Clear Gummy Recipe Posted!

At long last I’ve posted the recipe for Clear (as in colour-free) Gummy:

part of a sailboat made in the gummy stained glass technique

The sails are Clear Gummy cast thin with nothing else added. The light blue is Clear with the tiniest amount of blue added. The green and darker blue are both Basic Gummy.

Up until now this recipe was only available in my Flexible, Edible Stained Glass ebook. But now that all three of my gummy recipes are here on the website, I can finally catch up on posts about the various pieces I’ve made using the recipes, including my Austin cake show stuff from February and a piece I just did last week for a San Antonio show. Spoiler alert: I have a shiny new ribbon!

I’ll try to get those other posts out as fast as possible, given the real-life stuff I have going on.

Posted in Gummy, My Recipes | Leave a comment

Product Review: Simi Flex Form Molds

One of the things about our huge cake show here in Austin every year is that we get a lot of amazing folks in from all across the country and around the world. One of the other things is that there are so many of them and so many wonderful things to see and do at the show – and that’s aside from the massive volunteer hours we on the core team pour in – that I inevitably miss doing some things or talking to some people.

Thus I spent the bulk of the show at the kids’ area which was diagonally across from the super-talented Sidney Galpern‘s vendor booth. Throughout the show I meant to go over and chat with her and check out her cool Isomalt wares, because even though I’ve never worked with Isomalt (I want to but haven’t been able to cost-justify it), a lot of the silicone tools made for gumpaste or Isomalt work very well with gummy.

Alas, the show came to an end and although I was literally the last person to leave, I didn’t manage to get time to check out Sidney’s wares. So I emailled her after the show to ask if her Simi Flex Form Molds – made to allow for free-form Isomalt pouring – would work for gummy.

She didn’t know but wanted me to test them. And because she’s not only amazingly talented but also as sweet as the sugar she sculpts, she insisted on sending them to me for free to test. That’s my way of saying the necessary disclaimer that I got the products I’m reviewing for free and that I consider the maker/seller a friend, but I swear my opinions are 100% honest nonetheless.

So: can you use Simi Flex Form Molds to pour gummy shapes? Short answer: yes! There are some caveats but if you want to pour pre-shaped, thicker sheets of gummy than you can just with open-flow, you can absolutely use these products to help. Sidney and I had wondered if piping gel would be required to prevent the very runny gummy from pouring out all over the place but as you’ll see in the tests below – even using texture mats – no piping gel is required.

For my first test, I used one of the flex form strips in a random, fairly tight shape on a smooth silicone mat. I filled it with basic gummy in orange.

test 1 - 1

Random loop with orange gummy added as full as possible without risking overflow.

I was worried that the join would leak, but it didn’t, at least at first. I had it pushed together fairly firmly and the whole thing pushed down on the mat, and that worked well.

test 1 - 2

Closeup of the ends of the flex form strip pushed together. You can see the gummy through there but it isn’t leaking out.

But after a short time I noticed that the other side was leaking from beneath. I tried to get a picture but the camera couldn’t focus properly because as I took the photo the tight inner curve popped out, which explains the leak:

test 1 - 3

That curve popped out just I snapped this photo so there was no time to try for a better one.

When it popped out the whole thing expanded so fast that it actually left a bubble which then slowly filled itself in:

test 1 - 4

Seconds later as the whole thing flowed out to fill the new space and the bubble left behind.

So definitely be careful not to make a shape that the silicone doesn’t want to hold, or at least weigh it down (I have done this on a separate project since which I’ll post about next week, but can’t yet because it’ll be in competition this Sunday).

I let the piece firm up on the counter for a good 15 minutes and then put it in the fridge to be extra-sure that it was solid. Then I was able to easily remove the strip, which left a nice smooth edge everywhere but at the join, and even there it was pretty good:

test 1 - 5

The dribble to the left is incidental from the baster and not related to the test, but the excess left along the top inner ridge illustrates how the level fell when the edge flipped out and expanded the area.

On the other side where it had flopped out, there was still some leakage from below. But as you can see, it has a clear trim line and it’s no problem to cut that flap off and throw it back in the pot.

test 1 - 6

Other than the tight curve popping out, this was otherwise a pretty good test that yielded a slab of gummy that couldn’t be made just using standard open flow.

