The Violet Cake Shop™

Sharing inspirations for my designs, and tips I've discovered along the way in my caking journey! <3


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FREE Gumpaste Anemone Flower Tutorial by The Violet Cake Shop™

Recently, I created a tutorial for my Industrial Steampunk Chic cake (a cake designed originally for the Steam Cakes Collaboration) that appeared in the October issue of Cake Masters Magazine, UK.

The Violet Cake Shop - Steam Cakes - 2 - IMG_8881 - ii - watermarked

The original cake featured an orchid coloured anemone flower in the design, sitting between the two tiers, but the flower was not included in the print tutorial since it would have added at least 28 more steps to an already lengthy tutorial. This was communicated to my contact at Cake Masters and passed along to the editors when the tutorial was submitted.

Steampunk Chic Blog Title

Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication or misunderstanding somewhere along the line when the magazine went to print, so although the printed tutorial did not have those steps included, there was promotional material created and posted that indicated the flower was part of that tutorial in the print issue.  Of course, a few people were a bit disappointed to find out it was not in the magazine.

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As a happy solution, I created a free tutorial for the anemone flower that I posted on my Facebook page, to share with Cake Masters, their readers, and anyone else that was hoping it was part of the tutorial.  I am also adding it permanently here to my blog so it will be easier to find later on for those looking!  See below for the step-by-steps details and pics…but first…

GREAT NEWS:  A few people sent me messages when the magazine first came out, asking if the full Steampunk Chic Cake tutorial would be available to download in PDF file format and I’m happy to say that it is finally now available for sale in my Facebook SHOP.  It’s on for an introductory price of 50% OFF, for a limited time.  So that’s just $11 CAD for over 135 high quality pics and 85 pages of step-by-step instructions, tips and best practices, which works out to less than $9 USD (reg. $22 CAD or $17 USD).  It also includes a printable version of this Gumpaste Anemone tutorial as a BONUS.

The Violet Cake Shop - Steampunk Chic Full Tutorial - 1 - cover

Here is what the tutorial covers…

Steampunk Chic Full Tutorial - 4

I’m also putting ALL my other tutorials on SALE for 40% OFF in celebration of the release of this latest tutorial.

So now on to the good stuff, the free stuff…😉

The Violet Cake Shop™’s FREE GUMPASTE ANEMONE TUTORIAL:

TVCS Anemone - 1

Tools and supplies you will need:
– 3 petal flower cutter (alternatively, you can use an oval cutter – pictured) – floral tape – #2 piping tip and #12 piping tip – 5 petal flower cutter – small silicone rolling pin – dresden tool – ball tool – craft or exacto knife – needle nose pliers/wire cutter – wide mouth Japanese soup spoon – 1 oz (large gumball size) gumpaste coloured black – 2 oz (golf ball size) gumpaste coloured orchid/magenta (2.5 parts deep pink to 1 part purple) – thin foam pad – flower veiner – 20 or 24 gauge floral wire cut to 3″ length – lily stamen (if cannot find long black stamen) – black gel colour for dyeing stamen – aluminum foil – paper towels (not pictured)
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 2

STEP 1 –
If you cannot find black stamen (which I could not find readily), you will have to dye stamen of similar size and length as those found on anemones, which I find lily stamen work well.
You can dilute the black gel colour with some vodka before dipping your stamen, or you can paint the colour on with a standard brush dipped in the colouring. Let your stamen dry on some paper towel. Wipe off excess colour if necessary.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 3

STEP 2 –
Spread out the stamen with your fingers, into a line, so they are not so bunched together.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 4

STEP 3 –
Roll out a small ball of black gumpaste approximately 2/3″ or 1.5 cm wide, to create the centre. Flatten the top slightly against your work surface.
Use the needle nose pliers to make a hook at the end of the 20 or 24 gauge floral wire. Insert the hook end of the wire into the gumpaste ball, approximately halfway up.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 5

STEP 4 –
Use the small end of a #2 piping tip to mark small circle details on the top surface of your centre.
TIP: hold the wire just under the gumpaste ball, to prevent the ball from slipping down the wire as you mark the top.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 6

STEP 5 –
Insert into a styrofoam dummy to dry a few hours, until the gumpaste ball is set fairly firmly onto the wire.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 7

STEP 6 –
After a few hours, your centre should have set a bit and your dyed stamen should be fully dried.
Add your stamen bunches to your centre, one or two at a time, wrapping well with floral tape before adding the next bunches. You will need approximately 6 to 7 bunches to go around your centre nicely.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 8

