Holiday Cake

Through the month of December I wanted to celebrate not only the holidays, but also the anniversary of my business Let’s Cake Decorate, so I had several giveaway/drawings  posted on the Facebook page to show my appreciation to all my followers!

weekly giveawaysFood Permit

One of the Giveaway prizes was a Holiday Cake that allowed me to try new techniques that I probably otherwise would not have taken the time to do! It gave me a firm reason and commitment to actually finish and accomplish trying out new “on-trend” techniques that I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t taken the time to do. So planning began….and I knew it had to involve chocolate!

coffee and planning (Chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache, covered with chocolate fondant)

I wanted to try SugarVeil which makes a lacy design from a mold. I found SugarVeil quite difficult to work with, especially the scroll pattern. It took a long time to dry. I even tried drying it in a warm oven per instructions. It was best to just leave it out on the counter for a day or two to dry. Trying to get it out of the mold definitely doesn’t work if it isn’t dry enough. The individual scrolls were hard to keep separated apart when it was removed from the mold. I tried it asugarveil1 second, and even a third time, and found that using a color dust, or pearl dust ( I used gold pearl dust) on the mat before applying the SugarVeil helped it to release easier. I knew I wanted a gold color, but any color dust would work. (Use white dust to keep the original color)

sugarveil2

There are several different mediums out there used to make lace patterns. Another product is called Sugar Dress and I tried that afterwards in the same mold to compare it, and found it dried much faster and was easier to work with – not as stretchy as SugarVeil.   (SugarVeil was used on this cake though)sugar dress

 

Another technique was to ‘watercolor’ the chocolate fondant on the top tier with a gold pear dust to give it a little glimmer and bling. Adding just a few drops of grain alcohol to the pear dust makes it ‘paintable’. The alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves a beautiful watercolor look. If you use water instead it takes a long time to dry and may get the fondant all gooey and sticky.

gold color Next came the making of some gum paste poinsettias. I know there are specific poinsettia petal cutters, but I used what I had at the time ( lily and orchid cutters) trimming and ruffling each petal and attaching to wires, then letting them dry before assembling.

poinsettia3 Also made little berries out of gum paste. After the gum paste was dry I used a corn syrup/alcohol mixture to give them a shine. Confectioners Glaze also works nicely to add a shine and dries completely whereas the corn syrup mixture may stay just a little bit sticky.

The fun part is assembling and color dusting the flowers.

poinsettia gum paste poinsettia

Then arranging them onto the cake using plastic flower spikes.

Christmas Cake 1

This picture shows the delicate little snowdrops I added using white royal icing in a piping bag.

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When you don’t have a box that fits the cake for delivery, a plastic wrap for gift baskets used upside down works nicely!

wrapping cakes

Almond Pinecones

piesThanksgiving & Christmas always inspire me to bake, decorate, and try new creative things!

Although there are always the sure and true “staples” of the holidays. Whenever I mention I’m going to try a new recipe, I usually hear from my oldest son, “I like pie,” and “You can’t break tradition, you have to make the fudge you always make!” So I definitely always make those to keep everyone happy!
But this year I took the time to try some new things too. I’ve always wanted to make those adorable pinecones that you see made from almonds.

I used a base of fondant shaped like a cone and tried to just stick the almond slices into the fondant….well that didn’t work very well. The small cone shape just isn’t big enough to fit all the almonds in that you need to. So what worked best was to attach the almond slivers with melted chocolate. I melted chocolate in a decorating bag and piped just a drop onto the back side of the almond slivers and placed them onto the fondant cone shape, just placed on the outside not stuck in.  almond acorns2 You don’t necessarily have to use fondant to make the cone shape, you could use any edible dough that will hold up the almonds: tootsie rolls or caramels warmed up and reshaped, modeling chocolate, heck you could even bake pie dough into a cone shape!

I used the pinecones on my Holiday Cake which I’ll talk about in a different post. Rosemary twigs placed beside them resembled a pine branch, and the fragrance from the rosemary was beautiful!

almond acorns