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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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!

vintage-plaque-flexabet-final-smaller

 

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!

20170301_200617-1-1-wm     

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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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-1

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-2

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-3

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-4

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

Step 5:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-5

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-6

The cleaned up Happy Birthday message still in the mold

Step 7:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-7

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-8

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-9

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

Step 10:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-10

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-11

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

Step 12:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-12

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:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-13

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

Step 14:

vintage-plaque-flexabet-14

Adorn your plaque with some blossoms for that vintage look!

Happy Caking Y’ALL!! =D


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V-Petal Ruffles Mini-Tutorial

I was asked by Cake Masters magazine to submit a cake for their Ombré Cakes Collection in their latest May Issue.  I was assigned the colour BLUE and was immediately inspired!

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - Full - 1st - IMG_5453 - iii - cropped &amp; watermarked

Right away, I knew what I wanted to do.  I had been playing around one day, and came up with a new and unique way of doing simple ruffles.  Once I saw “ombré” in the email, I KNEW I had to use this technique for the effect.

It is super simple so I hadn’t planned on doing a tutorial but luckily I had taken some pics anyway, for reference (hence the sub-par quality!)  I’ve now decided to post a quick mini-tutorial after all, because I had that cake on display at The Toronto Bakery Showcase just this past week, and I got TONNES of questions about how I created those ruffles.  So I’m guessing it’s not as simple as it may seem, for some.

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - IMG_5028 - ii - watermarked

I used 8 gradients in the ombré, and with the same batch of fondant which was first coloured the deepest shade, I just kept adding in an equal amount of white each time after I was done with the shade I was working with.

See below for additional closeup photos of this cake…

But first, here are the basic step-by-step pics of how to make my V-Petal Ruffles – ENJOY!!  If you use these ruffles, please feel free to quote this tutorial and I’d love for you to share your creations to my Facebook page so I can see what you’ve done with them!

20160310_195854 - ii - watermarked

Cut out an oval using a 2.5″ oval cutter

20160310_200621 - ii - watermarked

Flip the oval over and dab some water on the very end of one side of the oval – this is the underside that will end up inside the folds

20160310_200639 - ii - watermarked

Fold oval over, so the good side shows on the outside

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Mark the centre with the end of your brush – this helps with the folding

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Dab some water just on the end of the folded over oval

20160310_200724 - iii - watermarked

Fold the ruffle at the crease you made earlier and pinch the end so it creates a point or ‘V’

20160310_200802 - ii - watermarked

Cut a small portion off the bottom  – NOTE: this is only needed for the first row of ruffles that rest on the cakeboard

 

20160310_201617 - ii - watermarked

Attach the first row to your cake with a dab of water down the centre of the back – if they have dried a bit, you may need to add more water and hold longer; add additional ruffles in rows (here I show three columns only, to give an idea); when adding V-Petals on top of an existing one, dab water under the point or ‘V’ of the new petal before attaching; sit each new petal inside the top gap of the previous ruffle underneath; pinch the top loops together if necessary, to neaten up the seams; try to ensure each column is straight, as you work your way up

 

20160310_232050-1 - ii - watermarked

8 rows and 7 columns of ombré V-Petal Ruffles all completed =D

 

Now for some closeups of my Blue Ombré V-Petal Ruffle cake!

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - IMG_5107 - ii - watermarked

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - IMG_5308 - ii - watermarked

I have a tutorial in the April issue of Cake Masters for these Gumpaste Dogwood flowers that do not require special cutters.  I will post that tutorial here in a few months but if you can’t wait, you can always get a copy of the magazine first 😉

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - IMG_5312 - ii - watermarked

I made the cosmos using my own method but I studied those made by Petalsweet Cakes intently!

