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"SUGAR BLOGGED" BLOG

Sugar Blogged created by Ro Zinniger provides information about many areas of cake decorating, sugar art and baking!  Posts are full of information, tips and tricks related to baking and confectionery arts.

Flexible Pearlized Metallic Icing

How to Make Flexible Metallic Icing (Silver, Gold, Pearl):

Over the past few years, I have had many students and customers request metallic icing. If you have ever tried to make it, you will realize quickly that putting metallic luster dust in icing just "muddies" the icing resulting in an off color non-metallic icing. It is frustrating to say the least. You will then resort to creating royal icing and "painting" the icing with a mix of luster dust with lemon extract/or vodka to create the metallic look, but realize that you have to be a perfect painter! It is time consuming and pain staking to get the results you are looking for. Another method is to take piping gel and add metallic luster dust to create a metallic icing, however you will find that it can be super soft and will not dry. FRUSTRATING! Finally, the last resort, which I found worked on cookies just fine, was working with gelatin (which stinks!). I created a mix of clear gelatin with luster dust (and added some piping gel) to create a middle of the road piping metallic icing which worked okay. I found that once dried it can "shrink" a little bit, sometimes bend, so I have to make sure that I am in contact with the cake when I am piping. A buttercream cake works the best, as the gelatin based icing does not stick to a fondant cake. Grrrrrrrr. I am still working on my formula. There is an Australian based product that works okay, however it is too costly. Then, there is Sugar Veil, however I have never been successful making it metallic. Hang in there decorators, and please email me with your feedback!!! rozsweetart@att.net

Artisan Cinnamon Rolls by Ro Zinniger


Every Holiday season my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would make some amazingly tasty cinnamon rolls. This last year, I decided to mess around with their recipe and another, and came up with the following – which by the way, got rave reviews from family and friends! I hope you enjoy and share with others!


Ingredients:
Patience: dough needs to rise for at least an hour (Can make the night prior and refrigerate for a morning bake)
Roll dough:
• 1 cup half & half
• 1 cup whole milk
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 package "fast acting" dry yeast
• 5 cups All Purpose flour
• 1 tsp salt
• Option: Cinnamon Roll Flavored Oil – ¼ tsp or Orange zest – 1 tsp


Instructions: Sift flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In a pyrex measuring container, warm the milk and half & half together (should be tepid or warm to touch) – sprinkle yeast and let sit for 1 minute. Once it bubbles, add the sugar, and gently stir with a wooden spoon (add flavor or zest at this point). Make a "well" in the flour, and pour the yeast/milk mixture, then the oil, and gently knead with your hands. (Spray your hands with cooking spray, so the dough does not stick so much.) Form into a ball, place in a large glass bowl, and cover with a clean towel to allow dough to rise.


Filling ingredients:
• ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ¼ tsp all spice
• ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
• ¼ cup raisins
• Option: Pecan flavored oil – ¼ tsp. / Orange zest


Melt the butter and brown sugar together, add spices, pecans and raisins (option – add oil).


Putting it all together:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured wooden board. Half the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape (12"x8" or so). Spread half of the filling mixture (sprinkle with zest and additional cinnamon and sugar if desired) – keep the edges clear so that when you roll the dough will stick together. Roll from one end to the other into a log shape. With a sharp knife, cut 1 inch slices. Repeat the process for the other half of the dough and spread. In a round, greased pan (bottom and sides), place the slices close together. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, and cover with foil the last 5 minutes of baking to prevent over browning. Remove and cool 5 minutes.


In a small bowl, create the glaze by mixing ¼ cup of whipping cream and cinnamon roll oil with a touch of fresh juice from an orange. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Traditional Cookies and "Grandma's" Recipes

It is that time of year again when you get out your box of loved recipes passed on from family and friends. I have a couple of favorites that include my Grandmother's Biscotti recipe. Every year I try a new addition to the recipe or change it, and am always disappointed as the results are never "Grandmother's" cookies. They may turn out too soft or the flavor is not right or perhaps the addition of cranberries really did not belong. I also found a few years ago that I needed to alter the flour measurement a bit to compensate for the weight that my Grandmother used. She used unprocessed flour, and back in those days the quality of flour was a whole lot different than it is today! She also did not necessarily use a measuring cup for her flour. She used her hands. One year, my sister and I used a flour used for pasta, and that resulted in a very interesting cookie! I have also adopted using Anise flavored oil, manufactured by LorAnn's Oils, as the flavor is much more intense than using extract. Although, it is still not that same cookie that I ate when I was a child. The texture is not the same, the flavor - even with Anise extract - is not the same, and the initial "bite" is not the same. I long for those days years ago, when I was standing on the chair at the basement kitchen table (my mom would freak if she knew I was standing on a chair), watching my grandmother prepare the dough for those amazingly wonderful Biscotti cookies. To this very day, I have not found anyone nor anywhere that can duplicate that exact cookie AND the recipe is everywhere! So, when people ask me for my Grandmother's recipe, I am reluctant to share it with them as I know the result will not be the same. On another note, I am happy to share my version! 

