Archive for March, 2008

Cake Decorators: The Law of Cause in Effect in our kitchen?

March 16, 2008

Cake Decorators:  The Law of Cause and Effect in our kitchen? 

How many times, when we decide to bake a cake, make a sugar flower or a special frosting, we end up frustrated because it does not come out as we expected?  Why the frosting is runny or too stiff, either won/t stay in place or it grab big chunks of cake destroying it?  Why the pastillage or gum paste flowers lose the shape or do not dry at all?

My friends, all these have an answer and it is in the way of The Law of Cause and Effect, because in this world, nothing happen by coincidence, everything has a reason to be.

For example: there are many reasons for the sinking of a cake.  The causes can be too much butter, opening the oven and slamming the door to close it and this creates a change in  temperature in the oven cavity, too much or too little baking powder, incorrect temperature, check for doneness too soon, and inserting a tester before the first 40 minutes lapse,  any of these will make the cake sink.

If you get a big bump in the center, it its due to excess of temperature..  It is good to have an oven thermometer for cross reference.  Too high temperature will cause the cake to rise in the center and  many times burst like a volcano.

What about the frosting?  Butter cream too runny needs more sugar.  Eggs whites frosting (also know as Italian or Dominican) when it is runny probably the egg whites were not stiff enough or the syrup did not have the correct consistency (soft ball stage) about 240F degrees on the candy thermometer.  If the rolled fondant is to brittle and cracks at the edges, it needs more kneading or you added to much glycerin.  Glycerin is an emollient and too much will make the fondant brittle.  If the fondant is too soft add more sugar and if it needs elasticity add 1 teaspoon of TyloseC or CMC.

When working with pastillage or gum paste, remember that sugar is hydroscopic, in other words, it absorb the humidity of the ambient.  If the day is too humid, dry your work pieces inside the oven or the micro oven. Just turn on the oven light, but do not turn on the oven, pleaaase.  If using the micro, just leave the door slightly open.  The light inside the oven will dry the pieces, then once they are completely dry, place in a plastic box with a lid and close it.   

Those are only some examples that things happen for a reason.  If you do not follow instructions (the cause), you have to face the problems (the effect).

Same way in our daily life, the Law of Cause and Effect affect our lives.  You may look for something more complex, by passing the law of cause and effect to explain the situation, it doesn’t matter how hard or long you look or how complicated you make it, at the end you will discover that you did something to wheel in motion sitting up the situation where you are at this moment.

The principle of cause and effect is an immutable Universal Principle encompassing the truth that nothing in the Universe can ever happen by chance, there is always a corresponding cause preceding it.  Specially the way we live our life.  The law of Universe is no respecter of persons in the sense that your own thoughts, decisions, and actions are the threads that create the fabric of your life, or in our own jargon, is the kind of ingredients we place in our cake.  Knowing this, what are you putting out there?  What sort of ingredients are mixing into our life?  What type of energy will be greeting you in the not too distant future?

You can figure out where your life has been by the quality of your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life today.  What will you do to enhance your life?

Here is a simple and easy way to create always a positive cause and effect.  All begins with our intentions;

If you love, praise, forgive, have compassion, respect others, have tolerance, find good in others,  you will get love, praise, forgiveness, compassion, others will respect you, tolerate you and find good in you.

 When you live with the intention of loving, giving, abundance, success and gratitude, the Universe, God, will create a future full of the same.  Imagine your life being full of Love, Generosity, Abundance, Success and Gratitude.  Because in this world nothing happen by coincidence and you get back what you give out.

God Bless you,

  

Marivi

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Cake Decorators,Do you know what cold porcelain is?

March 2, 2008

Cake Decorators, Do you know what cold porcelain is?

I have received many e-mails asking about what is and how to make cold porcelain and its uses.  In this writing I will tell you everything I know about cold porcelain and  where to use it.

Cold porcelain is a non –edible paste. It is made with glue, corn starch and some chemicals.   Cold porcelain is not to be used to decorate cakes, because it contains a contaminant.  Cakes should and most be decorated with sugar paste, pastillage, gum paste or chocolate flowers and ornament.

Cold Porcelain is excellent for table decorations and centerpieces, bridal bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres.  You can make very delicate non edible favors with this paste.  Porcelain should never be place in contact with the cake or food.

Here are the reasons why Cold Porcelain is a contaminant.  I have in my file over 30 cold porcelain recipes.  People place different names to the same paste, like porcelanicron, Russian porcelain,  French porcelain, magic paste, etc.  Many of these recipes contain one or more of the following ingredients:  stearic acid, titanium dioxide, formalin or formaldehyde, baby oil, hand cream and others.  Here is some information about the ingredients or chemicals, to my personal opinion, dangerous for the artisan that make the paste and also for the consumer of the food exposed to these contaminants.

Stearic acid is a product use to make candles, soaps, plastics, oil pastels, cosmetics and for softening rubber.  In fireworks, stearic acid is often used to coat metal powders, such as aluminum and iron, This prevent oxidation allowing compositions to be stored for longer.  In the case of the cold porcelain it give elasticity to the paste and prevent it from becoming moldy if not used for a prolonged time.

Titanium Dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, “possible carcinogen to humans” This ingredient is used to help avoid the paste from becoming  transparent.

Formalin or “Formaldehyde” can be toxic, allergenic and carcinogenic.  The United States Centerfor Disease Control and Prevention, performed indoor air quality testing because exposure can cause burning eyes and or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, headaches and has been shown to be carcinogenic, causing nasal nasopharyngeal cancer and possible leukemia as well.  Formaldehyde is classified as probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 I have a double concern, because I care for you, all of you. Why? I am convinced that we are all one.   Care about the one that make the cold porcelain using those ingredients. Do you know what happens when you mix those ingredients and cook them together?  What chemical reaction are you generating?  Do you know how harmful inhaling these fumes when heated might be for your health, your family?  Do you know about the environmental consequences? On the other side, those that buy these cold porcelain pieces, ornaments and beautiful flowers to decorate the cakes, do you know the source of the products? There is no way to know the chemicals used in their production.  Think about it, and pleeeeeeease do not place them on the cakes. There are many sugar crafters and, companies that sale the sugar flowers and will be more than happy to do business with you. We spend long hours baking, decorating our delicious cakes to be consumed by human beings.  Please, don’t place cold porcelain flowers an ornament on your cakes.  Sugar  flowers for the cakes and the cold porcelain ornaments for the tables centerpieces.  Next week I will give a recipe of cold porcelain that is innocuous and it not need to be cooked.  It is the recipe I use to make figurines, and flower arrangements for home decorations, also use it for non edible favors, but never to decorate cakes. See you next week, 

Marivi