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Tag Archives | cake decorating

CHA Winter 2013 | A Peek At Some New Craft Products

The CHA Winter 2013 show begins on Saturday, January 12, 2013.  At a media preview event, I took some photos of some of the fun new products that will be on display.

Some of the great examples of the bracelet patterns.

Some of the great examples of the bracelet patterns.

My first favorite is a fun new embroidery book, called “Emma Broidery’s Memory Thread How-To Guide by   the folks at DMC.    The designs in this book are easy to make and were specifically designed to be used with their popular memory thread line. One of the fun patterns in this book is a cute gingerbread house ornament.

DMC's fun Gingerbread House Ornament

DMC’s fun Gingerbread House Ornament

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Edible Embossing

Reported by Anam Stubbington

All to often, craft supplies get relegated to the particular craft they are labelled for in the shop, but there are so many cross-over opportunities, not just in the paper craft work. We have yarn and paper crafts mixing with crocheted flowers on scrapbook layouts; oil pastels and watercolors for making your own paper backgrounds for cards; and fabrics used for texture in clay work.

Today I decided to use my ProvoCraft Cuttlebug Embossing folders for something new. I use and abuse my folders because they are just so versatile and easily cleaned – a big bonus in my book.

We have all done the inking trick with the embossing folders, used them on velvet to extend their usability and used them on fimo and clay to make jewelry pieces. I had made the traditional clay ornaments with them – perfect for the Christmas season – I gave them as party favours using handmade air drying clay to match the invites I made also using the embossing folders.

(don’t know why the purple one looks dirty but in real life its got a gold and silver sheen)

In making these, I thought that I would try and see if I could continue the theme onto the cupcakes using icing and chocolate. I have the basic standard embossing folders so all I added was a rolling pin.

Turns out the embossing folders are awesome for making edible decorations – and I cleaned mine by sticking them in the dishwasher afterwards.
I started with Ready-to-roll icing because I will admit that I suck at baking. It was super easy – decide what folder you want and if you want the image in relief or embossed into the icing – remember with text plates, the relief version is in reverse when you place it down on the icing.

If you have a steady hand, you could even color the embossed images with food coloring. Food coloring though does not stick to the folders so you cannot coat the folder and then emboss like you would with an inkpad (which admittedly was a disappointment for me).

Then cut out your shapes either by hand or use cookie cutters to make awesome cake toppers.


Imagine the fun you could have with the whole image embossing plates for the tops of cakes or as frame bases for cake flowers.

I then tried chocolate to see how much fun I could have with the folders. I tried a few ways to do it and found these two worked best.

  • Firstly melt your chocolate to a runny dough consistency – I would suggest you buy proper cake chocolate so the chocolate stays harder longer once it is solid as my very yummy milk chocolate melted in my regular kitchen temperatures.
  • Add a little oil or cake release to your folders – I used olive oil and no-one mentioned any taste issues.
  • Put the folders on a flat tray with some greaseproof paper underneath them.

Option 1 is to pour the melted chocolate on top of your folder and allow to harder. once hard you turn the folder over and peel the plate off the chocolate – it should come over very easily. You can then use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you want – I found it worked better with a metal cutter that was heated in some hot water first.

Option 2 is good when you only want a specific part of an embossing folder. Place your cookie cutter (slightly oiled) on the area you want as your image. Pour the chocolate into the cookie cutter and allow to harden. Once hard, you can remove the plate and then pop the chocolate shape out – this way seemed to give me thicker shapes.

I left them in the fridge for a few hours and then added them to the cupcakes just before I served them. That said, some of my guests decided they would have happily eaten the chocolate toppers on their own so maybe make them with dark chocolate and serve with coffee for adults?

Remember to leave the cut shapes for a little while to dry out if you want them to be used flat or standing. Making cupcake toppers with the folders was so easy and would be a great addition to anyone’s DIY arsenal of tricks for wedding or party cakes.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Lots of designs available
  • Easy to clean afterwards

Cons:

  • Not all designs work well
  • Have to work in small batches due to size of folder
  • Lots of chocolate left that needs to be eaten

I hope you also find uses for those crafting supplies in the kitchen!

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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Martha Stewart Cricut Cake (article 2 of 2)

Reported by Dana Vitek

Taylor did a great job of telling you what was in the giant box that arrived compliments of Provo Craft, so I’ll just jump right into my projects and lessons learned by my trials (and errors) with my new Martha Stewart Cricut Cake.

After watching the included DVD and scouting around online for pro-tips, I picked up some Cricut Cake Gum Paste at my local Michaels, as well as a bunch of Wilton frosting colors, and some fondant.