Ro Z's Not So Traditional Biscotti:

INGREDIENTS:

• 12 ounces butter
• 1 3/4 cups white sugar
• 6 eggs
• 1 teaspoon Anise extract (or 1/4 tsp of Anise flavored oil)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract  

• 6 cups all-purpose flour       
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 ounces chopped almonds - Optional

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time; beat until fluffy. Stir in the anise and vanilla extracts. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Add them to the egg mixture along with the chopped almonds. Stir with a spoon and as the dough comes together, Knead by hand.
3. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Roll each piece into a log about 15 inches long. Place logs onto cookie sheets, 2 to a sheet, the long way. Flatten the logs out until they are about 3 inches wide with a slight hump going down the middle. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, loaves should be firm.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Cut the loaves into diagonal slices 1/2 inch wide, place the slices onto the cookie sheets and return to the oven. Toast on one side, then turn them over to do the other side. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes for each side.

Working with Fondant in the Summer Months:

Working with fondant in the Summer months can be challenging! Some parts of the nation and world can be more than a challenge due to high heat and high humidity. Also, every brand of fondant poses its own challenges, and forget about homemade ... unless you have the time and energy to spend it making it flawless. My studio is in Southern California and about 6 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Our Summer months tend to be mild with some humidity and relative heat, however we have our days. I have worked in many areas of the U.S. demonstrating and teaching, and have encountered all types of weather conditions that effect fondant.

The following are some tips and tricks that may help!

* Work Surface: If you are working on a Wilton mat, just know that you will have to treat the mat with a dusting of cornstarch if it is a humid day and a super light coat of shortening if it is a dry day. The goal of treating the work surface is so your fondant will not stick and you will be able to roll smoothly. If you are working on stainless steel or granite, make sure that your surface is not too cold as this will tend to make your fondant "dry" or set quicker. Fondant is tempermental and likes room temperature conditions.

* Fondant: Before you begin to roll your fondant out, make sure that you condition (massage) your fondant until soft and pliable. That means you have incorporated all the fondant in a kneading motion and the fondant is dough like. Although too soft will result in tearing and not enough kneading results in cracking and elephant skin fondant.

* Rolling: When using your rolling pin, make sure that you do a pressing forward motion and pulling toward you motion while smoothing. Turn the fondant as you roll, but do not turn the fondant over or you will have a sticky surface and may have issues. Run your hand over the fondant to make sure that you have smooth consistent fondant. No peaks and mountains.

* Working Time: Work diligently and quickly to ensure that your fondant (no matter what brand) is not drying out or forming any elephant skin. It can happen to the best fondant on the market, so stay on top of your project.

* Thickness: DO NOT ROLL TOO THIN! Roll to the height of a nickel or 1/8 of an inch or so. This will allow your fondant to cover your cake and as you work to cover your cake you will find that it will not tear so readily.

I have so many more tips and tricks, check out some of my classes at www.rozsweetartstudio.com! Take a class today!

Recipe Substitutions Substitutions for Recipes

Recipe Substitutions by Ro Zinniger

 

If you are like me, you like to experiment. Experimentation with cooking is easy, however when it comes to baking, you will find it does not result in a desireable result. Although, here are some substution ideas (which I will continue to expand upon throughout the year):

 

AP Flour to Cake Flour = For one cup, remove 1 tablespoon of AP flour and add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to yield a "cake" like flour.

 

Want less fat in your recipe? Substitute 1/4 cup of "unsweetened" applesauce for 1/4 cup of butter. You will still need a little fat in your recipe to create a moist product, however the applesauce helps. Also, remember if the recipe does not call for baking soda, you will have to add 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda to balance the acid.

 

...more to come soon.....

