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Wee Love Baking by Sharon Wee by Sharon Wee Creations - 2M ago

Since I don’t have any kids of my own or know many kids (it’s pretty much only my niece and nephew), I am very out of touch with the latest and greatest kids show, toys or games. I only know something has gotten trendy when I start seeing people creating cakes of it.

I don’t create a large amount of orders anymore, so I am lucky to have a very small handful of clients who have had the honour of introducing me to the latest and greatest kids stuff.

When one of my regular clients asked me to create a Shopkins cake I thought: “Finally! I know what Shopkins are!”

This was around the time that Coles (one of the big supermarket chains in Australia) launched their Coles mini collectable toys. There was great media hype about it, some people were angry because of all the plastic that is being produced, others could not get enough and were obsessed with collecting the set. So I was well aware how much of an obsession collecting little mini toys could be.

What I didn’t realise however was just how many DIFFERENT Shopkins toys there were. Each one cuter than the next. No wonder kids love them!

Luckily, the birthday girl had a favourite Shopkin so I didn’t have to choose which one to recreate. I’m still not sure if she has a name but her shape makes her quite easy to recreate out of cake. So if you are wondering how to make a Shopkins cake, here are some behind the scenes photos.

I raised the main cake on a smaller 1 inch tall styrofoam disc. This allows space for the feet and makes the cake look elevated. I attached the styrofoam disc to the cake board using hot glue.

Then I covered the side of the disc with fondant first so that I don’t have to worry about trying to do it once the cake is on there.

Then the cake is stacked and ganached on the styrofoam disc. First a crumb coat, which is a thin coat of ganache (or buttercream if that is what you are using). This keeps all the crumbs in and prevents the crumbs from mixing into the ganache.

Then a thicker layer of ganache is applied and I used my clear acrylic scrapers to scrape off the excess from the sides. This leaves me with a good straight edge on my cake.

Once the ganache is set (firm to touch), I covered it with fondant. I use Bakels Pettinice, it’s the only fondant brand I use.

If you find you have little air bubbles on the cake under the fondant, you can pop them out with a standard needle or use an acupuncture needle. I prefer to use the acupuncture needle because it is so fine that it does not leave a big needle hole in my fondant. Then I smooth the fondant using a flexible smoother or piece of acetate plastic.

The feet are then modeled with fondant and the eyes and nose are applied. I used modelling tools to mark the mouth and tongue.

If you don’t have modelling tools you can always gently use a skewer but just be gentle. They are not soft and pliable like modelling tools so they can create an uneven deep mark if you press too hard.

The top tier was a styrofoam dummy since the client did not require that much cake. If not, I would have inserted dowels and stacked the top cake like any other 2-tier cake. The crown was fondant mixed with a small amount of CMC/Dyocell (a natural hardening powder) to make sure it’s firm and stable. I rolled it thick so that it would stand on its own and then cut out the crown shape, marked the lines and then shaped it into the crown shape and allowed it to dry overnight.

Because of the Dyocell in the fondant, it makes it a little firmer to work with but it will dry out faster, so you need to work a little quicker than normal.

The arms were then attached to the cake using skewers. It’s important to remember here that the deeper the skewer goes into the cake, the more secure the arm will be.

And here she is! I hope you enjoyed a behind the scenes look of how she came together. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.

The post Shopkins Cake Tutorial appeared first on Sharon Wee Creations.

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I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about why fondant gets sticky or sweaty. In the process of doing that I realised I also get many people who struggle with the total opposite, fondant that cracks. I see these issues with cake decorating classes that I teach all the time.

First of all if you have not read the original blog post about why fondant sweats, let me repeat the most basic part.

What is fondant? What is fondant made from?

Fondant (or “ready to roll” icing) is a sugar-based dough used in cake decorating. The single biggest ingredient in fondant is sugar which helps it set firmly and seals in the cake underneath.

Why does my fondant crack or have elephant skin?

Aside from sugar, there are other ingredients that make up fondant. This can vary from brand to brand, but it usually will consist of water, glucose, gum and/or gelatine. There needs to be the right ratio of wet to dry ingredients in order for you to end up with a nice pliable dough. Too much liquid and you will get a fondant that is very soft right out of the package. Too much gum or dry ingredients and you will get a fondant that is dry, crumbly, or rubbery.

Ideally, with a good brand of fondant, you want it to be a nice pliable dough. Not too soft, not too rubbery, but just right.

What is “elephant skin” fondant?

