Tutorial Tuesday: Swirled Icing, two ways

Alright so I was m.i.a. last week and for that, I apologize. I was in Las Vegas. It was awesome, in case you were wondering. ;)

I spent a while trying to figure out how to make swirled icing. These are the two techniques I use!

For the first, you’ll need gel food coloring and a small paint brush.
And of course, your piping bag and tip. Assemble your bag and tip. Yes, this will work with the plastic bags as well, but might be harder to do.
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I paint three nice solid stripes on the inside of the bag:
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Then add your frosting. Just try to get it into the center of the bag. It’s not super rocket science and getting it a little mixed up won’t matter too much in the end.
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Now you’re ready to pipe! Your first cupcake might not have much stripe to it, but after that one you should be good to go!
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Swirly perfection!
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The next way is a little harder to pull of, and can get messy. The results are a little better, but can be frustrating lol. I’ve had a lot of icing bags pop on me from the pressure you need to apply for this technique.
Two bags, each with one color of icing:
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Make another bag and put in your icing tip in it. Then combine the two bags into this one.
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Make sure you’re squeezing from the very end of the bag. Again, one color might dominate the first cupcake, but the colors should start flowing together soon.
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BAM
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So, there you have it. Swirled icing two ways.
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Messy!
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Fishy ring says FEED ME!

I’ve tried putting two colors in the same bag, but I could never get it right. Maybe I was missing something? Hah. Experiences and advice welcome!!!

Hoping to pay more attention to this blog. I’ve been having to set it to the side a lot lately. So many things going on in my life right now!

I have big news soon. You’ll have to wait and see, but it’ll be worth the wait!

Icing on FoodistaIcing

Tutorial Tuesday: Buttercream Transfers

Alright! So today I’m going to show you how to do a buttercream transfer.
Also… there’s a contest at the bottom!!

I’ve only done a few myself in the past, but it’s something I would love to do more of. First of all, you’ll need some buttercream. I have no idea if this technique can be done with store bought frosting, but I’m very inclined to say no, unless it’s store bought decorator’s frosting. That goopy stuff in a can alongside the cake mixes wouldn’t work at all, I’m sure.
I use the classic Wilton Buttercream recipe.

Okay, so you’ll need at least two frosting colors, depending on your design. As always, I recommend gel colors or good high quality liquid colors like Americolors.
You’ll need a frosting bag for each color of frosting and several sizes of round icing tips.

You’ll need a picture that you want to turn into a transfer and a piece of wax paper or parchment paper. Also some tape.
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First you’ll want to mix your icing colors.
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Next tape your picture to the counter and then the wax paper over top of that.
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Fill your icing bags and then start tracing the outline of your picture. Always start with the outline and little details. It’s best to use a picture that isn’t very highly detailed, especially when you’re first learning how to do these.
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When you’ve filled in the outline, then fill in all the remaining space with your second color.
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Now carefully peel up the tape. You can just tear it off or tuck it under.
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Now you can take a peek underneath and get a little preview of your work… be careful though! It’s delicate!
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Find a flat spot in your freezer to put this thing. Like… this waffle box. Perfect. You really want this thing to set up over night. Like… a good solid 8 hours would be nice. You want it to be FROZEN and hard when it comes out.
When it comes out of the freezer, flop it down carefully onto your already iced cake.
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A rub with a fondant smoother helps. Work fast, you don’t want it to melt. You want to be able to pull the paper clean off.
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Now start to peel. I look for the thickest part of the transfer and start there, peel BACK slowly and stay close to the cake.
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Remember when I said to let it freeze over night? Yeah… I didn’t do that. I let it set up for like… 30 minutes. lol Oops.
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So, you see, it’s not perfect lol. But you get the idea!!

Here are some more successful transfers I’ve done in the past!

Alright, so I also said there would be a contest! You may or may not recognize the robot in this tutorial… he’s from Instructables.com!

I’ve recently started submitting tutorials to instructables and it’s been a really great experience for me! I’ve always loved the website! Well, I’m giving away a credit for 3 months of pro membership to the site!
You can check me out on the site here and be sure to rate my instructables!

So, how do you win the contest?

1. Check out instructables.com and look around the site for a while! Check out all the cool categories and then come back here and leave a comment telling me what your favorite instructable was that you saw. You’ll be surprised how many different things you can learn on there!

2. Twitter this post or post it to facebook. Put a link to that in your comments or let me know in the comments.

3. You must be subscribed to my blog in order to win!

As it was last time, a winner will be picked next Tuesday! Entries accepted until 9pm EST Monday. Annnd since I just have to send you a code to redeem, this can be won by anyone anywhere in the world! (as long as you meet all three requirements! It’s so very easy!

(*Note: this blog in NO WAY endorses that dreaded ccc (cup cake cake)… aka the smooshing together of several cupcakes to make a so called “cake.” I just really needed something to do this demo with and I had no cake on hand… just some cupcakes in the freezer. Oh dear god don’t let that ever show up on cakewrecks.)

Happy New Year!

So, I ended up taking some unintentional time off from my blog this holiday season. I ended up just being too busy to deal with everything!

I made some cakes, of course.

I made a cake for K&G Bike Center‘s Christmas party.
K&G Bike Center Xmas Cake

I also made a cake for a Christmas party at my work:
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I hope you all had a glorious holiday season! I know I did!
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I just got one of my most exciting Christmas gifts yesterday!
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An airbrush set and tons and tons of Americolor food color!!!!

2011 is going to hold some really awesome things for this blog! I’m going to attempt to host tutorial Tuesdays! I’m working on some other ideas for theme days. We’ll see how it goes. Get ready for lots more cake!!!

