Posts Tagged ‘cake decorating classes’

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: 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,



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, 


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


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 Decorators Do you know who is Dulcinea?

October 29, 2007

Hi friends:

Do you know who Dulcinea is? Dulcinea is the inspiration
of Don Quixote de la Mancha, a master piece of Hispanic
Literature. But this is not a literature class, is a cake
decorating newsletter and Dulcinea is my inspiration, in
many aspect of my life. For this reason I write The Voice
of Dulcinea. Once in a while I will be exposing you to
Dulcinea’s thinking, you know why, because, Cake Decorators
have a soul too. In the same way Dulcinea enjoy the
landscape from the top of her windmill, we find inspiration
in studying a flower, admiring the intrinsic shape and
colors in order to be able to make them in sugar.

Anyway, today the recipe for flower paste. Flower paste in
this newsletter will be known as Tylose paste, because
Tylose is the ingredient that give the paste the
elasticity, also retard the drying time and give you more
time to work.

Flower paste recipe

1 mix of stiff royal icing
2 tablespoon of tylose
1 or 2 cups 10X sugar (for kneading only)

Once the royal icing is to the peak consistency, add 2
tablespoons of tylose. Beat with the pallet for few
seconds, then put 10x sugar on the table and knead the
paste adding sugar a little bit at a time. If stick to
your hands place a very little small amount of shortening
to your hand and knead to form a ball. Wrap in plastic.
This paste need REFRIGERATION. You will love it.

Next week will tell how to work with this flower paste.

Send your input and your questions. And don’t forget to
invite your cake decorating friends to subscribe. Lots of
nice things are coming up and all for FREE.