Wow, Christmas came and went and I feel like it was a blur! But here we are getting ready to celebrate a new year! 2020! I don't know about you, but I have so many goals and plans for this coming year! Im not just talking New Years resolutions. We all make those, well most of us do. Even if we don't say them out loud. But I'm talking about well thought out, drawn out plans. Plans for my personal life and plans for my business life.
In my quest to find out how to make the best business plans that would help me succeed, (so mid march it wasn't dying out) I came across this book called Business Boutique. Now I have many books on business, goals, leadership.... but none that given me a clear cut plan and free workbook to get it done!
I was so excited when I found this book and started reading it! I read it twice before downloading my free workbook! Let me just tell you, if you are a baker this book is for you! Now I say if you are a baker, but the book is for any business owner. But let me tell you why it is even more beneficial to us bakers!
Christy, the author of the book, did an amazing job taking all the experiences she had growing up in her mom's bakery and using those experiences to teach about running a successful business! It is written for all women business owners but the message from the ''baker's daughter" view was just something that really drew me in! It gave it that personal touch! She also has a full 2020 planner to go along with the book! Yes, I am getting it! Check it out in the link on the right!
This book is part of the Dave Ramsey financial collection. If you don't know who he is, definitely check him out too. He teaches some of the best business and life principles for living debt free! A great goal for 2020!
The book was so down to earth, through, practical, and educational. It has helped me identify my ideal client, set up plans to strategically measure growth, and brand my business in a creative way! She breaks down yearly goals into short term goals that are measurable so you are sure to stay on track.
I am so happy to be starting off 2020 with a great business plan! It is an amazing feeling to have everything laid out, written down and ready to go!
Check out Christie's book ''Business Boutique'' and let me know if it helps you! Happy New Year Caking Friends!
Hey guys! We are finally in the full swing of fall in my neck of the woods! And I couldn't be more excited! The weather is cool and the leaves are changing! With that brings my favorite fall season... Halloween! So today's tutorial is inspired by the the alien groot and a combination of a sugar skull sunflower. Quiet a interesting combination! I made this guy a little while back but it has taken me forever to get around to posting it. So here we go!
The groot base was made using aluminum foil as a filler. However, this could easily be made half cake on the bottom and then foil for the arms and details. As we worked our way up, we kept his head hollow for the insertion of a tea light and also he can be used as a candy bowl on top his head!
Icing Images wafer paper and their spray Paper Potion was used to cover the foil and create all his textures. After the paper was on and dry, I painted him with a mixture of paint and lemon extract. You can find Icing Images products here: https://www.icingimages.com
For his eyes we used green wafer paper and I used a simple tea light to light them up from behind.
For the sugar skull, I used the skull mold from sugar geek to create a white chocolate skull. I first filled the mold with chocolate only on the surface. I then placed it in the freezer. after it was hard, I filled it with buttercream and cake. Then another layer of white chocolate to seal it. Back in the freezer it went until set hard.
I used Roxy & Rich color dust to highlight the skull. I also used this on the Flex Frost sheets from Icing Images to dim down the yellow Americolor I had painted on.
For the sunflower petals I used Flexfrost sheets. I had to paint white chocolate on the back to make them stand as the FlexFrost is too soft. If I was doing it over I would have just used wafer paper for the petals as well. Oh Well!
I highlighted the center of each petal with orange dust. The orange dust was also used to make little florets inside the sunflower and around to frame the skull.
I used a little more white chocolate to attach each petal to the skull.
When it was all done I used a hot metal circle cutter to melt a hole in the bottom of the skull the same size as the pvc pipe. I then used a little more chocolate to adhere it onto the pipe.
The Pvc pipe was covered in green wafer paper and the leaves were made from it as well.
I hope you guys enjoy this little tutorial! Let me know if you try any of these techniques!
Amaranthus flowers, also called “love lies bleeding” or “flaming fountain” make a beautiful additional to any bridal bouquet. They create a very full and cascading look. The can be used to create gorgeous hanging flower displays, cascading bouquets, grand center pieces that are over flowing, and today we are going to make a sugar version to add this beautiful flower to our cake!
