Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CakeCentral Magazine - A Second Time!!

Hello! Welcome back! Many of you already know that one of my cakes made it (again!) into CakeCentral Magazine. I was so honored to have cakes in back-to-back issues!

This second cake was for the October issue. CakeCentral sent me a picture by the illustrator Arthur Rackham from the Grimm Brother's story, The Seven Ravens. It is an amazing illustration! I was lucky to get to work with it.

Most of all, I wanted to capture the eerie feel of the illustration. It is a little dark, but not overly so, and cool in tone. I wanted to make sure my cake design reflected all of that. I focused on the pattern and colors of the waters in the picture and used that as the main element of my cake.

I painted the waves onto the cake using a watercolor technique with vodka and food coloring, going from darker at the bottom to lighter moving up the tiers. I left the very top tier unpainted.

This painting actually went a lot better than I had anticipated. I thought I would have trouble with it, but it was actually really simple. I used a very "watery" paint, using more vodka than I normally would to paint with food coloring on the fondant. I then put the tier onto my turntable and spun it slowly while moving my brush up and down against the side. Does that make sense? It all went on really well and I was so pleased with the effect!

To bring in more of the Ravens story, I covered the very bottom tier in jet black fondant and made some fondant feathers, which I dried on a curve and set around the entire tier. I used a leaf cutter to make it easier and make sure the feathers were more uniform. Then I took my knife tool (you could also use the dull side of a butter knife) and gently scored a line in the middle of each feather and all along the edges to create the feather look.

As the finishing touch, I decided to do sugar pieces to reflect the ice mountain, against which the girl is standing. I ended up using Isomalt to make my sugar pieces because it dries clear and that is the look that I needed. Real sugar is cloudy when it dries and opaque and it just didn't look right. After the Isomalt was heated to the right temperature (per package instructions), I added a drop or two of blue and black food coloring, gently swirled it, then poured it onto a parchment-covered sheet pan. After it was completely cool and hardened, I cracked it into large and small pieces. I then took the pieces and attached them to the finished cake.

I really loved these sugar pieces! They were just as I had hoped they would be! The only problem was that they don't photograph super well. It is difficult to photograph a clear piece of sugar! But my photographer for this cake, Lisa Vargo, did such a fantastic job with it. By the way, Lisa is an amazing photographer! Check her out here!

I had so much fun doing this cake. I hope that CakeCentral Magazine continues to call on me to make cakes for their awesome publication! If you would like to check out all of the amazing cakes in the October issue, or any other issue, visit CakeCentral.com and click on the "Magazine" link. You can also buy individual issues for download from iTunes.

I am so, so thankful that I get to make cakes and hopefully bring smiles to those who see, and often eat, my creations. During this holiday season, this week at Thanksgiving and through the end of the year, I hope that you all take the time to think about all of the gifts and blessings you have been given and to give thanks for them! I am also so thankful for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Eerily cool! You did a great job painting the waves and that sugar ice is very cool with the food coloring & bubbles. Congrats on being chosen & published Kristen!

  2. I found your blog through From Scratch, SF (or maybe the name of the blog is now Beyond Buttercream--I had a hard figuring out the correct name of the blog,) Anyway, I have been learning about Swiss Meringue Buttercream and saw a comment that you had left, so I came over for a blog visit. I just wanted to say that this is a beautiful cake! I love the water color effects on the frosting and am captivated by your sugar pieces. I kept staring at the cake elements and then back at the illustration with which you were working. You captured the feel of it perfectly. Well done!

  3. Thank you so much, Terri! This cake is one of my favorites!