For my first project, I envisioned a stacked cake with the dragon from the Pagoda cartridge on the top, standing guard. I used my polymer clay mixing skills, and started swirling colors together in an attempt to make black gum paste. It turned out to be more of a marbled green, but I really liked it. After I got the color mixed, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill out. I prepared the mat by brushing shortening on it (I used plain Crisco), and then rolled my chilled (but not too hard) gum paste directly onto the mat. I stuck it in the freezer for as long as I could bear to wait (probably 5-7 minutes) and then loaded it into the machine… here’s what I wound up with:

The gum paste cut perfectly… I was thrilled! I put him back in the freezer to firm up a little while I planned my next project. I managed to get him off the mat in one piece (admittedly tricky, even when frozen), and set him aside to dry overnight. Unfortunately, I picked him up a few days later and accidentally dropped him. Dried gum paste shatters, friends. It’s the nature of the beast. Literally.

Not one to get discouraged, I tried coloring and cutting some fondant. I had less luck with this media; fondant just is a little more gooshy than gum paste, even when frozen. It started out great,

but by the time the design (from the Cindy Loo cartridge) had finished cutting, the fondant had thawed too much, and sort of got squished:

The best part about your frosting media getting messed up is that you can ball it up and start over. I let it chill for a little while, and then rolled it out as thin as I possibly could directly on the mat. Thin, thin, thin.

I let it sit in the freezer, while I decided on a doily from the Martha Stewart Seasonal Cake Art cartridge. I cut a heart shape out of some sheet cake I’d already made, and covered it in white fondant. When my pink fondant was good and frozen, I quickly got it into the machine. I got a little nervous as I watched, but this time it was a success!

Right out of the machine:

Close-up:

Removal of the extra bits (I used a dinner knife, but any pointy, pokey thing would work):

And here it is in place, with candles for my daughter’s birthday!

With that success under my belt, I wanted to kick it up a notch… a tiered cake with a snowflake theme. I made a three-tiered cake, and covered each tier with white fondant. I colored up some blue and brown Cricut Cake gum paste, and then I rolled, and froze, and cut, and rolled, and froze, and cut, and you get the idea…

In the machine:

Out of the machine:

Because I only had one cutting mat to work with, I did a lot of transferring the finished motifs to parchment paper. This actually helped matters when it came time to start putting them on the cake; I was able to cut the parchment and use it to help smooth the cut gum paste into place.

This is the snowflake motif for the top of the cake:

And here it is all together:

Not too shabby for a relative novice, if I do say so myself.

Okay, so having used this machine quite a bit, I can offer my own (semi)pro-tips:

  • Thin. Roll whatever you’re using super-thin. Then keep rolling.
  • Cold. Freeze that super-thin stuff. 
  • Hold your breath while it cuts. This won’t help, but you’ll probably be doing it anyway, so consider this validation.
  • Freeze it again before trying to get it off the mat.
  • Buy an extra cutting mat or two.
  • Use just a little dab of water to get your cut motifs to stick to your cake. 
  • Rookie mistake: covering your cut gum paste with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying too fast turns it into a very pretty puddle of oobleck. Waxed paper would be better.

There is a learning curve when it comes to figuring out how different media are going to act under the blade. The Martha Stewart Cricut Cake machine is a tool; it’s not magic. I had to learn the ins-and-outs of gum paste before I could get it to do what I wanted it to do. So if you’re investing in this machine, you’ll need to invest the time to figure it out.

As for whether or not cookie cutters wouldn’t be less work, well, that’s true. But a cookie cutter can’t adapt to exactly the size you need, nor can you match the motif on your cake to create paper invitations or matching decorations for your party. While you shouldn’t cut paper with your Cricut Cake (not saying you can’t, just saying you shouldn’t… there can be heavy metals in scrapbook paper; you don’t want to ingest that dust), you CAN use the Cake cartridges in your regular Cricut machine.

Carrying coordinated motifs all the way through your event, from invites, to cupcakes, to goody bags… it’s a good thing. 

Pros:

  • Beautiful designs to coordinate your event decorations from start to finish.
  • With some time invested, you can really create some impressive cakes.
  • Mistakes can be eaten reused.
  • People have probably been calling you “Martha” for years anyway… here’s one more way to live up to that!

Cons:

  • Time. This is not as simple as slapping some paper on a mat and pushing “cut.” The learning curve can be steep.
  • Rolling the gum paste that thin can be difficult. I’m going to invest in a food-only pasta machine (which sounds ridiculous, but my pasta machine is dedicated to polymer clay).
  • Freezer space. I’m lucky to have lots of freezer space, but that’s something you should consider.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Provo Craft will be giving one lucky winner their very own Martha Stewart Cricut Cake!  
To enter, just leave a comment on one of the “Vendor Spotlight: Martha Stewart Cricut ” article. Answer any one of these questions in the Comments Section right below this article on our website.

Do what would you use the Martha Stewart Cricut Cake to cut? Are you a professional cake decorator or a hobbyist?

One comment per person, per article, please. You have until Sunday, November 21st 6pm CST to enter.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!
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