The deep red color of the Amaranthus is perfect for moody fall weddings, woodland inspired designs, romantic fairy tale inspired events, a mid summers night dream tablescrapes and so much more. The gorgeous color and texture makes it stand out and be noticed.
Today I wanted to make a sugar version to accent a semi naked cake with ombre burgundy gum paste roses. After using a tutorial from Pamela to make this black velvet texture cake shown here, I knew just how I wanted to create the fuzzy texture of this flower. You can find Pamela Janes tutorial here: http://www.cakewithpamelajane.com/tag/wafer-paper-velvet/
To start off I first made the shapes creating long thin “worms” of burgundy gum paste. I created my color mixing half satin ice Burgundy fondant with half satin ice gum paste. I rolled them out and inserted floral wire through the center. I bent it while still soft to create a flowing look. I also made sure that the “worms” were bumpy. Leaving texture on them as apposed to making them smooth.
I created some that did not have wire in them as well incase I wanted to add one somewhere I couldn’t safely attach the wire.
I left them to dry over night.
I took Icing Images wafer paper and tore it into pieces and placed those inside my blender. A coffee grinder is also great for this. I ground it up into an almost fine powder but still leaving a little texture and small pieces of paper.
Next I added Roxy & Rich color dust in Burgundy and mixed for a second more. I add a little at a time until I had my desired color. Fyi, it doesn’t take much!
I poured the wafer paper powder out on a plate and then I used a little bit of gylecerian to wet the ”wired worms.” I was going to use a spray bottle with a little watered down corn syrup which I believe would work great but alas this day my spray bottle was missing. The glycerin just so happened to be the first thing I saw when I went looking for it and I decided to just use my fingers to rub a little on and then dip into the wafer paper dust.
After I dipped them, I placed the remaining wafer paper back into the mixer and I ground it up a little finer. Then I took the “worms”, which now resemble the Amaranthus, and gently pushed them into the finer powder for an extra coat.
I was amazed at how beautiful the turned out and how easy they were! Check them out on this cake Below!!! They went beautiful with our ombre sugar roses and ferns!
Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.
What a month April was! I can't believe it's over! So many amazing things happened. I turned 40! Gasp!!!
My birthday was during our trip to one of my most looked forward to moments of the year. I had special friends along the way who went above and beyond to celebrate with me the ENTIRE week! We are talking "team birthday girl" shirts, lights strung in the mini van, party paint all over the outside windows, streamers.... And so began our 14 hour drive from Virginia to Florida!
Last year we flew. Competition piece and installation price for ACD in tow. But after receiving that pretty sticker on my perfectly packaged materials, (you know the one that says TSA just destroyed your crap) at the pick up gate, we decided to drive my pieces. The sugar dress was to valuable to leave my site this time! So we placed her in her box lined with pink packing peanuts and off we went.
She survived the trip like a seasoned travel pro. Gia, as we affectionately named her as she was coming to life, had the best seat in the van. When we stopped to eat, we requested a seat at the window so we could watch after her and remote start the van and AC every 15 minutes.
My competition piece didn't travel as well as my bird took off from his perch after hitting a speed bump no one saw. But that is for another post.
Gia was unpackaged as soon as we arrived at the hotel in Miami. The few wrinkles she had in her sugar skirt soon faded away from the humid Florida weather. We placed her on her stand and finished a few little pieces of jewelry and paint spots.
Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.
She was going to be in the Installation booth for American Cake Decorating Magazine. A install with so many talented artist I never dreamed of working with. There were so many pieces. The whole process is truly a labor of love and a great bonding experience among cake friends. We had such a great time building the set and creating the scene. It was the perfect backdrop to all of our pieces. There were sugar shoes, hats, many purses, picture frames, hanging decorative cookies, mini desserts, tarts, a amazing food realism piece... I could go on and on. But instead I will such share a few pics.