I tried a less-curved shape for a second test, this time on a very shallow texture mat to see if it would leak.

test 2 - 1

This time I didn’t make such harsh curves and also gave it time to sit and sure it wasn’t going to pop out. It’s also on a lined texture mat.

On this test, the join parted a little, probably because the strip didn’t stick to the texture mat as well as it did my silicone mat. But I was very pleased that the small leak cooled as it came out, becoming a self-plugging leak.

test 2 - 2

This very slight leak firmed up quickly and plugged itself. So yeah, this is kind of a gummy scab. Yum!

Here’s the piece solidified. It looks like there was some very minor leaking around the sides, but again, this can be easily trimmed off. In fact, most of the time it’ll tear off, but if you’re concerned you should of course use a blade on a separate surface for neat trimming.

test 2 - 3

You can tell where the ends joined by the little scab-bump, but that and the other leak bits are easily trimmed off.

This sheet is considerably thicker than the ones I make for my Flexible, Edible Stained Glass technique, which flow out without barriers. This would be much more useful for making something like a pond on a cake (with the caveat that fresh gummy has enough moisture to turn fondant to goo and will actually tunnel its way through over time).

test 2 - 4

The texture came through quite nicely, as it always does with gummy.

For my next test, I moved up to a deeper texture mat and tried looping the strip around itself to see if that would affect leakage.

test 3 - 1

This is a brick texture mat with deeper indentations than the previous fine-line mat.

This one did leak on the underside a little bit more, but again, it was self-plugging.

test 3 - 2

A self-plugging leak under the bottom edge, no doubt because it’s impossible for the mold strip to lay perfectly flush against a texture this deep.

test 3 - 3

A slightly larger gummy scab, but again this cooled and set to hold the rest back.

So these flaps are bit thicker and probably can’t be torn off, but it can still be trimmed. Further, the wrap-around method did let me make a tighter circle, although there’s a clear step to the edge. This could also be trimmed, but that’d be a bit trickier to do smoothly.

test 3 - 4

Pushing the molds to a reasonable limit still yielded perfectly usable results that just need some trimming.

Again, you can get nice, thick sheets using these:

test 3 - 5

You could use sharp cutters on these to make shapes of all kinds.

Sidney also sells various shapes that can be put on your mat before you pour to leave indentations. Here I tested a flower and a sea shell, and they work perfectly fine:

test 4 - 1

Just make sure they’re flush with your surface so nothing flows under them.

test 4 - 2

The shapes pop out easily once you get ahold of them. Be careful not to damage anything with a sharp tool; just use something enough to catch an edge of the form and lift it out.

Based on other similar molds I’ve played with, I know that as long as this first piece is very cold and firm, you can fill the indentations with another colour or type of gummy. I also know that some colours disappear into others. For instance, if I filled these shapes with yellow, they wouldn’t be seen. If I put some black in, they would, but at this thickness would still be obscured (which you can glean from how obscured the shapes themselves are two photos above). However, you could definitely fill your piece to just deep enough to make a super-thin covering over the inclusion, and then carefully add a different colour that way. There are a lot of different creative possibilities here.

Overall, I give the strips a solid thumbs-up for making thick gummy sheets. As mentioned above, I’ve used them for a project since that I’ll reveal after this Sunday. If you want to be able to cast guided sheets – especially thick ones – you should definitely get a set of the strips. If you’re playing with gummy with kids or have lots of creative possibilities, the inclusions sets are fun add-ons.

Posted in Gummy, Products | 1 Comment

Austin Bakes for West

I got an email via Bake a Wish that there will be a bake sale to benefit West, TX hosted by Austin Bakes. Details and a sign-up form to bake or volunteer can be found here.

poster with more info

I’m already committed to something else so I can’t participate, but if you’re in the central Texas area and are available – even if it’s just to go purchase some delicious noms! – please join in.

Posted in Cake Decorating, Donated Items | Leave a comment

Free Hugs For Your Face

I recently made some cookies with nerdy things on them to send to friends. I will protect their privacy but I still want to show the rest of you the nerdtasticiosity. Yes that’s a real word: I’m a perfeshunal writer.


First up: one each of every Sonic Screwdriver used by Doctor Who. I used this wonderful art by CosmicThunder on DeviantArt as a guide. I printed them and put clear packing tape on both sides of the paper. Then I cut them out so I could roll the cookie dough and cut the shapes out with a knife. Then I propped them up by the cookies as I applied the royal icing, and later again as I used an edible ink black marker to add details.

sonic screwdriver cookies

Tasty and they fix everything in the universe, including plot holes. Oh snap! Heh heh heh.

