Sunday, December 14, 2014

"O Tannenbaum" O Christmas Tree

Thank you Sandy Swart for the great blog post for today!

Christmas parties and what can I take? DTC has wonderful mini molds that are great for Christmas treats.  For this treat I used: Christmas- Mini #1 , Christmas- Mini #2Christmas- Reindeer Mini,  Christmas- Angels Mini,   Valentine- Heart set of 6, and a few of the buttons from Button- Large Set of 9

The first thing to make is the mini chocolates in the mini molds mentioned above.  After melting the almond bark in a disposable piping bag, I cut the tip off to make a small hole.
Fill each mold, piping the melted almond bark into the cavities. Be careful to not overfill.

Gently tap to even out the almond bark in the mold. Place in freezer for 5 minutes.

Carefully pop chocolate out of the molds after removing them from the freezer.  I dusted each chocolate with luster dust to highlight the details on each chocolate.   Below you can see the difference. The top snowflake is dusted and the bottom one was directly out of the mold.

Push chocolate back into bag away from the opening if you have the molds filled. This allows you to re-melt the chocolate in the microwave without it leaking out the cut end.  The chocolate molded minis can be made way ahead of time. 

As I went to bake my mini cupcakes, I noticed that my liners were too open.

Somewhere online, I remembered reading about someone "re-crimping" their cupcake liners. I picked out a round cutter from my Ateco round cutter set that was the size of the muffin cavities and the next size smaller.

Place a stack of liners in the larger cutter and place the smaller cutter on top. I used the palm of my hand to push the liners down into the larger cutter.  Allow to set for an hour or two.

Here is the same method used on regular sized cupcake liners.

Here shows the mini liner on the left and the resized mini liner on the right.  It fits just fine down into the cavity. That helps prevent the outside of the liner kinking when the batter is put into the liner.

Set out the mini cupcakes into the shape of a Christmas tree.  I found that my large heart shaped cardboard worked fine for the shape

I reheated the remainder of the chocolate in the piping bag and "glued" the individual cupcakes to the foil board with a small bit of melted chocolate to prevent the cupcakes from moving.

I piped a swirl of green buttercream on each cupcake and placed one of the minis on each one. Looking at the picture you can see where I just piped a wide zigzag for the bottom part of the tree.  To show off the star that I piped on the top cupcake, I first placed a white fondant disk on the cupcake first.  The center of the green piped star was a green star.

With some of the extra minis from this project, I molded some red minis.  I piped a large green buttercream star on the cupcake before adding the chocolate mini.  I didn't care for the pearl dust on the red minis so I did not dust the red ones. Experiment and you'll know what you like the looks of.

I love Ritz crackers with peanut butter dipped in white almond bark.  I dipped some for our family Christmas treats.  This time I just used the mini hearts to accent the tops.

Any questions?  You can contact me through Sandy Swart Cakes on Facebook or at
Albums of my decorated cakes can be seen at:

DTC Products Used:
Christmas- Mini #1
Christmas- Mini #2
Christmas- Reindeer Mini
Christmas- Angels Mini
Valentine- Heart set of 6
Button- Large Set of 9

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Building Block Cupcakes

Build some great cupcakes for your next party.

Use the Small Building Block Texture Mat and fondant color of choice.

Roll out the fondant evenly across the mat.  Be careful when rolling to get a smooth impression - if the fondant shifts you can get a double impression.  If it keeps slipping you can use a fondant smoother and direct pressure down on the fondant. 

When finished, flip the mat over and peel back off the fondant.  See on the side area where there is a double impression from the fondant slipping?  Use a circle cutter (we are showing some with a circle cutter and a fluted circle cutter) to cut out discs from the center area.  Let them dry for a few days to hold their shape.

For the building blocks, use the building block mold and fondant or gumpaste.  Take a smooth ball of fondant and press into the mold cavity.

