Monday, March 23, 2015

"Laminated" Gumpaste Flowers Video

I'll be the first to say that this is a super lazy way to color your petals, and that it isn't the look that you want for every cake. But my love of printmaking makes me think that this method of adding patterns and photos of petals to the petals is hilarious. It makes the flowers look realistic at first glance, then waxy, then you realize that the surface is flat, then you're just confused.

I've been calling the stargazer petals "laminated gumpaste petals" because they're layered, not painted, and they're meant to trick the eye into looking like the real thing until you look closer.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Craftsy Class Review: Romantic Garden Roses with Nicholas Lodge

This review contains affiliate links, but the opinions are totally mine. 

Romantic Garden Roses was taught by Nicholas Lodge, who also teaches a few other Craftsy classes and who is obviously someone who you should know if you do cakes. When the flavor-of-the-months are long gone, he will still be here making gumpaste flowers and being cake decorating royalty.

What I found interesting about this class was that he incorporated a lot of old-school methods of making stamens and other parts of the flowers. We used some of his early books in my culinary school cake decorating class, and that was 19 years ago. A lot of the things that he does in this class are from those books, so I thought that was funny.

In this class he goes over a variety of roses, plus extras like buds leaves, thorns, bug bites on petals, and dew drops. So you'll get the full range of the necessary rose accessories and will be able to make respectable roses if you pay attention and don't try to cut corners.

(And speaking of cutting things, what about prices? For the gumpste recipe he uses, I sell tylose in my Etsy shop at a lower price than you can get it on his website...And shipping is lower too. Click here: Tylose.)

He's a really good teacher and doesn't miss a beat in terms of explaining everything he does as he does it. His classes are much better than most in that respect. There's no uhhhhh...umm. and hesitating.

He also includes a pricing chart in the class materials, which was interesting. If you're clueless about how to price gumpaste it could be helpful.

This class is well worth the price, and so are (most of) his other classes. The one I'd skip if I had to would be the one about working with the pre-made flowers, because you're not learning how to make things yourself in that one. 

The other flower classes that he teaches on Craftsy are worth watching, too. They are Classic Sugar Flowers, Modern Sugar Flowers, and The Ultimate Rose

My final review:

Skill level: Intermediate or a beginner who's willing to work slow and pay attention
Equipment you have to have: 5-petal cutter sets, wire, gumpaste, the usual.
Sleep-inducing level: Not bad, he talks CONSTANTLY and is very effiicient in how he goes over everything.
What it assumes you already know: The basics of gumpaste, but he kind of goes over it quickly. There's more information in the class materials too.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: Not a lot.
Annoying Host Habits: I do not find his teaching style annoying, so that says a lot because I usually notice something and get annoyed by it.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: This is a very easily followed class for anyone who's interested in making roses. I've been making roses for almost 20 years (sadly) and I was reminded of several helpful hints that I knew but had gotten out of the habit of using.

Go here for the class: Romantic Garden Roses

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond, VA.

Friday, March 20, 2015

One Video Didn't Work, So Here's One About Wafer Paper Instead

I did some videos with Debby from Sugar Buzz Cakes yesterday, but when I uploaded them to youtube the sound was all messed up. So we're going to re-do them next week.

We were talking about a few things, including everyone's favorite, sales tax (Debby used to work for the department of revenue in Georgia so she actually knows her stuff). If you have any sales tax questions let me know in the comments and I'll tell her to get her answers ready.

Another topic we were discussing was being friends with people who do the same thing as you professionally, and what to watch out for. I'm not talking about people online, I'm talking about people in your area who you could theoretically get together with in person. I think it's true that a lot of bakers want nothing to do with "the competition" so if you have any comments about that leave them here too.

In the meantime, here's the video that I did recently showing an image transfer method that I was messing around with. It's based on a printmaking technique that uses toner-based inks and solvents, and it gives you a cool effect on fondant.

Watch for the new videos next week, and subscribe to my youtube channel to get updates about when I upload new ones.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pretty Witty Cakes Class Review: Gravity Defying Cakes and VAT for UK Bakers

This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions are all mine.

If you haven't joined Pretty Witty Cakes yet, go do it now. Seriously, if you like online classes this is a great value. The monthly fee is less than one online class from other platforms, and with the membership you have access to ALL of the classes and downloadable tutorials on the site.

Since I last wrote about it, they've added three classes, including two that address how to build gravity-defying cakes. Even if you don't want to make these specific designs the steps of the classes will give you the tools that you need to figure out how to make your own structures for different designs.

One class is a stack of books and one is a little soccer player (the footballer for those of you not in the US). You can watch both classes for the membership fee, plus all the other ones they have.

The other class is on VAT tax, which is basically a European sales tax. It's tricky, and even though it doesn't affect Americans, it might if you sell digital downloadable tutorials to European customers. It's a mess. The class addresses how to deal with it if you're selling cakes in England. And I have to say that I watched it and the rules there are even dumber than the rules here as far as how they decide what's taxed and what isn't. Watch out if you make a non-taxable cookie and dip it in chocolate! It's now taxable at 20%. Only a bunch of government wonks could come up with that.

HOWEVER...If you're not in England this class would also be worth watching just to alert you to how stupid sales taxes can be. There are just as many distinctions in the US as there are in the UK, and they can even vary between town vs. county vs. state. Check your local requirements to see what you're legally responsible to collect.

And be aware that if you do sell digital downloads, including tutorials, to EU customers, you're legally responsible to collect VAT tax on those and remit them to the appropriate government at the appropriate rate. This has been a big controversy for online sellers for the last year, and it doesn't matter if you're a non-European. There are people who are still working on changing the income thresholds for the collection requirements, but at this point if you sell a tutorial to someone in Europe you have to make sure that the VAT tax is being collected and remitted correctly.

So go join Pretty Witty Cakes and partake of the tutorial offerings...There's plenty there for all skill levels, and it's a great value.

Click here for info: Pretty Witty Cakes

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and is a Pretty Witty Cakes affiliate.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blue and Chocolate Wedding Cake

This wedding cake had a very light blue buttercream with a band of chocolate fondant at the base of the tiers. The flowers and leaves were gumpaste. I decided to make the flowers all white instead of putting a yellow petal dust in the center because I didn't want the extra color on the cake.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA