Poured Sugar Coral 

Have you ever put the last decorative piece on your cake, when suddenly you were overcome with the urge to lean in and give it a lil kiss….you know, on account of it being so darn purdy?  

No????? 

Me neither!  I mean, that would just be weird……phhhshshshshsh 

 cakes by sweetypants, poured sugar coral 
 Anyhoo….. 🙄 I might just think this cake is TOO…….DIE …….FOR.  It’s a matter of personal opinion. 

I have no doubt it has everything to do with the sugar coral that’s donning this beachy  themed beauty.  Sure the faint aquamarine color itself has a hand in taking my breath away……maybe the subtle nod to the ocean waves as well…….but I’m just gonna go ahead and give near full credit to the sparkly sugar crystal coral popping off the canvas, that makes my heart melt. 

Now I am no poured sugar expert here……For Realz! So lucky me because this technique can be done by, well……anyone!  

First of all, I used isomalt crystals.  (A sugar substitute)  You can buy them at your local cake supply store, or order them from Amazon. Duh! 

  Buying isomalt in crystal form is a wee bit cheaper than the “ready to melt” sticks available.  (And they are available in just about any color you could want)  They’re definitely not as cheap as working with actual granulated sugar, but I tend to wind up with 2nd degree burns and a huge mound of burnt sugar sadly,  more often than I wind up with perfectly cooked sugar.  (I should really take a class I suppose) So unless I’m feeling lucky, isomalt is the winner nearly every time.   Here’s whatcha need: 

  

  • Large pot
  • 2 cups (1lb) isomalt crystals
  • 3/4 cup water (distilled if you have it, the finished product will be much clearer)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Candy thermometer
  • Any silicone mold, sprayed with non stick spray for the leftovers
  • Small tub of ice 
  • A large bowl of cold water waiting in the sink 😉

   
 

Combine your crystals and water.  Give it a light stir, just until moistened. 

 
 Place it on the stove over high heat, and insert your candy thermometer.  Now wait……
Seriously…….that’s pretty much it.  

If you’ve worked with sugar before you know you have to brush down the sides and keep your eyes peeled almost the entire time, while you heart races, and you pace back and forth in front of the stove….. (Or is that just me once again?) 

With isomalt there’s really no need.  If it seems to be bubbling more in one spot, you might want to give it a stir, but otherwise just leave it be until it begins to boil.  

 

Once you’re boiling it won’t take long at all, as compared to sugar.  Keep your eye on the thermometer,  once it reaches 300 it’s going to go pretty quick.  We need it to cook until it reaches 340.  However, this means you want to remove it from the heat once it reaches around 330.  
Upon doing so, immediately place the bottom of your pot into your waiting bowl of cold water….just until it stops hissing.  Be careful here! 

 
If you’re going to color your sugar, now is the time.  You can use the same gel colors that you use for fondant and frostings.  I would NOT use a water based coloring!   They will only ruin the consistency of your perfectly melted isomalt. 

At this point you can pour your isomalt into your waiting mold for use later, or you can use it immediately…..in a suitable sugar mold of your choice, or any other technique.  Part of the beauty of isomalt is that once you’ve completed the above steps and it has hardened, you can store it for later use.  All you need to do is melt your hardened pieces down in the micro for a minute and you’re ready to go ! 

But we are going to go ahead and make some gorgeous coral.  Woot! 

 All you need to do it pour your melted isomalt over your tub of ice (yeah….that’s pretty much it) 😀. 

 
Here….let me show you in color

 
I found its easiest for me at this point to then flip the piece over into a slightly larger container.  GENTLY! 

  

The outcome at this point is up to you! I wanted large pieces of coral for my cake, so I let most of the ice just melt off so’s I didn’t damage anything, but you can also break them up into smaller pieces. 

 Just keep in mind, this really is as fragile as it looks so be careful!   Although, if you do happen to mess it up you can just remelt your isomalt in the microwave and do it again! 
   
Sigh…….so pretty.  Just leave them out to dry for a few hours.  

   

  

Now I just need to take a photography class so I can learn to capture just how beautiful these pieces really are! 