The Violet Cake Shop - CM Blue Ombre - Full Cropped - IMG_5428 - ii - watermarked

Happy Caking Y’ALL!! =D


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How to Make a Lego Figure Topper – Tutorial

I made this cake for my son’s 9th birthday 2 years ago when the Lego Movie first came out and was all the rage, and I’m reminded of it again now, since his birthday is coming up fast and I need to start thinking of what to make for his 11th.  But at that time, it was an easy decision since he was SO into the movie (it really is SUCH a FAB movie with an amazing life lesson) and I happened to have just finished another Lego Movie cake for a friend’s son which my son loved.  So he KNEW he wanted to have figures of Emmet and his friends Wyldestyle and Batman, as well as his nemesis, President Business.  He also HAD to have the motorbike that Emmet and Wyldestyle used to escape from Good Cop/Bad Cop.

Colin's 9th B-Day Lego Movie Cake - front - twmpm

While making Emmet, I decided to put together this tutorial of how to make a Lego figure since many people had asked me how I made my previous figures and what tips I had for making mine so realistic.  I am happy to say that I’ve seen lots of awesome figures made using this tutorial in the past two years and it warms my heart to be able to help others in creating something they’re super proud of.  I have to admit too…I often end up having to refer back to my own tutorials when it’s been a while since I’ve made something, so there is a semi-selfish reason for making them, haha!

As mentioned before, I am uploading all my tutorials slowly here to my blog and this seemed like the perfect time to add this one to the list…so here you go and ENJOY!  As always, I’d love to see what you create with one of my tutorials so please share any such work on my Facebook page, anytime =D

Lego Figure Tutorial by The Violet Cake Shop™:

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 1

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 2

(*figure 1 – the ball should be approx. 1″ across; figure 4 – if you don’t have a 1A tip, you can use any circle cutter approx. 1/2″ across)

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 3

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 4

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 5

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 6

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 7

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 8

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 9

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 10

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 11

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 12

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 13

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 14

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 15

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 16

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 17

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 18

 

3D Lego Figure Tutorial - 19

Happy Caking Y’All!! =D


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Oh Minecraft! Steps to Make Your Own Minecraft Sword Topper

I feel like Minecraft SHOULD be part of a caker’s swearword vocabulary.  No, I’m serious. Because every time we cakers hear (or read) this word in context with an order request, we inevitably want to swear.

It is not an easy theme to execute however easy it MAY look.  Sure it’s just squares…but it’s LOTs of squares…LOTS AND LOTS!  I always refer to them as piddly little things because they are SO annoying to work with.  They must be straight, they must be cleanly cut, otherwise they will warp and not fit together perfectly to create a clean, precise final product.  You have to use the right consistency of paste (to prevent distortion after cutting) or you have to let it dry just the right amount so that it is not too dry that you can’t fudge the fit or too soft still that the shape warps on you.

Tyler's 9th B-Day Minecraft - wm TVCS - twmpm

Well, I’ve only made one such themed cake, thankfully (so far).  So I don’t have much in the way of advice on how to best achieve the clean, straight lines and edges and get a perfect fit etc., other than the usual “make sure you have a perfectly straight and evenly ganached tier to start with, before you start adding on squares”.  You might notice mine is NOT perfectly clean but it is a good go.  This design actually has become quite popular on my Pinterest and has been repinned over 4000 times and and liked/saved over 400 times (!!! yeah, I know!!!) and has been remade countless number of times (you can see the pin here). I get asked over and over by other decorators if they can recreate the design and I always say “of course!”

And I also get asked A LOT about how I was able to create the sword topper that sits atop my cake and for that, I can give some advice because it follows the same principles that I use for other 2D embellished toppers that I make.

Tyler's Minecraft Cake Sword Closeup

Back in May 2015, I was getting asked this question more than once a week and I had been answering each person’s individual questions each time.  Well, it got to be repetitive AND time-consuming since it was a lot to type each time.  So rather than continue to type this all out over and over, I put together this list of what I do and shared it on Facebook. It is pieced together from a few of my previous detailed PMs and may not be complete but will give you all an idea of my steps. Unfortunately, I never took photos of the progress but dang now I wish I had haha!  Hope this at least helps a bit so that others can create their own!

