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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Time Saving Way to Make Scrunch and Rosette Ruffles – How-To Tutorial below

OMG…these new Simpress moulds by Marvelous Molds are a total TIMESAVER, not to mention game-changer in cake decorating!  (I show you how to use them below in the mini-tutorial)

If you’ve ever done a fully ruffled tier in any of your designs, even as small as 4″, you KNOW that they are absolutely TIME-CONSUMING, wow!  I used to avoid including full ruffle tiers in my designs and almost NEVER used them for a celebration cake order because quite frankly, the client would cringe at the cost lol.

A single 7″ tier (at standard height of 4″) could take up to 11 hours or more depending on the type of ruffling you’re doing.  Even with my innovative standup ruffling technique, which saves a bunch of time, it would still take upwards of 7 hours.  With these new Simpress moulds by Marvelous Molds, it took me just 1.5 hours for the bottom of my niece’s recent wedding cake.  And that included redoing one of the panels because I had a brain-fart and forgot to press firmly to pick up the details of the mould.

 

Full view of the cake I made for my niece’s rustic chic wedding

I could not have been happier with the results!  Normally, I only use moulds if they add clean, ornate detailing that cannot be achieved manually.  So ruffles, because I can make them by hand, would normally not be something I would consider using a mould for.  Especially because I always felt the details on those I’ve seen made using other moulds, rarely looked natural or authentic.

The original plan for my niece’s wedding cake was to use my standup ruffling technique on the bottom tier.  But when Marvelous Molds sent me their new line to review, I decided to test out the Scrunch Ruffle mould on a dummy and see if I liked it better.  Well, I was SO happy with how natural and custom the ruffling looked, that I decided to go ahead and use it on her cake, which saved me hours and hours of work!  Serious TIMESAVER I tell ya!!  Now you KNOW, if I am using it on a cake for my niece’s most special day, it HAS to be fabulous.

On a side note, here is a rare pic of me with one of my cakes.  I usually look like total crap after I finish a cake because I’m totally exhausted and disheveled after pulling an all-nighter, so never take pics with my creations.  As you can see, I cleaned myself up enough to attend the wedding hence how I was able to take a pic, but if you look closely, my eyes are a bit glazed because I’m literally a walking zombie at this point haha!

So here is the promised mini-tutorial.  It shows you my tried and tested way of using the Simpress line by Marvelous Molds and which actually works for any of their moulds including the Onlays.  Enjoy and Happy Caking Y’ALL!!

Top: new Scrunch Ruffle Simpress, Bottom: new Rosette Ruffle Simpress

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Mini-Tutorial on how to use the new Scrunch Ruffle Simpress (and any other mould actually)…

 

Add 1/4 tsp of CMC or Tylose powder to 4 oz of fondant to fortify it so it can be used more easily in the mould. ALTERNATIVELY, you can use a 50/50 paste of gumpaste and fondant. NOTE: for the 7″ tier pictured on the wedding cake above, I used approximately 1 pound or 16 oz of fondant and added a full tsp of Tylose powder.

 

Use cornstarch to dust the crevices of the moulds to prevent the paste from sticking. Make sure to dust into all creases, grooves and crevices, especially the borders of the mould. ALTERNATIVELY, you can use shortening if you prefer. PRO TIP: I like to use BOTH shortening and cornstarch just to be on the safe side though either one works well on their own.

 

Roll out some of the paste so it’s large enough to fit over the mould, approximately 7″ long and 4.5″ wide. The thickness you roll it to will vary depending on the mould you are using. For the Scrunch Ruffle mould, 3-4 mm is a good thickness.

 

Lay the sheet of paste over the mould and press firmly downward with the palm and heel of your hand so the paste fills the mould beneath. Gently lift your hand and move to another area of the mould and repeat until the entire surface has been pressed into the mould below. Try not to slide the fondant around or push it side to side as this can mess up the impression. PRO TIP: dust some cornstarch on the surface before you start pressing the paste into the mould – this prevents the paste from sticking to your palm.

 

After pressing all areas firmly into the mould, you can now press more firmly so the blades of the mould cut through the paste and so the paste can pick up more of the impression from the mould. PRO TIP: I like to go over the entire surface, pressing firmly, two to three times.

 

Take a sheet of paper towel and fold into quarters. Wet the paper towel so it is damp but not dripping, and use it to wet the back of the paste.

 

Take the panel and lay it against your cake so the entire back surface of the paste touches the side of the cake. Press along the entire panel with your hands so that the paste starts to adhere to the cake underneath – this can take a few seconds, up to one minute if necessary. TIP: the cake should be iced already in either buttercream, ganache or covered with a thin layer of fondant before applying the panels.

