Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sweet and Simple Easter Bunny / Söt och Enkel Påsk Kanin

A quick and easy last minute gift for Easter that children are sure to love.  Better still, why not keep them busy and let them have a go at making a bunny themselves?

You will need / Du vill behöver:

Step 1

First prepare the rabbit's feet.  Make 2 long teardrop shapes, then flatten slightly.  Use the plastic knife tool to cut toes into the wider end of each foot.  Position the feet on the workboard with the backs stuck together using a little edible glue (ätbart lim) or melted dark chocolate.

Step 2

Again using edible glue or melted chocolate to hold it in place, unwrap the chocolate egg and press firmly onto the back of the rabbit's feet.

Step 3

Next create the rabbit's head.  Roll a ball of brown/chocolate sugarpaste then form it into a fat egg shape.  Attach it to the top of the chocolate egg body.

Step 4

Roll 2 equal-sized sausage shapes of brown sugarpaste to be the rabbit's arms.  Thin them slightly at one end and attach this end to the rabbit's shoulders.  Make sure that the rabbit's paws meet in the middle of the chest. Use a little edible glue or melted chocolate to secure the arms in place.

Step 5

For the rabbit's cheeks, roll 2 small balls of brown sugarpaste and then flatten these slightly.  Attach to the lower half of the face and use the cocktail stick (cocktailpinne) to add small whisker holes.

Step 6

Roll 2 equal-sized sausage shapes of brown sugarpaste to be the rabbit's ears.  Thin them a little at one end and then flatten.  Bend over the thin end of the ear and attach to the top of the head.

Step 7

Make the eyes by rolling tiny balls of white sugarpaste then flattening and sticking just above the cheeks.  While you are working with the white sugarpaste don't forget to give the rabbit a little tail.

Step 8

Roll a tiny ball of black sugarpaste for a nose and attach.  Extremely tiny balls of black sugarpaste are needed for the pupils of each eye.  Use the cocktail stick (cocktailpinne) to give the rabbit smile lines next to his eyes.
TOP TIP:  If you find it hard to roll such small balls, try rolling out a small piece of black sugarpaste and cutting out tiny circles using the tip of a number 2 or 3 piping nozzle.  These are perfect for eyes.

Step 9

No Easter bunny is complete without a few eggs.  Roll small balls of sugarpaste in different colours and thin slightly at one end to make the egg shape.  Attach the eggs to the rabbit's paws.

*Shortly after taking this photograph the easter bunny mysteriously disappeared.  We may never solve the mystery but a small chocolate covered child is helping us with our enquiries...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sticky Solutions

At some point in your cake decorating adventures you'll find that you need to use an edible glue (ätbart lim).  If you're sticking together fresh, soft sugarpaste (or modelling paste or flowerpaste) then you may need nothing more than a dab of water to make things stick.  Brush a little on, let it make the sugarpaste tacky and hey presto - instant sugar glue.

However there are times when you might find you need something stronger, so here are a few options:

Commercially-made edible glue

Brands such as Squires Kitchen Edible Glue or Wilton's Dab-n-hold edible adhesive can be really convenient to have in your sugarcraft kit.  These store-bought glues are transparent, flavourless and have a long shelf life if stored correctly.  Ideal for when you need something to stay securely in place.

But what if you have run out of store-bought brand and have a glue emergency?  Don't worry, there are a few home-made options to try:

Gum glue

This is a home-made version of commercial edible glue and it's really easy and cheap to make yourself.  You'll need the following:

¼ tsp (tsk) CMC (also known as Tylose, or you can use Gum Tex or Gum Tragacanth)

2 tbsps (msk) warm water
A small container with a lid
A fork
  1. Put ¼ tsp (tsk) of CMC (or similar) into a small container.
  2. Add the 2 tbsps (msk) of warm water and stir with a fork to break up the lumps (it will remain quite lumpy - this is fine)
  3. Put the lid on the container and shake well.
  4. Leave the container in the fridge overnight.
  5. In the morning it will have thickened and the lumps will have disappeared leaving a syrupy, transparent glue.  If it is too thick add a little more water or too thin add more CMC (or similar).
But what if you are having a really bad day and you've run out of store-bought edible glue AND there's not a pinch of CMC in the house?  Don't panic - you have another home-made option and this one is super simple.