Smooth out the fondant while pressing into the mold to get a good impression.  I like to use my rolling pin for this step.

Using a palette knife or tool of choice, remove the excess.

Clean up the edges.

Invert the mold and pop out the building block.

Arrange onto cupcakes!

DTC Products Used:

Similar Products:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Aged Leaf Scroll

Many thanks to Chef Mitchie for this great blog post.

For a recent project, I needed something that looked aged/vintage, rococo, something you might find in an old mansion.  And the Small Leaf w/ Scroll made a perfect addition to my edible scene.

Materials and Ingredients Needed:
Silicone Mold - Small Leaf with Scroll
White and Black Fondant (or any colors to fit your project)
Tylose Powder
Paring Knife or cutting blade
Black petal dust
Assorted soft bristle brushes
Non-Stick work surface
Paper towel

To marble your fondant, roll the white fondant into a log and the black fondant into a thin rope.  Wrap the black rope around the white and then twist the two together until your fondant begins to resemble marbling.  Before fully incorporated add some tylose powder.   This will help your leaf scrolls to set up as you're working.  Knead until all of the powder is no longer visible.  If it becomes sticky use a little shortening on your fingers.

Size up a portion of your marbled fondant to resemble a 1 inch ball.  We want a deep impression from the mold so we are going to push the ball into the mold while trying to avoid any overhang.  Once the entire ball is in the mold, turn upside down and press firmly against your non-stick work surface with the heel of your hand or a rolling pin.

Remove your Leaf Scroll from the mold.  You can trim up your leaf if any overhang is visible or you can make slight adjustments by separating the leaves from Scroll; however you see fit for your project.  I picked up my leaf scrolls and gave them a pinch from top to bottom to add a little curve.  This helped me to avoid wrinkles and cracks later.

Place your Leaf Scroll atop a paper towel.  Use a smaller brush at first and dip into your black petal dust, tap off excess.  Use light strokes to ever so slightly highlight the details of your Leaf Scroll.  Once you can see the details, use your larger brush to dust sides and remove excess.

Wasn't that fun?  You could apply this method to a number of edible projects.  I used mine to decorate pillars in an edible scene as well as in part of a door frame.  Some other ideas:  a frame, border, chandelier cakes.

Michelle Currann AKA Chef Mitchie

DTC Products Used:
Small Leaf w/ Scroll

Monday, July 14, 2014

Making realistic tree bark

I started with ivory fondant that I then added extra AmeriColor ivory to darken it. 

Then using the Oak Tree Texture Mat I rolled out a section at a time to cover the cake. 

I place the fondant over the mat and roll until I can barely see the texture through the mat. 

Then I flipped the whole thing over and peeled off the texture mat. 

I then cut the sections to the height of the cake plus approximately 1/4".  Using some "glue" of your choice attach to your cake. I just used water to attach to my buttercream. 

I forgot to get a photo of the sections on the cake prior to dusting.  So, here is one on the table showing how I dusted.

To color I used Penzey's Spices Dutch Process Cocoa powder -- any cocoa powder or a brown petal dust will work -- along with some corn starch to get the variegated colors you want. 

Blend the two items together and brush on the cake with a nice fluffy brush.  Making variations in the colors as you dust will make the cake look more natural.  ** Emailed question -- Which direction did you brush on the the color to get the best natural coloration?  Answer -- I didn't brush in any particular direction.  I brushed with the bark grain, sideways, in circles -- basically I was ubber messy in my dusting.  This of course required major cleanup on the board -- but a little Everclear on a napkin and it wiped up nicely.

As you can see in the photo below the left half is the undusted original fondant piece and right half has been dusted with the cocoa powder/corn starch. 

DTC Products Used:
Oak Tree Bark Large

Similar DTC Products:
Pear Tree Bark

Don't like fondant and want to use the mat with some buttercream?  Check out the this blog Silicone Texture Mats and Buttercream

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wide Floral Lace

Thank you Sandy Swart for the great blog post for today!