BAKING PANS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY 

Really, this blog is not about selling you a pan, and no, I do not work for a manufacturer! I have found in my 40 plus years of baking (yes, I started real young!), that quality makes a huge difference  - especially pans. Growing up I baked in what ever my mom had in the cabinet, and I don't remember the brands. When I moved out, I bought the most inexpensive pans not knowing there was a difference in the end result. Even when I had my cake business I baked with pans that I purchased from Michaels or Smart N Final. 

Then after classes in baking and pastry, I found that my products suffered because of the pans I was using. I began researching top baking pan companies, and tried them ALL! I found only one company had baking pans that resulted in consistently perfect end products. My cakes no longer had humps, my cakes baked evenly and were even moister than other pans. It was amazing! I was so impressed that I contacted the Owner of the Company and told him my story and that I would happily promote his products in my classes and in my retail store (which I recently sold - however the new Owner is hooked too).

You are now wanting to know the company....not yet. You need to know why. I was educated by this man, and after full education I was even more hooked. Here are bullet points that you need to know before you buy:

  •  Anodized bakeware is sealed for safety and
    performance. Durable bakeware that will never rust, chip,
    flake, or peel. Our anodized finish is harder and more
    versatile than natural aluminum pans resulting in bakeware
    that performs better and lasts longer. 
  • Anodizing eliminates the staining and leaching of metals
    and contaminates that can occur from natural aluminum
    or aluminized steel bakeware.
  • "Anodizing is a safe, environmentally friendly,
    electrochemical process that thickens, toughens,
    and seals the naturally occurring protective
    oxide in aluminum."
    - The Aluminum Anodizers Council
  • Bake with Confidence! With anodized bakeware,
    tomato based, acidic, and citrus foods are no problem.
    Our non-reactive baking surface will never stain or transfer
    contaminants back into your foods or flavors.
  • Anodized bakeware contains high recycled content with no dyes,
    pigments, or chemical (PTFE or PFOA) non-stick coatings

Professionally, anodized aluminum pans do make a difference! "Our" as stated in the bullets above refers to FAT DADDIOS - manufacturer of quality baking pans and products. 

You will find that you can throw away those "baking strips" that you have to wrap your pan with. You can even stop using shortening and flour to prep your pan. You can use a baking spray instead! You don't need to soak your pan to clean it, as a Fat Daddios pan wipes clean with a paper towel!

Not convinced? Sign up for a baking class, and see the pans in action! Or do your own test:

Simply rub a stick of butter on the inside of a natural aluminum pan and take a look at your butter. The gray stains and smudges that appear are examples of the aluminum residue and food contaminants that come out of the surface of non-anodized pans. Nobody wants that in their baking!

You can find a distributor by going to www.fatdaddios.com. Questions? Pop me an email at rozsweetart@att.net!

Happy Baking!

 

Ro



Wafer Paper Flowers

The latest and greatest trend seems to be wafer paper / rice paper / icing sheet flowers and accents. They certainly can be challenging to create and put together, and there are different types of papers that work better than others too. For wafer / rice paper, I would recommend an imported brand, as they seem to hold up better than the brands manufactured in the U.S. Why? I don't know. I think they are more flexible and less brittle and able to handle bending and gluing a lot better. Creating flower patterns is easy. You can create your own template by cutting a cardstock template and tracing the wafer paper with a scribe, then cutting from there. Where can you get patterns? I would suggest a book on "paper" flowers or something of that nature. You can always trace a cutter or use a scrapbook punch! Glue? The best I have found is a tweaked version (I add additional agents) of piping gel to create a better hold. Color? Well, you have to be careful. Gels work, edible ink markers work, and airbrush color (in very small applications) work. You can use an airbrush - - -from afar. If your gun is too close to the wafer paper, then you can get it too wet, and then there are issues that arise from wet wafer paper. :  (  I hope this gives you a bit of a start. 
 
Sweet regards, and best in trying out working with wafer paper!
 
Ro



Working with Fat Daddio's Silicone Bead Molds

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 3:07 PM
I have just stocked the new Fat Daddio's bead molds in my store - Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio, and have used the rose mold. Wow! Now I have bought expensive bead molds in the past, and have had a heck of a time getting the fondant out the mold. The Fat Daddios bead molds (braids, beads, roses, triangles) are easy to use and over half the price of online bead molds. You really do not need to use any corn starch in the mold unless your fondant / gumpaste is sticky. I used fondant in the picture below with no corn starch in the mold.
 



Silver Icing? How do I make it?