These are a few of my favorite things…

I want to take a moment to talk about things that make my day to day life a better place to be while decorating cakes. When I first decided I wanted to do this, I took up a second job, working at a bar, just so that I could buy things that I would need to get started learning how to decorate.

I’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of time on my collection and some things proved to be invaluable, while others… turned out to be a waste of money. So here is a small list of things that I just don’t think I could live with out.

My vintage 1950’s Hobart Kitchen Aid Mixer…
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Okay, so I didn’t actually go out and buy this. It was graciously given to me by my mother in law. It was passed down to her from her mother. Can you believe that before I was given this, I used to mix everything by hand?? My arms would just ache, it was awful. Obviously, I’d love a big fancy new Kitchen Aid mixer, but this thing was built with 1950’s know how. It’s a power horse! It gets the job done every time!

Gel Food Colors
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The next thing on my must-have list, are my Wilton gel colors. Liquid colors are pretty worthless. I know you can pick up a set of four for like a dollar, but you’ll never achieve those true vivid colors you’re looking for! These gel colors cost about $1.50 a color, but will last you quite a while. You only need a small amount to make your fondant and frostings bursting with vivid true colors. I’m told powdered colors are even more intense, but I don’t know where to buy them around here, so I haven’t tried them. These are readily available and can be found at any craft store and even in the cake decorating isle at Wal Mart.

Paint Brushes!
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I have a variety of paint brushes from tiny little detail brushes which I use to paint itsy bitsy details with food colors, to large, flat brushes I use to dry brush the excess powedered sugar from my fondant covered cakes. I don’t think I would know what to do with out them. I sterilize them every time I use them by simply tossing them in the silverware basket in the dishwasher. I even keep them in the silverware drawer in the kitchen lol. They’ve just become a part of my life. I have a different brush for everything.
Once a cake is covered in fondant, I dry brush it and then lightly brush it with a high proof vodka. The vodka dissolves any left over powdered sugar, creates a nice, smooth, vibrant surface on the fondant and then quickly evaporates due to it’s alcohol content. (I saw them do this on Ace of Cakes and have been using this system ever since!)

My Witon Fondant Roller
rolling pin
Oh gosh have I had some rolling pin issues.
When I was starting out, I picked up, what I thought would be a great rolling pin. I spent about $25 on a “nice” metal rolling pin. I thought it would be be awesome. Man was I wrong. Despite my efforts to dry it after washing, there seemed to be a lot of little areas where the pin was put together with various casing and seals on the edges. Eventually, the area where the surface of the pin met the casing for the handles began to rust. I went to roll out white fondant one day and to my dismay, brownish/orange lines appeared on my fondant from the rust! I had to cut off those ares and start all over. I literally spent month rolling my fondant out with a heavy pint glass because I couldn’t afford to splurge on a new rolling pin.
Well, finally, I treated myself to this fondant roller. Holy wow. How did I live before I owned this?? It’s so perfect. It’s heavy weight, so I don’t have to work as hard to flatten the fondant. It’s long, so I don’t end up having to work on the fondant a section at the time. It’s pretty much a perfect tool. I honestly don’t know what I would do with out it.

Fondant/Gumpaste Tools
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There are SO many useful things in this little box. Any time I need to sculpt or shape something, these things are there for me and there’s always just the right tool for the job. I always think of this little kit like my clay working tools from my ceramics class in high school. There are a lot of very similar pieces. I really love using these tools to create textures, mold shapes and add detail. My only small complaint is that there is a small rotary tool which does not spin as freely as I would like it to.

Wilton Performance Pans
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I think when you take your cakes out of the oven in Wilton Performance Pans, a holy chorus of angels should sing.
I feel lucky to own 5 of these pans. I have the large square set and a pair of 6.5″ round pans. They are just dreamy. Everything bakes up evenly and pillowy. Nothing sticks…
I even made a wedding cake using all three of the square pans. Who knew baking a 16″x16″ square cake could be so easy? The layers barely even need a trim… they were just so… even and magical. I was in complete awe. Heck, I still am.

Now, here’s an item I misunderstood and sort of snubbed for a while.

Spring form pans
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I used to have an awful time with these. I would have cake batter leaking out the bottom of them, I’ve ripped many a bottom out of a cake because it stuck to these weird textured bottom plates. I was about fed up with these.

I’ve come to realize now, that spring form pans and I can, in fact, live in harmony. When I use them now, I place a piece of wax paper on the bottom plate, place the ring around it so that the wax paper is cinched in place and then cut the excess paper off around the bottom.
Now… maybe this is some sort of common knowledge… but no one told me! I’m trying to figure everything out on my own, but I guess some details slip by. Since I began with the wax paper, I’ve had nothing but love for these pans. I only wish I owned more. I’ll have to invest in another set :)

Now here’s one thing I wish I hadn’t wasted the money on.

Cake Leveler
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Now, don’t get me wrong… this thing only cost me like $3, but to be honest, I could have purchased two gel colors for that. Or I could have bought one of my favorite energy drinks, or I could have bought 3 items at the dollar store… or… heck, I probably would have rather paid someone $3 to just throw this thing out the window of a moving vehicle.
It’s like I paid $3, to destroy hours of mixing and baking and hard work!
I HATE THIS THING.
When I first started, I tried… really. I thought it was me. I couldn’t be this thing. It had to be me. I just didn’t know what I was doing. Right? I shredded and tore and maimed every cake I came near this thing with. Eventually, I put it away and decided to revisit it later.
Months passed. I was ready to give it another chance. Same results.
It can’t just be me. I think this thing is worthless.
If you think you want to buy one, go get a meal deal at Taco Bell for your $3 instead.

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