 

Starting on one end, start peeling away the mould slowly, revealing the paste below. PRO TIP: if any of the paste sticks to the mould, you can ease it out with a thin brush that has some shortening on it.

 

Repeat all previous steps to create another panel. Line up the second panel with one end of the first panel as shown, and unmould.

 

Gently press the edges together to clean up any gaps between the panels.


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Western Steampunk Plaque Tutorial

Time sure does fly by so fast sometimes!  It’s been a while since my last post and so much has been going on both with cakes and home life and the recent holidays, that I haven’t had a chance to blog until now.

I still have so much to share and will have more time soon to share more, but for now, I wanted to let everyone know some great news from Marvelous Molds.  Their new Flexabets line has been such a successful addition to their offerings that they’ve had requests for more and more font styles.   Well good news!!  They just released two new fonts – WESTERN and ACTION COMIC.

I am lucky ’cause they send me prototypes of some of their new lines to try out and I have to say, I was so excited when I got these and just love the new styles!  They are so needed in the cake themes that we cakers get asked for today.  And the Flexabets system is SO easy to use.  Much better than struggling with the old hard plastic style alphabet cutters from when I first started decorating.

I’ve put together a quick mini-tutorial for making a birthday plaque using the new Western font.  It’s a great way to dress up your cakeboard.  Or just add it to the front of a western or steampunk style cake and voila!  I hope you enjoy the tutorial and if so, you can get your own moulds here.

 

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Roll out some brown coloured paste made from 50/50 fondant and gumpaste to 1/32″ thickness (you can also use fondant with CMC added to make it stiffer instead of adding gumpaste). Brush some shortening into the cavities of the mould.

 

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Lay the brown paste over the letters of the mould and press into the grooves with the palm of your hand.

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Once firmly in the grooves, go over the back of the mould with a smoother until the cutting blades cut through the fondant.

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Here the blades have cut through the paste.  Continue until all lines are clear and clean.

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Once all lines are clean, remove the excess paste.  Remove the excess cutouts inside the letters with an exacto knife.

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Roll out some white or ivory paste to 1/32″ thickness and using a large cookie cutter, cut out a shape for your plaque base.

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Wet the back of the paste in the mould with some water or edible glue.  Remove any excess with a paper towel.

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Position the onlay over the plaque base, ensuring it is centered.

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Press the back of the onlay with your palm so the letters adhere to the plaque below.  Use your fingers to go over the letters again.

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Once the paste has adhered to the plaque below, lift away the onlay carefully.

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Roll out some brown fondant, large enough to fit the plaque.  Add some water to the back of the ivory plaque base and attach to the brown paste.  Using an exacto knife, cut out a border around the plaque.

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Now it’s time to embellish your plaque.  You can add any decorations you like, to style it to the theme of your cake.  Here, we will style it in a Western Steampunk style.

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Brush some shortening into the cavities of a mould with gears, keys and other Steampunk decor.  Add some 50/50 fondant/gumpaste into the cavities to create some moulded pieces.  Allow the pieces to dry at least 10 to 15 minutes before adding to your plaque.

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Mix some gold lustre dust with lemon extract to create gold lustre paint and brush some onto the moulded pieces.

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Mix some silver lustre dust with lemon extract to create silver lustre paint and brush onto the letters.  Add some rolled roses and voila!  You have a beautiful plaque to adorn your cake!

 


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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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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Vintage Happy Birthday Plaque – Mini Tutorial

The life of a cake artist JUST got easier!  I’m going to tell you about a new product and anyone who does primarily celebration cakes, will know what I mean!!

This vintage style plaque was SO easy to create using this new system and I show you how I did it in a mini-tutorial at the end of the post.

Normally, just the birthday greeting alone would have taken me nearly half an hour.  You had to create all the letters one by one, which takes up time.  You had to let the paste dry a bit to get the cleanest edges, which takes up time.  You could only roll out small pieces of paste for a few letters at a time or else it would dry out, which takes up time.  You only had one ‘a’, one ‘p’ and one ‘y’ to work with in a typical letter set so you had to wait until the first set was done before doing it all again, which takes up time.  Ok, ok…you get the idea LOL!

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Well, I was asked last month by Marvelous Molds to test out a new product that they were launching called Flexabets™.  It’s a revolutionary new way to add lettering, names and messages to your decorated cakes or cakeboards that does not require working with stiff cutters, having to pick out your letters (unless you choose to) or waiting for your paste to dry so you can tap (more like SLAP!) them out.  You can now create letters and numbers using their patented silicone onlay molds!  These letters pop out easily, with barely any effort, and do not get ‘stuck’ in the onlay molds.