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 9:01 AM
This blog is dedicated to my customer, Tiphanie! Tiphanie came in to purchase items to make silver icing. I had not known that you can be successful at making silver icing. She showed me the recipe and pictures that a decorator posted that showed the silver piping - without painting or airbrushing! So, I sold her the silver luster dust she needed, and she went home and tried it. It worked!  Here is where she got the recipe and the recipe is attached. Thank you Tiphanie and Cake Central! 
 
Piping silver and gold 

2 ts. Powdered sugar 
2 ts. gold silver or silver luster dust 
clear alcohol (like vodka or ever-clear) 
1 ts. clear piping gel 

On a small ceramic plate, mix sugar and dusting powder. Add a few drops of clear alcohol and mix with a small palette knife to create a stiff paste. 

Add the piping gel, a little at a time, mixing well until the consistency for piping in reached. Use a very small piping bag and tip as needed. The leftovers can be put into a small container and stored in the refrigerator. It will keep indefinitely. 

Researched and invented by Brenda and posted on Cake Central
 



Recipes Used in Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio Classes

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Sunday, May 22, 2011 9:04 AM
I am happy to share some of my recipes with you. Please remember that you need to use fresh, quality ingredients and follow the recipe as it states to have a quality outcome. All too often, a step is missed or an ingredient is not measured correctly and the outcome is not favorable. (Baking and cooking are entirely different, as baking requires a precision of measurements and correct baking temperature.) I do hope you enjoy the following recipes!
 
VANILLA BEAN POUND CAKE RECIPE
INGREDIENTS
·        1 1/2 cups cake flour
·        1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
·        1 teaspoon kosher salt - finely ground
·        2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·        1 cup granulated sugar
·        2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved or use a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste (found at Ro Z's)
·        4 large eggs, at room temperature
INSTRUCTIONS
1.       Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack in the upper third. Grease a 9 x 3 round pan; set aside.
2.       Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3.       Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (Beater Blade works the best), beat butter at medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla seeds and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. (Stop the mixer periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if you do not have a Beater Blade.) Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4.       Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two additions, mixing each until just incorporated. (Do not overmix, or your cake will be tough.) Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter, invert cake to remove from the pan, and let cool completely.
 
Ro Z’s EASY MARSHMALLOW FONDANT
 
If you cannot get to Ro Z's for your fondant needs, this recipe turns out okay if you follow the directions and use FRESH, QUALITY ingredients.
 
Ingredients:
 
  • 1 lb. Marshmallows (Campfire brand - carried at Ro Z's are the best!)
  • 4 C C&H Powdered Sugar Powdered
  • color (Americolor)
  • (1) drop of LorAnn oil - any flavor (found at Ro Z's!)
  • 1/2 cup Hi-Ratio Shortening (Alpine brand - carried at Ro Z's)
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp. water
 
Put marshmallows and water in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and go for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all the marshmallows are melted (about 2 – 2 1/2 minutes).
Stir in about 1/4 of the bag of icing sugar to make a dough like consistency
Coat the table you’re working on with most of the shortening and use the rest to coat your hands front and back really well.
Sift some icing sugar over the shortening and turn out the ‘dough’ onto it.
Knead as though it were bread, adding sifted icing sugar all the while until you reach a fondant-like consistency (this will usually take just over 3/4 of the bag of icing sugar, depending on humidity).
Once you are done, coat it in shortening and wrap in plastic tightly and put in a sealed bag to rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to use it, put it in the microwave in 10 second increments until it’s soft enough to work with.
*Tip: If you’re coloring it all the same color, put the color in with the marshmallows in the microwave – this makes it easier to mix in*
 
 
Royal Icing Recipe:
 
1 lb. C&H Powdered Sugar, 3 tblsp. Meringue Powder, 6 tblsp. warm water: Incorporate all in a GREASE-FREE mixing bowl and paddle! Mix on low for 7-10 minutes until the shine is gone. Make sure icing remains covered at all times so it does not dry. This recipe equals 3 cups.
 
Or try Colette Peters recipe:
 
1 lb C&H Powdered sugar; 5 tblsp. Meringue Powder; 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar;  scant 1/2 cup of warm water; 1 tsp lemon juice. Incorporate in a GREASE-FREE mixing bowl and paddle. Mix on low until incorporated, and then turn up to medium and beat for 7-10 minutes until light and fluffy. Adjust water accordingly. Should be a smooth consistency. This recipe equals 3 cups.



