Sunday, January 25, 2015

Craftsy Class Review: Over The Top Modeling Chocolate

Craftsy
Over The Top Modeling Chocolate was taught by Kate Sullivan, who also did the Painted Cakes class. She owns Cake Power in New York and does a lot of bright, contemporary styles of cake designs. This class goes into how to use modeling chocolate to make some flowers and some figures with armatures.

What I liked about this class is that she shows how to make a simple armature for a standing figure that uses common materials decorators tend to have around anyway. Instead of making a trip to the hardware store for special structural material, you can use your floral wire and tape, which is pretty much all you need for most figures.

She goes over how to make a standing elephant holding a balloon in its trunk, a dog that looks like it's seated for the poker-playing dogs cake, and adds some modeling chocolate flowers including a peony, hydrangea and narcissus.

I like modeling chocolate much more then gumpaste, fondant, or any combination of those for making figures because it's just more malleable. It's like modeling clay and it's a lot easier to smooth out and work with. As long as you keep it cool enough it's very simple to manage.

That's the one thing I'd warn people who haven't used modeling chocolate about...it doesn't like heat and humidity. I don't even bother trying to use it in the summers here. Even in my air-conditioned kitchen it doesn't behave well. It's like it KNOWS that there's a hot, humid day outside and it refuses to be fooled. So be careful with that and don't wait to test it out for the first time in the middle of the summer.


Actually, the cake that made me coin the term "monkey-iced" had modeling chocolate roses on it. I say HAD them, because after someone had left it out in the heat and they had all melted, they weren't roses anymore. So it's not the perfect medium for all weather.

But this class was good for basics of how to sculpt figures using it, and as long as your weather isn't like being hit in the face with damp sauna air when you walk outside, you should be all right.

My final review:

Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
Equipment you have to have: Floral wire and tape, some flower cutters etc
Sleep-inducing level: Not too bad but I was drinking a delicious caffeinated beverage while watching it.
What it assumes you already know: How to make the modeling chocolate...The recipe is included, but if you don't know how to make it watch my video here: 
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: Nothing much
Annoying Host Habits: Nothing, but I'm really starting to get annoyed at the number of questions about whether everything in every Craftsy class is "food safe." Yes, you don't want to eat lead paint, but having a fit because someone uses a sharpie and not food coloring is worrying too much. Go suck on a roll of floral tape for a while and see if you're still here tomorrow, I bet you will be. And if you're that worried about the chemicals that might brush off on a tiny piece of fondant because it touches a dowel, I hope you're not eating cake mix, because that has a heck of a lot more junk in it.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: The biggest thing here is how to keep it simple, which sometimes seems to be a lost art. Her tips are all pretty straightforward and don't require a bunch of weird cutters and tools.

Click here for my Craftsy pattern shop, which has a bunch of freebies in it: A Cake To Remember On Craftsy


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

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