~~Marina Sousa Q&a On Miley's Cake~~

Decorating By cakeladyatLA Updated 4 Mar 2009 , 6:56pm by mlsousa

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cakeladyatLA Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 11:08am
post #1 of 8

Here is the link and the Q&A
I'm posting because I think is a lot of good information that could get lost in the other thread. I'm also posting Marina's cake for reference.
And it case Marina comes back I have a question: How many degrees should the isomalt be when is ready? Thanks!

Originally Posted by mlsousa

Hi After reading this thread Im not entirely sure if I should be posting this here but several CC members emailed me asking me to reply to their questions with this link I see the conversation has turned more about the cake controversy as opposed to the cakes themselves. Sadly, a trend that seems to have started on the show itself. Ill answer the questions I have been asked about my Miley cake below

Q: How did you make the beads?
A: the beads were made from isolmalt (a sugar substitute that is less temperamental than sugar) The sugar was melted down and tinted with liquid airbrush food coloring.

Isolmalt- once cooked can be re-heated in the microwave to keep it in a liquid state, which is what is required to pour it into the molds. The best part of microwaving it (as opposed to re-heating it over the stove top) is that it does not caramelize- so there is no color change. If you have ever worked with sugar before you know what a plus that is!

Q: Where did you get the molds?
A: the molds were such an issue! Ultimately we ended up making our own molds but that was after several attempts by a mold making company that just didnt work quite right. We used Silicone Plastique from: http://www.culinart.net/silicone.html
There are really good step-by-step instructions on the website.

I bought plastic beads from a craft store and used those to form the mold. We ended up using pretty basic ribbed round beads however, we tried several different shapes and sizes. We really liked some of the more typical chandelier shapes but consistency & weight was an issue.

Once the molds set we took a very sharp exacto blade and made a very shallow slice down the center to create a space for the string to sink into. Once secured the isolmalt was poured into the molds and removed once they were set.

It was definitely a trial and error process that Dawn spent a lot of time perfecting. Patience is key ☺

Q: What kind of string did you use for the beads?
A: we used beading string which I got in a craft store in the beading section. Any type of plastic or fishing line will melt when the sugar is poured into the mold. Any type of metal, wire thread etc. will kink up and wont hang straight.

Q: How were the strings attached?
A: the strings are individually attached to foamcore rings. Little slits were cut into the foamcore and the string was secured into the slits. Varying sized rings created the depth.

Q: Was this the same way you did the beads that we saw on Keegans wedding cake?
A: No. For Keegan & Lisas cake I made all of those beads by hand from fondant and pushed a pin through to create a hole in each bead. The beads were then individually strung on clear-stretchy beading string by knotting the string to secure each beads place.

This was a much more time consuming process that is why I really wanted to come up with an alternative way to do it for the competition. I think I spent 20+ hours making the beads and stringing them for the wedding cake- so clearly not the best competition technique!

Q: How much time does it take to prepare for a challenge?
A: Well that depends how you quantify time really! Honestly its pretty all consuming from the second you get the first phone call- mentally at least. I always say that 75% of the battle is just getting there. Packing and shipping and all the prep work can easily take a few dozen hours. The eight hours that are on the clock are seriously a fraction of what actually goes into the final product.

Q: Was Miley nice?
A: We spent 8 minutes with her. Literally 8 minutes- someone was standing there with a stopwatch! She was very sweet, funny and extremely grateful.

Q: Are you going to do another Challenge?
A: Im not sure. I was supposed to have competed in the big multi-week elimination Challenge that was filmed in January (will air in April) but backed out when my mother passed away suddenly. You never know what the future holds but Im not too anxious to get back in the ring anytime soon ☺

*Ive also been asked about the cake sabotage situation which I agree was blown out of proportion. I was pretty disappointed that was the emphasis of the production as opposed to the artistry of the cakes themselves. I heard nothing of it until after I finished my face the judges- which was right after Courtney, they aired them out of order. It was really an insignificant incident in the grander scheme of the day. Jorg won 2nd place & the silver metal so obviously was not hindered by it.

At the end of the day its a TV show and in exchange for the publicity we sign a stack of waivers and documents and inch thick that signs our lives away. In every competition that I have been a part of there is SO much that happens that never makes it to the final show time frames and the sequence of events altered, phrases from hours of interviews taken out of context, thats just part of the deal. As with all things there is a flip side to every story. Even though I haven't always agreed with some of the editing choices - I love what FN Challenge has done for our industry and really hope that future episodes focus on the reason we all show up to compete CAKE!

Feel free to contact me anytime with any other questions about the cake.
Thank you all so much for your support, e-mails and well wishes!
-Marina @ Just Cake


7 replies
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-K8memphis Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 2:25pm
post #2 of 8

Wow thanks to Marina and thanks to you CLatLA--that was a refreshing and informative Q & A.

Marina, so sorry to hear about your Mom. Please accept my sympathy in your stunning loss. God bless you and your family.

Love and Prayers,

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mlsousa Posted 3 Mar 2009 , 9:23pm
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RE: isolmalt temperature
I don't know the number off hand- look at your candy thermometer and cook it to the "hard crack" stage. When you purchase the isomalt there is typically cooking instructions on the pail. I've seen different ratios of water to isomalt on different labels - but ultimately it doesn't really matter the only thing is the more water there is the longer it will take to cook out. The end result will be the same. Good luck!

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mycakeplace Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 4:21am
post #4 of 8

Saw this info on another thread too- thanks for taking the time to share so much information! Your cake was lovely. I feel bad that so much emphasis has been placed on the drama instead of your beautiful cake! I like how you took the high road in your response to the situation and agree that's not what the show should be about. Really great job! I love that no one can take you down icon_smile.gif You are the BEST!

Can I bother you with one more question? I think I saw you putting lights into the cake? Was I seeing things? icon_smile.gif If you did can you explain why you did and where I can find them?
Thanks again for your time. It's so cool that you are even on here!

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mycakeplace Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 4:23am
post #5 of 8

Marina - Last question- I promise! Do you have a close up picture of some of the detailed pieces that were on the ledge on the center of your cake? I'd love to have a better look. Thanks.

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summernoelle Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 4:36am
post #6 of 8

I just love her. Seriously. I didn't really take notice of her until I saw her and Dawn at OSSAS, went to their site, and just fell in love. The two of them are just amazing! Thank you for posting this!!!

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quilting2011 Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 9:22am
post #7 of 8

Marina your cake is gorgeous! I hope to meet you one day if you are in NY

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mlsousa Posted 4 Mar 2009 , 6:56pm
post #8 of 8

It's not the best photo but it's a closer look at the center of the cake...

The lights: yes, there were lights in the cake. They pretty much went unnoticed since the cake was presented in broad daylight! But they were pretty cool nonetheless. They are floral lights by acculyte. They are just little battery operated LED lights that comes in several colors, shapes and sizes.

Hope that helps!
Marina @ Just Cake

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