Steps to Make Your own 2D Minecraft Sword Topper:

– the sword was made with gumpaste and fondant and allowed to dry for several days

– the topper is only as big as the part that is visible; none of it sticks INTO the cake except the skewers used for support

– the squares (for the topper) were cut with 1/2″ square cutter from appropriately coloured marshmallow fondant (MMF); you can also use straight gumpaste, straight fondant or a 50/50 mix of fondant/gumpaste depending on how soft your fondant is; ideally, you want to use a paste consistency that is firm enough to keep the perfect square shape when you cut it, so it should not be too soft; these were allowed to set for about an hour before applying to the backing

– I used straight white gumpaste as the backing for the squares, rolled to about 3 mm thickness (the purple bands if using the small Wilton roller)

– after rolling out the white gumpaste (make sure it’s wide and long enough to fit all the squares), I added the appropriately coloured squares following a pic I found online WITHOUT any water or glue at first, to make sure they are all lined up and straight

– after making sure everything is aligned and I was happy with the look, I then glued down each square with water; or use whatever method you prefer to adhere the pieces

– I then cut away the excess white gumpaste backing; I like leaving a small border (approx. 3mm) but this is not necessary for the stability of the piece, it’s an aesthetics thing with me

– I waited at least two days for it to dry after applying the squares before flipping over and attaching two skewers vertically along the length of the sword, about a fingers width apart; the drying time is important to ensure the piece dries perfectly flat and will be strong enough to hold up vertically once attached to the cake

– the skewers are attached with a piece of fresh fondant running the length of the skewers like a bandaid, only along the part that will not be inserted into the cake

– make sure to gently press down on the fondant so the skewers are snugly covered by the fondant (stronger this way)

– allow this to dry another half day or at least a few hours before inserting into your cake

– the skewers should stick out long enough on the piece to go through your cake and touch the bottom cake board it is sitting on; so if its a 4″ tall tier, there should be 4″ of each skewer sticking out the bottom of the sword

– I make sure the bottom of the sword rests on and touches the cake and then add a piece of fresh fondant as well around it just to be safe (notice the small band of green half squares)

ENJOY!


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Girly Western Birthday cake plus Cowboy Boot Topper Pictorial

Emily's 19th Western Cowgirl Theme - boot front - wm TVCS - twmpm

I actually made this cake early last year but am slowly getting around to posting tutorials and tips to my blog as I’ve found they are rather hard to find on my Facebook page after they get buried down and sometimes disappear from the Timeline.

This is my Girly Western cake made for Emily’s 19th.

Emily's 19th Western Cowgirl Theme - cropped - wm TVCS - twmpm.jpg

Her mom wanted something that was girly but not childish, and for it to be personalized with her favourite cowboy boot so we used this as the model for the topper.

IMG_4461

Having never made a boot topper before, I tried to search online for any tutorial or tip I could use.  I’d seen many people making boot toppers before but did not remember seeing any tips for HOW to make one.  I could have messaged some online friends that I know have made one in the past, but I am kinda stubborn when it comes to these kinds of things and would prefer to try and figure it out on my own if I could and only reach out for help if I became desperate.  So I decided to just “wing” it.

I also do not normally take pics along the process of any of my creations because I guess I don’t expect them to work out the first time.  But this one surprised me in that it did work out right away and thankfully I took some quick shots (although they are quite messy because they were unplanned lol).  I plan to get in the habit of taking progress shots from now on.

So here is a quick compilation or pictorial of the progress shots for the boot topper.  Keep in mind, these are not edited and were merely taken so I could remember what I did therefore they are not the best quality nor staged well. It’s just to give an idea of how I went about “winging” it lol. Also, a lot of steps are missing but it will give you a good sense nonetheless…

Cowboy Boot Topper Collage - watermarked.jpg

NOTES:

I used a mix of Satin Ice chocolate fondant and Satin Ice gumpaste (approx. 50/50). If using MMF (marshmallow fondant, chocolate MMF for the brown in this case), you will likely not need to add the gumpaste, depending on the elasticity of your fondant. It’s only needed if you want it to dry quicker or your fondant is very soft and not pliable enough to hold its shape easily.

