Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hula girl cake

I had a lots of fun creating this cake for my little girls birthday.  In case you missed my previous posts you can find the party here and my hula girl figure tutorial here.

I started the figure a week before so she'd be nice and firm by party time.

I usually bake my cake and make my frostings 3 days before the event.  The buttercream gets tastier and it helps break up my work.  Most of which is done in the wee hours to avoid little hands from my two year old terror cutie.

Cakecentral.com is a great resource for recipes, inspiration, and tips.  I've learned a TON from that site.  In a future post I'll show a quick tutorial on how to help get those layers even without sagging and having the seam where you layer your cakes visible.

Two days before the cake needed to be complete I made my flowers.  I wanted to create a hibiscus flower but found it hard to find a reasonably priced cutter so I decided to improvise.  I used one of the flower cutters that came in my wilton kit when I took classes last year.  They are plastic so they don't cut great but I made them work.

1. Roll out your fondant / gumpaste mix thin.  (50/50 mix)

2. Cut out your flower with your cutter.  Press very good around the outer and inner edges to get a clean cut.

3. Take your exacto and cut each petal in towards the center to make the petals thinner.
4. Place on foam pad that has been dusted with a cornstarch powder mix. Take your ball gumpaste tool and dip that in the mixture every petal or so to prevent it from sticking. You want to put pressure on the outside of the petal from one edge of the petal to the other. You can do this a few times to get the desired thinning and curling of the petal. I also pressed in a bit with the ball tool to help it curl up.

5. I then pinched the edges of the petals a bit.
6. Roll tear drop shaped pieces to place as the centers of the flower, attaching with tylose glue.  I used papertowel pieces to help some of them dry upwards.

7. Now lay to dry on petal tray to help them curve a bit.

8. I used pink pearl dust around the edges on the white flowers to add some color, sorry I didn't take a picture of the process.  Just use a dry paint brush to apply.
I was able to use my airbrush that my parents gave me for Christmas this past year.  It took me six months to build up the courage to try it out.  I had a cake the previous week I helped a friend with and planned to use my airbrush on that cake.  Around 8 pm the night before the cake was needed I realized I was missing a $3 adaptor to use the compressor.  We ended up using canned air brushing and the next day I placed the order for the part and spent $12 on shipping for that $3 adapter to make sure I had it in time for Adia's cake.

You get A LOT of overspray from these machines.  I was blowing blue out my nose for days. After walking into the house with a blue nose and teeth my husband found me a face mask.  Make sure you do this in an area you don't mind overspray and only use airbrush colors.

Cute aren't I with that mask =)
Doing a light coat and letting it dry and going back over it is the trick. Not too much pressure or too close. You can always go darker.

I decided to keep the design pretty simple.  I originally thought I'd try the royal icing brush embroidery I saw on my inspiration cake but that was a flop so I went with plan b.  I will say being flexible is necessary with caking.  Hey if I wanted cookie cutter I'd just go to my local supermarket.  Mistakes are what give it character.

I bought a cakeboard at my local cake shop and had my hubby put little wooden pegs on the bottom to help get my fingers under it when moving the cake.  Then I put wrapping paper on it and then trimmed it with ribbon.

I layered the cake using a technique called SPS (Single Plate System) that I found on cakecentral.

I took out my clay extruder and used the trefoil disc.  It looks like three circles put together.

I used the disc in 2nd row 2nd from left.

When you squeeze it through and then twist the string it looks like a rope when you are done.  That is what I used to hide the seem between the two tiers.

Then I placed flowers around the smaller tier and cascading down one side of that tier. I used the flower plunger set I mentioned in my hula girl figure tutorial for small flowers to decorate the smaller tier as well.  A couple more flowers placed on the bottom layer and it finished it off.  If I had to do it over again I'd only do the smaller flowers around the middle tier and just the cascading hibiscus flowers from the top tier to the bottom instead of having them placed around the second tier.

I'm linking up here this week

Dragonfly Designs

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hula girl figure

Last week I gave you a view into my daughter's hula girl party.  Here is a glimpse on how the hula girl figure came to be.  I have only made three other figures in the past so I'm not claiming to be an expert.  My first was Buzz for my son's Toy Story party last year. Be on the lookout for that party in a future post.

A spent a lot of time on you tube and googling, funny how that's a verb now? One of the first cake pros that I found was Mayen from Way Beyond Cakes by Mayen.  That is where I found my first recipe for marshmallow fondant.  She is so willing to share tips and tricks freely so check her out on facebook and you tube when you get a chance.  She has a figure video that I used to give me some guidance on my figure.

You really need to give yourself a number of days to do a figure properly.  I can be a procrastinator so I really tried hard to start a full week in advance to give the figure time to dry between steps.

