Opening up another session of FNCC! Everyone is welcome to share what they have been up to this week, post photos of their work, ask for help or provide help if you are able to.
Fall is coming way too fast! Where did the summer go? No cake for me this week, but I'm starting to plan a cake for Halloween. A little surprise for my co-worker. Anybody tried making spider web with melted marshmallow? I saw a video on facebook... it looks fairly easy. There must be a catch of some sort. Any suggestions or input are welcome. Hope everyone had a nice week!
I've never done it, but I did see someone use that technique on Halloween Baking Championship. But, it probably isn't as easy as they made it look. I'm not sure, but I imagine adding a bit of confectioner's sugar might make the marshmallows more workable? We ended up with way too many of one kind of cake at work, so I decorated them with some fall/Halloween designs to try to catch make them more eye catching so they don't sit around too long, and we had an order for a unicorn cake.
Scarecrow (I don't love this one, but I sent a picture to my boss and he seemed to like it?)
Generic orange/black (the border is a little messy because I had a brain fart and momentarily forgot what kind of border I was doing)
Cute little Halloween collection, angesradieux!
Julie, I've never tried making spider webs with melted marshmallows, but I sometimes use it on my wire armatures to help the modeling chocolate adhere and it is major sticky and difficult with which to work. Of course, you can melt just a few marshmallows and easily give it a try. Good luck.
Oh, and beautiful unicorn, angesradieux!
I don't have a cake this weekend so no picture. Laetia, I saw the marshmallow web cake but not on Facebook. It was in a magazine from 2012 I had saved. Looks easy enough, melting marshmallow in microwave will be "sticky" & they will be hot, so be careful. The directions were to stir & work quickly. I think when it is cool enough to use, wearing a pair of gloves might help with the stickiness and being able to work with it. I might just try it myself.
Another thing that might be helpful is wearing multiple pairs of gloves. That way if one pair gets too sticky, you can just pull them off and and use the next layer. That way you don't have to stop in the middle of what you're doing to get another pair. It will also help insulate your hands from the heat. When I'm pulling sugar, I wear like 5 pairs of gloves. Then when one pair gets too sticky, I can take one off, and by then the sugar has cooled a little so I don't need as many layers. It's helpful when I'm trying to work fast to shape things before they harden. I imagine it would also be a good strategy for handling melted marshmallows and trying to work with them before they set.
Wow, thank you everyone for the tips. I'll make sure to keep you update with how it went.
Oops, I hit the submit button by mistake.
Angesradieux, nice Fall and Halloween cake. Frankenstein is so darn cute. I did not know until this week that almost all your cake were icecream one. I've tried making a few of them this summer and it was not easy. Decorating them without having them melt was such a challenge!
Wonderful work! Cute designs all around:)
I did this a while back for a collaboration entitled "Love Is", but can only now show it. I chose to do a bride's shoe.
So gorgeous Sandra! Those shoes are fabulous. Did you use toyal icing to make the texture?
No, Laetia, it is a mold. The heel and sole of the shoe is made from pastillage, the upper and details are made from a combination of fondant and gum paste. The texture is wafer paper and I just had to add a bunch of pearls 'cause I tend to pearlize everything, lol. Thanks for you sweet words.
Thanks! At work, I have the benefit of a blast freezer. It can be temperamental, but when it works correctly it freezes the cakes at between -10 and -20 degrees, so they're completely rock hard when I'm working on them. And for the designs that take some time, I can keep popping them back in the blast as needed to keep them nice and solid. I can't imagine trying an ice cream cake any other way. In my own kitchen at home, I'm sure it would end in disaster. I usually have a bunch of them in the blast all at the same time, that way if one needs to go back in, I can keep busy by pulling another one to decorate. The store I work at is a franchise, so most of what I do is just standard covering cakes in frosting or ganache and adding candy toppers, so it's not super time consuming or difficult. But for custom orders, or if we have a surplus of cakes, I also get to do some more interesting designs.
Sandra, the shoes are stunning! I've tried working with pastillage a little bit, but I haven't gotten the hang of it yet. If my sugar work is ever even a fraction as lovely as yours I'll consider it a success! They're really beautiful.
Thanks so much, angesradieux! Full disclosure, I hated the pastillage, but it may have been the recipe I used. Next time I will try Serdar Yeners recipe. He uses it for everything, has a million tutorials, and it looks great. I usually use gum paste for the heels and sole, but I really would like to develop a good relationship with pastillage because it is so strong.
I was fortunate to have been born with a bit of artistic ability, which helps enormously, but everything else about cake decorating is a struggle requiring much practice! Thank you for your kind words.
