30 November 2014

Mini cakes for one

I was so exited about working with royal icing that I decided to bake a couple of mini cakes so I could decorate it. From class I took home a batch light blue royal icing so I thought it would look great on some dark blue marzipan. I also had some purple and pink icing left we used for roses.
As we were told that we would be covering and decoration a real cake next week I thought I'd get some practice first. I have never covered a cake before so I wanted to start small first. 

So I baked the cake on a sheet tray first and with a round and square cutter I cut out two pieces so I could fill and stack them together. To keep it simple I only used some cream patisserie and some strawberry jam to fill it. And I made a batch of butter cream to mask the cakes. 
I rolled out the marzipan between two layers of plastic foil and when it couldn't get any thinner I covered the cakes. After that I used some royal icing to make decorations. 
I used some of the purple and pink icing for roses that I made around a jelly bean on a toothpick. I think it is a lot easier to make roses if you already have a center you can wrap the petals around. 
I'm using the piping tips I have at home and they weren't as nice as what I use in class. But I am still very pleased with the results.
And this is just to show how small the cakes were.

Cake decoration

Today it was all about making flowers and decoration with royal icing. Every day so far has started with making a batch of royal icing. From this basic mixture you can make it thicker by adding more powdered sugar or to make it more runny by adding more liquid. 

We had to use royal icing to mask a cake, meaning that the royal icing has to cover the top and the sides. For practice we all had our dummy cake and since the royal icing has to be a bit thicker for masking the cake we put just enough powdered sugar to make it the similar consistency of Greek yogurt. 

We started with putting some royal icing on the top and with a spatula we evenly smeared it out by turning the cake around. Then it was time to do the sides. We used a dough scrapper to make it all look smooth. It looked pretty easy but it was harder then I thought. I am confident that, with a little more practice, it would look much better.
Then it was time for royal icing roses and other flowers. For this the royal icing had to be as thick as concrete. Or at least thick enough for the petals to keep its shape.
At the end of the day this was the result. Next week we'll be decorating a real cake!

23 November 2014

Color flow icing

I have to say that I wasn't a big fan of royal icing. That was before I knew what possibilities there were. This class totally changed me.

We were asked to bring a picture of whatever we liked in two fold. One was to work on and the other one was for comparison. 

The class started with an explanation of how to transform royal icing to color flow icing. Basically what you do is you make your basic royal icing, mix it with the color of your choice and use lemon juice, liquor or water to make it thinner.  
We started with practicing on cookies, just to get the feel of it. 
We used several colors, mixed it with lemon juice and liquor and let our creativity flow. They turned out very pretty. The icing was still wet and shining. After it dried the colors would be a bit darker and not glossy anymore, but still pretty.

After practicing on the cookies it was time for the real deal; our pictures. 
As Christmas is around the corner I picked a picture that would fit in perfectly. This took me almost a whole day to make but it's true when they say "practice makes perfect", because the second one I made only took me half an hour or so. I finished right before class ended. It also helped that I could borrow some left over colors from other people. Unfortunately I didn't make a picture of the second one and both of them are in class waiting for me. Can't wait to put on the last details. 

Royal icing

Day 10 was the start of a new phase; Royal Icing. I have never made or worked with royal icing before, but basically it is egg whites, powdered sugar (suikerbakkerspoeder= powdered sugar with dried glucose) and a pinch of cream of tartar. It's been used a lot for decorating cakes and cookies. While working with royal icing it has the consistency of very thick yogurt. But after it dries out it gets really hard.  

We started with a masterclass on royal icing and were showed how to make it and what the right consistency is. From this basic mixture it is possible to make the icing more or less runny simply by adding water (or liquor) or more sugar. 

After receiving a lot of information we used the rest of the day playing around with royal icing. We used:
- 180 gr pasteurized refrigerated egg whites
- about 1 kilo shifted powdered sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar

To the egg whites we added 2/3 of the powdered sugar and the cream of tartar. On very slow speed using the flat beater we mixed everything together. Then after that spoon by spoon we added some more powdered sugar till the icing has the right consistency. The right consistency is when the icing on the beater forms a nice peak that is flexible enough to still move back and forth.    

We used several different piping tips making borders, flowers and anything we could think off. We also made some colored icing. 

I practiced a lot on flowers and leaves.
It was a bit of a slow day with lots of information and a bit of piping practice. It didn't feel like we did a lot, but I manage to make this. 

This day was purely to let us practice with icing and get the feeling of it.  

09 November 2014

Chocolate show piece

For the end of the chocolate phase we had to make our own chocolate show piece. I was so very exited for this class I couldn't even sleep the day before. So many ideas in my head of what I wanted to make and how I would make it. 

It all stared with an idea. At first my team mate and I were suppose to make something that would match together, like Ying and Yang. So we both could make our own piece but when we place it together it would match. I looked online for ideas and instead of Ying and Yang I found earth, wind, water and fire. In this case we both could make two elements and give our own creative touch to it. The weekend before we would work on our show piece and finish it off in class. 