Sugarpaste glue
This is quick and easy, and needs only the most basic ingredients - white sugarpaste and boiling water.
  1. Break some white sugarpaste into small pieces and put them in a small container.
  2. Cover the pieces with a little boiling water.
  3. Mash up the pieces with a fork until dissolved or speed the process up by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
This produces a thick, strong glue.  For an even stronger glue you can use pieces of modelling paste and for the daddy of all sugar glues use pieces of pastillage.

Finally, you always have the option of using royal icing as a glue.  It dries super hard so you can be sure that your work will be held firmly in place.  Just remember to use a little and in places where it won't be seen if possible.  Here's an excellent recipe for making a small quantity of royal icing from English cake decorator extraordinaire Debbie Brown.

Makes 75g

1 level tsp (tsk) egg albumen (äggvitepulver)
3 tsp (tsk) water
65-70g icing sugar (florsocker)
  1. Put the egg albumen into a bowl
  2. Add a little of the water and mix to a paste, then add the remaining water (at this point I pass the mixture through a small sieve just to get rid of any lumps)
  3. Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time until the icing is firm, glossy and makes soft peaks when the spoon is pulled out.
Keep the royal icing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.  Place a piece of cling film (plastfolie) over the surface before adding the lid to keep it in best condition.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Easter Chicks cake decoration / Påsk fågelungar tårtdekoration

You will need/Du behöver:

  • Sugarpaste (sockerpasta)
  • Gum Tex (or similar such as CMC or gum tragacanth)
  • Sugarcraft gun
  • Edible glue (ätbart lim)
  • Paste colours (pasta färger)
  • Paintbrush (pensel)
  • Food colouring pen, black (livsmedelspenna, svart)
  • Small rolling pin (Liten kavel)
  • Work board (Kavelplatta)
  • Small heart cutter (litet hjärta utstickare)
  • Plunger cutters, blossoms (ejector utstickare, blommor)
  • Icing sugar (Florsocker)
  • Crisco, white vegetable fat (vit vegetabilisk fett)

Step 1.
Prepare the sugarpaste.  Knead in a little gum tex powder (or CMC or gum tragacanth).  It makes the sugarpaste firmer and easier to work with.  Colour the sugarpaste – brown for the nest and your choice of colours for the birds and flowers.

Step 2.
Prepare the brown sugarpaste to use in the sugarcraft gun.  Use a ball of sugarpaste approximately 3cm in diameter and mix in a little Crisco (white vegetable fat) to make it more elastic.  If you don’t have any Crisco you can mix in a little cooled boiled water.  Roll into a sausage shape and place it into the sugarcraft gun.  Attach the multi-hole pattern disc and squeeze out a section of sugarpaste.  Don’t worry if the strands are irregular and twisted, that’s fine.

Step 3.
Coil the strands into a circle to make the base of the nest, and repeat step 2 to make more strands.  Use these to build the wall of the nest.  You can use a little edible glue if necessary.

Step 4.
Make 2 egg shapes for the birds – 1 quite tall and thin, 1 short and fat.  Check that they fit in the nest.

Step 5.
Roll out some sugarpaste thinly and cut out wings with a small rose petal cutter.  Attach the wings to the birds with a little edible glue and then stick them into the nest.  Roll out some sugarpaste a little thicker (around 3mm) and cut out tails using the heart cutter.  Cut off the points and attach behind each bird.

Step 6.
Make small teardrop shapes to use as the head feathers.  Attach 2 together and glue onto the head.  Make a small piece of orange sugarpaste into a beak and attach.  Use the black food colouring pen to carefully draw on the birds’ eyes.

Step 7.
Roll out the sugarpaste thinly, using different colours, and cut out some flowers in different sizes.  Attach them to the front of the nest.

Step 8.
Finally, place your birds and their nest onto a cupcake.  This cake is sure to make you feel as if spring is just round the corner!