Archive for the ‘cake decorating’ Category

Cake Decorators Do you want to save the planet?

March 5, 2009

Dear Cake Decorator:

On March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, tens of millions of people will demonstrate concern for our planet by turning out their lights for one hour. Earth Hour. A global event that enables us to express our collective concern about the future health of our planet, and reminds us that by working together, we can make a positive impact in the fight against climate change.

I plan to participate in Earth Hour at home and I would like to suggest that you consider taking part in this important event as a way to demonstrate to your children and friend that you care about the environment.

By simply turning out all non-essential lighting for one hour— in our own homes—we will join tens of millions of concerned citizens throughout the world in calling for action to save our planet for future generations.
Earth Hour is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, one of the largest and most respected conservation organizations in the world.

 In 2008, more than 50 million took part, as the lights darkened at Sydney’s Opera House, Rome’s Coliseum, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. Even Google’s homepage went black. In Israel, President Shimon Peres personally turned off lights in Tel Aviv.
Businesses, individuals and government leaders from more than 400 cities took part because they recognize that global climate change poses a serious threat to our world and the economic well-being of our plant.
This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger. In the US, cities large and small have said they’ll participate including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, and San Francisco. They will join international cities such as Auckland, Beijing, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Oslo, Rome, Singapore, Toronto, and Warsaw.
To get a better sense of the inspiring nature of the event, I hope you’ll take a moment to watch a video about Earth Hour 2008 at

Earth Hour isn’t just for big cities. Every individual and business has a stake in the future of our planet and must do whatever we can to make a difference
In weeks leading up to Earth Hour, you and your family could work together to think of ways you, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint—not only in your own home, but throughout our community.

 Joining Earth Hour is a great way to demonstrate that you care about the planet and want to cooperate in a responsible way. Perhaps we could gather a group of friends to brainstorm other ways that you  can participate.

Earth Hour is not only easy and fun, but it costs nothing. Details are available at
I hope you’ll consider  taking part and encourage your family and friends to also participate.

Thanks for your consideration.

Marivi Bassabe


Cake Decorators and crafters: Conceptual awareness in a design.

October 5, 2008

Cake Decorators and crafters:  Conceptual awareness in a design.


In any cake design, the most important consideration is conceptual awareness.  All cake compositions begin with an artist’s conceptual awareness—“the idea” for the presentation of the specific occasion request.


Technically, conceptual awareness is “visual literacy.”  Visual literacy is a competence in visual expression and communication.  It involves insights and skill no less disciplined than those required for proficiency in engineering and construction.


A decorated cake is a composition, a structure composed of various materials.  The manner in which the artist presents these materials creates a visual communication.  Therefore, a decorated cake is a visual structure which communicates to the viewer.


Acquiring the professional skills to communicate through cake design is no different from learning how to communicate verbally.  Cake decorating as a method of communication requires an artist to learn all the technical essentials of professional design. With this knowledge we develop and express our unique creative talents.


The creative foundation for every cake design is conceptual awareness. It is expressed in composition.  Understanding composition and mastering the skill to present a persuasive creation is the mark of a professional cake decorator artist.  If a cake design is not persuasive, it is no more than an obscure grouping of ingredients.  A compelling composition is essential for a cake decorator to be distinctive, pleasing and remembered.


Simply stated, composition is the specific order in which an artist present all the visual components in a design.  Composition includes the elements and principles of a design as well as the techniques used in deploying these ingredients.


In this times of uncertainty, when the global economic situation makes us wonder what is next.  This is the time to make use of your conceptual awareness and get the materials needed for your creation that are available in the cake decorating market.  Out there are very good sugar artist and suppliers of the sugar ornaments and flowers needed to suit your specific artistic need.   It is the time to work together, and help each other to overcome these difficult times.


I am convinced that a cake decorator can function effectively in a commercial atmosphere if he respect and supports the creativity of others.  I endorse the Gestalt theory of creativity which states that the whole is more that the sum of the parts.  Collaborative design enables us to combine the talents of the finest artist for a product that is far better than any one artist could create on his own.


Best regards,




Cake Decorators and Crafters: Cold Porcelain Recipe

April 9, 2008

Cold porcelain is a non edible paste that is used to make favors and ornaments.

I personally use it to make flower arrangements and center pieces for interior decoration.

Today I will tell you how to care for this paste, about how to knead it and of course the recipe.

This recipe is innocuous, made with non toxics ingredients. This recipe do not contain any chemicals that could be hazardous for your health.  Also,  do not need to be cooked at all and air dries.