Have fun everyone! 😘

  

  
    

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The Bobble Head Cake! 

There is nothing more exciting than hearing a customer say, “do whatever you want” in my little cake world. It gives me an ever so slight feeling of power, followed by the ever so slight feeling of terror that I will let them down.

No matter……I always think ‘fine….I will’ and press on to do the first thing that comes to mind, even if I’m Ascared to do it.

About 5 or 6 years ago, when cake shows were big on tv, I saw an episode where The Cakegirls made a bobble head cake, and I was absolutely blown away!  So when I decided that I needed to try this some years later, I just figured I could jump online and there would be a diagram and instructions…….Errrrrr……no such luck. Dag gummit!  I searched and searched and finally accepted that I was going to have to dig into the archives of me lil brain and pull out whatever remained of what I had thought they did.

I was already down to crunch time when I decided this was happening, so I scribbled down the following drawing and sent it off to my extremely skilled carpenter husband at work,  with the following request, “Baby, I think this is what I need, please make it happen…uhhh today?”(heart…heart….smiley….kissie  face)


His first response was Ofcourse,  “um….lead pipe in a cake? Lmao”. Ok ok…….so maybe I didn’t fully think that through, and had that coming  but he knew what I was going for and seemed to agree that this might be the right direction.  Woot! Unfortunately, and typically he was held at work for the rest of the evening so I was on my own…..wha wha wha.  Good thing I’m a handy chick….and usually I’m of the opinion that there’s nothing better than cake, except when you need a power tool or two to build the base the cake is going on…..fun stuff!

Here’s what you need:  (well…..most of it is pictured)

cakes by sweetypants

  • A sturdy cake base (I found this precut 18″ pine wood circle at The Home Depot)
  • Large block of craft foam (approx 1 1/2″ thick….the rest depends on what size cake you’re making)
  • 8- Washers & lots of assorted screws
  • 2 wooden blocks (Mine were 4.5″ squares x 3/4″ thick)
  • 4 heavy duty compression springs
  • Threaded 1/2″ pipe (not lead…haha……although I did cover mine in Saran Wrap anyways to make myself feel better) length depends on your cake size
  • Heavy duty Velcro
  • 1/2″ flange (I used 4, the hubs assures me I did it wrong and he wouldve built a base that only required 2……either way, this worked just fine)
  • I also used heavy duty poster board for the helmet base, and a piece of 1/4″ thick craft wood, cut to size for my cake and stacked , as a base for the “chest” of the bobble head figure,and lastly heavy duty foam core board, also cut to size for my cake plates(not pictured)

It’s really very simple……start with your circular cake base and attach your first flange, then thread in your shorter pipe for the “legs”


Next, attach your “unnecessary” second flange to your craft wood



Place your foam core cake board on top and then attach your third “unnecessary” flange and thread in your longer pipe fitting

Now it’s time for “The Bobble Mechanism”.  This part is a little tricky. I tried to do it on my own, with some very whimpy  springs……it was not happening!  I upgraded to much thicker, heavy duty springs and began attaching them to the first block.


  
Once all 4 were attached I realized quickly I couldn’t attach the second block alone.  My handy hubby and I needed to do it together.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of that process because it was all hands on deck!  One person to pry the top piece back, and the other to in set the screws and washers.   After iThey were all in place I attached the 4th and final very very necessary flange to one side.

As you’ll see in the next pic, we originally assembled the springs toward the inside of the corners.  Then we did a test bobble with a heavier plate since it was nearby.  It seemed to work perfectly.

HOWEVER………Once we did a test bobble with the actual helmet portion of the cake, while awesome to witness, it proved too terrifying for us both so we reassembled the mechanism and positioned the springs directly under each corner.

It’s not so scary when you’re using a plate…..but I promise with a cake on top there were screams all around!


Ahhhhhh…..see, this is much better…..I recommend placing the springs as close to the corners as you can.

The whole process was actually very simple! I  won’t go through the whole process of making this cake, since this tutorial is for the cake structure, but here are a few side tips I would’ve loved to have had myself beforehand.

