Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where's the Topper?

Its been a year now since I started with my cake decorating hobby. I have learn a lot since I started but every cake experience is very enjoyable for me. I have always been into trying new things to entertain myself in form of arts and crafts but by far this is the best thing I have tried. I love how it incorporates my two favorite things, art and food.

On my previous blog entry, I mentioned that my next cake project is going to be my son's cake for his third birthday - a Star Wars themed cake like his dad's. I was again challenged because I wanted a more kid-friendly Star Wars theme compared to what I did previously. My mind was already set on what to do for the cake but I was unprepared for what was going to happen during the cake making process.

The weekend before the big day, we had visitors and I was quite busy in the kitchen prepping for our meals. I was as ever ambitious that I would be able to make everything in 24hours. But for this cake I needed an emergency back-up plan which would involve a new medium.

When I decorate cakes, I always use purely MMF aka Marshmallow Fondant to cover them and even for decorating. I have been so comfortable with the medium that I am able to mold them into figures. But my experience is quite limited and I have not really tested how far it would go. I have never used gumpaste before nor added tylose in my MMF to make it more stiffer. So when I make figures I allow it to stand for at least 12hours depending on the size.

The Topper?
As for son's cake, my planned topper was the Young Anakin Skywalker. But I thought in order to pull this off in 24hours I was determined that I use gumpaste. I chose a Wilton gumpaste powder mix for my planned topper. I did follow the instructions religiously but everything turned out to be a complete disaster. I was so disappointed that I decided to disregard the topper. Honestly I was unprepared to use gumpaste, I was just assuming the things that I would be anticipating. And there were things that I noted and learned from my first gumpaste experience:

~ Gumpaste harden in a few minutes (keep it in a tight container)
~ Gumpaste is also heavy, the bigger your figures the heavier they get ( this is what happened to mine )
~ Always test the medium (my biggest mistake), see how it works for you
~ Research about your medium

The Cake and Cupcakes
My base is Carrot and Pineapple Cake, frosted and filled with buttercream. Fortunately, it was very good and our guests loved it. But this cake is the smallest round cake I have ever made, its only 6" x 3.5" and I made the extra batter into cupcakes. I also frosted them with buttercream and used a round biscuit cutter to cut fondant for the tops.

Techniques and Extras
I experimented with Wilton color mist™ food color spray, I cheated and did not tint the fondant blue to cover the cake but sprayed it. I also used the color mist for my cupcakes, I researched for Star Wars Jedi Logo and made stencil patterns. My accent mediums are Wilton Pearl Dust in Sapphire and White. They were added to my cake, cupcake, candles - Roman Numerals and the Clone Trooper Cup Cake Toppers.

At this point, I am unsure when or what will be my next cake project but I can say it was a good year. I have made a few cakes but learned a lot from it. I am looking forward to making more after my ? - month hiatus especially couture cupcakes. Probably by then my dream designs will be realized.