More good news.  For helping them test out the Flexabets™ and writing a blog post, they are offering 10% OFF to my readers and fans that purchase a set.  Just enter my exclusive code TVCSFLEXABET at checkout when you purchase from the Marvelous Molds site before March 13th.

Along with three styles of font (Calligraphy, Typewrite and Swirly), they also have four “Happy Birthday” style onlays which makes the most used greeting on celebration cakes, now an ease to add!  You can use the greetings on the tops or sides of your cake, on cakeboards and sheetcakes, or to create plaques or toppers like the one I show here.

Oh how I WISH they’d come out with these back when I was making like 3-4 cakes a weekend!  It would have saved me a TON of time and made the most dreaded part of any order just that much more bearable.

Here are samples from the Swirly set, which is my fave.  I heard though through the grapevine that new, yet unseen fonts may be in development too!

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And here is a FUN celebration style lettering that is available just in the “Happy Birthday” greeting.

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I cannot reiterate enough how versatile Flexabets are for adding messages, names, monograms and more to your cakes, toppers or cakeboard.  Now for the mini-tutorial on how I used the calligraphy font to make a Vintage Happy Birthday Plaque.  Hope you ENJOY!!

(Oh and I also made this tutorial into a quick video that I posted to my Facebook page but without any instructions because I am after all a video novice and hey, getting it on a video was already an accomplishment so forget about adding text right? haha!!)

 

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How to make a Vintage Happy Birthday Plaque – Mini-Tutorial:

Step 1:

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Roll out 50/50 gumpaste/fondant mix to approximately 1 mm thickness or just under 1/16 inch; if using a pasta roller, roll out to #2 thickness; you can also use fondant with tylose (or CMC) added, approximately 1 tsp per 1lb fondant

Step 2:

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Dust the Flexabet mold with a bit of corn starch; tap out excess against your palm or work surface; alternatively, you can brush shortening into the grooves of the letters – this is my preferred method as I find the corn starch sometimes allows the paste to shift too much when you are pressing it into the mold; you can also use a combo of the two which is what I’ve used here =D

Step 3:

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Lay your sheet of 50/50 paste over top of the onlay, good side down; use your palm to press the paste against the onlay along the entire design (not shown in pic); using your smoother, slowly press the paste further against the onlay, then press and twist the smoother against the bladed portions of the design; you will see the design start showing or cutting through – continue until all bladed edges are cleanly cut through the paste

Step 4:

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Slowly remove excess paste; start on one side and slowly, gently bend and pull the excess paste towards you, not upward

Step 5:

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You will be left with just the letters in the onlay mold, along with their centres; use a sharp pointed tool to pick out the centres of the letters that have been left behind

Step 6:

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The cleaned up Happy Birthday message still in the mold

Step 7:

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Roll out some white 50/50 gumpaste/fondant mix to 1 mm thickness or 1/16 inch, or whatever colour you’d like; again, you can use fondant with tylose (CMC) added instead, approximately 1 tsp tylose to 1 lb fondant; roll large enough to fit the Happy Birthday message; you can place your onlay on top (with paste still in the mold) to check

Step 8:

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Brush the back of the letters with a small amount of water or edible glue; make sure to cover every surface; I prefer to use water but with some fondant brands, just water can sometimes end up making the paste too slippery so if needed, use a tackier edible glue

Step 9:

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Lay your message over top of the paste you just rolled out, glue side down

Step 10:

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Use the heel of your hand to press the design down onto the sheet of paste; make sure to press down on all parts of the design; next, go over every section of the design again with you fingers, rubbing against the letters in a circular motion; wait a few seconds (approximately 10-15) before peeling away the onlay; TIP: peel (don’t lift) the onlay, slowly and gently, again bending it away from the gumpaste/fondant sheet, not upward

Step 11:

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Message after removing the onlay; if letters have shifted, just nudge them back into place with a thin tool

Step 12:

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Create the frame for your plaque using any scroll or lace mold; create enough to fit nicely around the message; for deeper molds like this one, (which is the Kelly mold also by Marvelous Molds) I still prefer to use 50/50 gumpaste/fondant mix – I find it sets the shape better so it does not stretch out when you unmold it; again I prefer to use shortening in the grooves of the design to prevent sticking, but you can use corn starch – up to you which method works best for you =D

Step 13:

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Arrange the frame and cut away the excess paste around the message before securing the frame pieces with water or edible glue

Step 14:

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Adorn your plaque with some blossoms for that vintage look!

Happy Caking Y’ALL!! =D