I used rice cereal treats to carve the leg portion of the structure because we didn’t need it to all be cake, but you could easily use cake for them, and add more servings.

  
 Next….. If I had it to do again, I’d wait until I had an extra set of hands to cover the ginormous helmet! As a matter of fact, I’d probably make the head portion a bit smaller.



Because the lower portion of the helmet was poster board, I brushed it with piping gel so that the fondan would have something to adhere to…….while that works great, it also grabs and “glues” the fondant to the surface immediately.  So the end result was a little more um…jacked up ……than I would’ve liked…..  Lesson learned, next time just chill and wait until you have an extra set of hands available .


See? I know all you bakers can see those bumps…..ick,  these are things that keep me up at night.  Yet, time is not  on my side here so I press on.

Once the helmet is done you’ll be able to measure your opening and carve the face out of your craft foam.


This is by far one of the more simple steps in the process.  I used buttercream to lightly frost the foam, and then covered with fondant. You don’t want to add a lot of extra weight. Keep in mind you’re going to be attaching this to the front of your cake and it could potentially throw your bobble off….

Finally, the last thing I’d like to share with you is the actual attachment process.  If you’re feeling lucky you could totally just set your helmet on top of the bobble mechanism and hope for the best.  I chose the safer route…..heavy duty Velcro!

Once your helmet is placed though there’s virtually no going back without some serious repercussions so I recommend placing it once without the Velcro and marking the bottom of your cake base so that when you’re ready to attach it for good you know exactly where to set it.

Cakes By Sweetypants, bobble head, cake
And there you have it…..The Bobble Head Cake! I think he turned out just adorable.

Those darn Cakegirls think of everything! I’m just glad my lil brain retained what I had seen!

To watch him bobble visit my YouTube channel, Cakes by Sweetypants.  Or you can see the video on my Facebook page!

 

 

Covering a cake with fondant

So I thought I would do a very quick how to video showing you how easy it can’t (HA! Total typo, but I’ll leave it cuz I think I’m funny!! CAN be to cover a cake with fondant…..yes it takes practice…..sometimes lots of it.  With repetition though it DOES get easier!  

First I have a few pictures to show you from the process

 Start with your freshly kneaded  fondant, and a well dusted counter top. I’ve used corn starch….you can use powdered sugar if you dare…..Its never worked for me 😦 I find that it dries out the fondant that I’m rolling and it cracks easier.  So I stick with the starch!  
During the rolling process check often that your fondant isn’t sticking to the counter.   This is also when all 10,000 tiny air bubbles will start to present themselves to you….ya know, just to add some spice to your day. Just take a straight pin and give em a tiny poke….then roll them out with your rolling pin 👍🏻 
This is the fun part! Once you’ve lifted the dough onto your cake, you can use a fondant smoother to gently push any air bubbles off of the top of your cake.  (You can use your hand also, I find you get all the air out that way, but be sure you don’t dent your cake your frosting)

  If you find once the fondant is on that those pesky air bubbles are not all gone, wait until you’ve smoothed your cake and then poke em with your straight pin again and use the fondant smoother to rub them out.  Grrrrrrrrr…..this is something you should just get used to  
Time to play the fan game!  Start smoothing at your top edge…. As you work your way down, fan out the fondant all the way around, and just keep gently pressing it down. This can take a bit of time if you’re just getting used to fanning and spinning.  Stay with it…..your dough is going to want to bend and crease.  Just be patient and gently fan the creases out while you press it to the cake.   
  Once you’ve made it this far, you’re almost golden!  Now you can give it a quick smooth while pressing the bottom edge to the base of the cake. 

 
 Use a pizza cutter or an exacto knife to carefully trim away the excess.  
And BLAMMO! There you go….. A nice, smooth canvas to work on

 
Below you’ll find a quick video of the entire process…..bare with me, I’m new at this! 

 
You can follow the link below to my YouTube channel to watch the video too. Hopefully soon it will be full of helpful information. Don’t forget to subscribe! (Seriously, I don’t even know if my link works…..I’m sure you will all help me out and let me know though  :/   ) 

How to cover a cake with fondant