Cake decorating basics

If you ask me, I’ll reply you in true honesty that I don’t like to work with sugarpaste/fondant or gumpaste. Fact is, these sugary stuff hates humidity and I happen to live in a tropical climate with high humidity so playing with them is a difficult, if not troublesome affair. The one way to counteract such difficulty is to work with them in an air-conditioned place but my humble home has only fans. So…

Despite that, I find myself more and more interested in making those beautiful cakes out of fondant. Each time when I browse the web for ideas, they never fail to attract me and I guess I will work against the odds to make fondant cakes.

To equip myself on using these materials on cakes, I enrolled myself into Wilton and PME courses and these are some of the take-aways (better to record them somewhere in case I forget!).

On colour wheel

colourwheel

Complementary colours are colours directly across from each other. Example : Yellow and Purple,  Orange and Green. Complementary colours make each other look good even though they are complete opposites.

Neighbouring colours are a group of three to four colours sitting next to each other on the colour wheel. Example : Yellow, Orange, and Red.

Monochromatic colours refers to a colour choice but using either less or more gel paste to make a bolder or lighter colour. Example: Light pink, Medium pink, and Dark pink.

Triad colours are three colours spaced equally apart on the colour wheel. Example: Green, Orange and Purple.

colour wheel chart

One of my coursemates has the above chart, and commented that she found it useful especially since she is into craftwork as well. Her designs are always beautiful and has the most desirable set of colours on her cakes. I must hunt this down!

On fondant and gumpaste

The term used in UK is sugarpaste while in US, fondant is used. Gum paste is mainly used for flowers or figurines (in my opinion and especially so in our climate!), while Fondant is used for covering the cakes.

To store them, mould them into logs and coat with a layer of vegetable shortening, clingfilm and then ziplock them before storing in air-tight containers.

In general, the lifespan for both is 18 months if unopened or refer to the expiry date found on the packaging. If it is used and stored well (the remaining amount), it can last 6 months. However, if it is opened and used, it can only last 1 month.

To make the ‘glue’ to paste the differnt parts of flowers or models together, break about 1/4 teaspoon of Ready- To-Use- Gum paste into very small pieces in about 1 tablespoon of hot water.

For the past few weeks, we worked on these:

IMG_7776

Fabric roses
Embossing and painting of plaques

IMG_7953

IMG_7936 IMG_7938 IMG_7941
Making of fruit basket
The cloth is made entirely from fondant. Reccommded colours to dust on fruits are sage, lime and cinnamon.

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   IMG_8093 IMG_8094
IMG_8095 IMG_8098
Ribbons and drapes

IMG_8283A Christening cake for a girl

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A ballerina

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My finale cake – The Very Hungry Caterpillar – and with this I receive the Professional Diploma Certificate in sugarpaste from PME. I enjoyed the whole process of learning how to decorate cakes and my instructor makes every lesson really relaxing and fun indeed. I’ll miss her and my wacky coursemates!

Fondant needs to be dried so the best way to do so in our humid climate is to leave it in the air-conditioned place while I use the fan. Imagine the electricity bills! I thought this post is useful.

Will be posting The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake next!

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2 thoughts on “Cake decorating basics

  1. Hi Lynn,
    May I know where did you attend PME and Wilton courses? Which courses do you think will learn and benefit you more especially making animal model figures? Thank you.

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