Friday, February 18, 2011

I see seashells by the seashore..

Just in time for Spring Break!  A Sea Shell project from DTCPUG member, Andreea --

Hi, my name is Andreea and this is the first tutorial I am doing on this site. Even though I live in New Jersey , I am not near the beach but everytime I do a beach themed cake I dream of vacations. Using the molds from Decorate the Cake, it was so easy and fun that even my 13 year old niece Nicole helped me with it. What's so great about this cake is that it is quick, doesn't require alot of materials but yet still has the WOW factor.

First I covered the cake in white findant and allowed it to harden a little. Then to add a little more texture like at the beach, I wet a natural sponge and dipped it in thinned royal icing. Tapping the fondant with the sponge will give you a speckled effect. I used white on white but it also looks very nice with contrasting colors. Allow this to dry before decorating further.

Color some piping gel with blue food coloring to replicate water. I like to use a little blue and a little green but not blend it completely. The shells can be done in 2 different ways. Solid white is easy as you can then color the shells in whatever shades you want but if you are in a rush , you could just marbleize the fondant and mold as is. Pack it in as tight as you can and then remove excess above the mold capacity. I prefer to use a metal paint palette knife. I have a set specificially just for food. The blades are thinner and more flexible than a spatula.

Removing the shells is where alot of people have difficulty. The easiest method I have found is to place the mold in the freezer for a few minutes.The shells then remove very easily and can be dried flat on wax paper dusted with cornstarch . I like to give them more life, especially the starfish and sand dollars by placing crumbled up plastic wrap to fluff up certain areas or corners.

Once the shells have dried, I use DRY dusting colors to paint them. I find the dry colors give it a more subtle look and the colors blend easier. I keep on hand real shells as well as pictures of different shells for examplars of shading. The best thing about shells is that the details on the outside pick up the colors quickly and there's really no wrong way of coloring them. Nature is not perfect. They come in so many different color combinations. To add the shimmer on the shells, I then dust all with a luster dust.

To assemble the cake, a mound of fondant was placed on the top of the cake to elevate the shells. The blue piping gel was added to represent water as well as serving the purpose of glue. The "water" cascades down the the side of the cake and was spread on the board to continue with the design. The "sand" placed at the bottom of the cake is made of a mixture of brown sugars. You can also add some flipflops, umbrella or sand castle to complete the scene. Then there's also the palm tree too.

Hope you enjoyed my cake and have a blast playing "in the sand"

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