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 Fifth Floor....................Delusions of Fandom
 The Crafters' Cupboard
 Sugarcraft (aka decorating cakes)
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gimu
Addled

Ireland
209 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  16:33:08  Show Profile Send gimu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I thought this might fit in here in the crafters cupboard since it does have craft in its name...
I love baking more than anything, but I have always been a bit weak on the cake decoration part. I bought a book yesterday on sugarcraft - basically working with sugarpaste or pastillage to make flowers/decorations for the top of cakes.
I was wondering if there are any experts or experienced people in this art?

Jokelly
Barking

USA
1509 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2007 :  16:54:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can do basic stars and shells, but that's about it. Wiltons is a good source of information about doing flowers and all kinds of decorations. I love their yearly catalogs. I still have my cake pan from when I was little. It's a Mickey Mouse pan from the late 70s and he has bell bottoms. I used to get a Mickey Mouse cake every year for my birthday until I was a teenager, and a few times after that. I loaned my Mickey Mouse band leader pan out once and never got it back. They don't make it anymore, but Ebay always has them.

I've ordered from Sugarcraft. They're a great company. I bought the brick impression mat for rolled out icings, but I don't use it for that. I used to make air-dry bricks for my dollhouse. It was the same scale and I saved about $100 doing it that way.

Current location: Laying low at Lupin's
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2007 :  11:10:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Are the same techniques used for marzipan?
I'm not a practicioner of anything but the baking. In fact at Christmas I love to bake cookies, but the decorating gets really tedious. I've tried having Daughter do that part, but she lost interest rather quickly after she ate one too many of the cookies.

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
Member of the HPEW & HPCS Appreciation Society
s.i.n.e. qua non
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gimu
Addled

Ireland
209 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2007 :  18:21:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As far as I can make out from the book, the idea behind decorating cakes came from decorating wedding cakes. Originally there was a brides cake (which was broken and crumbled over her for luck and fertility and all that jazz) and then there was the grooms cake which came along later and included little figures and lucky symbols such as the horseshoe and pretty flowers of course.
traditionally decorated cakes were usually rich fruit cakes (christmas cakes and wedding cakes). They are usually covered with a layer of marzipan for flavour(although I'm not sure I am so fussed on marzipan) and then covered with royal icing - this is a really hard setting type of icing - this is why the husband and wife cut the cake together (sometimes with a sword) because its really hard to cut.
Otherwise cake decorating can involve softer icing which tends to be more rounded than the royal icing. I think I will start with this. The only thing with this book is that there are a lot of ingredients which are not exactly on the usual grocery shopping list so i will have to try to get them in the city. Maybe in a pharmacy or specialist baking shop. I'm sure there are also ready mixes for the icing, but where to buy. Anyway, I am a synthetic chemist so I should be able to make some icing - it can't be that difficult.
I will keep you all posted as to how I get on...
The hardest ingredient to get (I think) will be gum tragacanth - they say I can use something called carboxymethylcellulose instead - need to figure that one out...
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Jokelly
Barking

USA
1509 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2007 :  18:39:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gimu, do you have candy supply shops in Ireland? I get chocolate at a local candy supply shop and they usually have all those hard to find decorating ingredients that you can't find anywhere else. In the U.S. candy flavorings are still often gotten at the pharmacy for some reason.

You know, I've never heard of a groom's cake until seeing the movie Steel Magnolias. We just don't traditionally do groom's cakes where I live. But we do always have a special table of wedding cookies, which I know other regions of the country would never do. That's my favorite table at wedding receptions. Dozens of varieties of wonderful cookies...tassies, ladylocks, thumbprints, etc. Yummm.

Current location: Laying low at Lupin's
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Siobhan
Chief Healer

USA
2157 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2007 :  21:11:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is the softer hard icing called fondant or is fondant the same as royal icing?
I've seen some gorgeous cakes done in fondant with piped bits that make them look as though they are covered in lace. That sort of thing is difficult to do in Charleston because of the heat and humidity.

Deliberatley causing mayhem in Snape's Potions class.
Member of the HPEW & HPCS Appreciation Society
s.i.n.e. qua non
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Jokelly
Barking

USA
1509 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2007 :  21:42:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here is a site that explains icing types:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-seven-main-types-of-icing.htm

I usually make Wilton's buttercream recipe for most stuff. I once made french buttercream and it was so rich that I didn't care for it. It involves combining cooked sugar, egg whites, and butter. You have to make it on a day when there is low humidity. I love icings, but real buttercream is very rich.

Fondant is very versatile. I know a lot of people use if for icings, but I use it for the filling in chocolate covered cherries.

Current location: Laying low at Lupin's
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gimu
Addled

Ireland
209 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2007 :  13:15:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cool! Fondant icing sounds good to play with.. I might try that.
I'm watching the premier of the OoTP on yahoo now
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gimu
Addled

Ireland
209 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2007 :  18:22:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Updating this to say I am starting a cake decorating course at our local community school on Wednesday. Wednesday evenings for the next 10 weeks I will try to upload some of the pics (or links to the pics) of my cakes. I think it will be mostly working with sugarpaste/fondant icing. I've just made a Madeira cake for the class. We are making "Sleeping Teddy" out of it...
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