STEP 7 –
Once all the stamen are added, wrap the stem of your centre all the way down. Set aside to dry fully, overnight.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 9

STEP 8 –
To create your petals, use a 3 petal cutter OR use a small oval cutter, 1.75″ long (refer to alternative steps 20 and 21).
First, colour your gumpaste with 2.5 parts deep pink to 1 part purple colouring. Next, roll out the gumpaste to 1/32″ or 1 mm thickness. Next, cut out two cut outs using the three petal cutter. You will need four cut outs overall but work with two first, to prevent the petals drying out.
If using oval cutters, you will need two sets of 6 cut outs for a total of 12.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 10

STEP 9 –
Using the large end of the ball tool and pressing gently, thin out the sides of the petals slightly, with the ball half on the paste and half on the foam pad.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 11

STEP 10 –
Use the veiner to imprint vein detail onto each of the 3 petals.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 12

STEP 11 –
Frill the edges of your petals with the large end of your ball tool and mark two lines down the centre with the thin end of your dresden tool.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 13

STEP 12 –
Use a Japanese soup spoon as a flower former. It is deep enough to create a lovely cupped shape and is the perfect size for the anemone flower.
Dust the cavity of your Japanese soup spoon with some cornstarch to prevent the gumpaste from sticking to the spoon as the petals dry.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 14

STEP 13 –
Lay the first frilled and veined 3 petal cut out into the cavity of the spoon. Using a brush, dab some water onto the very centre.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 15

STEP 14 –
Place the second prepared 3 petal cut out on top of the first one, with the petals of the second set, in between those of the first set.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 16

STEP 15 –
Repeat STEPS 8 to 11, to prepare a second set of petals. But for this set, you will need to cut the petals as shown so they are small enough that they can lay inside the petals of the first two sets.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 17

STEP 16 –
Add the petals individually. First, dab some water with a brush onto the centre, brushing slightly towards the petals, approximately 1/3 of the way up.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 18

STEP 17 –
Position the first set of three petals evenly, in a trillium shape, in between two petals of those from the first set.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 19

STEP 18 –
Position the second set of three petals evenly on top of the first set.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 20

STEP 19 –
Add some small pieces of paper towel in between the petals to add some movement and shape to the petals.
Using a #12 piping tip, cut out a small circle in the very centre of all the petals and set aside to set for about half an hour.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 21

(ALTERNATIVE) STEP 20 – If you do not have a 3 petal cutter as shown, use STEPS 20 and 21 instead to create petals.
Use a 1.75″ long oval cutter to cut out 12 petals total. Work with 6 at time, to vein and frill the petals.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 22

(ALTERNATIVE) STEP 21 – If you do not have a 3 petal cutter as shown, use STEPS 20 and 21 instead to create petals.
Frill and vein the petals as shown. The first petal is untouched. Thin the sides with the ball tool, vein with the veiner, mark the centre details and frill the edges.
Cut out a small circle of gumpaste to sit under the petals. Add each petal on top of the circle gumpaste in a similar position as that shown in STEPS 13, 14, 17 and 18.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 23

STEP 22 –
After the flower petals have had a chance to set, start making your calyx.
Create the calyx using a 5 petal cutter. Roll out some green gumpaste to 1/32″ or 1 mm thickness. Use the 5 petal cutter to cut out one shape.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 24

STEP 23 –
Using your craft or exacto knife, cut out slits in the petals as shown.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 25

STEP 24 –
Use the #12 piping tip to cut out a hole in the centre.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 26

STEP 25 –
Shape some folded aluminum foil into the same cupped shape as a Japanese soup spoon and place on top of a cup. Poke a hole in the centre with something pointed, like a skewer.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 27

STEP 26 –
Dab some water around the centre of the prepared calyx cut out, brushing outwards.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 28

STEP 27 –
Place the calyx in the foil cavity. Gently remove your flower petals from the Japanese spoon former. The petals may still be a bit soft but that’s ok so long as you are gentle.
Place the flower petals on top of the calyx where the water was dabbed and ensure the petals adhere to the calyx. Add some water to the centre of the semi-set petals and insert your prepared flower centre. You may need to add some fresh fondant if the petals are too dry.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

TVCS Anemone - 29

STEP 28 –
Reposition the paper towel bits between the petals and leave to dry overnight.
Once fully dried, dust as desired to bring more life to your flower.
**All Images, Content and Technique Ideas Property of The Violet Cake Shop™ – All Rights Reserved – 10/25/17**

I hope this will come in handy for those of you out there that are new to decorating and sugar flowers!  Please keep in mind that I tend to try things out on my own so these techniques are ones I’ve come up with and are not the only way to create this flower, nor are they necessarily the best.  But they are shared for those who might not have other resources or who just want to use what is easily available.