Day One

Get a styrofoam block to stick your figure into.  I used bamboo skewers and dug them into the styrofoam.  You can make your sticks a little taller than you think because you can cut them down when you form your body.

I mixed up some fondant / gumpaste with americolor gel colors.  I use a 50 / 50 mix of store bought fondant and gumpaste. The stuff tastes terrible but it is consistent for figures. I used a mix of white, brown, and copper to get my desired skin tone.

Roll into a tube, like rolling a snake and then cut two equal pieces to keep your legs even.

Create the feet and then each leg.  Then place a little tylose glue (recipe below) to the stick where the feet and legs will go and put onto skewer.  Then I used an exacto knife (used ONLY for caking) to cut out the toes.  Use your finger to pinch and form the toes round because they will be pointy.

Then take your fancy tool from your gumpaste tool kit and with the skinnier side form little toenails.
Inspired from the original cake I painted the toenails and fingernails as well.  I took a paintbrush (again ONLY use on cakes) and put a drop off americolor gel coloring into a paint tray I purchased for about $1.  Adia LOVED this touch!

Now let the legs dry for a full day or two so they are nice and strong to support the torso and head.
While waiting for the legs to dry you can work on the head.  I watched this video for help along with a number of other fondant figure videos on you tube.

I'm sorry this section is lacking in pictures step by step.  Watching the video will fill in the gaps.

Form a ball and slightly taper a neck out of the bottom side.  I forgot this step on this figure so I formed the neck on the torso itself.  Then slightly push in where the eyes will go (video shows this good).  Now take a small piece of fondant / gumpaste and form a nose.  I tend to have issues with this step.  I am never happy with my noses. Form two little nostrils with a toothpick and then adhere with a dab of tylose glue.

To form the mouth use the back end of an icing tip.

Then use your gumpaste tool that you used for the toenails to open the mouth wider if that's the expression you choose.  You can choose to make little ears at this point if you'd like.  Most of the time they are covered by hair so it doesn't matter too much.

For the eyes I used tips #10 and #12 to cut the shapes out of the fondant after rolling it out thinly.  I glued the white and then the blue circles on top.

Then I used a thin paintbrush and black americolor gel to color eyelashes.  I used brown coloring to form the eyebrows.  I let the head dry in the flower former you saw above overnight.

Sorry no picture of this step before hair added.
Day Three

I created the torso and glued it on top of the legs into the skewers.

I created the top and skirt before placing the arms on.  I found a great tip that you can use a clay extruder to get those tiny thin strings for hair and the trimwork on my figure.  I purchased this extruder with a 40% off coupon.  I love that it has a number of discs for different looks.  ONLY use it for caking and NEVER with anything else.

I then did the skirt, which hid my seems between the legs and torso.  I didn't have a cutter in the shape I wanted so I just used my exacto to freehand the leaves.  I glued each piece individually with tylose glue.  Trimmed with the pink and now I was ready to add the arms.

To make the arms you will roll out a snake shape again and cut evenly.  Flatten the tips into a hand and use your exacto to cut out the fingers.  Soften the tips of the fingers with your fingers and use your tool to create fingernails.

Getting the arms on is tricky.  Cut the shoulder area at an angle to help it blend in flush on the torso.  You put a toothpick into the armpit / shoulder area, make sure to use tylose glue on both sides to secure it.  I put another toothpick into her stomach and in that arms wrist to secure the arm that came across her body.  Then I placed something tall enough to support the other arm while it dried.  Let her dry for a couple days before removing the support.

If you feel your figure isn't strong enough wait to add the head.  If it seems firm enough you can place glue on both sides of a toothpick and place into the torso and leave enough to go about halfway into the head.

I used the clay extruder to create the hair.  You start from the bottom up and then I created bangs.  Only place glue on the head a small section at a time so that you don't get it too gummy.

In the end I decided to add the flip flops.  I used an oval cutter for the bottoms and used the extruder to create the straps.  I found these great flower plungers to create the little flowers used.  I bought some plastic cutters and they were downright terrible.  The metal cutters are better and even better is the plunger feature that helps to plunge the little flower out intact.

I lifted the figure out of the styrofoam and pushed the skewer into the shoe and placed the figure back down on top of the shoes after I placed glue on them. The flowers around the wrists and ankles not only added to the charm but helped hide some imperfections.

There you have it a beautiful hula girl figure!

Tylose Glue Recipe
credit to Lorraine McKay as this is her recipe that I found on cakecentral.com

Add 2 tbs warm water to 1/4 tsp of Tylose Powder and leave the powder to melt.  Don't worry if at this stage the glue appears not to be blending.  Put a lid on the container and leave it in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning you will have a perfectly clear and ready to use glue.  The glue should be a dropping consistency.  If it is too thick, just add a little more water and stir with a cocktail stick.

I'm linking up with these blogs

Dragonfly Designs