Monday, November 4, 2013

Silicone Texture Mats and Buttercream?

A very common question I get is if the DTC silicone mats will work on a buttercream cake.  I wasn't sure so I decided to give it a try.

I decided to try it out with the oak tree bark mat.  Since the mat is so deep and detailed I knew I needed a very thick layer of buttercream to start.  I added approximately a 1/3" thick layer of buttercream to the outside of the cake. I made sure the top was smooth how I wanted it.  Then semi smoothed the sides.  I didn't get super picky on this.  Just a quick smooth.  Sorry I forgot to take a picture at this stage.

Then in the freezer the cake went.  I wanted it nice and cold but not frozen.  In my freezer I left it about 15-20 minutes.  I wanted the cake firm enough that it took some pressure to dent when I touched the side of the cake but would move some.

Take the cake out of the freezer and lay the texture mat next to the cake and very firmly and evenly press the mat into the cake.  I was by myself so not the best picture.  Press firmly.  You can use a fondant smoother to make sure it is evenly pressed. When you have the nice thick buttercream layer and you are pushing on it like this it will force some of the buttercream up above the top edge of the cake.  I liked this look and played while pushed to get the somewhat rough top edge that bark would give.

Gently pull the mat away.  I did get some of the buttercream stuck in the deep crevices but only after the cake has been out a while and I kept futzing with the cake.

The buttercream really picks up the details!

Quick airbrush with some various browns.

Add some grass and butterflies and I'm all done!

DTC Products Used:

You could also use:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Going a Little Batty

I wanted to make an isomalt moon for the top of a cake.  I decided in this spooky season it needed some bats on it.  To get this look I'm using DTC's new bat inlay to get the above look.

Materials needed:
Bat inlays
Isomalt - I used CakePay isomalt nibs
Metal round cookie cutter
Cooking spray or some type of oil

Lightly spray the inside of the cutter ring with cooking spray then wipe off excess with a napkin.  Arrange the bats on a silicone mat or lightly oiled marble surface and place ring around the bats.  (Some pictures show two bats and some show three -- I made a few before I found one I liked.)

Place isomalt nibs in an microwave safe container -- warm in 30 second increments in microwave until fully melted.  Gently pour over the bats.

Stop when you reach the desired thickness and the bats are covered. 

Once cooled -- time will depend on the temperature in the area -- gently remove the ring.

Use a palette knife to gently pull the bats out from the back.

If you have any surface bubbles they can be removed by a quick blast with a blow torch.  Be careful if you do this over the thinner bat sections as they will melt quickly.  To help with the bubbles make sure to wait prior to pouring for the bubbles to dissipate.  I waited longer on the moon with with two bats and there are very few bubbles.

If the isomalt gets cloudy over time -- or you touch it too much -- and it gets dull looking you can use a small amount of vegetable oil on your finger and gently rub over the surface.

Here are some close ups of the other features of the cake:

DTC Products Used:
Bat Inlay
Small Bat
Medium Bat
Skeletal Hand
Skulls - 4 Mini
Skulls - Horizontal Border

Monday, October 7, 2013

Just A Little "Horsin' Around"

I would like to send a big Thank You to Rebecca Stewart for helping me out with the latest blog post.

I wanted to make a small display cake for the 2013 ICES convention in Kentucky. When I saw the horse molds at DTC, I knew just what to do! This cake measures just 8" from base to the top of the topper. I used a set of octagon dummies, but the same sizes can be cut from one 9x13 sheet cake (templates provided via link at end).

Materials Needed:

2" high cake tiers (1 each, 3x5, 4x6, 5x7 "stretched" octagons)
Fondant (ivory, brown (2 shades) and red)
Tylose powder
DTC Molds: Horsehoe, horse head, running horse
Sugar Delites mold: mini rose (or) use the smaller rose in the DTC Floral 1-Mini-9 Spring Flowers mold
Extruder with rope die is helpful
Gum glue or melted chocolate

Mold the horse head, running horse and horseshoes using lighter brown fondant with a small amount of tylose added. I will refer to this as fondant throughout the post. When molding tiny detail such as found in these molds, it is best to pop the filled mold in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. You can then unmold the figure without the tiny bits breaking off. 

Make 2 heads, 2 running horses, 6 horseshoes, and 12-14 mini roses.

Use thin strings of fondant (50/50) to get into the tiny spaces, such as the legs on the horse.

Roll the filled mold to press the fondant into all the spaces.

Carefully skim off the excess with a thin blade palette knife.

After freezing, carefully unmold your pieces.

Follow the same procedure to mold the roses with red fondant/tylose.

Allow all pieces to dry, preferably overnight.

To assemble the miniature topper, use a small log of fondant to match the cake and slightly flatten it. Place the horseshoes in the log, pressing down slightly into the fondant. Carefully remove them and apply a small amount of gum glue or melted chocolate in the indentation. 

Replace the horseshoes, positioning them as desired. Fill in the base by attaching the miniature roses.

Ice, cover with ivory fondant if desired, and stack your cake tiers. Using straight fondant in a darker shade of brown, extrude a rope border and place it around the base of each tier. With shorter lengths of rope, tie a knot and attach it front and center on each rope border.

