How To Make Edible Glitter

A few weeks ago, someone asked me whether I knew of an edible glitter to use on cakes, cookies & cupcakes.

The brand I like – Rainbow Dust – marks their glitter range as non-toxic for decoration only.

I don’t think that counts as edible.

And then, while browsing pinterest, a pin about edible glitter using sugar came up.

So I had to give it a go.

Edible Glitter

  • granulated sugarEdible Glitter Ingredients
  • liquid food colouring – you want something you can add a drop at a time
  • jar with tight fitting lid
  • baking tray

Method

  • Set the oven to 180°C
  • Put your sugar into the jar. Only fill it half full or less so there is room for the sugar to move.
  • Add one drop of food colouring, put the lid on the jar then shake it until all the colouring is mixed in.
  • Add more food colouring, a drop at a time, until you have the colour you want.
  • Pour the sugar into your baking tray & spread it out so it’s a thin, even layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 7 mins.
  • Set aside to cool completely before using.
  • Any left over from your baking project can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container.

Notes

  • Use granulated sugar, not caster sugar. The sugar crystals are too small with caster sugar and you just end up with something that looks like sand.
  • Some recipes suggest baking for 10 minutes or more but I found that just ‘melted’ my sugar. You need to watch it and make sure that’s not happening!
  • I had to sieve my sugar once it had cooled as it had formed lumps even after 7 mins not 10.
  • Hot sugar is really hot… but you know this!

Edible Glitter FinalWhat do you think? Does it look glittery enough? I’m not convinced myself, but at least I can now make my own sanding sugar colours to decorate cookies with.

How To Paint On Fondant

A few months ago I had the pleasure of creating a wedding cake for an artist friend of mine.

She wanted a wedding cake that was a little different, and that felt like ‘her & her husband to be’.

Enter the painted cake.Painting On Fondant Detail

I’d never painted on cake before but I figured it couldn’t be that difficult. Could it?

Guess what… I won’t show you the first attempt!

It wasn’t that it was hard, but there were lots of things to work out to make sure it came out well enough for a cake for someone’s special day.

So, I thought I’d share the things I learnt with you. To save you the heartache!

Tips and tricks for how to paint on fondant.

  1. Always work on dry fondant. That means leaving your fondant on the cake for at least 24 hours (longer if possible) until it forms a ‘crust’ and does not give way when you press it.
  2. Mix your food colours with alcohol (I use vodka or rose spirit) to a thick inky consistency.
  3. You might need to add more alcohol as you’re painting to keep it the same consistency as it evaporates.
  4. You can use powdered colours or gel colours including (my favourite) Sugarflair.
  5. Draw out your design on paper first.
  6. Practice first! No really… roll out a piece of fondant, leave it to dry and then practice your design until you’re happy with it. That way you work out where all the tricky bits will be before you start painting that cake.
  7. Use a good quality artist brush for watercolours. You need to make sure it doesn’t shed hairs and can do smooth strokes.
  8. Don’t overload the brush with food colour/paint. Keep it quite dry and be prepared to go over the layers a few times.
  9. Let each coat & colour dry completely before going onto the next one.
  10. And finally – you can wipe off a mistake – as long as it’s a little one. Just use pure alcohol on a cotton bud & leave the fondant to dry completely before going in with the food colouring/paint again.

Now I’ve done a wedding cake I’d like to try painting fondant for cupcakes & maybe on royal icing on cookies. Anyone have any tips to share?

I’d also love to hear from you if you paint a cake. Please post in the comments below or on my facebook page!

Painted Cake

Best Butter Cake for Carving & Decorating

Well here it is everyone, the one you’ve all been asking for…

Best Butter Cake Recipe

This is the recipe I use for all my shaped cakes and any that need to take any weight.

It’s also my go to vanilla cupcake recipe.

It’s not too sweet and dense enough to carve while still being light enough to be an enjoyable mouthful.Wine Bottle Shaped Cake

Ingredients

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 400g salted butter (soften first)
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g self-raising flour

Equipment

  • mixer, paddle attachment & bowl
  • another mixing bowl
  • metal spoon
  • baking paper
  • 2 x 20cm round baking tins
  • wooden skewer
  • wire cooling rack

Method

  • Set the oven to 200°C and line the base of the two baking tins with the baking paper
  • Cream the butter and sugar together using the mixer until they are pale and fluffy. This can take 10 minutes.
  • Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time and mix well between each addition.
  • When you get to the fifth egg, add a spoonful of flour with each egg before mixing. This will help prevent curdling.
  • Add the vanilla extract once all the eggs have been added & mixed in.
  • Mix the rest of the flour in with the metal spoon, not the mixer. This prevents overmixing and will keep your cake tender when it’s baked.
  • Split the cake mix evenly between the two baking tins.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, checking to see if the cake is done using a wooden skewer poked into the centre (which will come out clean if the cake is fully baked).
  • Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack

Notes

This cake can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for up to a week.

