Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest Post- Veronica Yoshida on Cold Porcelain

I've never worked with cold porcelain before, so when I saw that Veronica Yoshida of Southern Gold Leaf Cakes had posted about her experiments with it, I asked her if she'd be willing to share some of her information. She graciously agreed, so here are her tips:


After working with cold porcelain the last couple of weeks there are a few things I’ve noticed that I would pass along. I am not a professional and haven’t worked with this long so I’m sure there are many other pointers but these are the ones I’ve found the most helpful in a short amount of time.



1. Make your pieces a little larger than you want the finished product to be. Air dry clay type materials can shrink by up to 30% in some cases; adjust for the finished size by starting a bit larger. This will also help alleviate another problem which is cracking and splitting. As the pieces dry and shrink they can split and crack. Especially if there is any internal structural support. I noticed this on everything from rose bud cones to tiny figurines where there were attachments with toothpicks. They can be covered but it’s better to adjust in the beginning.

2. For flowers, leaves and pieces you want a uniform base color, I find coloring the cold porcelain prior to working with it is best. For figurines and other pieces that have different amounts of detail work it isn’t as noticeable but for flower petals and leaves it makes a huge difference. Also, I found that oil-based colors, like the ones you would use in coloring chocolate, work best. Even though the CP is not edible I still try to avoid regular oil and acrylic in the kitchen. The finished pieces will still be near cake, usually, and I like to keep everything as non-toxic as possible.

3. No glue or water, just mineral oil. It’s super sticky on its own. Even in making roses you can work with the petals while everything is soft and it sticks to itself very easily. For pieces that need to be added after dry time, a tiny dab (and I mean teeny tiny) of mineral oil will do just fine. CP melts from exposure to water or heat so try to avoid it as it could cause your piece to become unstable in those particular places. Sealing the piece using a sealer that can be brushed or dipped is best. For toppers I would still place parchment or cardboard under the figurine base so that it’s not in direct contact - but that’s just me.

Here’s the recipe I liked best for a couple of reasons:

1. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated just sealed.

2. It smells better.

3. It cooks faster.



¾ cup white glue (Elmer’s is recommended)

½ cup water

1 teaspoon cold cream (Ponds or Nivea is best because they are non-oily)

1 teaspoon glycerin
1 cup cornstarch

**the saucepan you use should not be used for food after this**

Mix wet ingredients until smooth over a medium to med-low heat - continue to cook for a minute or two stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch a little at a time and mix well as you add. It will start to form very quickly at this point. By the time the last of the cornstarch is added you should have a formed ball of dough.

Move your dough to a work area where you can knead it as you would gum paste or fondant. If it’s too sticky add more cornstarch. If it’s too dry you can add a drop of glycerin or add mineral oil to your hands. Wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and then place in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate. Kept air tight it will keep for months.


Thanks, Veronica! If you want to read the other two articles about Veronica's experiences working with this medium, go to her blog at http://southerngoldleafcakes.blogspot.com/2011/03/cold-porcelain.html and http://southerngoldleafcakes.blogspot.com/2011/03/cold-porcelain-part-ii.html
 
 

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

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