Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Better Way To Make Edible Glitter

More edible glitter news...cornstarch makes it shinier.

Here's the video and a link to the recipe:

Recipe for edible glitter: Click here (this is an affiliate link)

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Craftsy Class Review: Simple Skills for Dramatic Designs

This review contains affiliate links, but the opinions are 100% mine.

Simple Skills For Dramatic Designs was taught by Alexandria Pellegrino of Cake Opera in Toronto. her designs are known for being opulent, over-the-top, and gilded. She has a very distinct style, and after watching this class I went to look her up.

Turns out that she was a trained artist before starting to decorate cakes. She did some of her training in Europe, which makes sense since her decorating style is very Versailles, if you know what I mean.

The class covered the basics of how she does her designs, and it really is simple to do them. She goes through using stencils, molds, stamping, and painting the gilded accents, which are all pretty basic. Her cakes aren't simple looking, though, and that relates to the two thing that are problematic with the class. Neither of which has anything to do with the content of the class itself.

First, she has a very distinct style that's pretty identifiable. That's because it's HER style. I predict a ton of copycat-style cakes coming from this class, since the questions that people were asking were pretty much "give me the exact name of the exact items that you use to make that exact design." That isn't art, it's art forgery. So take the tips she gives you and develop your own designs. Use a different mold...Use different colors...Put your own style into it, don't just copy hers.
Second, because she's an artist first, she works really fast and she has the ability to paint without having to have a paint by number approach. People who take this class who can't paint will have some trouble doing that part of it, because you can't give someone a step-by-step approach for freehand painting.

She adapts some of her methods for people who can't paint, like using a stencil. Someone posted a question about making a stencil, and her answer was that she freehands everything but made a stencil for the class to allow people who can't do that to make the design. So just remember that you need to take the content of the class, learn from  it, then go out and try to be creative instead of just copying what she does exactly.

Another thing that she says in the class is that she's using 24 Karat gold to paint on the gumpaste accents, but in the questions she clarifies that she THOUGHT it was 24K gold, but it isn't. So don't go looking for 24K gold to paint with unless you want to pay through the nose for it.

And the Craftsy student obsession with everything on the cake being totally edible is getting more ridiculous, since people are questioning using gumpaste as a decoration. Relax, you can peel that off if you don't like chewing, and it's made of the same stuff as fondant without glycerine etc. So it's edible but not delicious. Whatever.

This class was interesting mainly because her cakes are so identifiable, and very pretty, so there's the curiosity factor of "how does she make them."  The methods she uses are very straightforward and wouldn't be hard to a beginner to follow other than the hand-painting part.

My final review:

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
Equipment you have to have: Gold dust for painting, molds for trim and exacto knives, stamps and stencils.
Sleep-inducing level: Not too bad.
What it assumes you already know: How to cover a cake with fondant.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: She did a few things that were kind of weird...For example, when you use a silicone putty to make a mold, slapping it won't make air bubbles release, that's a different kind of silicone. So no need to spank the molds.
Annoying Host Habits: Not much, but she says "actually" a lot. And now that I pointed that out you'll notice it, you're welcome.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: I liked the way that she shows how to adapt things like a simple mold into multiple shapes, and the methods that she uses are versatile enough to apply to a lot of different designs (that you come up with on your own.)

Go here for the class: Simple Skills for Dramatic Designs

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

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Little Wedding Cake

This wedding cake is a good example of how a cake doesn't have to be huge to be pretty. For this intimate reception the bride wanted something simple, so I did a traditional dot pattern on the tiers and kept the decoration to a minimum. The gumpaste gardenia was the focal point and the leaves were the only color on the cake.

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

FYI For Brides: Why You Shouldn't Bring Kids To Wedding Appointments

I’m watching “Say Yes To The Dress” and the poor bride’s choices are being shot down over and over…by a couple of little kids. She brought her future stepchildren with her to the dress appointment, I guess to make them feel important and included, but it seems to have backfired.

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, I used to work at a daycare center. I think it’s important to make stepkids feel like they’re part of the planning process, but with limits…

The problem with little kids is that when you tell them they’re super-important in the wedding process, they believe you. That makes them happy, and excited. And when they’re happy and excited they want to contribute. But kids don’t always have the capacity to know when to stop contributing. So you end up with a kid who wants to feel important by putting his or her two cents in every ten seconds. They might not even believe what they’re saying, they just want to be a part of the action, so they speak up.

They won't know when to shut up.

This results in you putting on your dream dress, walking out, and having little kids say it’s ugly, because it doesn’t look like Jasmine’s princess suit. Remember, little kids have different standards than adults do.

The same thing goes for men. When you bring a guy it’s either someone who couldn’t care less about being there, or someone who thinks they know so much about fashion it will end up annoying the heck out of you.

Years ago I had a couple of male roommates, and we were bored one day, so they “styled” my hair and makeup. (Yes, we played beauty parlor. I thought it would be funny.) Well, it wasn’t so funny, I ended up looking like a hooker, but the two of them thought that they had done great work. It was horrific, but they were genuinely proud of themselves. People have different standards.

Limit the interference

Too many people choosing your wedding dress is a bad idea. Take one person whose opinion you trust with you, but don’t make it a social outing. It’s YOUR dress, not a community event.

The same thing goes for your cake tasting. I’ve had way too many appointments where the bride and groom wanted one cake design but they were shot down by people they brought with them. It’s difficult to wade through all the opinions and figure out what the COUPLE wants if they’re trying to be diplomatic and let everyone have a say.

After one bride burst into tears at a tasting because the 8 people she brought with her all kept telling her she should get a cake she didn’t want, I started limiting the number of people at tastings. The cake represents the couple, so they should be able to get what they want without someone shooting their ideas down.

So think hard about how you want to include people. Bring one person whose opinion you trust to bounce ideas off of them. If someone has wildly different tastes than you do be wary of bringing them to tastings. If you choose to bring a kid with you let him choose the cake flavor for one tier, but don’t feel like you have to let him choose the design. You can include people in ways that let them know they matter to you, while still keeping control of your event.

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

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Deals

The following post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are totally mine.

Happy Valentine's Day! While you're scarfing down that box of chocolates and trying to find a decent place to put the flowers that you told your significant other not to get you because you have no counter space for a vase but he got you anyway because he thought you were joking, why not take a break and watch a video class?

Craftsy is having a sale with up to 50% off all their classes. If you want to read the reviews I've written of some of the classes, go to the search box at the right on this page and type in "craftsy" the articles that I've written with class reviews will come up in the black box, and there are a lot of them.

All you need to know, though, is that the time to buy any online class or video tutorial is when they're on sale. I buy everything on sale, so should everyone.


Pretty Witty Cakes has added a new video tutorial and a new PDF tutorial section this week, too. The more I look a this site the better a bargain I think it is. The videos are shorter than the ones on Craftsy but that's not a bad thing. Since you can pay a monthly fee for UNLIMITED viewing, it's a great site to join to get access to a bunch of different topics at a low price.

So go eat yourself into a chocolate coma and watch some videos. That's what I plan to do this afternoon after I'm done working.

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