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This site is dedicated to sharing what we have learned with you! Enjoy our tutorials, and if you have a question please feel free to ask! I know one of our sugar enthusiasts will either know or try to find the answer.
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Life's A Beach!

Life's A Beach!
Celebrate Summer by Creating a Beachy Topper! Click on photo for tutorial!


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Monday, September 27, 2010

Lemon Bars


I had a very dear friend send me these Meyer Lemons freshly picked from her Lemon tree.

So of course I had to bake a lemon dessert and these bars are delicious!

Lemon Bars
Ingredients
For the crust:


1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball.

Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.
Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.

Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Photography by Diane Marks. 2010 all rights reserved 
Lemon Bars Recipe by Ina Gartner - Food Network Website 
  


Monday, September 20, 2010

Sweet Lil' Punkin Patch

Whoo Hoo! Autumn is officially here!!!
Yippee! I would be doing handsprings if I had the body of a 12 year old!
But since that isn't the case, I am celebrating the start of my favorite season with an

Edible Punkin Patch!

First You will want to start off by making a batch of Rice Krispies Treats.
Now you can just use the original recipe or try my take on a Butter Pecan Krispies Bar
that I drizzled with Butterscotch Glaze to resemble Hay Bales.
Recipe is on the CakesDuSoleil blog
Once you have your "hay bales" made, reserve some of the butterscotch glaze in a piping bag
for your Scarecrows and Indian corn.

Marzipan Scarecrows

Ingredients



Roll out a red and blue ball the size of a large gumball
and a white and gold ball the size of a small gumball.
Keep covered in an airtight container as you work.

Roll out the blue into a cord about 3- 3-1/2" long
Cut in half to make legs- and make an indention on one end of each leg.
Place on the edge of a clean styrofoam surface. I let this one dry out too much
while taking pics. But for a scarecrow, I liked the tear in the knee of the pant, so
I didn't redo it. If your marzipan dries too quickly, knead in a very small amount
of vegetable shortening to restore.
Flatten the red ball and create a T shaped piece (as shown above)
Using the back side of a knife, make indentions for the "shirt".

Divide the gold ball in half. Press one half with your finger to make a
straw hat brim.
Flatten the other gold ball slightly for the top of the hat. Brush the bottom of the
hat with a brush dampened with water and secure to the brim.

Take the white ball and make into a square. With Edible pens, draw
a face on one side

Using the butterscotch glaze ( You could also use buttercream if you choose)
pipe "straw" on the bottom of trousers. Pipe "straw " on the arms of the red shirt.
Secure the shirt to the trousers with piped "straw" and the head to the shirt in the same
manner.  Pipe more straw around the head and place the hat on top.
You can make these ahead of time and place on your "hay bales"
Or build them on the "hay bale" as you go.

Indian Corn


Candy Corn
Butterscotch Glaze or Gold Buttercream

For the Indian corn, Pipe the glaze in a V shape over candy corn as shown above.

Then continue to pipe lines around the outside of the V to create the corn shucks.

Punkin Patch Sign

Popsicle stick
small amount of white gumpaste
gum glue ( 1/4 tsp Tylose mixed with hot water )

Snap off about 3/4" on one end of Popsicle stick
Roll out gumpaste very thin and cut into a 1x2" rectangle
Cut another smaller strip of gumpaste about 1/2x1"
Brush the stick with a bit of gum glue and place face down on gumpaste
Brush the small strip of gumpaste with gum glue and place over
popsicle stick and gumpaste, as shown above.
Allow to dry completely face down.

When dry, write your wording with an edible marker.


Find a pretty plate and stack the Rice Krispies Hay bales.
Place your scarecrows, securing if needed with a bit of butterscotch glaze.
Continue to embellish with Indian corn, Mellowcreme Pumpkins

So Cute and a great way to start off the holidays.
Happy Autumn !!

Tutorial and Photography by Jacque Benson 2010
 all rights reserved

This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grapesicle Buttercream and Red Ranunculus


 

Wow, it seems like forever since I have done a wedding cake, or posted a tutorial for you guys here. Life is finally getting back to normal (whatever that is) after that Cake Off fiasco, LOL.