Our preacher's wife was retiring from teaching from our parochial school after 18 years of teaching.  She is a North Carolina gal and has never lost her accent.  I remember years ago that she mentioned that dogwood were her favorite flower so I decided to use dogwood on the centerpiece cake for her retirement reception at the school.

The plates the school board was providing had a light aqua background with soft pink roses and a creamy hydrangea type flower printed on them.  I was supposed to create something that coordinated with the plates.  I knew that dogwood wasn't on the plates but really wanted to put 18 dogwood flowers on her cake - each dogwood symbolizing 1 year of teaching at the school.  I decided to incorporate the aqua color by using two lace pieces diagonally across two corners of the sheet cake.

The Border - Wide Floral lace press that I purchased from Decorate The Cake at a cake club DOS in Council Bluffs, NE, was the solution to my design challenge.  I mixed aqua MMF (left over from graduation time) with white fondant, rolled it out to #3 thickness with my KA Pasta roller.

I placed this over the lace mold cavity and pressed the second part of the press into it until the edges cut the fondant.  I removed the lace mold piece and cleaned up the edges by using my finger to gently pull any fondant along the edge to the middle of the lace piece.  I removed the lace piece by placing the mold and lace face down and rolling the silicon mold back to release the fondant lace.

With a little dusting with luster dust, I place the ribbon on opposite corners and trimmed the lace to the angle of the cake edge.  I chose those two particular corners so that my dogwood branches and lace pieces would leave me an open area in the bottom left of the sheet cake to write the message.

I piped the branches on, placed the gumpaste dogwood flowers on and then piped a few leaves with green (again coordinating with the green in the paper ware). Since there was a predominate color of pink on the plates, I chose to print the salutations in pink to incorporate the color onto the cake design.  Since the parochial school is preschool-8th grade, I chose to print the words  so that the younger children could read it.  We all call her Amy but the children address her as Mrs. Hofman so I decided the message should be:  "We will miss you, Mrs. Hofman!" 

When I look at a lace mold, I immediately contemplate in my mind how I would use it on a wedding cake.  Sometimes we just have to "think outside of the box" or our "norm".  I was happy with the end result on this sheet cake using Border- Wide Floral  silicone mold from 

For Step-by-Step directions, with photos on using a lace press, check the  Lace it Up! blog post.

Any questions?  You can contact me through Sandy Swart Cakes on Facebook or at
Albums of my decorated cakes can be seen at:

DTC Product Used:
Border - Wide Floral

Monday, June 9, 2014

Creating an Isomalt Pond

Today we will make the base pond and add the elements created in previous blog posts to get a great little pond scene.  

First use some aluminum foil, you will want to use a non-stick foil or if you do not have a non-stick foil use foil that you spray with cooking spray and then lightly wipe the excess off leaving a thin layer of spray.  

Wrinkle the foil up a bit, then smooth it back out.  The wrinkles add additional dimension to the back side of the isomalt.  Next manipulate the foil to build a dam to keep the isomalt contained when pouring out the pond.  Place the foil onto a silpat to help protect your workspace.

I used CakePlay Blue Isomalt Nibs, but you could use clear and add blue food coloring.  Place the nibs in a microwave safe container with a pour spout to melt, warming in 15-30 second increments until fully melted.  Stir with a bamboo skewer and let sit to allow bubbles to dissipate.  Then pour the isomalt onto your prepared foil.  Maybe you can aim better than I do and actually keep it all in the dam.  

You don't have to fill the entire area -- this is just a guide.

Once the isomalt is fully cooled gently pull the foil away from your pond.  

Invert onto a silpat and peel back the foil.

Place the pond the cake board or a cake top.  Using isomalt as your glue start adding in all of the elements created from out previous blog posts.

Dragonfly Directions
5 Petal Flower Directions

 Butterfly Directions

Log Directions

DTC Products Used: