luster dust again soon!! ;)

Update: I left a message at Alexandra's Flickr account to let her know I used her design. I know, I should have written first to ask for permission, but it slipped my mind. So I thought I had better let her know. After all it is her beautiful and original design.

Anyway, she was very kind and was happy that I used her design and thanked me for giving her credit! She was so gracious that she even shared some information with me. I had problems with the tiara because I used gumpaste which is not hard enough. She says she used pastillage. I've heard of pastillage before, it dries bone hard. I'll look into pastillage soon I hope...

Thanks again Alexandra! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amelie's mermaid

Last month, we celebrated three birthdays together, my two nieces (sisters) , Amelia and Amanda, have the same birth date, and another nephew's (Ethan) was pretty close. Since I did not have the time to make 3 cakes, I just made one for them to share. Amelie, being the youngest, got to choose the theme. She initially wanted something princess-y, like Cinderella, but that would not have been very suitable for Ethan right? so we went with the Little Mermaid and an undersea theme instead.

This is made up of two 6" round chocolate cakes and covered in fondant. The cupcakes are chocolate as well, topped with a dark chocolate ganache. All the figures are made of gumpaste. Next time I should mold the torso and arms from a single piece of gumpaste, so I won't get those unsightly joins on the shoulders...

This is the first time I tried using a harder ganache to cover the cake before applying fondant. This ganache method is what I learned from Planet Cake's book. Planet Cake is located in Australia, so the climate is more similar to ours, and thus their methods are more relevant to us. I have found that using buttercream, fresh cream and light ganaches is impossible in our awfully hot and humid weather! I am so happy that I found Planet Cake's book and thus the solution to my melting/ slipping fondant problem!

A harder ganache (higher chocolate to cream ratio) is not only able to withstand higher temperatures, it also acts like a putty, filling in all the holes and dents in a cake to give it a gorgeous smooth finish! "Alleluia!" is all I can say...

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