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Getting started with sugar cookies: Decorating with color flow and fondant

Getting started with sugar cookies: Decorating with color flow and fondant

Have you baked your sugar cookies based on the Wilton recipe I shared in my previous post? Then you are ready for the next step: decorating them. Color flow Other cookie decorators use royal icing, and they have their own recipe. Meanwhile, I decorate my sugar […]

Getting started with sugar cookies: recommended recipe

Getting started with sugar cookies: recommended recipe

Hello! Since you are here, I suppose I’ve managed to convince you through my previous post to try your hand at making making sugar cookies. Very well then! Let’s get started! ***Be the fist to know the latest news, cake designs, tutorials, and promos from […]

Why should you learn how to make sugar cookies?

Why should you learn how to make sugar cookies?

I made some really pretty sugar cookies the other day. They were for the 69th birthday of my client’s mom. She loves gold, pink, and teal.

Shabby chic birthday cookies

 

I really love making sugar cookies. It was one of the first things I learned when I was starting out. Even before I started baking and decorating cakes, I was already practicing on sugar cookies

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The very first sugar cookies I ever made, way back in July 2011.
The very first sugar cookies I ever made, way back in July 2011.

 

I want to share my passion in making sugar cookies with you, but to be honest, they are difficult to make. The weather, especially here in the Philippines, plays a big part in your success in making a sugar cookie. That’s why decorating them is a more intricate and challenging process. So why bother with them at all?

Why should you learn making decorated sugar cookies?

Here are my reasons:

(1) The possibilities are endless with sugar cookies. It’s so versatile that you can decorate it any way you want. A simple round shaped cookie can be decorated in several ways, such as the ones I’ve made:

sugar cookie art
Minion-themed sugar cookies, one of my best-selling designs
monogram sugar cookies
Round monogram and floral cookies
decorated sugar cookies
Superman and Superhero cookies for Khalil’s first birthday
elephant sugar cookies
Elephant on chevron print for Ellie
Round sugar cookies with Ben 10 logo
Round sugar cookies with Ben 10 logo
olaf sugar cookies
Frozen-themed sugar cookies

 

 

customized sugar cookies
Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. in cookie form

(2) You can use royal icing, or in my case Wilton color flow, and fondant in decorating your cookies. This gives you flexibility in incorporating techniques and design elements.

decorated sugar cookies
Mothers’ Day sugar cookies decorated both with color flow and fondant

(3) Sugar cookies are perfect souvenirs. Small inedible knick-knacks that are given away during weddings or birthdays are a thing of the past. After the event they are mostly put away and forgotten. Why not give your guests these yummy and pretty decorated sugar cookies? They can be customized to fit the event’s theme, plus they don’t spoil easily (my recipe lasts for 2 to 3 weeks). Your guests will definitely enjoy them.

 

edible wedding favors
Wine bottle sugar cookies are perfect wedding giveaways

 

Sugar cookies for a corporate event
Sugar cookies for a corporate event

 

(4) I think sometimes cupcakes are boring. They are too mainstream right now. Everyone’s making them, so why not try something else that’s different but definitely delicious and eye-catching? Sugar cookies are fun and unique.

 

cookie bouquet
How about a cookie bouquet for a change?
ladybug cookies
Garden-themed cookie bouquet

(5) Looking for a new activity for kids? Try cookie decorating! It’s not as messy as having kids decorate cupcakes, but they’ll have the same amount of fun! Here are some photos of a cookie decorating activity I had with some kids and toddlers last October 2014.

 

cookie decorations
Colorful sprinkles and pre-cut fondant shapes ready for our little cookie decorators
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Simple setup for each kid: one cookie, sprinkles and fondant decorations, and a small dish with water. Dip your fingers in water, apply it to the back portion of the pre-cut fondant shapes, and stick to the cookies. It’s just like putting glue on paper!

 

Cookie decorating activity with toddlers and kids from Enopi at Pink Plate Meals and Cakes last October 2014.
Cookie decorating activity with toddlers and kids from Enopi at Pink Plate Meals and Cakes last October 2014.

Are you convinced to try sugar cookies now? If you are, watch out for my next post where I will discuss the basics of sugar cookies.

Enjoy!

Up, up, and away: fondant hot air balloon cake topper demo

Up, up, and away: fondant hot air balloon cake topper demo

I love hot air balloons! They make me feel happy and positive about life.   I am so fascinated by them. Maybe it’s the sense of serenity, freedom, and success that they evoke.   I was browsing through a local cake decorating supplier’s Facebook page […]

Wayback Wednesday: Mermaid cake

Wayback Wednesday: Mermaid cake

“Study the past if you would define the future.” ― Confucius One thing I learned since I started cake decorating is that you have to continuously improve yourself. You can’t afford to stagnate. In order to stay relevant in this business, you have to innovate […]

Tutorial Tuesday: Sponge Bob cupcake toppers

Tutorial Tuesday: Sponge Bob cupcake toppers

You know one of the things that you need to do if you are into cake decorating? You have to know what kids like! Mostly, you have to be familiar with lots of cartoon and computer game characters. Unfortunately for me, I am no longer at an age where I’d like to spend my days watching Disney channel or Nickolodeon, and I have no kids of my own to force me to do this. So, to be quite honest, I have only gotten myself acquainted with several characters when I got cake requests for them.

Sponge Bob was one of these characters, although he’s been here since May 1999 (according to Google). I never liked him. Why? Well, I didn’t watch a lot of TV back in the day because we still didn’t have cable then (Did I mention that we live in the woods? Hahahaha, just kidding! But seriously, it took us a long time to have cable television). And on those rare times when I did get to watch Sponge Bob at my grandma’s house with my cousins, I thought the cartoon was pretty stupid. A yellow character that looked like Scotch Brite wasn’t interesting at all to me. I didn’t understand why a lot of kids were fascinated with him.

sponge bob cake
Simple buttercream cake with Sponge Bob and Patrick fondant toppers

Oh well. Sponge Bob and his best friend Patrick are still popular after more than 15 years. I wonder why they remain well-loved. But as a cake decorator who wants to make my customer’s cake dreams come true, I am in no position to question. My job is to make a cake.

sponge bob cake
Three-tier Sponge Bob cake. Based on a design from the Internet provided by the client.

I don’t find him particularly endearing, but one of my first attempts at making a tutorial is that of a Sponge Bob cupcake topper. I made this tutorial two years ago and posted it originally on my old blog, but I thought I’d copy the post and share it again here.

Enjoy!

 

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These are the tools that you will need: round cutters, square cutter with scalloped edges, round icing tips for the smaller circles, brushes for cleaning up the fondant pieces and for applying water to glue pieces together, fondant modelling tools especially the half circle and ball tips. Make sure that your large circle cutter is as big as the top of your cupcake. You will also need yellow, white, and blue fondant, a black food writer OR black royal icing.
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Cut out your fondant pieces: one Sponge Bob face will be a circle to cover a cupcake, the other one will be in Sponge Bob’s natural shape to serve as a standing topper.
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Let’s now make the eyes. Cut two white circles and two smaller blue circles.
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Stick the blue circle over the white. Using a black edible marker or black royal icing, place a black dot in the middle of the blue circle to serve as the pupils of Sponge Bob’s eye.
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Get a small piece of yellow fondant and roll a small tubular shape to serve as the nose. You can stick a  small piece of toothpick through it to make it stand. Also cut a small rectangular shape of white fondant to serve as teeth. Press a line in the middle to white rectangle to make it look like two teeth showing out of his mouth. Assemble the pieces as shown. Use black food marker or black royal icing to place details (eyelashes and lip line). Take your ball tip fondant modelling tools and randomly press all over his face to give him a spongy look.
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Here’s how Sponge Bob should look like at this point. This piece is now ready to go on top of a cupcake.
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Now for the Sponge Bob shape face. After cutting a square piece of yellow fondant, tilt your cutters at an angle  to cut the sides. Use the scallops as a guide. For this shape, I took the corner-most scallop as a reference and aligned the cutter to the end of the second scallop at the lower side. This means that you take out two scallops from each end at the lower side.

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Insert a toothpick inside the Sponge Bob face shape then decorate according to the instructions provided for the circular Sponge Bob face.

 

Here’s the finished product! Search online for different Sponge Bob expressions.

I hope you all find this useful. Let me know!ff91f-fotor_1354282031682

My own humble beginnings in cake decorating

My own humble beginnings in cake decorating

I spend hours stalking my cake idols on Facebook and on Instagram. Today, I happened to stumble upon Philippine buttercream floral queen Jing Fernandez’s page on Facebook. She posted some of her buttercream daisies from way back in November 2013, and I really could say that […]

Protecting my cake photos

Protecting my cake photos

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I must agree. Doesn’t it give you that warm fuzzy feeling when you see another baker attempt to replicate your cake, regardless if he did it well or not? Personally, it makes me think that I must have done […]

The importance of having a cake contract

The importance of having a cake contract

When I was still a newbie cake decorator who was caught up in the excitement of discovering that I can make beautiful cakes, I never thought about drawing up a contract or even an order slip for those who wanted to order their cakes from me. I accepted orders through Facebook messages and text messages. I didn’t even ask for any deposit or any guarantee that my customer can and will pay for my time, effort, talent, and product.