Next: I promised some Google staffers cookies if they fixed problems I was having with the G+ page belonging to a character from my latest novel. They fixed the page, so I made them cookies! I figured if they were having a bad day it might be fun to chomp their work logos, and if they were having a good day then they could absorb the Powers of Google by nommage. Again, that must be a real word because I’m a perfeshunal writer.

I was a bit disappointed in how my Google logos turned out, and at the later bleeding of the red on the G+ logos, but I don’t think the recipients minded either issue. Funny how free tasty cookies can enhance aesthetic appreciation that way.

Lastly, I made a friend some facehugger cookies because they asked and that amused me. If you don’t know what a facehugger is and you’re reading this because you’re young and this is a family-friendly blog, then I assure you that it’s a very sweet and loving alien creature who just really wants to hug your face and stuff chocolate into it. Yep. That’s all. Nothing terrifying here whatsoever.

As with the screwdrivers, I found a picture online (in this case of the plush toy, which only emphasizes how entirely family-friendly and non-scary these creatures are, really really), printed it to the size desired, taped either side, cut it out, and used that as a template to cut the cookies and later decorate them.

Alien facehugger cookies

The trick to getting the knobbly look is to do every other blob bit first and let those set up, then go back and do the others in between. The trick to being willing to stick one of these in your mouth is starting off with a twisted mind.

facehugger cookie detail

Detail of a facehugger. Although if anyone can tell me why I keep getting those bubble-sink-holes in my royal icing despite all attempts to reduce such things in the first place, I’d be obliged!

I also started an experiment with this cookie batch that isn’t quite finished yet, but pay no heed to the cackling you hear from my kitchen. I’m sure your memory of said cackles won’t persist anyway. You’ll just have to stay tuned for more.

Posted in Cake Decorating, Cookies, General Freakishness, Severe Nerdery, Sick and Twisted | 2 Comments

Fondant On, Fondant Off

I made a cake for a fundraiser for SunDragon Martial Arts studio where my daughter takes karate lessons. It’s a wonderful dojo in south Austin with a self-defense focus and a very female-positive attitude. I highly recommend it and was honoured to make them a cake!

I made six batches total of this Beat and Bake Orange Cake, but with an extra 1/4 cup of milk added to each. I still think it ended up a little too dry, but the flavour was good. I also added significantly more zest than called for, plus a few drops of orange oil. I also used my standard buttercream recipe (based on Carol Deacon’s recipe from her books) with zest added, since the recipe that comes with this cake is far too sweet for my tastes.

The fondant used was Satin Ice since I had some leftover from the kid’s table at the Austin cake show. Thank you to Satin Ice for donating it to the show: it went to yet another good non-profit cause!

The cake was designed in five layers because Seido karate has five belt colours and five words in their code of ethics. Of course I was halfway finished the cake when I realized it’s five colours plus beginner white! So I suddenly had to adapt my design and put the black belt on top. I mean…I meant to do that. Yes.

I covered the bottom in black (or rather purple with Americolor Super Black added since I didn’t have any black on hand), then the second up in red, then orange, and then the top two in yellow. I then airbrushed them all to give them a gradient look to match the dojo’s sun-style logos.

Full karate cake - facing belt knots

This is all Satin Ice except the red on the bottom, which is my homemade recipe, rolled with a texture pin and lightly airbrushed and then wiped for a recessive-wash effect.

Next I rolled out belts and wrapped them around, including faux knots. I deliberately made the white belt knot untidy because it seems that new students never can get their belts right. For the others, I tied my daughter’s belt around a chair properly so I could examine the knot. Always look to reality if you can when trying to replicate it!

Then I made the figure, building her directly onto the black belt on top, which is unusual for me. Usually I make them separately but I was worried about getting the legs and feet right if I did her on a hard surface. I rolled her legs separately and joined them at the hips rather than my usual method because I wanted them to look like loose, round pants more than usual, and I knew her jacket would cover any seam at the torso. I formed her chest using a foil ball and toothpicks going up for the head and down to anchor the body. I also used a body mold instead of my usual human figure printout because I wanted to match the size to the face on that mold. I’d only used the mold for gummy before (more on that coming soon) and wanted to try it with fondant. It stuck too much for actually molding the limbs, but it worked okay for the face. However, I used sculpting tools to soften the face and adjust the expression.