Elephant skin is when your fondant appears to look like elephant skin – cracked and wrinkly. Elephant skin is usually an indication that your climate is way too dry or that you are not working quickly enough. This is caused by the top layer of fondant drying and forming a skin (like a crust) and then you trying to move it. Moving it will cause that top layer to stretch and crack or wrinkle.

Your fondant should not look like this!

Your fondant can be cracking or have elephant skin for various reasons:

Cause Solution
The Brand of Fondant Every brand of fondant is different and every person has their own opinion. Some bigger brands include Bakels Pettinice, Satin Ice and Massa Ticino. Just remember that price is not an indication of quality. It is important to find a brand of fondant that suits you. Certain brands are formulated for particular climates and might not suit your climate. If in doubt, try a small pack first. Knead it, roll it out and move it around to see if it is a good match for you.
Old Fondant If your fondant used to be fine and you only recently noticed that it is dry and cracking, it could be that the fondant is old and has been exposed too much. Try to purchase small packs or wrap any unused fondant in cling wrap and then a zip lock bag. If it’s not too dry, you can try kneading in a bit of Crisco or modelling chocolate to bring it back to working consistency.
Climate If you live in a dry climate, you will struggle with the lack of humidity. In this case, you might need to consider a humidifier OR learn to work a little faster to prevent the fondant from drying out so quickly. You can try kneading in a bit of Crisco or modelling chocolate to give you a bit more working time.
Timing If you take too long to work with or roll out the fondant, this can cause it to start drying out and cracking when you move it. Learn to work a little faster! Or you can try kneading in a bit of Crisco or modelling chocolate to give you a bit more working time.
Too much added icing sugar or cornflour By far the most common thing I see is people using a lot of icing sugar or cornflour when kneading out the fondant. Kneading in large amounts of dry ingredients will change the consistency of the fondant and dry it out. Resist the urge to use icing sugar or cornflour when kneading or colouring your fondant. Work quickly and if the fondant gets a little soft, just let it ‘rest’ for 10 minutes before using it.
Whenever possible you want to notice your fondant is dry before it goes on the cake But my fondant is already on my cake and it’s got cracks and elephant skin! What do I do?

In this case, you have 2 options:

  1. Take it off – If it’s really bad and you don’t have any decorations to cover it, your best option might just be to peel it all off the cake and start again.
  2. Patch it up – If the cracks are minor, either place some decorations on the area, or create a sloppy paste by mixing the fondant with water until it becomes a paste. Apply the paste over the cracked areas. Then dampen your finger and use it to wipe over the area to blend it in. This will work like grout and fill in all the cracked areas.

I hope you have found that useful. Don’t forget to read Part 1: Help! Why is my fondant sweating?

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This is part 1 of a 2-part blog post all about fondant. There is just so much to cover that I decided to split it into 2 posts or else it would be way too long! This post deals with humidity and how that affects fondant, while part two will deal with the opposite – what happens when fondant is too dry.

I get asked many questions on a daily basis but the one that most people always want to know is why their fondant is “sweating” or gets sticky. I’ve been lucky enough to teach all over the world and because of that I have experienced fondant in every climate imaginable and have used LOTS of different brands too.

Let me start right at the beginning. Not sure how to cover a cake in fondant or how to use fondant? Check my YouTube channel for videos like the below where I show how to cover a round cake with fondant.

How to cover a round cake with fondant and get sharp edges - YouTube

What is fondant? What is fondant made from?

Fondant (or “ready to roll” icing) is a sugar-based dough used in cake decorating. The biggest single ingredient in fondant is sugar which helps it set firmly and seals in the cake underneath.

So why does fondant sweat?

Sugar’s biggest enemy is water or in our case humidity. The air that surrounds us has a varying degree of humidity depending on where in the world we are located. The higher above ground you are (hello Denver, Colorado) and the further you are from the equator, the drier the air tends to be. Dry climates can be good for working with fondant but climates that are too dry can also work against you. This causes the fondant to dry out too quickly which cases cracks and elephant skin – more about that in part 2!

The closer you are to the equator and the closer you are to sea level, the more moisture is present in the air. Sometimes you might be able to really feel it (hello Singapore) other times, not so much. But there is always some level of moisture in the air.

The more humid the climate is the more likely the sugars in your fondant will start to melt. The first stage of fondant melting starts with it getting soft and sticky, then it builds a shine (you notice your fondant gets really shiny, almost like someone sprayed a layer of oil on it) and sometimes this can happen just from you over-handling your fondant. If you continue to expose it to humidity, the shine turns into sweat, where it appears like the fondant is actually perspiring. Sometimes the colours start to bleed into each other or the moisture starts to pool and drip down the cake.