This past weekend I had a really fun and challenging wedding cake. Those of you that follow me on Facebook lived through some of the mishaps with me this last week. I had some bumps in the road, but luckily it all turned out fine in the end.

The bride wanted me to do a version of the cake found here. But she wanted 4 tiers, buttercream icing, and the lavender color instead of pale pink. (Actually the color swatch she gave me was called Grapesicle. Love that name.) Sure I said, no problemo! But I should have thought about the fact that lavender BC fades terribly, and I was going to be traveling with a tower of a cake over 70 minutes into the city over terrible, horrible roads. Doing this cake in fondant would have been much less stressful. But hey, I live for stress! I eat stress for breakfast!

I believe the flowers are ranunculus, but most pictures I found have them pretty closed and you do not see much of the centers. But the cake photo she provided had them very open, with the centers very prominent.

So I did not worry so much if they looked like true ranunculus, as much as trying to get them to look as close to the flowers in the photo she provided as possible. I did not find ranunculus cutters anywhere, so my dear friend Rebbecca Sutterby shared her method with me of using rose cutters.

I spent the better part of two days trying different centers and petal formations. I struggled to get the overall shape and petal movement right. When my son told me that the centers looked like giant olives, I knew it was time to call in reinforcements. The big guns. The Wendy.

The Wendy came over in a flash and looked at them with a fresh eye. In fact, she said my centers looked like eyeballs. Olives. Eyeballs. Oliballs. Whatever you call them, they were wrong. And way too huge. So Wendy and I played with centers and petals until we got a formation we were happy with .

Start by putting a ball of green gumpaste onto the end of a wire. The size of the ball depends upon how big you want to go with the flowers. We made a variety of sizes, because we wanted a variety of flowers in different stages of bloom on the cake.

Next you make an indentation on the end of the ball with the flat side of an exacto knife. Then make a little hole inside that circle with the pointy tip of a small paintbrush. ( I forgot to photograph those two steps, my bad.) Then score the sides all around the ball with a veining or dresden tool to make the lines.


Here is a whole bunch of centers that Wendy rolled for me. You can see the indentations in the centers.

Here you see one that I had dusted with green dust. I used a combo of chartreuse and a lime green dusts. Just play with whatever colors you have till you find a look that you like.

Here are some dusted centers. The 2 dark ones were rejects. I tried a darker dust and that was a no go.

Now time to add the petals. I colored my Wilton premade gumpaste (love that stuff) with super red gel color. I rolled it out to number 5 on the pasta roller and used the JEM all in one rose cutter to cut out the petals. I used the 50mm size for the first 2 rows of petals.

Cut the petals apart.

Use the large ball in the center of the petal only to make it cup shaped, and let them dry out for about 5 minutes.

Then you can attach 3 or 4 around the centers. I did one here in a more closed, tight wrap, and one more open and frilly. I did not want all of the flowers to look exactly the same. If you vary them up a bit, and shape some of the petals differently, you will get a much more realistic look on your finished cake.

Then I cut out more of the same sized petals. This time I used the ball tool to thin them out along the edges, but did not press so hard and to make them very ruffly. Yet. Make the very outer petals more ruffly.

Yes, I use a lot of cornstarch. I love cornstarch. Do not fear the cornstarch, for it is your friend.

Here is one flower with the second row of petals in place. I used 5 petals for the second row. Notice that this bud has 4 petals in the inner row. There are no set rules with this flower. Vary the number or petals and configurations throughout the flowers.

Notice how the tips of the petals bend in toward the center. That is a distinct characteristic of the ranunculus. Originally I kept pinching mine in the other direction, and was wondering why they all looked like roses! Inward, not outward!

A couple of buds an another with a 2nd row in place.
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After 2 rows with that size petal, then do one or two rows with the next size 60mm all in one rose cutter. I did not take any photos of that cutter, so just imagine we did one or 2 more rows with that one. :)

Then the outermost petals were done with a larger single rose petal cutter. This set is an FMM rose cutter set. You can just make it work with whatever cutters you have. I used 6 or 7 petals for the outer rows. It is not an exact science. In fact, I was winging this all the way through!

Here are some flowers in varying stages, some tighter and more clustered, some with less rows and more open and loose.