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So please use for your own pleasure and I hope you ENJOY!  Remember, you can always share your creations with me on my Facebook page.  I love seeing what you create using one of my tutorials!

Happy Caking Y’ALL!!

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Meet Sir Jacques Steampunkin! A Steampunk Pumpkin Head Cake

It’s almost Hallowe’en and we just revealed a new cake collaboration.  My newest creation has been getting lots of love on Facebook and Instagram and I’ve gotten a few questions and lots of amazing comments, so I thought I’d introduce him here and answer a few of those questions at the same time…

Meet Sir Jacques Steampunkin! 🎃🎃🎃

He is my contribution to the 5th installment of our Sugar Spooks collaboration. 😈👿👹👺💀👻👽👾🤡

He is a culmination of my love of the Steampunk genre and what I imagined a creepy old jack o’lantern would look like. I wanted to do something not seen before. As I was creating him, he started to take on a stately look so I decided to make him a ‘Sir’ lol… I hope people like him as much as I do.

The-Violet-Cake-Shop-Jacques-for-Sugar-Spooks-IMG_9508-ii-wm
I’ve been asked what moulds I used and they are a variety of moulds that I’ve found throughout the years, some for cake decorating and others, not.  The cogs, frame and fleur-de-lis are from Mod Podge which are food safe silicone moulds made for use in polymer clay crafting but can be used for creating cake décor as well – just make sure you use them only for food and if you do crafting with clay as well as cake, make sure to get a separate set for use in each.
The-Violet-Cake-Shop-Jacques-for-Sugar-Spooks-IMG_9525-ii-wm
The other moulds I used (for the gold vest texture, and to detail the cakeboard – see closeup below) are from Marvelous Molds who make products that I love using in my decorating.  I have used their products for FORever (!!!) and use them in SO many different ways!
For example, to add detail to Sir Jacques’ vest, I decided to use their new Symmetrical  Sequin Simpress Panel.  It’s meant to be used to texture a tier with sequins, easily and quickly.  But I used it here to give a luxe look to his vest which is a characteristic of the clothing often seen in Steampunk.
The-Violet-Cake-Shop-Jacques-for-Sugar-Spooks-IMG_9552-ii-wm
Sir Jacques’ pumpkin head is made from rice krispie treats (RKT) that I shaped into a flattened pumpkin shape, only so it wouldn’t be as heavy and round, and would sit better on the cake tier.  I then covered the RKT with a very thick panel of fondant, making sure the seam was at the bottom.  I used my Dresden tool (the flatter end) to mark the grooves and used the length of my right pinky to impress the grooves more until I was happy with the ‘pumpkiness’ of my creation.  Again, unfortunately, I did not take photos and now I wish I had, lol.
I then coloured him with a variety of orange petal dust and shortening (which I know many claim as their own but is a technique I have used since I first started decorating, mostly when using lustre dust).  I then added dark brown in the grooves to create depth.
The-Violet-Cake-Shop-Jacques-for-Sugar-Spooks-IMG_9533-ii-wm
Since this was for a collaboration and I wanted to save him to use as a Hallowe’en prop at home, I used styro dummies for the cake tiers.  But this can just as easily be made from real cake, with the proper support for his head of course!
His single goggle is handmade and detailed…using circle cutters, a piping tip to add the outlines for the screws, and an exacto knife to add the slit in the screws.
 His hat is also made from RKT which I shaped into a tapered tier, then iced with ganache and covered with fondant (same as I would if made from cake).
His mouth was handcut and painted.  I then added metal ‘staples’ which were cut from fondant and painted with silver lustre mixed with lemon extract (much better than vodka people!  I swear by it…and smells great too lol).
The-Violet-Cake-Shop-Jacques-for-Sugar-Spooks-IMG_9538-ii-wm
Hope you enjoyed meeting Sir Jacques Steampunkin!  I certainly enjoyed creating him.
Happy Caking Y’ALL and have a spooky Hallowe’en!!

You can check out the other seriously amazing pieces by going to our website (http://www.sugarspooks.com/).

It’s an honour to be part of this group again. Big thanks to Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes for spearheading such a talented group and including me in the mix.

I don’t normally do scary or creepy so it was so much fun to be able to stretch my creative wings!!


