Sunday, September 21, 2014

Craftsy Class Semi-Review For A Free Class And It's A Good Thing It Was Free

Craftsy LogoI was going to review the free Cake Pops class because it was free. Not because I like cake pops, because I don't like dealing with little things like that. But hey, free is free.

So I tried to watch it, but it's so buggy it stalled and stopped and I kept having to reload the page. There were a few times that it ran okay, but based on the comments on the page it was clear that it wasn't just my problem. Plenty of people had commented that they were having trouble watching the class.

I managed to watch the first part where she was squishing the cake in the icing, and I saw some of the other sections. Based on that, IF you want to learn how to make cake pops, and IF you're willing to struggle through the class if it's buggy, it would be useful. And since it's free, you're not out any money if it freezes up on you.

However...The thing that makes this class worth checking out isn't the class itself, it's the questions that people are posting. Since the free classes are student-led, nobody is answering the questions other than the people watching the class.

I've said before that the people who lead Craftsy classes had better be paid a lot, because some of the questions people post would make me want to shove a stick in my eye. Because nobody is moderating this class, people are posting the same question over and over in different ways. Plus, because it's a Wilton class they use Wilton products, which aren't readily available in other countries. This is causing a lot of confusion that nobody is clearing up.

Go over there and check it out. I started going through the different sections just to read what people were posting. It will truly make you lose your faith in humanity. I won't even choose to highlight any of the questions here since one was better than the next. Well, maybe one...I think my favorite question, posted in a cake pop class, was "are the pops edible?"

So go over to read the comments, which are much more befuddling and far more amusing than the class. Creative Cake Pops

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and is a Craftsy affiliate.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pink and Orange Painted Buttercream Cake

This cake was buttercream with hand-painted vines and flowers based on the wedding invitations. I added some three-dimensional painted flowers to the vines and kept it simple with a plain piped border around the tiers.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How To Make Wafer Paper Roses- Video

Here's a little video showing how to do wafer paper roses...Super simple. Just use the styrofoam centers, not the ones I used in the video. They were too slippery for my liking.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA

Monday, September 15, 2014

Craftsy Class Review: Chocolate Flowers

Craftsy Logo Chocolate Flowers was taught by Erin Gardner, who also did the Cakes In Full Bloom class. In this class she demonstrates a couple of ways to make different flowers out of chocolate, which is a good thing in terms of tasting better than gumpaste, but not so good in terms of melting.

Let me tell you about the monkey-iced cake...I was delivering a cake to a venue that had three separate reception locations on site. My cake was going to one of the outdoor areas, and it was 102 degrees that day. I told them that I was going to leave the cake at the indoor venue and they could move it to the outdoor venue right before the reception.

As I was putting my cake on the table I saw that there was a wedding cake that had been left there too. It looked like a blindfolded monkey had iced it and the flowers were melted because they were made from chocolate. Not a good choice on a 102 degree day. I think that whoever had made it had delivered it to the outdoor venue nearby and someone had noticed that it was melting and brought it inside, but it was too late. There was going to be one angry bride there later that day.

So that taught me two things. First, I want everyone to use the term "monkey-iced" as a normal part of conversation, and two, you shouldn't use chocolate flowers in the heat. So if you're going to do these, make sure they're a good choice for your needs.

This class covers the basics of tempering chocolate, but I suspect that there were more candy melts involved than was implied here. You can use either real chocolate or candy coating for her techniques, which aren't anything super new if you've made chocolate flowers before.

She uses tinfoil forms, veiners, molds and that kind of thing to make the flower petals and leaves, then shows you how to assemble them. She also includes a cake that's royal icing painted with brown food coloring to look like bark to make a tree stump cake.

If you've never worked with chocolate before I'd say that you should be able to follow along pretty easily, but some of the questions that people were posting seem to indicate a level of confusion that I was kind of surprised by. So maybe it's not as simple as I thought it was, but she did go over everything you'd need to know (or so I thought until I read some of the questions.)

I'd say that this class would be good for chocolate beginners or for people who have experience with gumpaste and want to try something different. If you live in the tropics or somewhere that's hot all the time don't bother. It's doubtful that you'd be able to use chocolate much unless you have a really good system for transportation that will avoid any exposure to hot air at all.

My final review:

Skill Level: I'd say beginner, but maybe not. Maybe for adventurous beginners.
Equipment you'll need: veiners, molds, etc.
Sleep-Inducing level: Pretty snoozy.
What it assumes you already know: Gumpaste basics, how to handle fondant.
Unnecessary Level Of Difficulty For Techniques Shown: Nothing much, and it's going to really freak people out when they see how much you use your hands and fingers when putting chocolate on molds, but that's the easiest way to do it.
Annoying Host Habits: Oh my God, it's ane- MO-ne! Not Ane-NO-me! That drives me nuts.
Level Of Helpful Hints Learned: Pretty basic chocolate stuff, but if you don't do a lot of work with chocolate you'll learn some things.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and is a Craftsy affiliate.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick and Tiny Gumpaste Succulents

Here's a quick way to make tiny gumpaste succulents that can be used to fill out a larger arrangement:

Start with a set of pointy cutters and cut out three shapes. These are daphne cutters from Pfeil and Holing. ( )
You could also use small daisy cutters.

 Pinch the leaves to thin them out.
Stack them using gum glue or water to attach them together.

Press a veining tool or the end of a paintbrush in the center of the stack.

Curve the leaves up around the stick, then "fluff" them to separate them a little if you need to.

Let them dry on a cookie sheet, they should keep their shape. If they start collapsing onto themselves the gumpaste might be too soft, so you can dry them in a bumpy mattress foam pad to keep their shape.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA