Friday, 26 September 2014


OK boys and girls, it's time to address a problem we have here in the caking world. I believe we all have this obsession with making ALL things edible on our cakes. I'm talking about fancy flowers and cake toppers. We all brag about our cakes being 100% edible, but let's face it, when was the last time you saw someone chow down on a gumpaste topper?? I feel like I have a job to do here! Should I address this worldwide addiction and host an intervention......or feed the obsession?? Who am I kidding!?! Let's make a gumpaste rose!

Here's what you're going to need:

  1. Gumpaste
  2. Rolling mat
  3. Nesting teardrop cutters
  4. Silicone roller
  5. Thin shaping foam
  6. Thick shaping foam
  7. Ball tool
  8. Toothpick
  9. Edible glue
  10. Cornstarch (or corn flour for you Brits)
  11. Vegetable shortening (Crisco, Trex, any solid veggie fat you can find)
  12. Paintbrush 
  13. Petal dust
  14. That blue thing in my picture LOL I have no idea what it's called but if you don't have one a ziplock bag will do just fine
So the first thing we need to make is a base for our rose. We're going to build the base on the toothpick so we can insert the rose into our cake when we're done. Basically you just need to ball up some gumpaste and taper it on one end so it looks like this. I am using my smallest tear drop cutter as a reference here.

Oh, you should probably make your edible glue now too. This is probably going to be the easiest part of this tutorial. Break off a pea size amount of your gumpaste and dissolve it in a couple tablespoons of water. I usually mash it up with a spoon to get it to dissolve quicker. It's really an exact science you see...

Now I'm going to let you in on the big secret - the key to making realistic looking flowers is to use gumpaste rather than fondant. Gumpaste has way more stretch which allows you to roll it out incredibly thin without it tearing on you. Can you guess what the next step is??? Let's roll out some gumpaste. I like to smear a thin layer of vegetable shortening on my rolling mat before I start to prevent the paste from sticking. I'm going to warn you now, you're going to have to put some muscle into this step. Your gumpaste needs to be paper thin, you should literally be able to see through it!

Do your arms hurt yet?? I've heard that you can use a pasta roller to roll out your gumpaste, just some food for thought. Now it's time for the easy part, take out your smallest cutter and cut out 8 petals. Here comes the instructions for my mystery supply - lift up the clear plastic sheet and slide your petals inside so they don't dry out.  You can also place them in a ziplock bag and zip it up.  DO NOT skip this step.  Gumpaste dries out crazy fast!!!

If you guessed that your gumpaste is thin enough to make your rose, I'm sorry to disappoint you but we're not quite there. It's time to grab your ball tool, cornstarch and your thin and thick foams and let's move on to our next step.

So you need to roll your ball tool around the edge of your petal to thin it out as much as possible. The cornstarch helps your tools to glide over the petal. In the video I was dipping the ball tool in my cornstarch. I have the cornstarch in a dusting pouch so I can also grab the pouch and dust the whole petal if I need to. Next place the petal on your thick foam and punch it right in the middle and drag your tool towards the tip of the teardrop. This makes your petal form a nice cup shape. You need to do this to every single petal of your rose.

Moving on, it's time to form the middle of the rose or the "bud". Basically you will need to take 3 of your petals and wrap them around your rose base. You want to attach them so the pointy end is facing down. Basically just space them evenly around the base (they will overlap) and attach them using your edible glue. The middle of the rose should be quite tight.

Now take your remaining petals and attach them around your bud, but not as tight as last time so it looks like an open rose.

Now you're just going to repeat this process using the next size tear drop cutter. You can add as many petals as you want to get your desired size.  Just remember to keep opening your petals up for each layer you add.

For this rose I used 3 sizes of cutters and the rose is about 3-1/2" wide. To finish it off dip a paint brush in some petal dust and apply the dust into the crevices. If you tried out my tutorial, post a picture of your rose in the comments, I can't wait to see your creations!

Now I just need to make a cake to put this on......

Monday, 8 September 2014

Caking in the Emerald City

Oh, how I have neglected my little baby blog these last few weeks!  With a 2 year old, a 6 month old, a vacation, my sister-in-laws wedding and my baby's dedication; well, life's been a little busy!  On the plus side, there has been ALOT of caking happening over here.  I made my FIRST wedding cake and I have lots of tutorials to come as a result.  I'm currently working on my dedication cake, so you'll be seeing that soon as well, not to mention a few birthday cakes that I have up my sleeve for this month too.  As for now, we're going on a little road trip.