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Stylized Wafer Paper Rolled Rose – The Violet Cake Shop way – FREE Tutorial

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new tutorial and this one for the stylized wafer paper rolled roses, is a long time in coming.

I first designed this cake for Cake Masters’ August 2015 issue and promised I would share how I made the wafer paper roses due to the amount of response I’d gotten on how unique they were.  I mean, it should have been easy because I had all the pics taken already since this cake was also my first ever full length magazine tutorial…

But then life kind of got in the way as it often does, and things came up like mystery health issues that I’ve had to deal with (and am still sorting through) and what do ya know, two years has now gone by!  But I was able to find some free time to edit my pics so I could share them with you all here today…FINALLY haha.

Now this style is simply a hybrid of a wafer paper rose I already came up with before in 2014 (for which I have a paid tutorial), plus the standard rolled roses you see in paper craft.  What makes it unique is the addition of these pinched outer petals which is a technique I came up with for my original wafer paper rose.

So hope you will enjoy this FREE tutorial.  Please feel free to share with me how you use them to embellish your cakes, on my Facebook page.  I look forward to seeing what you create with my tips and tutorials!

Stylized Wafer Paper Rolled Rose Tutorial – The Violet Cake Shop way:

SWP - 1

Colour your wafer paper by airbrushing (using a few light coats with drying time in between), an edible printer OR my oil & petal dust method

 

SWP - 2

Cut out a 5.5” x 5.5” square of the coloured wafer paper (or any size you prefer)

 

SWP - 3

Cut off corners of the square to create a circle – you can just go by eye as the rose is meant to look organic so does not need to be perfect

 

SWP - 4

Cut your wafer paper circle into a spiral-like strip moving concentrically in towards the middle as shown; cut so that the strip is just under 1″ wide

 

SWP - 5

This is how it will look once you’ve cut your spiral strip

 

SWP - 6

Using the tip of a brush, roll up the strip starting on the outer edge

 

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Add small dabs of water as needed so the centre holds together as you are rolling it

 

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Continue rolling

 

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Every few inches, dab water along the bottom edge of the strip to help hold the rolled shape you are forming

 

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This is your completed Stylized Wafer Paper Rolled Rose centre

 

SWP - 11

Using a circle craft punch (1.5” diameter), punch out circles to make your outer petals; alternatively, you can use a circle cutter as a template (use a dull tool to trace inside the cutter so you have a guide where to cut with scissors)

 

SWP - 12

Take one circle and pinch in on one end and hold for a few seconds

 

SWP - 13

Using scissors, cut a small slit opposite the pinched end (approximately 1/2″ up)

 

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Dab a small amount of water on one side of the slit

 

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Fold one side of the slit over the other so the bottom of the petal has a concave or cupped shape

 

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You will need approximately 8 petals and one rolled rose centre to create one Stylized Wafer Paper Rolled Rose

 

SWP - 17

Dab some water at the bottom of the petal along the cupped edge – NOTE: do not use too much water or the wafer paper will disintegrate!

 

SWP - 18

Attach the first petal to the rolled rose centre – NOTE: the bottom of the centre should sit nicely in the cupped section of your petal

 

SWP - 19

Attach your second petal making sure to overlap half of the previous petal; continue applying the rest of the petals, working clockwise until you have completed one full row of petals, then use the rest to fill in where there may be gaps; use more or less petals as needed

 

SWP - 20

Your finished product – a beautiful Stylized Wafer Paper Rolled Rose!!

 

Hope you all like this tutorial!  If so, please feel free to share this post =)

Happy Caking Y’ALL!! =D


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Tsum Tsum Mickey with Rainbow V-Petal Ruffles

Carlington's 4th - Tsum Tsum Mickey Rainbow - IMG_6223 - ii

My baby turned 4 yesterday boohoohoo…

It’s SO bittersweet as she is now no longer a baby and she is my last so I’m gonna miss that aspect, but by the same token she is now onto a bigger, better and more adventurous phase of her life!  She has always had such a big personality though with SO many interests so it’s hard sometimes to come up with one theme for her cakes.

The last three cakes were completely up to me, so I have been lucky that I got to do what I wanted to with the designs haha.  Of course I always tried to include things I know she loves like characters from her comforter for her 1st birthday, Mickey Mouse and the gang on her 2nd birthday cake and purple and yellow, two of her favourite colours, on her last cake.