Partially made karate figure

I wasn’t worried about the figure being perfect at this layer other than the face and pants, because I knew I’d be putting a jacket over her. What was important was to ensure any curves I wanted to show through the jacket be pronounced at this point since a fondant overlay can mask subtle curves.

I rolled out very thin bits of fondant for the jacket in pieces more or less matching my daughter’s, based on where the seams were. Then I hid the torn part with a belt, used a pounce wheel to mark some seam lines, added arms, feet, hair, and painted-on details. The insignia are loosely based on my daughter’s jacket, but changed slightly for being teeny tiny. The hair was deliberately done in messy chunks with added tendrils to look like she’s just had a workout. I didn’t intend originally for her to come out with such a butt-kicking expression, but there you have it! The dojo’s motto is “I Fight Like a Girl” so it’s apropos.

Figure - front

Figure - front right

Figure - back right

Figure - back left

Figure - left

Figure - Front Left

Once the figure was done, I rolled out some yellow fondant, sprayed it quickly with my dwindling supply of Wilton Color Mist in red (I’m letting the stuff run out now that I have an airbrush which is far superior…I’ve been meaning to do a review of the Color Mist for some time which boils down to meh: it works in a pinch but smells awful and leaves a chemical taste on cookies), and then used the small Wilton alphabet cutters to cut out the letters for the five words in the Seido karate code of ethics. I would have preferred to arrange them with the smallest at the top going down to the largest on the bottom, but I let my daughter choose the order.

Full cake - words side

To center words, write it out on a piece of paper, find the center point, put the central letter(s) on your cake first and then work out to the sides. Just be sure to read it when you’re done to ensure you haven’t messed up the spelling. In fact, do that for everything written on a cake ever.

Lastly, I printed out two copies of the dojo’s logo to the size I wanted, cut out the red pieces from one copy and the yellow from another, and trace-cut those out of thinly rolled fondant. I had pre-determined where I wanted pieces to fit or to bend so it was easy-peasy to fashion them and fix them in place. Then I cut out the letters for the dojo’s name and voila, done!

Full cake - Sun Dragon logo

It helps when someone gives you a cool logo to work with in the first place!

The cake was served at a fundraiser party, and surrounded by small children the entire time who couldn’t keep their eyes off and some could barely keep their hands off as well. Once it was cut, I let some of them poke at the chunks of fondant that were no longer needed.

cake being served

Me and my daughter on the left, as I pretend to not notice that the boy in blue keeps sneaking pieces of the belts. I let unsupervised children eat fondant and might start handing out espressos and puppies one of these days…

Posted in Cake Decorating, Donated Items, Fancy cakes, Figures | 1 Comment

Kids’ Classes!

My classes for kids on making fondant animals just got listed at Make it Sweet:

Kids should come join Kimberly Chapman in this fun hands-on class. They will learn the basics of making animal figures out of fondant. We’ll start with a basic bear, show how some small adjustments turn it into a spiky-maned lion, and then get a little more advanced with an adorable elephant. Each figure will be on it’s own cupcake, so kids will bring their tasty creations home. All supplies and tools provided. Classes are designed for kids only and separated into groups of 5 to 9 year olds and 9 to 12 year olds.
Cost: $20
Register here.

Ages 5 to 9 yrs old | April 28 | Sunday | 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Ages 9 to 12 yrs old | April 28 | Sunday | 2:00 – 2:30 pm

Here’s the photo from their newsletter of the animals placed on cupcakes:

fondant animals on cupcakes

Photo from the Make it Sweet Newsletter

Here are some close ups of the animals from my kitchen:

Fondant bear

Basic Bear

fondant lion

Punky Lion

fondant elephant


I’ll tailor how detailed the animals get based on the kids who attend: if they’re more advanced and patient, I’ll show them how to do more details. For the younger ones in particular, there’s no requirement to make the animals as shown. I’ll encourage creativity and having fun with the food!

Even if you can’t attend, please help me spread the word. There will be more classes in the future if these do well.

If you have suggestions or requests for other classes, just let me know.

Posted in Cake Decorating, Classes, Working With Kids | Leave a comment

Easter Cupcakes (Or Brush Embroidery Part 2: No Really, Try It!)