I let the sole of the boot dry on the makeshift cardboard former overnight (should be minimum a few hours) prior to adding the other pieces. I realized after, that I had forgotten to curl up the top or toe of the sole so had to bend it slightly afterward and placed a small wedge of fondant underneath to hold the curled shape (starting in pic 8, but you can see it clearer in pic 15).

Pic 6 shows the template I used to cut the portion of the boot that goes over the calf. I also inserted it after to help hold the shape of the portion as it dried.

In pic 10, I draped the fondant to get an impression of the shape and size I would need to cut out for the top portion or the toe of the boot. The piece that was cut out after, can be seen in pic 11. I did the same for the heel portion as well (but did not take a pic of it), see pic 12, after the heel detail was added.

Additional details were added after so the topper could match the birthday girl’s actual boot.

Hope this is helpful for some!

Other pics of the cake and topper:

Emily's 19th Western Cowgirl Theme - boot side - wm TVCS - twmpm

Emily's 19th Western Cowgirl Theme - boot angle - wm TVCS - twmpm

Emily's 19th Western Cowgirl Theme - wm TVCS - twmpm

Happy Caking Y’ALL!! =D


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Stylized Christmas Poinsettia Tutorial

I made this Red Cardinal Christmas cake last  year for our family dinner party.  It has proven to be quite popular for not only it’s non-traditional colour scheme but also for it’s unique elements like the stylized poinsettias and the wafer paper adorned cardinal.

2014 Christmas Cardinal and Mistletoes - twmpm

I started this little tutorial for the stylized poinsettia shortly after sharing the cake on my Facebook page (see original post here for more details about the making of this cake), but unfortunately not in time for anyone to use it for their Christmas cake that  year, so decided to save it for this year.  I ended up giving it to Pretty Witty Cakes to feature in Issue 8 of their on-line magazine in the summer because Suzi wanted to highlight some of the work of her Guest Tutors.  But that was in the middle of summer so not great timing if you were looking to use it as a seasonal touch for a festive or holiday cake lol!

But it is time now to share it for those who may want to use it on their Christmas cakes this year.  I hope it comes in handy for some of you!!

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Modern Deco or Stylized Poinsettia Flower Tutorial:

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use simple tools to create a unique, modern flower that can be used to decorate a cake in a winter seasonal style.  It can be made as a double layer flower for a more interesting effect, but can also be made as a single layer.  You can also adapt the colours and use these techniques to create your own floral variations to decorate any kind of cake you can imagine.

Materials:

3” oval cutter

2.5” oval cutter

1.75” circle cutter

Cutting wheel

Brush for applying edible glue or water

Edible glue or water

50/50 gumpaste/fondant mix (you can also use fondant with Tylose/CMC added, or straight marshmallow fondant if it is not too soft)

Paper towel

Steps:

Modern Deco Flower - 1 - wm

Step 1 – roll out your paste and cut out your ovals to prepare the petals (you will need 12 for each poinsettia) and each set of ovals will make two petals so you will need to do this step 6 times – I recommend you cut out no more than three sets of ovals at a time and store them in Ziploc bags until you need them as they can dry out if cut too far in advance

 

Modern Deco Flower - 2 - wm

Step 2 – add water or edible glue down the centre of each oval

 

Modern Deco Flower - 4a - wm    Modern Deco Flower - 4b - i - wm

Step 3 – place the smaller oval on top of the larger oval; fold over the ovals and press together where the two ends meet

 

Modern Deco Flower - 5a - wm    Modern Deco Flower - 5b - wm

Step 4 – using a cutting wheel, cut as pictured to create two petals; alternatively, you can just cut down the centre of the ovals but you may have to trim them down a bit so the resulting petals are not too tall (this is based on personal preference)

 

Modern Deco Flower - 6a - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 6b - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 7 & 8 - ii - wm

Step 5 – add some water at the tips if needed to ensure the points stick together; pinch if necessary; then use your finger to press down gently in the centre, to flare out and create a nice rounded shaped petal

 