Carlington's 1st Birthday CocaLo Jacana Themed - twmpm

Carlington's 2nd Birthday - Minnie, Mickey, Daisy and Donald - Closeup - twmpm

Carlington's 3rd B-Day - watermarked

This year though, I was really stumped…  She loves alphabets and numbers but I felt that might be a tad boring for a cake.  She loves Legos and Minecraft but I really didn’t want to do either of those because of all the potential dots or piddly squares which in either case, would entail a case of total “tedium-boredom” with the addition of crossed-eyes for weeks haha.  She loves all kinds of shows but there isn’t one clear cut favourite.  She does love Mickey still and always has, but again for selfish reasons I wasn’t inclined to do another Mickey cake either.

So I decided to just let her design her own cake this year by telling me what she wanted it to have.  Well she had very clear and specific ideas and was very thorough too!!  Score!  All I had to do was come up with something that would tie in a blue coloured cake, a rainbow or rainbow colours, a number 4, green flowers and (dun dun dun…) Mickey on top…sigh, lol.  Ok, well I had to concede on that last request as it WAS her cake and I WAS letting her design it this year, after all.  It was not going to be easy but I was determined to come up with a design that would tie it all in while still being cohesive and girly!

And Fate intervened on her cake too, kind of sort of…  We were out shopping a few weeks before her birthday and her brother (Mr. 11) saw a Tsum Tsum Mickey plush toy at the Disney Store and knowing how she loved the Tsum Tsum short videos on TV, suggested that he get it for her as her early birthday present (awww so sweet, I KNOW!)  Well, she has not really put down her Tsum Tsum Mickey since and EUREKA! I had a replacement for the 3D Mickey I was going to have top her cake (YAY!!)

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There was a tiny mishap with the topper though, not because of the last minute change but more because of my bad habit of procrastination…

The topper did not have ample time to dry completely, so it was still a tad soft when I assembled it and stood him up.  It would have been fine had I just left him to air dry the rest of the time before the party, but I thought I’d be smart and do one extra step to avoid having the purples on the cake fade, by covering it with a black bag even though it wasn’t necessary given my trick for adding extra deep pink (see this previous blog post on preventing your purples from fading).  Well, I did NOT account for the build up of humidity inside the bag which in turn, softened the topper further so that the ears drooped forward and eventually cracked and fell off.  Luckily it was a personal cake so a lousy patch job was all that was needed and voila! the topper stood again.  Lesson learned for next time though.

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To incorporate the rainbow aspect of her request, I decided to use my V-Petal ruffles (see previous post for the mini-tutorial).  After I came up with those, I immediately wanted to try it with rainbow colours so it was a win-win to use them on my daughter’s cake…well, she didn’t say it HAD to be an actual rainbow lol!  The colours are tedious to mix but it was much easier than mixing from white with gel colours because I used the Satin Ice pre-coloured fondant.  I wanted slightly less intense colours so most of them I had to remix with either white to tone down the intensity, or with other colours to get the tone I wanted.

Carlington's 4th - Tsum Tsum Mickey Rainbow - IMG_6223 - ii - close crop - watermark

Here is another angle of her cake.  It just shows the topper a bit better because the number 4 plaque on the first pic kind of makes the Tsum Tsum Mickey topper look like his mouth is wide open in surprise haha!

Carlington's 4th - Tsum Tsum Mickey Rainbow Ruffles - IMG_6247 - ii - watermark.jpg

And here is my baby with her Tsum Tsum and her cake…

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Thanks for reading and Happy Caking Y’ALL!!

 

 


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Simple Way to Prevent Purple Fondant from Turning Blue

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I first shared this tip on my Facebook page 2 years ago but have been utilizing it since the very beginning of my caking journey which is almost 8 years now and it has served me long and served me well!

I’ve always loved creating cakes and designs that feature the colour purple because, well (obviously), it’s my MOST favourite colour (like) EVER!  So whenever I have free reign over a design or am creating something just for me, I almost always choose to work with some shade of purple.  Therefore, I have worked with it a lot AND been frustrated by it A LOT!  I quickly realized as most do, that purples have a tendency (ok, inevitable likelihood) to fade to an unsightly pale-ish grey/blue.  It’s not the beautiful kind that sits pretty and pristine, but instead the washed out looking kind, like you’ve just left it out in the rain or something and all life has drained from it lol!  Ok, I might be getting a BIT overly dramatic…

Here is one of my cakes from early on (circa 2009), where the purple had already faded a considerable amount within less than an hour (forgive the poor picture quality and contrast…what did I know back then? lol)…

Valerie's 1st - front - Flowers &amp; Polka Dots - wm TVCS

Well, I immediately went on a quest to find a way to keep my purples from fading or at least to still have a nice purple tone to it after it does (inevitably) fade.  I had done some research and found a little blog article (sorry, forget now where I found it) on using baking soda to prevent fading.  I tried this but it never really worked effectively enough for me.  It would require A WHOLE LOT to make a significant difference and it only lengthened the staying power of the purple by a few hours, at best.  Its theory seemed sound but it just didn’t pan out for me and wasn’t quite effective enough.

