Monday, May 30, 2011
Pretend your body is a tube of toothpaste...
and squeeze from the bottom, up. This was a rule of thumb that I often heard in ballet class to help strengthen my center and develop proper dancer posture. As hard and repetitive as ballet tended to be, it really was an excellent foundation for other types of dance that I was interested in and asked to perform in various shows. The same concept was true for singing. Learn the craft with classical techniques and you can then build upon those skills to master any variety of styles.
I now carry those same practices into the development of my cake decorating skills. I seem to have initially gravitated toward several non-traditional techniques (painted chocolate) and product offerings (cakepops) as I love the variety and opportunities for artistic expression that they provide. However, I want to make sure that I also know more traditional techniques so that I can satisfy any number of client preferences. I have just completed my 2nd and 3rd cake classes, Flowers & Cake Design and Fondant & Gumpaste and have found that I very much love the detail work involved in the creation of sugar flowers and figures. I look forward to continuing to experiment with development of my signature style through combining these classic techniques with newer concepts. Here are some of my lessons learned.
In a few weeks, I will be re-creating a traditional wedding cake for a 40th wedding anniversary. The topper features yellow rosebuds, so I have been practicing creating those with fondant. This is a very detailed technique where each petal is created separately and then adhered to the bud base with gumpaste glue. It is time-intensive, but I think it produces an elegant and very realistic flower. I will enhance the coloring with shimmery lustre dust before placing on the cake.
Another flower technique is to pipe a more informal rose and rosette with buttercream. The cupcakes here were just for practice and not as finished as I normally like them, but you get the idea. I love the white on white. Perfect for a bridal shower or even as a complement or alternative to a wedding cake. Picture these in your favorite color combinations!
Many people love the clean and finished look that a fondant-covered cake provides. If you have never had one, the texture and taste is very different from a buttercream or other creamy type of frosting. It’s very much a matter of preference. I happen to love buttercream or cream cheese icing. This cake, which I made for the family for Memorial Day, combines a fondant-covered cake base, cake, fondant bow and stars.
Until next time! Remember…squeeze like a tube of toothpaste!