Spring Has Sprung!

French Floral



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Toast to the New Year




“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
 ~William Shakespeare


 “Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul 
and sings the tune without the words and never stops… at all.”  
~Emily Dickinson



"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future,
 concentrate the mind on the present moment.” 
~Buddha.
 

“We must use time wisely and forever realize 
that the time is always ripe to do right.” 
~Nelson Mandela
 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
 
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Making a Sugar Christmas tree



Supplies :


Waffle Cones for Ice cream

Small bowl with 1/2 inch water

scissors

Forest Green Royal Icing

Piping bag with #67
Piping tip

Yellow colored Gumpaste

3/4" Five petal or Star Cutter

Gumglue or piping gel

Wilton Pastel Candies
Dragees






Place two waffle cones together as shown.



Place in shallow water for 15- 20 seconds.


Remove from water and, using scissors, cut away soft edge of cone

until bottom edge is even and level.





Using royal icing, attach the cones to make "trees".

Starting at bottom of tree, begin piping leaves pulling out as you pipe.

Continue until you have filled the tree with "fir branches", leaving about 3/4" at top bare so you can move your tree into place. When the tree is placed where you want it on your cake or board, you can fill in the remainder of the top of the tree.

Roll out yellow gumpaste to about 1/4" thickness and cut out a star using your cutter. Place a yellow pastel candy on both sides of star, using gumglue or piping gel. Place on top of tree and secure with royal icing. Hold in place until firmly set.

Decorate your tree with colored pastels and dragees, securing with fresh royal icing if needed.



Photography and Tutorial by Jacque Benson
2009 copyright all rights reserved

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cake Ball Punkin Patch

How does that poem go?

When the frost on the pumpkin lies... or when on the counter the cake scraps lie?


You know what I'm talking about!

So what to do you with all those cake scraps?
Make cake balls, of course.

Don't tell anyone, but I actually made some petit fors that looked SO bad after I iced them, I threw them into a bowl and took out my frustration on them, beating them into submission...and that's how my punkin patch got started.





Oh, don't act like you've never wanted to do that!

 You know you have!


And I hate to just throw away scraps.
So, in addition to the orange petite for disasters, I made a batch of chocolate using the leftover scraps from a cake I leveled.

 So if you want to make some "punkins", just crumble cake scraps into a bowl.
Now at this point, you can add different things to make the crumbs adhere. 

To 2 cups cake crumbs,
you can add 
3/4 to 1 cup 
of Buttercream icing,
OR cream cheese, 
OR (my personal favorite) chocolate ganache!
 
Start with a half cup, then add the binding agent until you have a nice soft paste, you can add more
if you like. That is entirely a personal preference. 
The softer the mixture, the longer you will need to chill them before dipping the cake balls.


 Chill that mixture for a few hours, then, using a melon baller, just scoop them out, 
roll them into a ball and place on waxed paper.


For  pumpkins, score the cake balls, using a toothpick, as shown.


Cover them with plastic wrap and placed them in the freezer for at least an hour, or overnight. 

Melt 8 oz orange confectionery melts in a chocolate warmer or over a double boiler.
Add paramount crystals, a tablespoon at a time, to thin until it becomes a nice dipping consistency.
If you are making a lot, then try dipping half in white confectionery melts  for contrast.


Insert a toothpick into cake ball and dip into prepared confectionery melt, and remove quickly, allowing excess coating to fall back into pan.


If desired, dip in autumn leaves sprinkles, ground nuts, or even finely ground cake or cookie crumbs directly after insertion.  Remove toothpick. Don't worry about the hole or cracking. You are going to cover that up anyway. 



They don't have to be perfect. 
I have yet to find a pumpkin that is perfect when choosing one to carve!!!

Easy so far? It really is!!

Once the coating is set, you can brush on some edible luster dust for a little gilding.


For the final step, you will need icing tips  #2,# 4, and a leaf tip #67, a piping bag fitted with a coupler,
and 1/2 cup of leafy green ( your favorite green, I used moss green ) slightly thinned buttercream.

Start with #2 tip and fill with bag with icing.
Pipe a curlyQ vine on the ball. (This is where you can cover any cracks if necessary)

Change to leaf tip #67, and pipe a one or two leaves from the center top. 

Then, with #4 pipe the stem in the center.  


If you want to display them on Hay Bales, then make some Rice Krispie Treats.
Directions for hay bales are HERE!
That's all there is to it!

Punkins for sale!



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy DIY Cupcake Tower Tutorial




This is an inexpensive, but sturdy method for building a cupcake tower. I have tried a few different ways before, but by far, this is the easiest and most sturdy one that I have built, so I wanted to share it with you all.



I always use foam core for making my cake boards, and there is usually about a 5-6 inch strip left over. Thinking I can use it for future use, I typically save them. Now I found that use! I needed 4" wide pieces of 1/2" foam core to create the platform for the tower; and using left over pieces of foam core can really save on the cost.





Another way to save on the cost is to use a craft store coupon. Also, Hobby Lobby and Michaels frequently run sales on foam core.





Here is the list of supplies you will need for the project:




1/4" Foam Core (2 boards)

1/2" Foam Core

Exacto Knife

Pencil

Ruler

Cake Pan (to use as a tracing guide)

Straight Pins

Craft Glue

3/8" Ribbon

Wrapping Paper, poster board, or foil (Opt)

Adhesive spray (Opt)





1.) Begin by deciding what size and how many tiers you will want your tower. An easy way to get a mind's eye view is to stack cake pans.
For my project, I chose 18", 13", and 8" rounds.





2.) Using your cake pans as a tracing guide, mark your circles on 1/4" foam core, then carefully cut them out with the exacto knife. Take your time on this step, cutting the circles as perfectly as possible. This really effects the presentation.



NOTE*(At this point, you can cover your circles with a pretty paper, poster board, or foil. Just spray with adhesive spray, then cover front and back.) Since the one I was made needed to be white anyway, I just left it "as is".)



3.) Mark and cut the 1/2" foam core into 4" strips. These will create the platform. Again, measure twice and cut carefully, as the cut of the platform effects the stability of the whole tower.



You will need two of each length for every upper tier.







  The length is the strip will be "diameter minus 2 inches". For instance, since I chose 13" and 8" upper tiers, I needed two each platform strips measuring 11" and 6".



4.) Butt the strips together and mark the center. Then measure 1/4" from center on each side.



With a ruler, trace a two vertical line 2" in length from the edge of the strip, as shown.



Cut these two inch strips out, creating a notch.



Place the notched side of platform strips together and insert, creating a stand.



Stack your stand and check stability.





 If it is not stable, then your cut was inaccurate.



 Remeasure the width of your strips, shore it up and recheck the stability.







5.) Cut the ribbon into 5" lengths. Glue to the edges of the platform. Run a bead of glue around the edges of the rounds, then attach ribbon.



6.) Mark the center of each round. Push a straight pin through the center of each tier. Run a bead of glue onto the tops and bottoms of the platform and insert pins into center for perfect alignment.







Remove pin. Allow to dry.





Here is the Cupcake Tower set up for my great-nephews' birthday Ninjago tournament. Just ignore the fact that I didn't manage to get the top cake centered!! Sheeesh! The good news is that my little guys didn't notice or didn't care!!



Have fun. Be Creative. Your cupcake tower will be hit!





Tutorial and Photography by Jacque Benson
All rights reserved 2013


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May the saint protect ye-
An' sorrow neglect ye,
An' bad luck to the one
That doesn't respect ye
t' all that belong to ye,
An long life t' yer honor-
That's the end of my song t' ye!