Usually I get anywhere from two to five emails a week with readers asking various questions. I always answer - sometimes quickly, sometimes not so quickly.
Today I thought I'd share a couple of reader questions and share the answers publicly! Do you like this idea? If so, leave a comment!
I'd love to do this once a week (if I can remember), so please shoot me an email or leave a comment and it may show up in a post! So here goes...
From Jamie on the How to Put Stars (or other shapes) on Wires for Cakes post...
Q: Where do you purchase the wire from?
A: I either buy it on Amazon (here) or from Country Kitchen SweetArt. What I should have added to my answer is that I almost always buy the 22 gauge, 6" white cloth-covered wires. You can scroll through all of my cakes with wires here to see how I use them.
From Janice via email...
Q: Hi, (3 part question spaced for easier reading)
First of all I would just like to say I love your site. I have several questions about the Zebra 13th birthday cake, first what did you use to make the numbers on top,
A: Hi Janice! Thank you!! (answers spaced so that it's easier to read)
For the numbers on top, I use two different things... but I don't choose one over the other for any particular reason.... it just depends on what I have on hand, my mood, etc. So... I sometimes use gum paste colored with a matching gel color. I prefer Satin Ice gum paste over Wilton - the only 2 brands I've used.
The Tylose makes the fondant "act like" gum paste. I use CK brand Tylose - it's all I've ever used so I can't speak about other brands. As for as putting the numbers together on wires/sticks, I'll be doing a tutorial on that next week, so stay tuned!
second how did you put the bow together,
About the bow... that is not an easy question to answer... and you're going to see my very technical side as I answer this (wink!).
I've only done a handful of those "frilly bows" and it's still a trial-and-error process for me. I start by cutting out a 3-4" circle of fondant/gum paste to match the bow (same as above - either gum paste or fondant with Tylose). You can see me doing that on this tutorial of making a poofy bow. Then I melt candy melts and put a blob of it in the middle of the circle and lay the loops around with the ends in the melted candy, getting a foundation established.
I stick that in the frig for a few minutes to set, then I get a big ball of fondant/gum paste (maybe 2") and wet it under running water until I get a sticky blob. I push that into the middle of the bow and I begin pushing the ends of the loops into the blob until it gets full.
I also put some balls of fondant/gum paste on the ends of lollipop sticks, let those dry and inserted those directly into the cake to fill in spaces and add another shape.
This is not a fool-proof method, obviously. Sometimes they don't stick and I have to dip the ends of the loops in melted chocolate and push them in again. Sometimes they fall out and break. Sometimes there are huge gaps and I have to fidget to get it to look "full". If anybody has a great tutorial on doing a frilly bow, I'd love for you to leave me a link!
third why did you choice Satin Ice fondant for the zebra stripes instead of your own,
For me, making homemade marshmallow fondant is usually best for a few reasons - it tastes great, it's easy to make, and it's cheap. BUT, there are two exceptions (for me). To get a really good true-black fondant, it takes ALOT of black gel. And even if you have that much (usually almost 2 bottles Americolor super black for one batch of MMF), by the time you get it all kneaded in, the texture of your fondant will be "not great."
The same is true for red fondant. It's hard to make - or at least for me it is! So... for those two colors, I buy Satin Ice brand fondant.
It tastes good and it's easy to work with. Now honesty, the texture is different and it takes some getting used to. Marshmallow fondant is more forgiving, can be rolled out more than once (if you don't roll it big enough or have a tear)... and with the pre-made, it tends to dry out faster and sometimes gets the "elephant skin" look easier . But that's the trade-off I'm willing to live with considering how hard it is for me to make those two colors.
finally do you use those wooden sticks to hold your cakes in place?
You can see a complete picture tutorial of how I stack cakes here!
Thanks to Jamie and Janice for asking questions this week! Anybody else have a question? I'd love to hear from you!! Shoot me an email or leave a comment!
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