23 March 2015

The Cake Escape - with Bloggers & KiwiCakes

A few months ago I got cupcake envy, when I saw one of my friends posting pics on Instagram of her rosette cupcakes, which she declared "easy". For all my love of parties I am very much an amateur cake decorator, making do with frosting squirters and tips from the $2 Shop and trying to be as clever as I can with my limited skills.

But after seeing those "easy" rosettes on my friend's IG feed, I felt inspired to up my game. I wanted to be able to make rosette cupcakes too, dammit! And I knew just the lady to help me.

So I emailed my lovely Party Partner, Sandra from KiwiCakes in Whangarei, and said, hey I need to learn how to do this stuff better, could I come to a workshop - or would you be interested in hosting a workshop for me and some other bloggers? Sandra was keen, gave me a date, I started a Facebook thread for those I thought might be keen, and the The Great Cake Escape was born.

[Our Intrepid cupcake decorators. L-R: Tracy, Lisa Jackie LisaKristy and me]
We ended up with a group of six bloggers - three of us who made the trek in my people mover from Auckland, and three blog pals from Whangarei.

All of us were amateurs and cupcake novices, keen to absorb as much as we could from our very clever cake guru who assured us that we would be able to create cool cupcakes by the end of the day (some of us were not so sure - just look at Jackie's face!)

We brought with us a batch of "nude" cupcakes (some of them sunburnt, hehe Lisa!), and spent the afternoon learning a whole lot of cake decorating skills. Man it was fun! My idea of awesome, hanging out with lovely blog-pals while creating edible works of art...

Here's a few of my humble creations:

I was by no means a natural. in fact I am pretty kack-handed, holding the piping bag wrong and wasting loads of buttercream while trying to perfect my rosettes. I will have to keep practising I think!

[The Paris-themed cupcakes are practise for Miss fab's next Party = Paris; the brick wall is an idea for our TMNT Party coming up]
Sandra was awesome - she put us at ease and gave us her best tips and tricks. Turns out the $2 Shop gear I've been using just doesn't cut it. If I want to do awesome cakes I need the right gear. So I got Sandra to put together an Essentials pack for me, so I could take what I've learned and do it at home.

A few things I learnt:

Piping bags - use disposable ones. You can make perfect two-toned frosting by putting two separate colours inside two separate small piping bags and then putting them both inside a large one... and out will come two-toned buttercream frosting.
Crisco - this is the secret ingredient to having buttercream that (a) holds it's shape and (b) is nice and white. Where your recipe calls for butter, use half Crisco.
Tylo Powder - When you're making fondant shapes and toppers for cupcakes, work a little Tylo powder into your fondant and it will harden nicely to give nice non-floppy cut-outs and molds that hold their shape and stand up stiff.
Cornflour: Dust your fondant with cornflour before pressing it into molds so it pops out nice and easy
Equipment: Use the proper equipment to get a proper result. No more $2 Shop gear, if I invest in the basics the job will be so much easier and the result, so much better...

  1. Large Coupler for fixing tips to piping bags
  2. Closed Tip for piping swirls (start on the outside and work your way in)
  3. Open tip for piping rosettes (start on the inside and work your way out)
  4. Squiggle tip for piping grass, fur etc
  5. Standard Coupler
  6. Edible Glue for fixing on decorations 
  7. Tylo powder for hardening fondant decorations (work a small amount into a lump of fondant before using
The two-toned frosting applied (by Sandra) using different tips:

[Top left: closed tip; top right open tip for making a rosette]
And here's the awesome squiggle tip which makes such cute "grass" (of course we use gel colours not the liquid supermarket ones - but you already know THAT aye?)...

[Me and Sandra - finally got to meet in person after years of party partnering]
We can't thank Sandra enough for giving up a whole afternoon to patiently teach us novices! I know one thing - my cupcakes will never be the same.


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PaisleyJade said...

Yay! Such a great day - thank you Simone & Sandra!!

Clare Hubbard said...

What an awesome experience! So disappointed to miss it but hopeful *next time* we can meet :)

jacksta said...

My face! Confused...dazed and grumpy all in one shot!

Em @ Have A Laugh On Me said...

It looks like so much fun! And full of crazy amounts of sugar.

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