If you are going to carve this cake into a shape you should leave it for 24 hours, wrapped in cling film, before doing so to allow the cake crumb to ‘set’.

Making The Taj Mahal

Remember my Taj Mahal challenge?

Well here it is…

Taj Mahal CakeI wouldn’t say it was my best work but it had the desired effect – lots of laughter and wows!

For those of you interested in what actually goes into making a cake like this read on.

First of all I had to decide what were the most important bits of the Taj Mahal to include.Taj Mahal

Looking at the picture the things that struck me first were

  • the dome at the top
  • the 4 smaller domes
  • the big arch
  • the little arches
  • the turrets on the corners
  • the platform

So those are the features I decided to focus on.

I choose to keep the shape a simple square rather than the eight sided one too.

Now, onto the build details.

The platform is a 14 inch foam cake tier covered in white fondant and stencilled with a paisley pattern using Royal Icing. After much testing I use Bakels fondant because it works really well here in humid Sydney.

Around the bottom of the platform are some small edible pearls.

I rolled the turrets using fondant around wooden skewers & topped them with fondant pieces. They were left to harden for a couple of nights and the skewers could  then be poked into the foam & fondant platform.

The main cake was a 10 inch foam tier and a vanilla butter cake/maderia cake (recipe to come in another post as lots of you have been asking for it) covered in fondant.

I painted the arches onto squares of gumpaste using silver food grade shimmer mixed with alcohol and left them to dry out then stuck them onto the sides of the main square cake using royal icing.

The 4 little domes are cupcakes covered in fondant.

The larger dome is a 4 inch foam tier topped with a 4 inch cake carved into a dome cake and covered in fondant again. I scored the fondant with a diamond pattern and  topped it with a fluted circle & ball of fondant.

There were lots of things I could have done differently and at times I wondered what I’d got myself into to!

But in the end I’m glad I made it.

Because you can make the Taj Mahal as a cake.

 

 

Why You Should Never Bet On The Taj Mahal

Once upon a time, a few years ago now, when I was cake decorating professionally, a friend of mine’s husband said, laughingly,

I bet you couldn’t do the Taj Mahal as a cake.

 

I bet I could,

I laughed back.

Then we giggled together for a few minutes as we both imagined what that cake would be like.

Over the years he’s brought it up a few times. At birthday parties mainly.

We’ve giggled and laughed about it often.

This weekend my friend’s husband turns 40.

We’re going away for the weekend to celebrate.

Close friends with their families.

Guess who’s been asked to do the surprise cake…

Guess what my friend wants it to look like…

Taj Mahal

 

I have to admit to being a trifle worried.

But I have a plan. It involves foam tiers and gumpaste and some shimmer and some sugar pearls as well as painting on fondant & a dome shaped vanilla cake for the top.

Wish me luck.

And come back next week and see how I’ve done! I promise pictures even if it all goes wrong. ♥

How To Make The Best Cookies for Decorating

Decorated cookies will always be popular.Star Cookies

They can match any theme and be as simple or as complicated as you like.

The way they’re iced is important of course (and I’ll do a post about that very soon) but I also really want them to taste great when they’re eaten too.

I’ve tried heaps of recipes over the years and, in the end, this is the one I’ve found tastes best and holds together well.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Cookies for Icing & Eating

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter (soften first)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Equipment

  • mixer, paddle attachment & bowl
  • another mixing bowl
  • metal spoon
  • baking paper
  • cookie tray

Method

  • Using the mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very pale and mousse like. This can take 10 minutes plus.
  • Next add the egg, all in one go and beat really well.
  • Add the vanilla and beat again to combine.
  • In the other mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the flour mix to the butter, sugar & eggs and combine gently using a metal spoon. Do not use the mixer at this point or you will over mix the dough and make your cookies tough instead of soft and buttery.
  • Use a piece of baking paper to cover your cookie tray and place the dough on the baking paper.
  • Use another piece of baking paper the same size over the top of the dough and then gently flatten the dough out by smoothing the top of the paper. It doesn’t have to be even.
  • Set the oven for 180°C.
  • Put the tray, baking paper & dough in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  • Remove the dough including both layers of baking paper from the cookie tray.
  • With the baking paper still attached, roll the dough out to about 5mm thick.
  • Remove the top layer of baking paper and cut out your cookie shapes.  If the dough sticks to the cutters dip them in flour first.
  • You can either peel the extra dough away from around the cookies and put the baking paper with the cookie shapes left onto the cookie tray or you can place the cut out cookies onto another piece of baking paper on the cookie tray.
  • Reroll the extra dough in the same way by placing it between two layers of baking paper.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until light golden colour then place on a rack to cool.
  • If you are icing them for presentation leave them at least 4 hours to cool completely.

Notes

Letter & Number CookiesRolling the dough out between layers of baking paper means you don’t have to add more flour, or handle the dough so much which means they will be lighter cookies with a lovely melting texture.