As I mentioned, I just got back from vacation.  We went to Seattle (AKA Emerald City - who knew!!) to visit my aunt and her family.  With the exception of my 2 year old, my aunt is probably my biggest fan.  She's also the one who bought me my treasured stand mixer and made all of these cakes possible (round of applause please).  So naturally, she knew I would want to check out the local cake scene and was gung ho to explore with me.  I arrived on a mission to find rose petal cutters for my upcoming wedding cake (more specifically the Ateco nesting tear drop cutters here).  Our first stop was Sur La Table.  Although they did carry a wide variety of nesting cutters, they did not have the one I was looking for.  I wasn't too disappointed though - I LOVE to browse that store.  If my suitcase had been a little bigger, I could have done some serious damage.  Luckily, I did find some cute little fondant plunger cutters that didn't take up much room!

Although I didn't get to visit any full fledged cake bakeries I did check out Lady Yum, a macaroon shop in downtown Kirkland.  Their decor was spot on, a little bit vintage with lots of pastels and cute chalkboard signage; all around super cute!  We tried the s'mores (meh) , maple bacon (getting better) and apple pie macaroons (now we're talking).  It was liking eating an apple pie!  I don't know how they made cake taste like pie, but they perfected it!  I would have loved to try more flavors but neither my wallet nor my belt could afford it!!!

My favorite treat spot on vacation is totally not cake related, but if you're ever in Kirkland you have to stop into Sirena Gelato and try their Salted Caramel gelato.  TO. DIE. FOR.  It was so good, that on our last night of vacation the shop was closed and we begged them for one last taste of their gelato which they happily obliged (on the house to boot)!!!  These guys are AWESOME!!!!  I already can't wait to go back for one more fix....

Due to some time constraints I decided to call ahead to find a place that carried my cutters.  I found a place online called Home Cake Decorating Supply Co. and upon calling she immediately knew what I was asking for (you want to make a really big rose?) and said she had them.  Ah-mazing, off we went.  Here's where I have to admit that I have some predetermined ideas about what a cake store should look like.  It should be super cute, painted in pastels with a girl behind the counter wearing a chic little apron that wafts a delicious vanilla aroma into the air every time she moves (you have to be an imaginative person to become a caker....). Boy was I surprised when I walked into this!

Please try to focus on the background rather than the awful picture of myself.  I was completely dazed!  It was like a cake hoarding store!  My aunt and I probably wandered around for 15 minutes trying to find my cutters before we gave up.  When we asked the lady who owned the shop she promptly instructed us - 4th shelf up from the floor, 3rd basket from the right, pull it down and balance it on the display behind you and you'll find the cutters near the bottom of the basket.  Lo and behold there they were! There was a method to her madness!  Emphasis on madness,  this woman knew her stuff and wasn't afraid to share. As I was shopping around a couple of self proclaimed newbies were looking for some advice.  After pestering the owner with questions for about 10 minutes she finally said "Look, you guys don't know what you're doing. I'm trying to tell you what to do in the easiest way possible, stop trying to bite off more than you can chew." This was in response to them trying to buy more supplies than they needed....interesting business tactic but I respected her honesty!

Next up was my turn to pick her brain.  I had my cutters and now I had some questions about mats. I wanted a bigger mat to roll out fondant on, and she carried 3 (that's as many as she showed me anyways). Fairly pricey - around $50 a mat. She seemed to be rolling her eyes a little as I went through my list of questions regarding the mats.  Finally she asked me what I needed it for and I explained that my Wilton mat wasn't big enough to roll out the fondant for my upcoming 12" wedding cake tier.  Her response "Don't waste your money on this, go down to the fabric store and and buy yourself some oil cloth.  Same result, fraction of the price."  This lady can't help but talk herself out of business but you know what, if I lived in the area she would be my go to lady!  She knows her stuff and probably has a million tips and tricks that she's willing to share!  I ended up walking away with my nesting cutters, a set of alphabet cutters and some Tylose powder (if anyone knows where to get this in Canada I'm all ears).

My over all take on the store: they probably have what you're looking for!  The owner is willing to help you out if you ask and she's a fount of information!  If you're looking for cake inspiration though, this probably isn't the place for you!  I would definitely visit again.  The shop is located at 9514 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle and is open Tuesday-Friday 10-6 and Sat 10-4, go check it out!  FYI, she doesn't have email or a website or internet because she's not into "all that crap"!  She also asked me not to "screw up her hours" on my post "like the last chick did".  Love it!