Last week I tried the technique known as brush embroidery for the first time and told you all how easy it is. For Easter weekend, my seven-year-old daughter and I made some cupcakes using the same technique and she’d like you all to know that “brush embroidery is super-easy and fun!”

I started with a Betty Crocker French Vanilla box mix (my usual go-to for fast, easy cakes) with, as usual, an extra blort of artificial vanilla added (and by “blort” I mean I pour some in, probably about 2 tablespoons). I also threw in a couple of handfuls of mini chocolate chips for obvious reasons of comfort and joy. I then split some of the batter into separate bowls and added some Easter-ish colours. I do this with orange and black for Halloween too; it’s always a hit.

various colours of batter

A few drops of Americolor Electric Pink, Electric Blue, and Electric Green added to vanilla box cake mix batter with mini chocolate chips thrown in for happy-making.

Next I spooned the various colours into paper cups randomly. These happen to be particularly pretty cups. I’m usually frugal about bulk ordering 1000 packs of plain white cups, or using my silicone washable ones at home, but Peo and I each got a pack of designer cups in our goodie bags from the Austin cake show (yes, that’s right, when you compete you get a goodie bag so be sure to enter next year!) and she decided she wanted to use some of hers.

coloured batter in a cupcake tray

I no longer bother pre-swirling the colours in the cups, because the baking action moves the batter around plenty, and if you swirl too much it just all turns to mud anyway.

Baked at 350 for 20 minutes, and voila!

baked cupcakes

Same tray as above, turned around. Be aware that blue and green can look like mold when they come through in dots on the top, so be sure your eaters know it’s coloured if you think it’ll be seen or that it will concern them.

We decided we wanted to play with a cool brush embroidery effect I’d seen in various places online, especially here, where different colours of royal icing are used against a chocolate background. Plus, I happened to have some leftover Satin Ice Dark Chocolate fondant from volunteering at the kids’ table at the cake show, and it’s insanely delicious. I’m no fan of fondant in general for eating, but this dark chocolate stuff is heavenly. Full disclosure: although I did get it as a free leftover from the show and Satin Ice donated it to the show, Satin Ice hasn’t directly given me anything to say that. I genuinely adore this stuff and highly recommend it.

I helped Peo put down some powdered sugar on a board:

working on cupcakes

A rare shot of me on this blog since my husband was around to take photos.

Then I had her knead a small ball of the chocolate fondant to warm it up:

Peo kneading chocolate fondant

“What? You want me to play with chocolate? OKAY MOM!”

After we rolled it out, we cut circles and painted water on the undersides so they’d stick to the cupcakes.

Peo putting water on fondant

You could also use corn syrup, jelly/preserves, or buttercream, but water works just fine and doesn’t add any extra sugar to what’s already a lovely sweet treat.

Then I showed Peo how to hold the wet circle carefully in one and and sort of roll the cupcake top against it to mount it on smoothly:

Putting the chocolate rounds on the cupcakes.

Since someone will inevitably ask: that’s a tryptophan molecule on my shirt. It was a ThinkGeek promotion for Thanksgiving a few years ago. Peo is wearing the shirt from the 2010 Austin cake show.

Whenever Peo had too much powdered sugar on the tops of her cupcakes, I had her use a damp pastry brush to wash it away. This was less about aesthetics than concern that the royal icing wouldn’t stick well to the powdered sugar.

Peo brushes off her cupcake.

If you do this, make sure the brush is damp, not dripping. It will dry eventually, but will look shiny and wet for awhile.

Then we began with the actual brush embroidery! Here Peo applies some pink royal icing with a #2 tip to her cupcake in a wiggly line:

Applying royal icing

The extra lump of chocolate was the remnant after we finished cutting. I gave it to Peo to eat but she instead made it into a “delicate arch” on her cupcake.

brushing the icing

Peo brushes the icing for the first time.

brushing royal icing

Peo put on some more icing and brushed it inward as well. She decided she wanted random shapes instead of flowers.

Peo brushing her royal icing out.

Peo continues work on her cupcake, all the while gleefully telling me how easy and fun this is.

Peo's first finished cupcake

Peo’s first completed brush embroidery cupcake!

Meanwhile, I worked in yellow with a #1 tip, which is really too small but I don’t have two #2 tips. To compensate, I later started adding a second layer with each piping, but for this one I just went with a single line to see how it would look.

brush embroidery yellow flower

I made a wiggly four-petal outer border, brushed it inward with a damp, small brush, and here am applying an inner layer. You can see that there’s no right or wrong with these shapes.