Here are some drying upside down so the petals do not fall off. You wet the end of the petals, hold your flower upside down, and apply the petals in an overlapping fashion till you make it all the way around the flower. Tweak and bend the ends of the petals with your fingers, and then hang it upside down to dry for a while till it is good and set. You have to do this after every row or all the stuff will just slide right off the flower.

Don't you like my fancy drying rack? No expense is spared in this operation, I tell you!

After they are able to hold their own shape, I stick them in styro to finish drying fully, overnight.

drying, drying....

More drying.... they were everywhere! Invasion of the gumpaste ranunculus!

This was a test one. Dusted it with poinsettia petal dust, with a tad of impatient pink in the center petals. Then I wiped the center with a small brush with a tad of shortening to give it some shine and take the dusty look off. Then I sprayed edible lacquer over the whole flower. (Got that tip from Rebecca also). The lacquer spray will darken the color so keep that in mind. This center had a bit too much red dust on it for my liking, so I was more careful to keep red dust off of them after this one. (Although just a little bit of red here and there looked pretty good on them!)

All dusted! See how well they matched the color swatch she gave me? Score! Love it when that happens!


This was my favorite flower out of all 60 of them.


WAIT! I am so embarrassed by how funky that dummy is! I promise you it was washed and clean, just stained. But seriously, I think I need to spring for a new dummy. Sheesh.



Now how in the world are we going to get 60 flowers to stay on a BC cake?



Welcome to my dipping station. I left the wires on the flowers nice and long. But we know we can't stick nasty wires into the cake, so I coated them in white chocolate. I filled a tall cup with melted chocolate, dipped the wires in, shook off the excess, then threaded them down into the cooling rack to dry fully. When it came time to arrange them on the cake, I just stuck them right in, and they went so far into the cake, they held up beautifully. I did not even need any melted chocolate to glue the flowers onto the sides. Which made things much easier and cleaner for the cake server.

Naked as a jay bird, LOL.

Here is the cake all iced. Next to it you see the color swatch the bride gave me to match, and her topper. I wanted to make sure the cake, the swatch, and the groom bird's tie all matched.

To get this color I used regal purple, violet and a touch of pink. I got a beautiful match, but within 2 hours of icing a dummy cake, it turned horribly pink. I added some more purple to the batch. Same thing happened again, but it was also too dark. So I made equal batches of white BC, and combined them. Now I had the perfect shade, but it changed to pink again! My friend Heather realized that the lavender in the icing was fading out (as purples notoriously do), leaving the pink to be predominant. I was a bit panicked at this point; I could not set up a pepto bismol puky pink cake! Well Adele came to my rescue and gave me the brilliant idea of airbrushing the whole cake with lavender airbrush sheen. It worked! It stayed! It did not fade! Thank God for cake friends who save our butts!

So we load the cake up and head out on the long treacherous ride to the venue. New Orleans has notoriously bad streets. So bad in fact, I thought I had sworn off taking cake orders for the city. Obviosuly I forgot I did that, cuz I took this one. Well, the dear beloved husband drove way too fast for my liking, despite my pleas for him to slow down. I was very nervous the whole way cuz we were hitting some rough stuff. Well low and behold, when we got there and opened the back of the vehicle, my poor cake was battered. It had surface cracks all over the sides, and my beautiful borderless seems had all cracked open. I refrained from bleeping the hubby out, and just proceeded to do my thing. We got it inside, I repaired all the borders, and placed the flowers on. Oh so luckily, once they dimmed the venue lights, the cracks were barely visible at all. I lucked out on that one!


Here it is at the venue. The photo is dark and out of focus, but this one portrays the color of the icing more accurately than the one at the beginning of this post. I love how they dressed the cake table too, very elegant.
The Love Birds.

They lived happily ever after.


And that is the story of the Grapesicle Red Rannancuclus Cake.


Tutorial and photography by Sharon Zambito- copyright 2010.
All Rights Reserved

This material may not be republished or reproduced in any manner without the expressed permission of the author.

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The Tutorials This Week Were Generously Shared by

SHARON ZAMBITO, BOBBIE NOTO, RHONDA CHRISTENSEN & JACQUE BENSON

Thank you
thank you pictures

And to ALL of our Readers...

ENJOY EACH DAY!

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