Apply the molded elements to the front and back, using gum glue or melted chocolate. Place topper.

Use these links for templates to cut a 9x13 or 12x12 sheet cake into the sizes used. Be sure to set the page scaling option in the PDF to NONE

DTC Products Used:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Icing Smiles

Icing Smiles is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide critically ill children and their siblings with custom celebration cakes.  As a fellow baker, Tracy Quisenberry (Executive Director) recognized the impact that a custom cake can have on a child.  She started Icing Smiles to share that wonder with kids who can't take for granted the everyday experiences of childhood, especially birthdays.

Icing Smiles delivered their first cake in January 2010 and has partnered with volunteer bakers in all 50 states!  Bakers range from home/hobby bakers to industry greats such as Kate Sullivan, Anne Heap and Elissa Strauss.

We invite you to visit their website ( and their Facebook page ( where their mission comes to life.  As a volunteer baker or "Sugar Angel" for Icing Smiles, you will join a nationwide movement to create positive memories for these families during a very difficult time.  Memories have magical powers.  Long after the cake is gone, the memories linger - memories of the kindness of a stranger, the art of the design, the sweet smells of a special treat, of the smiles and laughs of a normal childhood experience so often stolen from these children. These memories are why we say, "it is so much more than a cake."

To access the volunteer application, please go to their website at and click Create a Smile.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wafer Paper Flowers for Fall

Jeannie Gearin does it again with another amazing blog post.  This time it is a great idea for a beautiful fall cake!

Wafer paper flowers offer an alternative to gumpaste flowers. They have a light and airy quality to them which makes for a beautiful cake design.

I learned a new technique from Lisa Berczel at the ICES Convention this summer, molding wafer paper flowers. The tools needed are pictured here. Plastic tweezers or silicone tipped tweezers are necessary for handling the wet wafer paper. Make a pattern for the petal shape that will fit into the mold, taking into account there will be some shrinking of the shape once it gets wet. Cut wafer paper petals using the pattern. Dip the petal into water by holding it with the tweezers. Lay the petal onto the mold and brush gently into place with a damp brush. 

 Leaves are made the same way. Brush the wafer paper onto the veiner to achieve the impression you want.

 Craft punches can also be used to make flowers out of wafer paper.  These punches were purchased at Michael's and Archiver's.

 Flowers can be shaped by laying on a former and brushing lightly with water to take on a curved shape. The single layer flower is fragile and does not need to be dipped in water.

Plastic formers of any type may be used, but make sure they do not have a hole at the bottom or the wafer paper will also get a hole.


The fastest way to dry the wafer paper is under a heat lamp. I found my sugar box worked great for this. Leaves and single layer flowers dry in about 15 minutes. Multi-petal flowers take at least 30 minutes to dry. It is easy to see when they are no longer wet and ready for the next step.

Make centers for the flowers with gumpaste or a 50/50 mix. I mixed yellow and green together to get a more natural looking center.

 Airbrushing is the best way to color the flowers. Hold the flowers with tweezers so they don't blow away! Add the color in layers and take care not to add to much because the moisture can distort the flower shape.

Attach the centers to the flowers using piping gel. Allow to dry and then attach to the cake with more piping gel, holding in place to set.

Play around with the layout of your design before attaching to the cake.

Wafer paper flowers are fun to make. I am looking forward to experimenting with this technique for butterflies and feathers.

Vendor Credits:  Party Styling and Desserts by Jeannie

DTC Products Used:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

SugarEd Productions Sugar Art School

Have you seen the new Sugar Art School started by Sharon Zambito at SugarEd Productions?

SugarEd Productions is your one-stop hub for cake decorating instruction.  Founded in 2007 by Sharon Zambito, a pioneer in cake decorating video instruction, SugarEd has earned a stellar reputation the world over for offering top-quality instructional DVDs and supplies, along with excellent customer service.
Head over to
And customers wanted more.  More videos.  More tutorials.  More answers to their questions, and more opportunities to talk about all things cake with others in the business.

Head over to

So SugarEd has expanded into a comprehensive online sugar art school.  Here members will find an ever growing library of exclusive content, including:  full length instructional videos by both Sharon and guest celebrity instructors; detailed photo tutorials from some of the best talent in the industry; informative articles pertaining to decorating, running a business, food safety and cake photography; a large printable recipe bank; and a chat forum to interact and have fun with Sharon and other members.

Head over to

Members can share their own recipes, photos and tutorials in our friendly and helpful community.  Join the fun by participating in the games, contests and other interactive activities.  From cakes to cookies, from candy to desserts (and with everything in between), we bring it all together in one convenient and happy place.

- Learn at your own pace 24/7
- New content added weekly
- As low as 27 cents per day!
- Interactive community: share and learn
- Videos optimized for mobile devices

And every one who joins now will get a charter member badge for their profile

and an extra free PDF tutorial for this cute elephant figure.

SugarEd Productions has partnered with Decorate the Cake!  SugarEd Productions will be using some of our molds in their videos and tutorials.  Head over now and see which ones you can spot!

psst.....why are you still here?  Get to school at SugarEd Productions!