Gosh I didn’t know fondant is so sensitive! How do I use and store fondant?

Unless you live in a humid country you have no idea how annoying and frustrating fondant can be to work with. For those of you who are lucky to live in a decent climate, be thankful – very thankful. Especially for your energy bills!

So here are some options:

  • One of the main ways to reduce the effect the humidity has on your fondant is to work in a climate controlled (aka air conditioned room). This helps immensely BUT it also means the air conditioner needs to be running 24/7. You can’t turn off the air conditioner and go to bed, then wake up the next morning expecting that your fondant has survived the humidity overnight.
  • Another option is to work in front of a fan and have a dehumidifier running. This option will only really work if there is a small amount of humidity in the air. Not for places with high humidity (Singapore I am looking at you!). When you are not working on your project, try storing it in a closed cardboard box to minimise the contact with the humidity.

Do not store your fondant project in an air tight container. While you may think that this is the best option, it really is not. This gives the moisture nowhere to go and will cause your fondant to start sweating.

You can also try a few different brands of fondant to find the one that suits your climate best and even add a bit of CMC/Tylose to firm up the fondant.

Ok, so instead of an air-conditioned room, can I put my fondant cake in the fridge?

Yes and no. Common sense says that cakes should go in the fridge to stay fresh but fondant cakes are not your average cake. You might not be aware but your fridge is actually very humid (unless you have a humidity controlled fridge) and fondant does not like humidity remember? So sometimes depending on how humid your fridge is, your fondant cake can even start ‘sweating’ when it’s cold. It’s the same reason why you find condensation on your bottles of sauce or water in the fridge.

Not to mention that when you take your cake out from the fridge into the room, the change in temperature will also cause the fondant to start sweating like crazy.

So the best way to get around that is to place your cake in a covered box or wrap your cake entirely in a big plastic bag (a bin bag works great) and then place it in the fridge. This will help with protecting the cake against the humidity in the fridge. Then when you take the cake out, try and take it out into a cool (air conditioned) room so the fondant can slowly ‘warm up’ and adjust to the room temperature. This will minimise any ‘sweating’. Don’t unwrap or touch the fondant cake for about an hour – give it time to acclimatise.

Ruffles are one cake decoration where humidity makes a big difference – no one likes droopy ruffles! Help my fondant is sweating – how do I fix it?

Depending on what stage of ‘sweating’ your fondant is at, you have a few options. All of which I have detailed for you below.

If fondant is not used yet If fondant is already applied
Stage 1

Fondant is soft and sticky

Try adding some sifted icing sugar and kneading it into the fondant to bring it back to working consistency.

This might also be due to the brand of fondant. You can try a different brand of fondant in the future.

Try moving the project into a cooler room and avoid touching the fondant or you may end up leaving finger prints on it.

Place the project in front of a fan or air conditioner to dry it out.

Stage 2

Fondant is really soft and shiny

Try adding some sifted icing sugar and CMC/tylose and kneading it into the fondant to bring it back to working consistency.

The fondant might be over worked (you may have hot hands). Wrap the fondant and put it away to ‘rest’ and try to use it again in about half an hour.

This might also be due to the brand of fondant. You can try a different brand of fondant in the future.

Try moving the project into a cooler room and avoid touching the fondant or you may end up leaving finger prints on it.

Place the project in front of a fan or air conditioner to dry it out.

If it’s a light coloured project, try dusting a thin layer of corn flour or icing sugar over the shiny areas to soak up some of the moisture.

Stage 3

Fondant feels wet to touch

Try adding quite a bit of sifted icing sugar and CMC/tylose and kneading it into the fondant to bring it back to working consistency.

This might also be due to the brand of fondant or the climate you are working in. Ensure you are working in an air-conditioned environment.

Place the project in front of a fan or air conditioner to dry it out.

If it’s a light coloured project, try dusting a thin layer of corn flour or icing sugar over the wet areas to soak up some of the moisture.

Place it in a closed box or wrap it in a bag and place it into the fridge.

Stage 4

Fondant has water dripping along the cake or is melting

Try adding a lot of sifted icing sugar and CMC/tylose and kneading it into the fondant to bring it back to working consistency.

This is a very big indication that the fondant is not suitable for your environment. Ensure you are working in an air-conditioned environment or with a suitable brand of fondant.

Try and use paper towels to blot away any excess moisture so it does not do any more damage.

