Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May crafting efforts

Well, I did a little bit more on that teeny weeny angel cross-stitch but it's still well away from being finished. I did take it to show my friend and she didn't hate it, so that's a plus. Maybe it will be done by Christmas...

What I DID manage to do this month is practise my cake decorating skills a little bit more.

My friend who is getting married next March announced in April that she likes the look of buttercream roses. I am decorating the wedding cake as a present to the happy couple, so what she likes - I learn!

Now, I didn't learn how to pipe buttercream roses at the last cake decorating course I did (my first), and it's not on the agenda for the next course which starts in June. YouTube showed me how to make them and I realised I haven't got the necessary piping nozzle (I tried the 'similar' ones I own and they are NOT going to do the job) and would be struggling without a special thing that's like a darning mushroom to twirl about in my fingers as I gaily pipe away. So buttercream roses are on hold until the necessary shopping is done. I now have a darning mushroom thing in my possession.

In the meantime, earlier this month I iced a raspberry swirl butter cake (thanks, White Wings!) with a double batch of homemade buttercream, piped some fancy edgings and had a go at piping flowers with rolled fondant centres. It turned out a little wonky, but passable.

Some of my colleagues were duly impressed, some horrified (the icing! so red!), but most importantly it tasted good and the graduate trainee who was leaving our team appreciated the gesture and the flavour.

I have realised that piping with a cheap plunger is rubbish compared to using an actual icing bag. Have asked for a good set of piping nozzles or a gift certificate at the local cake decorating shop for my birthday. Fingers crossed!

On to working with fondant a little more... on Sunday night I made 12 double daffodils which will tomorrow night be placed on top of 12 vanilla cupcakes for a Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser at the office. They are not consistent, some are fairly wonky even, but they are done, and they were a good learning experience.

I've discovered that to do fine petals, you really have to add the special stiffening stuff to the fondant or else it just flops. If you don't mind chunky petals, they hold their shape ok. If you work too slowly with the fondant, it cracks. It's worth adding strong colours to small bits of fondant, then working smaller bits of the coloured fondant into weaker colours if you want to (eg) change yellow to orange.

Also, making small frilly trumpet things is a pain in the ass. There must be a knack to this that I have not yet found, although the bottom row was the last set I made and I was happiest with those, so I did start getting better at it. These will not be my last daffodils, but I don't plan on doing these every week, either...

So that was May. I'll post a progress shot of the cross stitch at the weekend and try not to feel discouraged at the lack of visible progress. More cake pics in June! One lesson every week and I'm really looking forward to those.