Then we just kept going through the cupcakes, trying various colour combinations and techniques. We’d agreed earlier that since she never gets around to eating very much Easter candy it goes to waste, so this year we decided to put Lego in her plastic Easter eggs for the hunt instead and focused on these homemade goodies as an alternative to candy.

making cupcakes together

This is a great way to explore creativity while hanging out with your kids!

And when we were done, the next fun part began:

Peo eating her cupcake

Really, I’m surprised she took the time to even start peeling the paper first.

inside of a pink, blue, and white cupcake

Peo’s cupcake on the inside: the colours have formed random rings and swirls around the mini chocolate chips. And yes of course she’s already eaten the icing off. She’s seven.

Here’s a finished tray. You can easily see that although Peo didn’t do standard flower shapes, she had no problem with the technique. We both hope this encourages everyone to give it a try. And remember what to do if you don’t like your results…EAT THE EVIDENCE NOM NOM NOM!

finished cupcakes in a pan

I probably should’ve put these on some kind of fancy display for a photo, but as usual, you don’t come to this blog for artistic photography. You come here to learn how to make delicious things for and with your family. It would’ve been cruel to all of us to make us wait for delicately posed photos before eating these!

second tray of finished cupcakes

The other tray, and the one missing is the one Peo was already eating at this point. You can also tell by these later ones that Peo was just having fun squirting swirls of icing as we went on. Nothing wrong with that! Oh and the yellow one in the left middle Peo meant to look like a face, and I think it does!

Here’s one cut in half so you can see the coloured pattern from the side:

sliced cupcake

Coloured vanilla cake, chocolate chips, chocolate topping. No cheap store-bought hollow bunny even compares to this goodness. Plus, these don’t have a tooth-cracking-hard nasty chalky eye on them.

And here are some close-ups of some of the cupcakes:

cupcake 1

Outer yellow squiggle, inner pink one, yellow dot in the middle, surrounded by green curlies and dots. So simple, so effective.

cupcake 2

Even more basic: outer yellow squiggle, inner yellow squiggle, three yellow dots in the middle, green curls and dots around.

cupcake 3

This is one of the ones where I doubled the #1 tip line. It’s still wet in this photo. Outer yellow squiggle, inner yellow squiggle, three pink dots in the middle, green curls and dots around. Easy peasy.

cupcake 4

Another doubled line one, this time with yellow dots in the middle but the tiniest of pink dots on top of them.

cupcake 5

Pink squiggle, in this case without even bothering to make the petals the same size as I went around. More yellow dots in the middle make it look like a completely different kind of flower.

cupcake 6

Two smaller flowers on this one, meaning less petal definition but also showing that that hardly matters. The pink one is one outer squiggle and then a large dot in the middle, and the yellow one has an outer squiggle, inner one, and a smaller single dot.

There you have it. Hope you had a happy Easter if you’re into that holiday, and let this inspire you to try out this easy and effective technique sometime on your own.

Posted in Cake Decorating, Cupcakes and Mini Cakes, Fancy cakes, Working With Kids | Leave a comment

Brush Embroidery Is Easy – You Should Try It

My cake friends kept saying that but since I don’t make a lot of pretty cakes, I didn’t really have much chance to give it a go. Then I saw on the Bake A Wish list that an open-design cake was requested for a seniors’ facility birthday party, so I leapt at the chance (or rather clicked and typed at the chance…I don’t do a lot of actual leaping anymore).

I Googled “brush embroidery” and found dozens of completely free tutorials, both in photos and videos. Just do that and you’ll be set.

The basics are this: use royal icing to pipe a squiggly flower-like shape (assuming you’re doing flowers…and yes that’s making me wonder what terribly nerdy things I should try with this technique instead). Use a small, damp brush to pull out bits of the icing on the inside of the line. Add dots/lines over top as necessary and brush again or not as desired. Repeat.

Given how terrible I am at piping (and I truly am, believe me, it’s just that whenever you’ve seen my piping work turn out it’s because I’ve taken hours to do it, sometimes constantly removing bad bits and redoing them), this was awesome for me because I can totally handle “random squiggly line”. I’m a genius at “random squiggly line”.

I actually had more trouble getting the fondant over this cake evenly than I did with the brush embroidery. I was tired and kept making mistakes, enough that I had to do a patch job. But then I covered that with my first flower:

brush embroidery 1

Not horrible, but I had to scrape away too many globs of icing when I started with a #4 tip. I changed to a #2 tip for the leaf and was much happier.

Then I just went around the cake trying to make flowers of various sizes so it wouldn’t look like I was trying to make them all alike (since I was pretty sure I couldn’t), and spacing them fairly evenly. Voila, a pretty cake donated to a group of seniors in need:

brush embroidery 2

The flash highlights some of the bumps on my bad fondant job, but thankfully the flowers distract the eye.

brush embroidery 3

Detail of a flower. See, just pipe some petal-ish shapes around, brush in, pipe a smaller wonky circle inside that and brush in, then dot in the center. Pipe a leaf-ish shape, brush in, pipe a vein line down the middle. Done.

brush embroidery 4

Fancy schmancy and easy peasy.

Just keep your brush damp. Not drippy wet, because that’ll disintegrate the royal icing and the fondant. I kept a small glass of water beside me for occasional dipping, and to help clean off excess gobs of royal. I dabbed it off on a clean cloth every time I dipped it. When it dries out, you get more lumpy pulls on the royal, so damp is best.

Try it. I promise, it’s super-easy. Now I want to try some of the multicoloured effects I’ve seen online like these ones. I just need another excuse to do it. Hey, it’s about to be Easter weekend…I should see if my kid wants to use up some of the dark chocolate fondant we’ve got and try brush embroidery herself. Woot! Weekend deliciousness, here we come!

UPDATE: We did try it!

Posted in Cake Decorating, Fancy cakes | 2 Comments

Opaque Gummy Recipe Posted

I made this recipe its own page here: and will be adding more Gummy information pages in the next few days.

Posted in Experimental Techniques, Gummy, My Recipes | Leave a comment

Kids’ Decorating Classes

The folks at Make it Sweet here in Austin are letting me teach some kid classes at their shop. The first date is set for April 28 but we’re still working out the details.

I frequently get asked by parents to do these, but in the past at another location most classes were cancelled from lack of participation. Thus, I’m opening it up here for suggestions: what kind of class do you and your kids want? Something very specific where there’s an assigned project we do step-by-step, or a freeform play with your food thing where I’m there as a facilitator to the kids’ own ideas?

What ages? Classes would be very different for the 3-5 set versus 9-12. Some parents want all-inclusive classes for siblings, but kids of different ages can be frustrated by each others’ progress or lack thereof.

Is there a technique your kid(s) particularly want to learn? Note that for older kids who can sit still and pay attention, Make it Sweet is willing to discuss inclusion of those kids in their adult classes, so if they want to learn adult-level techniques be sure to ask about the stuff on the shop’s calendar.

Here’s a poll with various options. Please check anything you’re interested in and would actually consider attending (if you’re not in the Austin area, feel free to comment but please don’t answer the poll).

What do you want in a kids' decorating class in Austin?

  • Class in the afternoon (weekend) (71%, 5 Votes)
  • On Food: kids decorate real cupcakes/cakes (note that allergies/sensitivities/diets would NOT be catered to) (71%, 5 Votes)
  • Young kids - ages 5-9 (57%, 4 Votes)
  • Older kids - ages 9-12 (57%, 4 Votes)
  • Freeform style: teacher facilitates kids' own creative desires (57%, 4 Votes)
  • One Hour (57%, 4 Votes)
  • Two Hour (43%, 3 Votes)
  • Class in the morning (weekend) (43%, 3 Votes)
  • Project style: teacher leads kids through a specific objective (43%, 3 Votes)
  • Preschoolers - ages 3-5 (29%, 2 Votes)
  • Off Food: kids sculpt with fondant on a board/dummy (29%, 2 Votes)
  • All together - ages 3-12 (14%, 1 Votes)
  • I'm interested in weekday classes during school hours (for little and/or homeschooled kids) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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In terms of pricing, we’re considering something in the $15ish range per kid. It’s not a licensed child care facility so a parent/guardian will probably have stick around but could browse the store.

I’m thinking of teaching some simple fondant animals showing basic sculpting/assembly techniques, making them on a board to take home so we don’t have to worry about cupcakes or anything. But opinions would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted in Cake Decorating, Classes, Working With Kids | 2 Comments