To care for this paste, just keep it wrapped in plastic in a dry area at room temperature.  Do not place in a dark drawer for a long period of time, this will make the paste moldy.

When kneading this paste, if too sticky add some cornstarch, also rub a dab of shortening to your hands and keep the rolling pin very clean.  To prevent the paste from sticking to the table when extending the paste with the rolling pin, rub a dab of shortening on the table too, do not over do it, please.

If making a flower, to thin the petals, use a metal balling tool and use the palm of your hand to do the balling at the edges of the petals and leaves. Press softly; the weight of the metal ball will do the job for you.   And now:
Cold Porcelain Recipe

1 cup Aleene’s Tacky Glue Original
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon Tylose
1 tablespoon Wilton liquid white color (this is add to the paste to prevents it from becoming transparent when dried)
Mix all ingredients and knead to get a soft paste.  If too sticky add cornstarch.
Do not cook.  Keep in well lighted area, tightly wrap in plastic. Do not refrigerate.

Remember Cold Porcelain should not be use to decorate cakes, even though is made with non toxics ingredients.  Use sugar flowers and sugar ornaments to decorate your cakes.

See you next week,


Marivi Bassabe

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,



How to make a sugar paste 5petals rose or Wild Rose

February 28, 2008

Probably you all know that I recently relocated to Ocala
Central Florida.  And, of course, there are a lot of new
things I never experienced before, like the change of
seasons, the nice temperature and also the cold mornings
and the frosted grass.  I never lived by a horse farm,  or
enjoy the presence of the squirrels running and chasing one
 another around the oak trees.  Behind is the hectic life
of the big cities, where many of us get so entangled in the
daily struggle to survive, that we forget to smell the
roses along the way.
Yesterday, looking through my kitchen window I saw in my
neighbor’s garden a beautiful small flower, what really
amazed me was to see such delicate flower enjoying the 40F
degrees of that cool morning.  Later in the morning I asked
my neighbor the name of the brave flower and she told me,
“It is a Wild Rose”.  It is such a beautiful flower that I
decided to tell you:
How to make a 5 petal open rose or Wild Rose
First, make the center of the rose.  Wrap cotton thread
around two fingers about 16 times.  Using a wire number 28,
twist both ends of cotton firmly to prevent cotton from
slipping out. Cut into two equal halves.  Trim as required.
 Cut a   piece of wire gauge 24 about 4 inches long, bend
the tip.  Make a small ball of pastillage tinted brown,
moist the bended tip of the wire and attach a small
pastillage ball.  Let’s dry for a few hours.  Once the
center is dry,  paint cornmeal with yellow dust.  Dip the
dried center in the gum glue and then into the yellow
dusted cornmeal.  Paint some more cornmeal with brown dust
and dip the tip of the cotton stamen in the glue and then
into the brown cornmeal to make the brown pollen.  Separate
the stamens with a pin.  Let’s dry.  Once the pieces are
dry, with floral tape, attach the stamen to the pastillage
center, making the center of the rose.
To make the petals of the Wild Rose
For this you will need a 5 petals cutter.  Balling tool,
pad, wooden ball, and a round flower dryer.  If you do not
have a flower dryer, cover the mouth of a glass or plastic
vase with aluminum foil.  Leave it slightly loose to cup,
with a pin make a small hole in the center.
Tint a small ball of pastillage light pink.  Roll out
leaving a thick center in the petals.  This will form a
base to help secure the stamens.  Work the edge of the
petals using the balling tool, then with the wooden ball
press the center of each petal.  Lift the flower from the
pad. Place gum glue at the base of the stamen and insert
the stamen in the center and place to dry in the flower
dryer inserting the wire through the small hole you made
the pin.  When the flower is dry, tint pastillage in moss
green and cut a calyx and attach at the back of the flower.
With a very fine brush, dust the edges of the flower with a
shade of dark pink.   You will find a good set of
on how to make this flower in the book Wild Flowers by Alan
Dunn page 41. Visit
I invite to visit my site and look at the Sweet and Soul,
there you will virtually be able to browse through my
home library.  The books you will find there are the
foundation of my cake decorating knowledge and my personal
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Cake Decorators New Years Eve 2008

December 29, 2007

In our more difficult times we pray to the Superior Being,
Universal Energy, our Father God.  We ask for help to
continue foward, we ask for strength and for guidance:
That is the way we pray.  But we can use a more effective
way that never fails.  When we give love, when giving
thanks for all we have.  Infinite thanks for being in
balance with our family, our friends and ourselves.  When
we pray giving thanks we change the drama; we change our
personal history with a real relation with the world at
God’s level.  The process is simple, in your prayers, in
your gratitude,  in your respect,  in your vision, in your
praying ceremony, the key is simply to thank God.  The
best present is to have the opportunity of over and over
again in this season that celebrates the Birth of Jesus and
the coming of a New Year, to communicate with our spirit
and give thanks in our prayers for a rebirth in our lives,
a rebirth with love for all.