If it’s a light coloured project, try dusting a thin layer of corn flour or icing sugar over the wet areas to soak up some of the moisture.

Place the project in front of a fan or air conditioner to dry it out.

Place it in a closed box or wrap it in a bag and place it into the fridge.

If the damage is serious, your only option might be to hide the area with some other decorations or remove the moisture damaged portion and redo it.

These tips don’t just apply to cakes, it matters for figurines and flowers too Some additional tips when working with fondant
  • Not all fondant brands are equal and price is not an indication of how suitable the fondant will be for your climate.
  • If you are unsure, ask other decorators in your local area what they use, they will be more experienced than say, someone halfway across the world who does not work in the same climate you do. Sometimes local cake decorating stores will have samples they might be willing to share with you.
  • A good brand of fondant will be firm, still pliable and have a degree of stretch to it. It should not be crumbly or fall apart when you stretch it.
  • When your fondant is starting to sweat, don’t panic. Just work out where the humidity is coming from (Is it raining outside? Are you in a humid city? Is it from the fridge?) then try and fix that by moving it into a different area, changing the climate (using a fan or air conditioner) or wrapping it up and reducing the damage.
  • If you are using a new brand of fondant for the first time, just roll out a small piece and let it sit out on the table for about half an hour. Observe and see if it starts sweating.
I hope you have found that useful! Stay tuned for part 2 shortly.

If you want more tips on working with fondant for 3D structural cakes, and personal assistance from Sharon, be sure to check out her course Introduction to Cake Carving and Structure which is a comprehensive interactive course to learn cake decorating online. The wait list is now open for the next class so sign up to get the announcement email first!

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When I first started creating 3D and structural cakes, I used to just guess as I created each project because I didn’t know any better and had really bad time management skills. I used to start at the last minute and was under so much pressure to finish on time that I would just ‘wing it’.

Can I tell you that it just made the whole process so stressful, my cakes turned out disproportionate and I used to be so exhausted by the end of each sculpted cake. So why did I keep going back and making more? Well, I love the idea of a sculpted cake and I love surprising people with something that they can’t imagine could be cake – it’s just so cool! So, I continued on my bumbling journey.

Because of my poor planning, I found myself in situations where I either had too much or too little cake. There was one time I realised half way through I didn’t bake enough cake so I had to stay up until 2am to bake some more. Or the time after that when I was so paranoid I would not have enough that I baked too much and ended up throwing so much away.

Then one day after deciding I could not continue to work like that anymore, I took a class with an international teacher and one of the most important things he taught me (that I now use for every 3D cake I do) is to PLAN.

Never underestimate the importance of planning…

I learned how to enlarge and create life sized templates and how to use that as a basis for planning, measuring out the structure and carving the cake. It was so simple yet it was something I NEVER thought to do. It was essentially like creating a big blueprint for my project.

Once I learnt that technique, everything was so much easier. I knew how to analyze what type of materials to use, how big my structure needed to be (including the exact dimensions), which exact cakes sizes I needed and how big the finished cake was going to be. AND the skill is something I continue to use for every single project.

The initial planning of the cake layout. I used styrofoam to work out how everything will be sitting with each other and if the overall shape and size is good.

Sometimes planning out the template, structure and cakes can take up to a day if it’s a complex project, but the amount of time and stress it saves me while creating the cake is well worth it. Over the last 10 years I’ve adapted this technique onto so many structural and carved cake projects – my cakes are no longer disproportionate and are super secure.

I know it’s cliché but it’s true – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

This planning technique is now something I teach all my students who attend my online or in person classes. I don’t want you to just walk away with the knowledge of creating one type of project, rather I want to show you HOW it’s done so you can walk away with the knowledge to be able to dream and create anything you want. I want you to really start thinking like a cake designer (and not just a cake maker) and approach any carved or structural cake project with confidence and optimism!

Cakes like this took me years before I had enough confidence to create them.

Let me show you how I do it! My Introduction to Cake Carving and Structure online course is now open for enrolment. This is a 3 week course where I am online helping you every single day to learn all about 3D cake carving and structures. We create one project together and then once you finish that you can create as many more as you’d like and take advantage of the time you have with me.

Some of the finished projects from my past students!

In the last round, some students created up to 3 projects during their time with me!

Work from the comfort of your own home but still feel like you are part of a class environment with me there by your side. You’ll have my full attention and lots of help from fellow classmates.

It really is the best way to learn comfortably and work in your own time, and at your own speed.

Want to create your own fox cake and learn all about structure and cake carving? Find out more here.

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