I then decided to try and see if I could come up with my own solution.  First, I had to figure out what was the likely cause of the colour change.  I quickly determined two things: that (1) the purple, once faded, lost its vibrancy and looked drab and dull and (2) that the spectrum of the purples that I really LOVED, were ones that had more of a pinkish tone to them.  So I figured, the vibrant part of the purple that faded MUST be the pink component.  This seemed to make perfect sense because guess what other colour notoriously fades?  Pink!

To test this, I added extra deep pink (specifically Wilton Rose) to my fondant that I had first coloured to the perfect shade of purple, in hopes that it would maintain a lovely purple shade even after sitting out for  more than a day.  EUREKA, it worked!  I still had a lovely shade of purple fondant the next day, even when exposed to normal light.  Of course, it did still fade from what I’d coloured it to originally, but at least it did not have an unsightly greyish-blue tone to it like it would have, had I not added that extra bit.

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The first pic above was from early 2010 and at this point I was already adding extra deep pink but not quite enough so you can see it still fades to a slightly bluish tone.  The second pic was after I stopped being so timid about it and it makes a huge difference.  When you think about it, blue and red (or pink in this case) make purple. So when purple fades and becomes blue, it’s the red component (or pink) that has faded. So it makes sense to add in extra deep pink to combat the problem.

Nowadays, I always add extra deep pink to my coloured purple fondant and always colour it to a slightly more pink-toned shade than I want to end up with knowing that some of the pink will still fade out, leaving me with the perfect (or nearly anyway!) shade of purple every time (mostly).  The amount you’ll need to add will depend on what shade you want to end up with after, so you will have to play with this method a bit to get more comfortable in gauging how much.  I actually share this and many of my other colouring and decorating tips in my Craftsy class, Cakes in Vivid Color, which is always on for half price using my Instructor’s discount.

So, hopefully this tip helps out some of you who are starting out.  Others may have figured this out already by now, on your own, or have another method that works better for you.  Like I always say, there’s more than one way to do anything and no one way is the best for everyone.  I’ve heard that there are some companies that are coming out with fade-proof or fade-resistant shades of purple and other people swear by using powders to colour their fondant to prevent fading.  If you have a steady hand and a quality airbrush system, airbrushing is another alternative.  Personally, I’ve never tried any other brand other than Wilton and Americolor so I cannot comment on the merit of the fade-resistant brands.  And the powders that I have tried have never worked as well as this method, requiring way too much powder to be cost effective, and sometimes left a grainy, pigmented look to my fondant.  So this is my tried-and-true go-to method.

But wait, “hold your horses,” you might be thinking…what about red?  We all know from basic colour-theory (and mentioned earlier), that purple is essentially a combination of blue and red so why, you might ask, do you not just add red?  Well, in my experimentations I did try this first and it actually DID make for a deeper purple but it resulted in more of a murky plum-like tone which was not the desired result.  Mind you, if you were going for plum purple, it would totally work haha!

Here are a few other examples of my purple cakes, all coloured with Wilton Violet to start, then had different amounts of extra Wilton Rose added depending on the final shade I wanted to achieve…

My 39th Violet Dragonfly - twm

Naomi's Team Umizoomi - front - wm TVCS

Peyton's Purple Polka Dot Safari Animals - wm TVCS

Karen C's Punta Cana 2010 - wm TVCS

Zoe's 1st Birthday Party Hat Monkey - wm TVCS

Carlington's 1st Birthday CocaLo Jacana Themed - twmpm

Jo's 26th - Vintage Purple Giftbox Style w Mixed Tiers &amp; Big Flower Topper - wm TVCS - twmpm

My Radiant Orchid Steampunk XLIV B-Day - watermark

Sam &amp; Satoko's at Venue

The Violet Cake Shop - CC Fashion Inspired - Abed Mahfouz - IMG_3286 - ii - watermarked

Carlington's 3rd B-Day - watermarked

IMG_4246 - ii - closeup - watermarked


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Colouring Tip for Wafer Paper – How to Get Even, Rich Tones Without Special Colours or an Edible Printer

Saffron Coloured Wafer Paper Rose

(this was coloured after the flower was made, using thinner brushes for the inside petals)

I did it, yep!  I jumped on the wafer paper bandwagon and I am loving it!  Wafer paper is so versatile and gives a special delicate look to whatever decorative element you’re making.  That’s why it’s so effective for creating flower adornments because it has an airy effect to it which is reminiscent of one of the natural qualities of a flower.  However, with flowers comes the need for a bit of colour!

Now I’ve seen other posts that lament about how hard it is to achieve any type of decent colour on wafer paper, or how it requires special tools and equipment like an edible printer, airbrush or special candy colours specially made for chocolate/candy melts.  Others have settled for just using a good dose of petal dusts to try and colour wafer which mostly just leaves a VERY patchy appearance, especially when viewed up close.  Often, it requires A LOT of petal dust to achieve any sort of decent depth of colour at all but alas there is still the patchy or spotty appearance, which is ok from far away but up close…fuggedaboudit!  Using tons of petal dust can become quite EXPENSIVE too!  All of this is frustrating to say the least especially considering how beautiful and delicate wafer paper adornments can be.  Straight petal dust on wafer was the first method I tried too, like many others and I was really not satisfied with the results.  Not only was it patchy, but the colours were also muted, not very vibrant at all.

Straight Petal Dust – several coats:

Straight Petal

So I set about trying to find an inexpensive way to colour wafer paper, that did not require any special equipment or colours, that could achieve a look that was not patchy, and would be a lot more VIBRANT…a method using colours that most people would already have.  I knew I could not steam my dusted wafer paper flower because that would just warp the paper or worse, dissolve it to nothingness lol.  So I experimented with any other method I could think of…I’d already tried using a single coat of straight dust, then several (and I mean SEVERAL) coats of straight dust, then dust with alcohol, dust with a touch of water, I even tried dust with shortening…

Then I tried straight gel colour, gel with alcohol, gel with a touch of water…I even tried straight airbrush colours…none achieved the look I wanted.  Problem with gel colours is that they are concentrated.  So if you wanted a nice colour on wafer paper using a gel colour that did not have much water content (to avoid warping the paper), you got overly dark or goopy looking results…not very appealing.  You would need to dilute it to get a nice even shade or tone but the normal ways to dilute most colours just don’t work on wafer paper.  Gel colours with even just a touch of water (although vibrant and even results, colour-wise) still warped the wafer paper enough to change its pure delicate quality.  Other times, depending on the colour, you might get a streaky covering.

I found though that some gel colours worked better than others.  Some, with two coats looked good but you needed to use a heavy hand and LOTS of gel colour in order to MAYBE achieve an even cover on wafer paper.  But that would not be a very cost effective method because it would require A LOT of it to say colour a whole sheet.  Some gel colours depending on the brand and colour, actually contained enough water to still end up warping the paper even if you did not dilute it, so it still was not ideal.  Alcohol mixed with either, although effective when working on fondant because of the speed at which it dries, proved completely disastrous when used on wafer paper!

Here is an example where a straight gel colour had too much water content, that it warped the paper even when undiluted (AmeriColor Sky Blue):

Straight Gel water base twm

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Seriously, I tried almost everything my mind could think of…methods that would normally work on fondant or gumpaste…but none of them got the effect I wanted on wafer paper, which was an even, deep or rich colour.  I almost relented and considered buying special candy colours but then that would be ANOTHER set of colours which was getting costly…already had gel colours, petal dusts and airbrush colours…couldn’t really justify getting another set at a good chunk of change JUST to use on wafer paper.

Then I had a eureka moment and thought…hmmm what is it that makes candy colours work with wafer paper?  Well, it was because they were OIL BASED, and oil does not warp wafer paper nor dissolve it in the same way water does.  Why is that?  I don’t know the science behind it but like with regular paper, oil is less destructive than say water.  If you get water on regular print paper, it will warp it straight away and with enough water, it will weaken it to the point it is easy to rip through.  Oil on the other hand is not nearly as destructive.  It does absorb into the paper, but it doesn’t break it down the same way.  Well the same properties seem to apply to wafer paper.  Wafer paper is made up primarily of potato starch and vegetable oil after all.  Water is involved in the process of making wafer paper, but the mixture is dried to the point where there is zero water content in the final product, which is a similar process used in producing print paper.

So I decided to test out my theory that oil (in this case vegetable oil) mixed with petal dust, would create the perfect mixture with which to colour your wafer paper and voila…it worked!  Luckily I tested it some more because it turns out, you need to use just the right amount of oil…too much and the colours can look very spotty and overly concentrated in certain areas, although still more vibrant than straight dusting…too little and it can become too thick and pasty depending on the dust you use, or end up wasting the dust.  The good thing is, you can do more than one coat to increase the vibrancy of the colours if you wanted it deeper.  I also tested gel colours with oil and it worked too but not as well as with dusts.  I found that the mixture never really came together and would be too goopy with some gel colours whereas with others it worked quite well, so it was hit and miss.  Also, some gel colours still had enough water content to warp the wafer paper….again hit and miss.

Here is a quick chart to show the results of some of the testing that was done (petal dust used – Elite Color Hot Pink; gel colour used – Wilton Rose; airbrush colour used – AmeriColor Deep Pink:

Colouring Wafer test

When using dust mixed with oil though, you do get a film on the surface of the wafer paper that, although not visible, does come off on your fingers when handling, and may affect the ability for you to adhere one piece to another.  But if you let it rest overnight, the oil will dissipate enough that you are left with just the slightest amount of oil on the surface.  Then you can still adhere wafer paper coloured this way, with just a bit of water as normal.  I have not tried it with piping gel as the glue, but I would guess that it will also work once it has a chance to rest because the amount of oil on the surface becomes minimal.

When mixing your dust with vegetable oil, you will want to mix it to a paint-like consistency that is not too thick and not too oily appearing.  It’s best to TEST our your dust/oil mixture on SCRAP PIECES of wafer paper to ensure it is the right consistency.  If it is too oily, the colour will appear spotty.  So add a bit more dust until you are happy with the results.  A little goes a long way (unlike with gel colours or straight dusting).  To apply the colour, you can paint with a standard brush.  Or for larger surfaces like a whole sheet, you can use a large wide brush or a blotting method such as wadded up paper towels, a clean kitchen towel or disposable J Cloth.

Side by Side comparison of different mix consistencies (petal dust used – Elite Color Hot Pink):

Mix Consistency

Other things I discovered when testing out this method were that the finer the dust and deeper the colour of the dust, the better the colour result.  Lighter coloured dusts have some white pigmentation included in them so those colours tended to come out more pasty or matte looking.  Also other forms of dust like sparkle dust which is coarser, tends not to colour wafer paper as effectively.  You can get a nice shine but the colour is not very deep, nor even.  Most lustre dusts on the other hand worked pretty well because the dust quality is much finer than say sparkle dust or disco dust.

Example using lighter petal dust with white pigmentation which gives more of a matte finish (Elite Color Aurora Pink):

Light Coloured Dust - ii

Example using lustre dust (Elite Color Blue Bell):

Lustre Dust

Another useful tip is to save your scrap pieces of wafer paper (you know, the pieces that are leftover after you cut out the shapes you are using), to use for testing out the consistency of your mixture.  And it’s always a good idea to test the colour you are mixing to see that you like it before you mix more and attempt to colour whole sheets of wafer paper.  It works even after you’ve assembled your flower.  You just need to use a small brush that fits between the petals you are working on, so the tighter the petals, the thinner or smaller the brush you need to get down deeper.

Side by Side Example of straight dusting (left) and same coloured dust mixed with vegetable oil (right)…(petal dust used – Elite Color Hot Pink)…OH and you’ll notice that the colours from the petal dust/oil mix are even more vibrant in natural light (see picture on the right):

10-04-14 - Side by Side - Lotus - Hot Pink Petal Dust

DISCLAIMER (just in case lol) & VERY IMPORTANT INFO:  I am NOT an expert in wafer paper, nor in all types of dusts or colours.  I have done a lot of reading and played around a lot trying to find a way that works, but do not proclaim to know of all possible types nor methods for colouring wafer paper.  This is just a tip I discovered that worked for me and hopefully works for others.  Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that not all dusts behave the same so best to do a test piece or practice on a smaller surface before deciding to colour entire sheets or a naked flower you’ve worked an hour on.  Some dusts work better than others and what I’ve found is, the finer the dust, the better the results.

I also discovered after more testing that it’s important to make sure there is not too much of the mix ON the brush when you make the first few strokes.  It seems that if there is not already paint on the paper, there is no where else for it to go so if there is too much on the brush, it can concentrate it causing spottiness.  Practice makes perfect and helps with knowing what is just the ‘right’ amount to use so test often until you are comfortable before painting completed pieces.

Happy Caking everyone =D

 

If you’d like to recreate the stylized wafer paper rose from above, I have a tutorial in my SHOP on Facebook that gives step by steps and tips here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Violet-Cake-Shop/95259702360?sk=app_251458316228