Happy New Year 2008


Celebrating Christmas « Marivis Cake Decoration Blog

December 23, 2007

Celebrating Christmas « Marivis Cake Decoration Blog

Cake Decorators book of our life

November 26, 2007

Searching for inspiration for the newsletter, Dulcinea
found a very old e-mail about our life book and how to edit
It is a reality that when we are born, at that time, the
only thing we know is to cry when we need something and
through that gesture we get food, love and attention.  When
we are born we bring a blank pages book that we start
writing as soon as we arrive, it is the book of our life.
Since that moment we start writing hour history.
Now, I ask you:  What have you written in your book so far?
How many times have you stop a moment to read your book?
How many of those pages bring you happiness and how many
bring so much sorrow that you wish you could erase them?
The sad part is that those pages can not be erased, but the
interesting part of this book is that it is a book you can
think and plan.
We all know that each of our acts will bring a consequence.
When we act with caution and confidence in our skills and
knowledge, the pages of our book will be full of positive
and happy moments.  When we have faith in the Creator and
in ourselves, when we accept our mistakes and work to emend
them and when we understand that each of us is the
architect of our lives, we will be writing the pages of a
best seller book. We will be writing with the ink of
When we share our knowledge, when we give a hand to the
needy, we are adding pages to our book.  Many times a good
thought, a smile or simply listening to someone in distress
are pages that remain impressed in the book of the
Yes, is true that we bring a blank pages book when we
arrive to this life, and is also true that we are the only
one with the absolute freedom to write it contents.
Everything we do become a chapter in our book.
How are pages of your book? Are they full of kindness,
love, forgiveness?  Is your book a best seller?  Do you
need an editor for your book?  All these questions have a
very simple answer, put your life book in the hands of God,
follow his guidance and you will have the best book ever

Marivi Bassabe
In search of light

Cake decorator’s harmony

November 4, 2007

Overlooking the impressive mountains of Northern Italy,
Dulcinea and Don Quixote talked of how little we are in
this gigantic world, notwithstanding, how big the human
being can become using his intelligence and his innate
skills.  Within our comparative smallness, we can reach the
highest mountain, explore the depths of the ocean or the
immensity of the universe.  But to achieve it, we must
recognize the importance of harmony in the world that
surrounds us.  We should live in harmony with nature, with
all human beings and especially within ourselves.
For example, if you are going to decorate a cake for a
wedding, there are a lot of details that have to be in
harmony with the occasion: like what flowers to use, which
color, the bride preferences,the time of the affair, the
place of the reception.  To make this decisions we need to
have inner harmony within our self.
How are we going to discover our path, to decide what is
our mission in life, without having inner harmony?  If we
hold in our mind a jungle full of darkness and wild
thoughts, we will never find our real inner self.  To reach
harmony, we have to learn to love ourselves.  Pull out of
our inner self all negative thoughts and negative
feelings, because they would not let us act with serenity.
Accept that there is a Supreme and eternal being that when
we accept it in our lives, will fill us with light and
peacefulness.  Once we reach the light, will have the
harmony and will be able to develop our potential.  We can
trace our goals and work toward them.
When we are in harmony with the Universe, we feel the most
noblest sentiments: love, compassion, friendship will
have important roles in our lives.  When we do our job, it
is not a matter what do you do, when you do it with love
you will always succeed.  When we have compassion in our
heart, we can help more effectively those in need.  In this
way we will discover the beautiful present of
friendship,that help us to understand and accept others
with their mistakes and defects.  When we live in harmony
with the Universe, there are not dangerous and negative
paths or destructive thoughts to harm us.
In harmony we will always have our mind clear, to make
effective and positive decisions for our personal growth.
We can develop our potential and reach our goals.
Let’s search for our inner light, live in harmony in order
to be able to escalate the highest mountains, explore the
depths of the ocean or the immensity of the Universe.
Because when we are in communion with God, the eternal
love, everything can be accomplished.

Marivi Bassabe
In search of light