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Cricut Cake Part 1: Cookies

Reported by Marti Wills

I have been the proud owner of a Cricut Cake machine since it came out. However, it has not come without a long learning curve, so I am here to give you the lowdown on the machine as I have experienced it.

I have been a cookie maker/decorator for many years so I was honestly more excited about the cookie possibilities than I was about the cake decorating possibilities. So how did it do?

Fall cookies made using the Doodlecharms Cartridge and frosted with Royal Icing. Cupcakes in the back with little matching Fondant leaves.

Ladybug cookies with Royal Icing base and Fondant top layer

These little gems did NOT come without frustration.

First cutting the cookie dough. I ALWAYS use Martha Stewart’s basic sugar cookie recipe and have for years. Tastes delicious and DOES NOT lose it’s detail or puff out when baked.

As shown above the dough MUST be put in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you try to cut it or your edges will be ragged. In addition you must be sure to roll it out thin enough to fit under the roller bar of the machine. In addition I found it better to cut the SHADOWS of each shape out of the dough for you cookies.

Next I put the royal icing base on. Now, I have always done the entire surface of a cookie with Royal Icing – details and all. But, I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome if I could do layers with my Cricut Cake instead? Commence disaster….I used fondant. I rolled it out nice and thin (I thought) and tried to cut. The fondant did NOT stay still on the mat despite having used Crisco like I was supposed to. I put it in the freezer for half an hour and tried again. I had much better luck with the actual cutting:

Getting it OFF the mat was another story altogether. The fondant was sticky and stretchy and I found it nearly impossible to get it off the mat without it being distorted. I would put it in the freezer but it would thaw back out quickly and get sticky so I was putting it back in constantly and it was very time consuming. After spending an entire day trying, I only had the three ladybugs that turned out well. Here are a couple others I tried to do but gave up before doing all of the layers.

You can see how badly the fondant layer matched the base shadow layer.

I finally admitted defeat with the fondant, but not the Cricut Cake. I was determined to master it and I did. Tune in for part 2 tomorrow to see what I finally learned for perfect results every time.

Pros:

  • I can cut a huge variety of shapes in all sizes without the expense or storage headache of individual cookie cutters.
  • I knew once I learned – I would be able to make the layers for each cookie shape quicker and easier and better than I could with Royal Icing
  • Works with ALL of the regular Cricut Cartridges.

Cons:

  • Cricut Cake has a learning curve – you cannot take it out of the box and be an instant decorator. (Of course this can be accomplished and then this con goes away).
  • It takes a lot longer to cut cookies this way than the traditional cookie cutter way.
  • Supplies can be tough to find.

Do you have a Cricut Cake? Do you like it? Do you use it? Have you thought about getting one? Why did you or did you not get one?

Vendor Review & GIVEAWAY!: Martha Stewart Cricut Cake

Reported by Taylor Usry

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

I was recently lucky enough to get the chance to test drive the newest toy available – the Martha Stewart Cricut Cake machine. This is a match made in heaven! I literally heard angels singing the day it arrived – I am pretty sure my FedEx guy thought I was nuts. The machine came with everything I needed to get started (minus the food materials):

  • A 12″x12″ food-safe cutting mat (complete with grid marks in inches and centimeters, as well as circles in inch diameters up to 12″)
  • Blade assembly
  • Silicone cartridge plug and skirt (to prevent food from getting in there)
  • Blade cleaning basket and cleaning brush
  • Power adapter, several manuals/quick start guides and a keypad protector (also made of silicone and designed to go over the entire display and keypad)

In addition to all of that the machine came with the All Occasion cartridge (I believe this comes with the purchase of all machines); mine also included the Elegant Cake Art cartridge (both are shown below).

There are several other gorgeous cartridges available. The cartridges all retail individually for around $69.95, although you can find them cheaper at some online stores. The machine itself retails for approximately $400.

All Occasion Cartridge
Elegant Cake Art cartridge

The Martha Stewart Cricut Cake machine itself is absolutely gorgeous. A total kitchen appliance work of art. My husband is a nut for anything kitchen-related, but never crafty stuff. However when I pulled it out of the box even he was impressed! One great feature is the pop-up digital display. That makes viewing it from any angle very handy. You can also see, in the picture below, how the silicone keypad protector hangs down over the keypad area slightly.

The Cricut Cake has all of the functions that its paper-cutting cousins do, plus a few extra. The basic functions (Load/Unload, Real Dial Size, Shift, Set Cut Area, etc) are all pretty self explanatory. There are 6 new gray keys in the upper left corner of the keypad. These “Creative Feature” keys vary between cartridges, but basically they allow you to create alphabets, phrases, and even more decorations.

The first thing I tried in my machine was cookie dough. This is the thing I was most excited about – churning out tons of cookies just in time for the holidays! I did both made-from-scratch cookie dough as well as the pre-made roll of Pillsbury cookie dough (you just add flour to it to stiffen it up a bit). I did extensive research online before I tried this to see what tips other people had to offer. And I took a few deep breaths, because even the ProvoCraft instructions say to expect a learning curve.

I rolled my dough out as thin as I possibly could to still have cookies. It was about 1/8″ thick – not much wider than a nickel (which I read was the ideal height to be under). As recommended by the people at Provo Craft (but not written in the instructions; I spoke to them directly) and several people online, I froze my rolled out dough for 3-5 minutes before attempting to cut it.

As you can see, it started cutting beautifully. But the dough thaws quickly (very, very quickly) and as it curved back around it started to get a bit jagged. I’m not sure it would be able to cut a whole sheet of these because although it cuts quickly, the machine just can’t cut faster than the dough thaws.