While I won't write all about our process of setting up the install, (that will be in American Cake Decorating Magazines next issue-make sure you subscribe!) I do want to share my love for this piece and everyone who was involved. Mainly I want to share with you what happens when you STOP BEING AFRAID!!!
Last year was my first year at Soflo. It was my first entry to a real cake show. It was my first time traveling to a cake show and meeting new people. It was wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone. As someone who has a hard time talking to strangers and a lot of self confidence issues, the last two years have been filled with a lot of first for me.
I made a commitment two years ago to get out of my head and take on something completely unlike me. The first time I messaged Rebekah Wilbur at ACD two years ago to create sugar flowers for the install I could barely breathe after wondering what I had just done. It took every bit of my soul to hit that send button. No one was ever going to let me be part of this. I was new. I was no one. I was embarrassed for even messaging. To my complete and utter shock she said yes!
I ended up create a sugar wheel barrel filled with sugar flowers and a bunny with a watering dish. When I arrived at SoFlo to drop off my piece (after fixing what TSA had done) and saw all the other amazing designs it was going to be part of, I could barely keep it together. I dropped it off scared and emotionally broken. I went back to the car crying to my sister, friend and daughter.
My piece was not worthy to be there. The other artist were so amazing. They were never going to like this. It was going to ruin the whole display!!!! See... low confidence kicking in there. I was sure I would come down in the morning and it would be gone. Or hidden away behind another piece. My family told me to KNOCK IT OFF! My piece was great and all the things a good support team say.
(My competition piece I also entered that year)
Well, morning came and the doors to the show opened and I reluctantly went down. To me surprise and amazement there sat my piece. Sitting down in the front corner. With all the other amazing artist designs. I was ecstatic, emotional, still a little horrified.... but it was a turning moment. I had done something outside of myself. Something I never ever imagined.
I had only hoped to attend the show when we bought the tickets. Maybe I would meet some key people and maybe the following year I would reach out to them. Never in a million years did I expect to be part of it.
Not only was my piece sitting there I was also scheduled to demo in the ACD some of my work and the toppers I make. WHAT??? I was soooo scared. So excited. I couldn't believe it had happened. I dream I never thought I would be able to reach. Mainly because I couldn't GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD!!! But it all came together. God had a perfectly placed plan for growing me and my life and helping me step out.
Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.
So what is the point of all of this from a cake show post? Simple. Get out of YOUR head!!! You also can follow your dreams. You also can make them happen. It might be scary. You might have to go bury your face in a pillow after you send that first email. You may not get a response your first time. You may get told no. I did before. It knocked me down and stalled me. But it didn't have to! I didn't have to let my own thought control me. If you have a goal, GO DO IT! Make a plan. Work towards it everyday. And reach out to the people who will help make it happen!
When I was able to be part of the install this year it was huge. Last year I dropped off my piece and ran. This year I worked with amazing artists and friends to build and entire set. During that time I also built a whole new confidence level. I did demos each day in the ACD booth and this time I wasn't scared! It was so natural! It was me and were I was suppose to be! I hope to one day teach a class at SoFlo! A goal I never thought I would actually reach but now I see it sight!
What a learning experience 40 has already been! I can't wait to see where this year goes. I would also love to hear how your year goes when you get out of your head and start getting into your dreams!
Much Love, Jennifer
A huge thank you to Laurie Collins, Ana McNamara, Susan Collins Ward, Rebekah Wilber, JoWeine Kake (who is a awesome friend and gifted me a sugar purse I will treasure) Evelyn Montero (Who always greets me with a kind hug!) Hemu Basu, Katy Moser_Brandel, Joyce Marcellus (I could right a whole post on this girl, Love you!) Beth Townsend, Joyce Call Greenlaw , (from Satin Ice who sponsored our fondant!) Michelle Boyde, Blaque Shelton, Debrah Coughlin from Icing Images as my girl Gia took lots of Sugar Flex Sheets. If I left you out, I didn't mean to! Message me and I will edit! Love you all! Thank you for making a dream a possibility and for your kind and welcoming hearts!