I didn't use his recipe, but I love Yener's tutorials. The first time I tried using pastillage was for his dove tutorial. But I was in the middle of a lot of different things at the time, and by the time the wings finished drying I just didn't have time to try to put the pieces together and finish the tutorial. I also bought his horse and carriage and fairy tale castle tutorials. I started working on the horses, but the pastillage kept getting dried out and cracking while I was still trying to shape it. Not sure if it was the recipe not being good or I just wasn't working fast enough. Maybe with a bit more practice I'd be able to work faster and not have that problem. I'm also super tempted to take the diagrams from that tutorial and see if I can make something similar with pulled sugar. That might be my next experiment. I'm also in love with the reindeer and sleigh he makes from royal icing. That one's on my list of things to try for Christmas.
angesradieux, you can make the figures with fondant with a good dose of tylose added, which would be my choice if I were following Serdar's tutorial. Just be sure to give then a day or two to dry. I mostly use modeling chocolate, but I use a wire armature inside, which he does not for his figures.
In my opinion, Serdar Yener is the most talented cake decorator in the world! Some people make wedding cakes just as nice and some people make better figures, but he does EVERYTHING and is fabulous at it all! I also love that he shares so many free tutorials, mostly for very practical things. I cannot even guess how many times I've shared his tutorial for making a portable cooler for transporting cakes (we used it today!) and he has several different techniques for finishing ganache, all amazing! Love the man!
Maybe I'll try the fondant and tylose. I did it once for flowers and it worked great, but I tried to find the fondant recipe I used for that again, and for the life of me I can't remember where I got it. I used marshmallow fondant and tylose for a unicorn, but it was a bit fussy because I haven't quite figured out how much tylose to use, so I didn't add enough and it was still a bit softer than it should have been.
Do you make or buy your modeling chocolate? I've only used it a couple times, and I loved it, but I absolutely hate making it. Once I went through the first batch I made, I haven't been able to talk myself into doing it again.
I totally agree about the versatility of the tutorials he provides. I think he has at least one for every technique I could possibly want to learn. And even the ones that aren't free go on sale, and they're way more affordable than a class would be. I also appreciate how accessible he makes everything seem. I don't think I've come across one tutorial from him where he used speciality molds or anything. He shows what you can do using mostly things a lot of people already have in their kitchens. He's incredible talented and so generous with his knowledge, it's really awesome
I always make my marshmallow fondant using Liz Marek's recipe. When I use it for modeling, which is not common, I just dump in Tylose until it feel sturdy then work as quickly as possible.
Yes, @angesradieux, I always make my own modeling chocolate. I started by using Shawna McGreevey's tutorial, but now I usually use a little less corn syrup because I like it very sturdy. Don't be afraid to make it, only takes five minutes, literally. Watch Shawna's tutorial and follow her instructions on how to mix and you will have no problems. Overmixing kills modeling chocolate.
By the way, I usually use Wilton Candy Melts and would never waste the money on expensive chocolate because no one ever eats my models.
Haven't done much this year at all, so when my neighbors took a trip to Las Vegas I decided to try out cactus flowers. I'll surprise them with these cupcakes when they unpack & get settled in. First time attempting these cactus & succulents, & the colors of the desert are so muted. Much improvement needed with these type of plants, but it's always a challenge to try new things.
Some of my recent projects...
A giant brookie (half brownie/half cookie).
An Ice Cream cake. Chocolate cake, a layer of fudge, a layer of Oreo crunchies all covered in (homemade) vanilla ice cream.
A little owl cake. 7 layers of chocolate cake, with alternating layers of ganache & mousse filling, covered in chocolate buttercream.
love the “brookie”
Tell us more about the brookie... Recipe??
MBalaska, you cupcakes are gorgeous! I can see nowhere that improvement is needed, they are perfect. Sound super delicious too!
I would be interested to learn more (translates into recipe) about the Brookie, too! Looks divine!
Your ice cream cake is beautiful and I know it was delicious. Did you airbrush the mermaid?
Adorable owl! Love him!
@SandraSmiley thank you. The SMBC recipe that works well with piping is simply: 8 egg whites, 2 cups granulated sugar, 5 sticks unsalted butter, tiny pinch of salt, 1 Tablespoon double fold Vanilla extract.
I like the TASTE of the buttercream best with only 4 sticks of butter, but for the BEST PIPING consistency adding the extra stick of butter works best.
Also once I learned that you can simply dump the whole pile of butter right in the meringue at one time; then turn the KA onto #1 and let it go for 10 minutes or so, it made mixing SMBC a piece of cake. I hardly ever make AMBC any more.
Thanks for the recipe, MBalaska! I've only made SMBC four or five times, but I am feeling more secure. It is so much better than AMBC, in my opinion. I will try the tip of adding all of the butter at once. I hav discovered that it is easy to "fix" broken or melty SMBC, so it is not so scary anymore.
with a laser infrared thermometer gun, you can easily check the temperature of the egg-sugar mix when it's heating. This allows me to easily see when it hits 160 F.
Then when the egg-sugar mix is beaten with the wire whip, to firm peaks it lets me check the temperature as it cools down. When it's down to room temperature, the same temp as the butter, pop the butter in & no melting at all. All with the temp gun & you don't have to stick anything in the mixtures & no guessing.
Love this thing to pieces!!! For $15 bucks it's worth every penny.