Have a Magical Spring!




Flower Fairies Cake

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Snowflake is Winter's Butterfly

I love that quote!

 In that spirit, I decided to make my own snowflakes out of  poured sugar- Isomalt- to be more specific.

The supplies I used were 1 cup of Isomalt crystals, a small saucepan, a rubber snowflake mold, a spoon, non-stick spray and a small bowl of ice water ( in case of burn injury!)

Isomalt is interesting. I had used it once before and learned quickly about its properities ( idiosyncrasies, if you will) at about 3am in the morning before a 9am scheduled cake delivery! Having waded through a barrage of mistakes, making the snowflakes on this go round was a bit easier.

I started by spraying a rubber snowflake mold ( the kind used to make maple candy ) with non-stick spray.
Then I dabbed the inside of the molds with a paper towel to make sure there was no puddling of the spray anywhere. This is important! Any pooling of the nonstick spray will literally sizzle and cook when you pour the Isomalt on it and you will have to discard your candy. I know this for a fact. :-(

Then I poured about a cup (or so- I didn't measure) of Isomalt into a stainless steel saucepan. I put my candy thermometer in place and, without adding water, began heating the crystals over low heat; stirring as it began to melt down.

Once melted, the sugar begans to heat quickly and before you even notice it is boiling, the candy thermomter will register 356 F or 180 C.

Isomalt heats very quickly. Do not turn your back on it. Do not blink!
However, it is more forgiving than sugar because it maintains its clear properties as it approaches the hard crack stage of cooking, whereas sugar turns a nice amber color.


Quickly remove from heat and with spoon, carefully ladle into the mold. Watch your hands as you do this to avoid burning yourself on the pan. ( Ask me how I know )

Wait until the candy snowflakes completely harden. Pull the mold away from the snowflakes.

 For more definition, I brushed some with SuperPearl edible dust or sprinkled with edible disco dust for sparkle.


There you have it. Easy Poured Sugar Snowflakes!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

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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