The cookie turned out decently; it’s pictured above in the undecorated form. A word of caution – refreeze the dough before you attempt to remove it from the cutting mat. Otherwise the dough will tear or wrinkle in on itself because it is so thin.

Next, I tried fondant, both made from scratch and the store bought Wilton sheets. Like the cookie dough, I rolled it out to about 1/8″. That did NOT do the trick even though I froze it before cutting the edges were still jagged. I emailed the super helpful people at Provo Craft again, and they recommended rolling it out thin enough to barely see the grid lines beneath it. I’ll admit I thought they were nuts, but it worked like a charm! The same thing holds true for the fondant as the cookie dough, though. You need to refreeze the fondant before attempting to take it off the sheet.

It didn’t turn out as smooth as I wanted it to when I put it on the cupcake, but that’s because the top was slightly rounded. But as you can see with the butterfly below, rolling out the fondant super thin and freezing it for about 20 minutes prior to cutting it made all the difference.

After five minutes out of the freezer, I tried to cut the more intricate doily design shown below. The edges cut just fine, as did the majority of the smaller inner circles. But when I tried to get it off the mat it just sort of fell apart. This happened with all of the more intricate designs I did. I’m not sure if I didn’t let them freeze enough, if I rolled it out too thin, or what I did wrong.
I also tried some of the longer designs to make a border to go around cakes. I’ve seen some gorgeous ones online, but again for me they just didn’t work.

I didn’t try gum paste, which seems to yield amazing results. I did get these two tips directly from ProvoCraft (and they apply to any material you are cutting): 1) Roll it out as thin as you can, so that the lines on the cutting mat are barely visible beneath the material; and 2) Freeze the fondant or gum paste for 30 minutes prior to cutting it. Those two things make all the difference, I promise!

A few tips I learned through trial and error:

  • Invest in more than one 12″x12″ cutting mat. This way you don’t have to wait while you freeze (or refreeze) your fondant, cookie dough, or gum paste.
  • Be very careful to not go over the guidelines on the edges of the cutting mat (trim them back if you do) – if the roller picks them up it’s a mess!
  • Roll your material out as thin as you can get it, and then roll it a little more. It works best to roll it directly on the cutting mat, so nothing tears when you have to transfer it.
  • Always remember to apply plenty of shortening to the cutting mat.
  • Refreeze the material before removing it from the mat – this helps avoid human error 😉

And now for the cleanup. Really, who likes this part? I know I don’t. But the Cricut Cake surprised me – it cleans up like a dream. Soooo easy! The blade can go in the basket (remember the tea steeper I mentioned?) and straight into the dishwasher — just the blade, not the housing. All of the mats and silicone covers can be washed with warm soapy water, and clean up really easily. As for the machine itself, there is a small brush about the size of a toothbrush, with stiffer bristles, that will brush off dried food particles from the rollers. Just press the load/unload mat button to move them. Once the rollers are clean, you can wipe them with a damp cloth.

According to the ProvoCraft FAQ section on cleaning, it may be necessary to manually move the carriage (cutting part) to the left side of the machine to reach the right side rollers. If you do this, the carriage will return to the proper place once you turn the machine back on. If only cleaning the rest of my kitchen was this quick and easy!

Overall, this is a great machine. The variety of cartridges will create beautiful art for cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. I’ll be totally honest and say that the learning curve is pretty steep, but with practice and some tinkering you can get good results. I think this is an excellent addition to the kitchen of any serious baker! The ProvoCraft site has a fabulous FAQ section with all sorts of tips, hints, and suggestions about the machine, and if you contact them directly they are equally as helpful (and friendly)! I’m really glad I got to try it out!

Here is a video demonstration about the Cricut Cake machines:

To wrap it all up, here are some pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Very sleek design – it looks great on the counter
  • Easy to clean
  • Allows you to make uniform design elements for cake/cupcake decorating, as well as cookies.

Cons:

  • Only comes with one cutting mat, which can slow things down
  • It is necessary to do reading online in addition to the manual before operating the machine
  • Requires a lot of counter space to use. The recommendation is 12″ clearance from the edge of your table/counter and 24″ behind for proper movement of the mats.

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

**Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering!**

CHA Kitchen Crafting: Cricut Cake by Provo Craft

Reported by Sarah Moore, Founding Editor

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

When you approach the Provo Craft Booth, or “Provo Craft Island” as we like to call it, the distinct smell of baked goods is wafting through the air. Provo Craft did their research, and determined that a very large number of crafters are interested in food decorating.

Think about all the cupcake shops, books and websites that have popped up over the past year! Ace of Cakes, is queued into many of our Tivo’s, and most of us are at least eating cupcakes if we are not making them.

It makes sense to me! Watch the video below to see a close up view. But note; this is not just a Cricut Expression with a new blade.

The Cricut Cake has food-safe stainless steel components as well as:

  • Up to 12” x 24” cutting capability
  • Uses all Cricut™ cartridges, including new Cricut Cake cartridges!
  • New food-safe mats, tools and accessories
  • Specifically designed to cut edible material, including gum paste, frosting sheets and much more
  • All-new stainless steel roller
  • New stainless steel cutting blade
  • All-new blade housing unit, made shorter for better cutting
  • New Cricut Cake blade housing protector
  • Elegant, durable stainless steel dials and trim
  • New stainless steel carriage
  • New solid-colored cover and top
  • New kitchen-inspired colors
  • All food contact surfaces made of food-safe material
  • New transparent, full silicone keypad cover to protect screen and buttons
  • New protective silicone cartridge skirt and port cover to prevent mess

Do you have any questions about the Cricut Cake? Leave them here and we will ask the powers that be!