After the class in which we made round shaped chocolate we figured that we could make something in class and finish it the same day. No need to work on it beforehand. We decided to each make our own piece, not matching this time. 

I wanted to make a beehive with some bees. I looked everywhere for a beehive shaped mold or vase so I could make my own mold, but there was nothing I could use. Then I figured I could make my own beehive by using something round and then make the circles around it. 
I broke my freaky mask in pieces and reused the chocolate to make this beehive shape. Unfortunately a piece broke off when I took the chocolate out so I decided to make the door a bit bigger so you can see the inside of the beehive.
I also found a game with some round pieces so I used them to make the bee bodies.

Then on a piece of paper I had some circles and I tried to pipe the chocolate in that shape. I wanted to use the circles on the outside of the beehive, but it didn't work out. The circles didn't fit and they weren't evenly piped either. I melted the chocolate again and this time piped it directly on the beehive. 
I started with the bottom and unfortunately the chocolate was still too runny. 
So I tried it on the top and that held its shape a bit better. So I worked my way down. To mask up my poor piping skills I use the tip of the piping bag to make grooves. 

It took me two hours to make this beehive so I was very happy to make this at home first so in class I could focus on the details. 

As usual I didn't had a detailed plan of what I was making. All I thought about was making a beehive with some bees. And maybe a Christmas tree and some snowflakes. I wanted to make it snowing inside the beehive. 

In class I first started with make some more bigger bee bodies and the Christmas tree. Because my hubby thinks my beehive looks like a helmet I reshaped the door so it got a bit bigger and rounder on the top.

Then I painted the outside of my beehive yellow. I didn't wanted it yellow yellow, but still see the brown so a light brush with yellow cocoa butter was enough. Then I had to cover the inside of my beehive with some white tempered chocolate to make the honeycomb structure. After I poured the white chocolate in I covered the whole inside with plastic bubble wrap. I had to do it twice because it didn't look as neath as I wanted.

After that I had to make the bottom so the beehive can rest on it. I poured a lot of white chocolate on a sheet and pressed the bubble wrap on it. To make it all look prettier I paintbrush the honeycomb yellow.
While that set I took my Christmas tree out of the mold. I only need the top part so I broke the rest off. As the tree couldn't stand on itself I made a plateau. Then I decorated the tree with some silver balls and made some presents for under the tree.

Then I put my bees together. I dipped part of the body in some white chocolate and after it dried I heated both halves and pressed them together. After that I painted the whole body yellow. I made wings, eyes and a mouth.
I wanted some bees in the hive and some on top. 
And I wanted to make some ladybugs as well. I found a mold that was just perfect and I borrowed some pink chocolate. I painted the bodies red, gave it a black head, black dots and of course eyes. They were the cutest!

I even had time to make a snowman. But no time for snowflakes. 
To make it all look extra glamorous I dusted the beehive with some cooper dust, just to add the finishing touch.
I had a great time putting it all together and the result is amazing! Who knew I could make something like this only after 3 days of working with chocolate.

02 November 2014

Chocolate mask

I have to admit, I wasn't really looking forward to this class. I heard rumors from the other group who made masks last week that they could only work with white, milk and dark chocolate and not with colors or anything. To me this seems kind of boring. The fun is to be creative and use whatever is at hand to make something nice. 

The day started with not having white chocolate to work with so we had to make a mask with milk or dark chocolate. It was possible to paintbrush the chocolate mask white afterward so you can add color then, but I didn't want to do that. Instead I used some colored cocoa butter to paint the inside of the mask before pouring the chocolate in it. We were told to cover the eyes, noose and mouth of the mask before we could use them and we had to cover the inside and outside with sticky tape. It's very hard to cover the inside neatly so next time I would only cover the outside of the mask.  

To make a strong mask we had to layer it 3 times. First we had to brush some tempered chocolate in the mask, let that set and then pour the chocolate in. We were too fast so we didn't brush the inside but poured the chocolate right in. We made sure it covered the whole surface and then let it set. Then the next layer went in and the third.

After the mask was done we had to get it out of the mold. For me it was quite difficult so I had to cut the mask open to get the chocolate out. Then it was time for some extra decoration. It was hard to stick something to the mask and the color wouldn't pop as much on milk chocolate so my mask totally didn't came out as I wanted. I wanted to make something pretty, instead it came out freaky.
We could also use some molding chocolate to decorate the mask. I tried to work with it, but my hands were so warm, it totally melted when I touched it.   
I did use some of it to give my mask a noose job and this is the result. Pretty freaky. 

On the bright side: I used the chocolate of my mask to make my beehive for next lessons final assignment.
My hubby says it looks like a helmet, but wait till I'm done with it. 
These little things will be transformed to bees. So exited about next week.