Isomalt Skeleton Flower or just the skeleton flower. Otherwise known as Diphelleia grayi. Its white petals turn crystal clear when they become wet. It only grows it 3 places in the world, and in the US, that place is the Appalachian Mountains.
When I first saw this amazing flower a few weeks ago, the first thing I thought was how cool it would be in isomalt! I don’t use isomalt much but have been wanting to and it is on my 2019 list of things to challenge myself to learn. So a quick amazon shopping trip and a few days later I had some supplies!
My first attempt I painted the centers. But this time I used colored isomalt to make the centers. I had some yellow isomalt already from a cake show goody bag! Yay! For the little green center I mixed a tiny bit of Roxy and Rich green color cust into the isomalt and made a light green. It works perfect. I also used Roxy and Rich white to mix in to make to white petals yesterday.
I started out melting the yellow in the microwave, stirring it smooth, and pouring it out onto a silicone mat.
Once cool enough to touch with gloved hands, i form it into a ball then I stared to pick up little pieces with a pick and turn the ends. This is to make the stamens.
Next I melted the clear isomalt. I separated a small amount to mix with a tiny bit of Roxy & Rich color dust to make the green.
I formed the rest of the white into a ball when it was cool enough to handle with gloved hands. Then pulled off small sections and formed them into petal/teardrop shapes. Working quickly i then placed them into a rose petal veiner I have and pressed them. I held them for a second till they were cool enough to hold the shape. Repeat to make 6 petals per flower.
Take a ball of clear isomalt and form a cone and stick a stick in it. I used a cake pop type stick. Turn it upside down on the mat to make the top flat for the petals to stick to.
Place the stick in a jar or something to hold it as you work on it. Use your blow torch to heat the ball and/or ends of the flowers and stick them to the ball. I stuck the two on opposite sides. Then the next two on one side and the next two on the other. It spaced them nicely. However by the time i took pics I had broken a few off and had to replace them!!!! So sad!!!
Once you have the flower petals on, carefully heat the end of the green piece and place it on and then the yellow pieces around it. I would suggest tweezers for this.
Drop some little tiny drops of isomalt onto your mat. Once they dry, turn them over. Heat them quickly with the torch. one quick pass will do. Then touch the petals to the drops to pic them up to make it look like rain.
The petals are very fragile! I broke several! It is different to get use to but is was a lot of fun and so pretty. The skeleton flower is so unique! I wonder if it is as fragile as the isomalt skeleton flower!
I like the colored isomalt centers better than the painted. Here is a comparison. Here is also the isomalt mixed with the white roxy and rich giving the isomalt skeleton flower its “before” appearance.
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! If you make a skeleton flower please share it at www.facebook.com/ediblesugarart I would love to see it!
The Fat Scarecrow cake has been in my mind for soooo long! Just waiting for fall to arrive. This is after all, my favorite time of year.
This little guy had so much fun at the pumpkin patch and munched out on some awesome cinnamon roll cake. He just couldn’t take anymore excitement! He was so mush fun to make. And his little black crow just seemed to be the perfect companion for the fat scarecrow.
I am loving my new Katy Sue Design sets! I used the Multi Leaf Veiner set and the Ultimate Filler Flower Set to make up some accessories in no time! They are so nice! They definitely make the job go much faster. If you make a lot of flowers and leaves, these are a must have in your arsenal. https://katysuedesigns.us.com/collections/molds
Hey Guys!! Can I just tell you one thing that pains me the most as a cake artist??? Its watching a new cake artist struggle and almost give up because they cant ice their cake! I see it all the time! On facebook, on instagram, on pintrest fails…. (although some are a good laugh at times)
But seriously, when I see someone struggling and feeling defeated and thinking that they are incompetent, yet I am sitting on the other side of my computer sometimes a half a world away saying NO!!!NO!!!NO!!! Its NOT you! You can not be expected to preform a task without the proper gear! You can not go to space with out a proper ship! You can NOT ice a cake without the proper Buttercream. Ladies and gentlemen you just cant!
Frosting in a can was not meant to ice a wedding or tiered cake. a stick of butter and sugar in a bowel with a little milk like mom use to make is one heck of a spoon licking icing no doubt but it is NOT meant to ice a professional cake or fancy cakes you see on pinterest you are trying to recreate.
So when I see these people crying and ready to give up I just want to run to the kitchen, whip them up a batch a buttercream, throw it in a Tupperware container and ship it off and say try this! You will see! You can do it!
Well This IS the next best thing since I cant ship everyone icing lol.
I luckily learned a while ago after many years of believing I couldn’t do anything, that if I wasn’t succeeding at something, it probably wasn’t because I couldn’t do it. It was probably because I wasn’t doing it right, hadn’t thought it through or I just didn’t have the right TOOLS!!!
Guys the right tools make all the difference and this one will change your cake life! So get out that monster mixer, google the cash and carry closest restaurant supply store, it maybe called something different in your area but you have one! Find some hi ratio shortening and get to making some life changing buttercream! Seriously! Its that amazing!
There are several different options on the base ingredients on how it can be made. Let me explain why.
#1 All Butter -Pro: Well that’s obvious, you get a 100% butter, buttercream Con: Melts easily
#2 50%butter 50%/ High ratio Shortening – Pros: You Get the flavor of the butter Con- Slightly less Stable
#3 100% High Ratio Pro: Very stable Con: No Butter
Now I will say this, no matter which option you use of 2 or 3, high ratio shortening is a must. I know some people may disagree or have a hard time accessing it. find a restaurant supply store. every state has a few. A cash and carry store. order it. Do whatever is necessary but…. if you are making a shortening based icing and you want professional results you need a hi ratio shortening. I use Sweetex. A shortening like Crisco will NOT give you the same results. you can still use it as a beginner. But when it is time to up your game, hi ratio is were you will need to go. so keep that in mind.
Today we are making #3. This is a awesome crusting buttercream. It can be used for fillings, flavored a 100 different ways, thickened to make a dam, pipe borders and flowers…. you name it.
It is my go to buttercream.
Measure your shortening directly into your 5 quart mixer. Measure 2.4# (2pounds 4ounces)
Whip till creamy. (60 seconds)
Measure 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream, 2 Tablespoon Vanilla, 1/4tsp. lemon extract, 1/4 tsp. imitation almond extract, (I use imitation due to peoples allergies) 1/4 tsp. Loraine’s butter emulsion 1/4 tsp. salt. Mix well and add to shortening. Blending slowly until incorporated then turn to medium high for 1 minute.
If you have a lid place it on the mixer and have a towel ready. Pour in half a bag of powdered sugar. Pulse mixer a few times to knock it down. Pour in the rest. Cover with the towel to create a lid. Pulse a few limes then turn onto low. Let mixer run 1 minute then turn to medium for 2 minutes.
Turn the mixer off now and remove towel and lid and scrape down the bowl. Place the lid and towel back on and repeat the process with the second bag of sugar.
You know have 4 # of sugar in the bowl. The last half of a bag or last 1 # will vary slightly depending on your needs and temperature. in general you will need most of this 1 #. However not always. Or if you are piping flowers you may need more to thicken it up. It is important to note, if you add to much you can always add a little cream a teaspoon at a time to thin it back down. Just remember a little cream goes a long way! Let the cream work its way through before adding more.
Adding in the last pound can be messy! Keep your towel on! Your bowl will be full to the brim and sugar will want to come out while its working its way in. This is normal.
Once its worked in, turn your mixer on medium high and let it run 5-7 minutes on its own. Then turn it back down to the lowest setting and let it run for 2-3 more minutes.
The paddle is completely submerged and the air is forced out. You will have completely smooth airless, buttercream. The perfect base to any cake. It is so much easier to frost a cake when you have the right buttercream to work with! I cant wait for you to try this! Let me know how it goes!