Modern Deco Flower - 9 - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 10a - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 10b - wm

Step 6 – using the circle cutter, cut out two circles (you will need one for each layer of the two-layered poinsettia); take one of the petals and add water or edible glue to the bottom and attach to your circle as shown

 

Modern Deco Flower - 11 - wm    Modern Deco Flower - 12 & 13 - wm

Step 7 – attach the rest of your petals evenly so that they touch each other on the sides but not on the ends; this way, there will be a gap in the centre; dab some water or edible glue to the areas where the petals touch – this will ensure better stability of the piece once dried

 

Modern Deco Flower - 14a - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 14b - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 15 & 16 - wm

Step 8 – make two small balls about the size of a small marble (or what will fit in the gap you’ve left); apply water or edible glue all around the inside of the gap and insert the ball and flatten the top gently; you will do this again so that you’ve created two sets of petals; let these set minimum half an hour

 

Modern Deco Flower - 17 - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 18 - wm  Modern Deco Flower - 19 - wm

Step 9 – once they have set enough that you can lift them and maintain the shape, flip one layer over and add some water or edible glue to the entire back surface of the circle backing; place that one on top of the other layer, off-setting the petals so that those on the bottom layer are showing through those on the top layer; add some scrunched up pieces of paper towel under the tips of the top layer petals to help keep them from drooping; you can use the end of your brush to push up the circle backing where it might show through between the petals, just for a cleaner look

 

Modern Deco Flower - 21 & 22 - wm    Modern Deco Flower - 23 - wm

Step 10 – make 7 small balls from white paste and apply one first to the centre and then the rest, around it; let dry overnight before attaching to your cake; to attach, use a thin piece of fresh fondant on the back with water and hold in place against your cake until it is adhered securely (minimum 5-10 minutes, depending on weight)

 

Modern Deco Flower - side by side - wm

This flower can be made in whatever colour you want for any type of cake.  You can change out the centre and add your own touches to create completely unique and modern flowers for any cake or season.  Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.  I look forward to seeing it used on your festive cake this year!

You can follow more of my work on my Facebook page.  Feel free to share any work you’ve made using one of my tutorials to my page.

 


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The Making of a 3D Standing Lego Ninjago Cake

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I steer clear from standing, structured or gravity-defying cakes whenever possible because they TOTALLY stress me out!! I will not lie and pretend I love them. I am not one of those that thrive on the thrill of the challenge. I sweat and fret the whole way through. But when I get asked by a valued client if I can wow them again on their son’s birthday, I just cannot say “no” so I buck up and take the challenge.  And ta-da…after much fretting and cursing and stressing, here is the cake for Ramsey’s 7th birthday a few weeks ago…

Ramsey's 7th Birthday Green Ninja from Lego Ninjao - front ii - twm TVCS

Ramsey's 7th Birthday Green Ninja from Lego Ninjago - side - twm TVCS

And below, is how I went about making him.  I took progress pics this time just to document it for myself, in case I ever have to make another one or something similar because my old brain just cannot retain information like it used to!  Those who know my work may say, “hey…I’ve seen a standing Minion and a standing robot cake from you before” and to those, I’ll explain that I’ve made standing cakes before but they never had to travel in a car (all only had to travel from one room to another) so I used only the bare minimum structural supports which involved usually just the legs being stainless steel rods and the rest being secured as you would a tiered cake, with wooden dowels.

And I should also preface this post by saying that this is not necessarily the best way to do a standing 3D cake, definitely NOT the only way and probably could have been done better myself had I planned or calculated things a bit better. But it does show one of many ways that these kinds of cakes can be done and it shows what we cakers sometimes have to go through when we are forced to think on the fly and/or work with unforeseen challenges or (ahem) in my case here, a big brain-fart of a miscalculation (which I will blame on severe lack of sleep due to both kiddos being sick after a week long trip, haha!)

So this cake needed to serve minimum 25 (dessert sizes of 1″ x 2″ x 4″) and I had figured out (mistakenly) that the cake would need to be 12″ tall. And on that basis, I went and bought all my hardware with the expectation that I would need just one 22″ long 1/4″ rod that could be cut in half so that I’d have two rods going up the cake to just above the neck area. Why, you might ask, did I need more than just one? Well, I am a worry-wart and my stressed-out brain and heart would not have been secure or calm with just one solid rod, knowing it had to travel at least 40 minutes to the party.

I didn’t realize until after I went to bake the cakes, that I actually had made a miscalculation and would need the cake to be taller.  I had forgotten to take into account that the cake was going to be only half as deep as it was wide – I had made initial calculations based on a cubed torso section. So to get the minimum 25 servings, the cake now had to be at least 6″ taller so would end up being over 18″ tall…but now I only had the one rod. I guess I could have used cake also in the leg portion to keep it at 12″, BUT…I wanted to keep that section as cereal treats as another added piece of structural security for me…  And I guess I could have gone out and bought another rod BUT…I stubbornly decided to work with what I had and decided I could use one rod most of the way up the height, with a shorter rod to at least the hip section, just under the torso.  And so we (meaning hubby) cut the rod to 15″ and 7″ – taking into account that just under 1″ of each rod would be buried into the board underneath.

So here are the pics, with some explanations along the way…hopefully this is helpful for some…or if not, at least maybe you’ll find it to be slightly amusing musings…hahaha!!

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 1

Some basic STATS:

The base board was 18″ x 14″

He has cereal treat arms, legs and hips, with cake for his torso and head

Total Height: 18.5” tall

Head Section: was 5” diameter cake that was 6” tall before ganache; after ganache was approximately 5.5” diameter and 6.25″ tall

Torso Section: 6.25” tall, 4” deep; 5.5” across at top of torso; 7.5” across at bottom of torso (widest part of cake)

Leg Section: 6.25” tall, 3.5” deep; 6.5” across

1/4″ stainless steel rod, washers and nuts (TIP: rods were cut with a rotating saw and the jagged edges were smoothed out with a grinder); all sections of the rods were wrapped with Glad Press ‘n Seal before being covered by the bubble tea straws – you will have to do this in sections (in between where the nuts and washers go)

Measurements for the cereal treat sections and internal boards are in Slides 12-17

Total servings: approximately 33 servings with 15 for the head section and 18 for the torso section based on 1″ x 2″ x 4″ sized servings

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 2

Slide 2: The purple shading are bubble tea straws and the green are the nuts. The one bubble tea straw that does not extend all the way to the board above it, is there just to cap the rod underneath (added food safety) as it does poke through the boards which all had holes pre-cut based on the original plan.  All rods were wrapped with Glad Press ‘n Seal before being covered by the bubble tea straws.  You will have to do this in sections (in between where the nuts and washers go).

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 3

Slide 3:

Left pic just shows the structure in the leg/hip section without the edible pieces.  The longer rod on the right in the pic is slightly off-centre.  This is on purpose as I want it to be as close to centre as possible without being too close to the other rod, for stability.

Right pic – the cakeboard was first covered, then a large piece of Glad Press ‘n Seal was added on top to protect the board underneath from the mess of crumbcoating and covering the cake later; the cereal treat leg section was added with bubble tea straws over the rods so the treats don’t touch the rod, and a portion was cut out to give the impression of two separate legs

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 4

Side 4:

Left pic – I had to add some pieces of cereal treats to level off this section and I added the nuts so they are sitting on top of the bubble tea straws that are underneath but buried into the cereal treats; although the cereal treats in this section are touching the nuts, I informed my client to cut around this area if it was to be consumed

Right pic – washers were added – notice I used wide washers which I chose for added security

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 5

Slide 5:

Left pic – buttercream ‘glue’ was added to help hold the board on top

Right pic – a 1/4″ thick board was added which would be bolted in place with the nuts and washers on top and below

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 6

Slide 6:

Left pic – another set of washers and nuts are added

Right pic – more buttercream ‘glue’ is added to help hold it to the piece to be added on top

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 7

Slide 7:

Left pic – the cereal treat hip section was added – notice it is slightly rounded in the front; the bubble tea straws were then inserted – the one on the left was trimmed to less than 1″ and is there to cap off the rod that poked through underneath, the one on the right was added after the pic was taken

Right pic – the torso section was torted, filled, dowelled and stacked separate from the stainless steel structure on it’s own cakeboard; I also used a centre cakeboard at the 3″ mark with dowels inserted above and below it (see diagram on Slide 2); both the centre and bottom cakeboards were made by gluing three thin cake cards together to make it stronger and had holes pre-punched); the entire assembled torso section was then stacked on top of the cereal treat hip section before another thin cake card was placed on top along with a washer and nut

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 8

Slide 8:

Left pic – the cereal treat leg section was crumbcoated with buttercream; the hip and torso sections were ganached; the board for the shoulder detailing was added on top – I cut the hole to fit around the nut that was already there (see Slide 7, Right pic); I then cut the hole in the cakeboard for the head section (round board on top) so it could sit flush with the nut; it is pictured just to show that it sits flush with the nut but the head section was actually torted, filled, stacked, ganached and covered with fondant separate from the structure and added after, which you see in the Right pic

Right pic – head section was prepared as mentioned and added on top with some ganache and fresh fondant under the cakeboard it sits on, to secure it to the shoulder board underneath; the “visor” section for the eyes was cut out using an x-acto knife; you’ll notice there are some imperfections on the right side of the chin – that will be covered over later so no need to fret

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 9

Slide 9:

Left pic – each section of the legs, hips and torso were covered with fondant using the panelling method; line detailing was added to the hip section; again notice the imperfection to the right side of the chin; change-o, prest-o and it’s gone in the right pic!!

Right pic – the cereal treat arms were crumbcoated with buttercream and covered with fondant then attached to the sides of the torso with fresh fondant and held for 10 minutes to ensure they were firmly secured; the hands (made from fondant with CMC/Tylose) were each attached with fresh fondant and held in place until secure (at least 3 minutes); the cereal treat feet were crumbcoated then covered with fondant and added; thin bands of fondant were cut and strategically placed on top of the mouth/chin section in the pattern as seen on the actual character; Oooo and LOOK, the imperfection is now gone hehe!

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 10

Slide 10:

Left pic – a thin sheet of fondant was rolled out in the size needed to cover the mouth/chin section and draped on top to give the look of bunched up fabric

Right pic – side, front and top helmet detailing were added – sorry, no templates for these as I normally just go and cut by eye, then check the pieces I cut out against the actual part of the cake it will be added to, before I secure it with water

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 11

Slide 11:

Left pic – the shoulder board was covered with fondant; then the shoulder details were cut from fondant and added; grey section of the helmet were cut and added – again no templates, sorry; shirt, lapels, belt and diamond detailing were then added to the front

Right pic – a bit of dark green dusting was brushed into the crevices of the mask, along the helmet detailing, on top of the lapels, inside the area between the arms and the torso and under the rounded part of the hip section to bring out details; a gumpaste sword made earlier and let dry for 5 days was added to the back

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 12

Slide 12: cereal treat arms – which were oddly shaped but 1″ thick

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 13

Slide 13:

Left pic – the cakeboard for the bottom of the torso – which was 7.5″ wide and 4″ deep

Right pic – the cakeboard for the shoulder section – which was 9.5″ wide and 4″ deep

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 14

Slide 14: cereal treat leg section – which was 6″ wide and 3″ deep; after buttercream crumbcoat and fondant they ended up 6.5″ wide and 3.5″ deep

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 15

Slide 15: cereal treat hip section – which was 6″ wide and 3.5″ deep, and rounded on one end

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 16

Slide 16: cereal treat feet – which were 2.5″ wide and 1.5″ deep and .5″ tall

 

3D Standing Lego Ninjago Tutorial 17

Slide 17: the 1/2″ thich board used between the cereal treat leg section and cereal treat hip section – which was 6″ wide and 3.5″ deep and ended up being part of the hip section after being ganached