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Michelle Anderson

Michelle\'s Cake Decorating Blog

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Lovely Edible Lace

Thursday May 29, 2014
Used under license from iStock

Creating lovely realistic edible lace for cakes is a passion for many designers because what could be more romantic than a fall of glorious lace down the sides of a cake like a veil? You can also cover your cake board with a lacy design for a unique look. Lace is romance and love which is why many wedding dresses are made completely from lace.

In the "old days" lace for cakes had to be painstakingly created through piping or through punching out a design on thinly rolled gum paste with cutters. This took an excruciating amount of time and the results were often not as fine as you wanted for the finished cake. Lace work can still be done with this manual method but there are options now which take less time and produce stunning results.

Sugar Veil is a company that provides all the products and tutorials to create gossamer thin lace creations and more sturdy designs as required. You have to buy the icing mix from them as well as confectionary sheets or combs if you want to duplicate the lace seen on the site. You can also make delicate spider webs and other patterns yourself using the icing. Sugar Veil should be dried for at least 6 hours or overnight so it can be removed from the molds.

Cake Lace is a newer product that does not need the long drying time and can be purchased from the Cake Decorating Company in the UK. It only needs about 30 minute to 1 hour to dry and the results are very fine and pretty. It also holds quite well for several weeks if you store it in a sealed container.

Both products produce gorgeous lace that can be applied to create show stopping cakes!

Summer Cake Fun for Kids

Thursday May 29, 2014
used under license from iStock

School is almost out and then the summer starts in all its wild activity laden glory. Although traditional kid's camps are still the most popular choice for many parents and children, cake decorating day camps and a cake design element in other camps is fast picking up participants. These camps can answer many of the questions kids might have about cake decorating as a hobby.

Kids love to work with cake, icing and all the neat design elements that go into a decorated cake or cookies. It is fun and you can eat the finished product, what's not to like? Kids can also learn patience and a new skill without much fuss. When picking your cake decorating camp make sure that the company or camp follows strict health code and kitchen safety guidelines to make sure your child has a safe experience.

Some well known camps that revolve around cake decorating or camps that have cake design as an activity are:

  • YMCA camps- some offer this as an activity so inquire at the desk or read the brochure
  • The Wilton School of Cake Decorating in Darien, Illinois, USA
  • Jeanette's Cake Camps in Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Lambert Academy of Sugar Craft in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • All in One Bake Shop in Austin, Texas, USA
  • Muskoka Woods in Rosseau, Ontario, Canada
  • Ro Z's Sweet Art studio in San Marcos, California, USA

Thursday Spectacular

Thursday May 29, 2014
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Some cakes need a little applause. I do not like purple in general, except in flowers, fruit, and potatoes. I have never liked doing purple cakes except when the client is adamant that the color is the only one they will be satisfied with in the end. I can be impressed by a purple cake though, as long as I don't need to do it. This cake impresses me because it shows a staggeringly huge amount of work and patience, not to mention a steady hand. Look carefully at the intricate design and the tiny edible sparkly beads in the center of all the tiny diamonds and squares. Not to mention the thousands of tiny piped cream flowers and leaves.

Beautiful, even if it is purple.

Follow the Rainbow

Thursday May 29, 2014
Used under license from iStock

Rainbow cakes are still a trend especially when your client is a young girl. There is something wondrous about slicing into a cake and finding bands of bright vibrant colors instead of chocolate or vanilla. You can tint your layers pale pastels or rich deep hues depending on your preference. This is definitely not an elegant cake, although a subtly shaded ombre interior could be understated if done well. If you are making this type of cake for a client, make sure you price it accordingly because there is extra work and materials used.

Another nice variation for this type of cake beyond the intensity of color is to use one single color and explore the palate of that shade from light to dark in an ombre pattern. The layers of frosting in between the different colored layers is usually white so that the color shines through from the cake, but you can use any color for this frosting.

The outside of the cake can also have a rainbow theme with concentric rings of icing, candy ot fondant cut outs in various shades. You could even double up on the pattern on the outside with rows of colorful skittle beads going around and around.

The Need to Bake Cookies

Tuesday April 29, 2014
Usewd under license from iStock

I love cakes. They are the epitome of decadence, love and can be created in any image or scene. However, sometimes there is nothing like dusting off your baking sheets and mixing up a batch of pretty cookies to share or use in a cake design. Cookies have become a wedding treat and favor to take home after the festivities are done. Cookies are also stacked up to create unique cakes for couples who see themselves as "cookie people" rather than cake enthusiasts.

Some wonderful cookies to decorate or simple eat are:

Spring is in the Air

Tuesday April 29, 2014
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There is finally a break up of the ice in the area I live although the snow is still piled high in many areas. It is time to see if the eight hundred tulips and daffodils will come up or if the squirrels ate the bulbs in the early winter. Time to spring clean my house and cake decorating supplies. Here is a summer inspired cake for anyone who likes to sit on the dock and soak up the sun. It is lovely to see that anything, even Muskoka chairs, can be made out of gum paste.

Large Cake Ambitions

Tuesday April 29, 2014
Used under license from iStock

As a professional pastry chef the largest wedding cake I have ever made for an event is 450 slices in the form of three large oven sized sheet cakes and a six tier presentation cake for the actual cake table. You don't realize how heavy cake is until you lift one that is three feet long and two feet wide. The logistics of that cake are enough to wake me out of a sound sleep almost ten years after the fact. I cannot fathom the planning that has gone into the $200000.00 fifteen thousand slice cake created for the Beverly Hills' centennial.

This behemoth cake is not just a plain slab either, parts were flown in and there are extra design elements such as a chocolate dome, edible paper tiles, flowers, ribbons and plywood platforms. The cake was conceived by pastry chef Donald Wressell and executed with the help of countless talented helpers. A 30 pound tower for the representation of the city's 1932 City Hall was created by Mike McCarey of Mike's Amazing Cakes and flown in from Washington. After two month of work by local sugar artists and custom bakers put together the entire creation and then started cutting it up. That is the way the cookie or cake crumbles; you live and dream an idea, execute it and then cut it apart.

Cake in a Jar

Tuesday April 29, 2014
Used under license from iStock

Have you ever wished that you could take a nice piece of cake to work or put one in a school lunch box? The reason you don't is probably because it would be an incredible mess and you would end up with a crumbled piece of cake and smeared icing. There is a solution to this cake consumption issue, a cake in a jar. This is an idea that is gaining great popularity since Duff Goldman, celebrity cake designer, launched cake packaged in mason jars. These tasty creations can be ordered from Duff's Cakemix in several delectable flavors with different vanilla and chocolate icings.

This is a handy idea to try yourself at home. You can either bake a cake directly in the jars, leaving room for the icing after the rise. You could also bake a slab cake and then layer cake and icing into the jars. Either method would produce a neatly packaged treat. Or if you don't want to make and decorate your own simply get a signature Cake-In-A-Jar sent out to you in the mail. You can ever get gluten free or vegan if you special order.

Spring Cake

Monday March 31, 2014
Used under license from iStock

It is not yet spring in Northern Ontario even though it is the last day of March. By not spring I mean there is still about 3-4 feet of snow, more snow expected and many degrees below zero temperatures. Other parts of the world are in full bloom with flowers, green grass and tender leaves popping up everywhere.

So here is a glorious spring themed cake to boost your spirits no matter where you are on the temperature scale. That is the lovely part of cake design, you can create your own worlds from your imagination or change the seasons with sugar. In this case whip up a light fresh orange or lemon chiffon cake and decorate it with It is accented by lush peonies in pink and white which can be made with gum paste if you are at an intermediate level. This cake makes me think the snow is eventually going to melt away.

Simple Cake Idea

Monday March 31, 2014
Used under license from iStock

My oldest son is taking what we would have called Home Economics but now is labelled Nutrition and Food. All they have done in the last few weeks is bake and decorate cookies and cakes which should have been easy for him due to my experiences. I was not expecting anything truly interesting to come home.

On Friday he brought home the cutest cupcake, or what could be called a cupcake, in a wide mouth glass jar. They had created a nice simple vanilla cake batter and then tinted it five different colors. The kids then scooped spoonfuls of different colors into jars so that they filled the jar about halfway up. When they baked their cakes the colors merged and spread creating an interesting tie dye effect.

After the cake was cool they decorated the top, still in the jar, with piped designs, swirls of icing, fondant figures and sprinkles. When he brought it home he simply screwed the metal top onto the jar. This could be a fabulous idea for showers, birthday events and event wedding desserts. The effect could go from charming to elegant depending on your decorating.

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