As more and more people learned about me, the volume of orders I got increased, and the designs expected of me became more difficult. I slowly realized that I needed to collect a certain amount from my customers first in order to buy the ingredients I needed and to defray for the other expenses associated in making a cake. I also realized that I needed some sort of guarantee that my customers will, for all certainty, buy what I have made for them. I haven’t been duped by anyone personally (well maybe not big time, but there were a few minor instances in the past that I have been conned), but I learned from baking groups and forums that there are a lot of bogus buyers floating around the world. One of the best ways to prevent being shortchanged in this business (and in any business for that matter) is to ask for a downpayment.

yellow buttercream flowers and butterflies
Making a customized cake, whether big or small, is hard work. Cake decorators should make sure that they aren’t short-changed for their efforts.

 

That was when I started seriously looking into my process of taking orders. As my business grew bigger, I was more and more vulnerable to becoming a victim of my own carelessness and of heartless swindlers. I made an order slip to ensure that I got the details of each order correctly and so that I do not mess up dates and times of orders. My order slip also reflected the total cost of the order and the amount for downpayment given and when it was paid. The order slip protected both my interests and that of my customer.

As I began accepting multi-tiered cakes that would become central pieces in their respective events and that would cost the customer a lot of money, I realized that I had to properly set the customer’s expectations regarding what I could do for them and for how much. I needed to layout the scope of my work clearly. There should be a guideline for me and for my customer to ensure that I deliver what he expects and that he gets exactly what he paid for. There were also other complications that I realized would crop up when taking big orders: scheduling of orders, payment terms and methods, cancellations, and deliveries. This is when I decided that having a cake contract would be necessary.

I didn’t know where to start and what to place on the contract. I thought of consulting a lawyer, but then I thought that would be too much. Basically, all I needed was a clear agreement between me and my customer. After searching the Internet, I found this really helpful post by Wicked Goodies that provided a basic template for a cake contract. I downloaded the file and edited it to suit my needs. Here’s what my contract says:

A deposit of 50% or more of the total cost of the order confirms and holds a reservation. The deposit is refundable in full 30 or more days before the event minus a P1500.00 transaction fee for consultation services rendered. The remainder of payment is due no later than 14 days before the event. Late or no payment is subject to cancellation. Late payments may result in substitutions or modifications to the original order. Cancellations received on or within 14 days of the event date may not be subject to refund. If in case event is to be rescheduled on a later date, please inform us at least two weeks before the original event date. If event is to be scheduled earlier and we are given less than a week’s notice, additional 1000 pesos will be charged (rush order). Pink Plate Meals and Cakes reserves the right to exercise artistic license in order to guarantee the structural, visual, and creative integrity of a dessert structure. Requests for changes in your order may or may not be accepted within two weeks of your event depending on the degree of preparation already undertaken and on ingredients already sourced at that time the request is made.

I never thought that one day this simple paragraph would save me from a lot of trouble. In the middle of June, a customer who already paid me half of the total cost for an event on July 18, 2015 contacted me to say that she was backing out since her mother got another cake supplier. I realized that she most likely got a lower quote from that other supplier, thus the change of plans. Luckily, I could still withhold the consultation fee from the refundable amount to pay for all the trouble I spent in planning the cake with her. I was sad at losing the customer, but I know that when a door closes another one opens. I am optimistic that I will get other customers who believe in my work and who respect my talent.

My cake contract still needs to be reviewed and revised. I am still working at including terms for rentals, deliveries, and pickups. I also still need to update my online ordering guidelines. I would really like to have all bases covered to protect myself and my business. I believe that it is not a selfish goal. The customer will also benefit from a well-written cake contract that lays out everything in black and white. A detailed description of the product, conditions and terms will also protect the client by ensuring that he gets value for his money. If I were a customer, I would see a detailed cake contract as indication that I am dealing with a professional and serious cake decorator who will make sure that he creates high-quality cakes and expects to be paid for it.

Shades of Red: Americolor (AmeriMist) Super Red vs Chefmaster Super Red airbrush color

Shades of Red: Americolor (AmeriMist) Super Red vs Chefmaster Super Red airbrush color

Color is integral in each cake design, and using the right shade of color is essential in making beautiful cakes. However, different brands formulate their colors differently even if they do have the same name. In this article, my aim is to help newbie cake decorators […]