High Ratio Shortening

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:02 PM
High Ratio Shortening vs. Crisco Shortening:
High ratio shortening is "purer", as it has no added water or salt, and has micro-emulsifiers that allow you product to hold more sugar and liquid compared to Crisco shortening or shortening that you find at the grocery store. High ratio can only be found in cake supply stores or specialty stores at this time. High ratio shortening used in an icing recipe (instead of Crisco or butter or along with butter) allows you to create a fluffy, stabilized icing that is not greasy and holds up better than butter than Crisco. High ratio shortening has no after taste and does not break down like Crisco does, as Crisco has added water and salt (and the butter version has added color). There are several brands of high ratio shortening on the market, which include Alpine, Sweetex, and Ventura. All brands are quality brands. In many States you may still find high ratio shortening containing trans-fat (which creates a creamier icing). If you happen to live in the State of California, then you are only able to purchase trans-fat free high ratio shortening. (Any store/retailer/wholesaler in California, will be fined $250 if caught selling shortening containing trans-fat.) 
Be aware that over-mixing or over-beating will cause the shortening to become grainy, thus your icing will be grainy. Also, do not store shortening in the refrigerator. It should be stored in a cool, dry place. Trans-fat free high ratio shortening tends to have a 'harder' consistency in the container (much like butter when you buy in a bar). It is suggested that you combine some of your liquid in a bowl with your shortening and mix slowly with a fork. Add all of your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, and while mixing add in some liquid, then the shortening, then the rest of the liquid to the consistency you desire. Keep your mixer on low.
For stabilized versions of cream cheese icing, I use 1/2 C cream cheese and 1/2 C high ratio shortening. Same with stabilized butter cream...I use 1/2 C unsalted butter and 1/2 C high ratio shortening. You can even substitute Mascarpone for cream cheese. 
Regardless, do not get frustrated. Experiment too! You never know what you might create!



Tips and Techniques for Working with Fondant

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:52 AM
I wrote the Tips and Techniques section for Fondarific fondant last year, which is posted on their website and follows below. I graciously wrote this page for them because I felt that it was important for decorators to know the challenges that they would face with this particular product, and that they would be successful with a little input on how the fondant reacts in different climates.
 
Because I work with, and Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio carries, a variety of fondants, I felt that it would be beneficial for decorators to know the differences and how to work with all fondants.
 
In the tips and techniques below, the covering a cake section applies to all fondants. In the case with using Satin Ice, Fondx and Wilton, you will not experience the melting and very soft problems that you experience with Fondarific. However, what you might experience is cracking and / or "elephant skin" if you do not work quickly enough as these fondants tend to "set" quicker than Fondarific. Satin Ice Fondant will create a nice Satin finish compared to the Fondarific where the coating will be more oily looking or matte in color. Satin Ice is definitely more consistent in coloring, consistency and subtle flavoring, and you may even add LorAnn Flavor oils to these fondants to change the flavoring without changing the consistency or color.
 
Tips to work with Satin Ice: I would definitely recommend conditioning the fondant by massaging in your hands. You do not need to grease your hands with shortening, unless you have sweaty hands. Ideally, if you can wear gloves, number one it is more sanitary and two, you won't have the sticking problem. Once conditioned, you can roll out with a very small amount of corn starch. There is no need for powdered sugar. If you are using black or dark chocolate, use a little cocoa powder. You will find then you do not have to wipe corn starch away. If you want a little shine to your fondant, give it a steam with a home steamer or air brush.
 
Tips to work with Wilton: Upon opening your package, make sure that the fondant does not have any hard, dried pieces at the top or bottom. If so, discard those hard pieces completely. Because this fondant does not taste good at all, you might want to flavor with LorAnn Oils that you can find at Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio. Use 3 to 5 drops per pound. Keep in a ziplock bag and "marinate" over night. The next day you can check the flavoring to see if it is to your liking. If not flavorful enough, add more oil flavoring. Wait about a half hour, then proceed with use. Condition the fondant by massaging until smooth, and roll out on a lightly cornstarched surface. You need to work very quickly with this fondant and it begins to crack if you do not.
 
Tips to working with Fondx: Fondx is a marshmallowing flavored fondant and is airy, which explains the bubble type appearance to it. You can color this fondant, however many times color fades with this fondant due to PH issues (see my color fade blog). Prepare the mat as above, condition the fondant, and roll out. This fondant tends to "elephant skin" quickly, so you need to work consistently and in a timely fashion to prevent this.
 
Following below is the tutorial on cover a cake with fondant:
*Below
·        Covering a cake: Prepare your cake with a "dirty coat" or crumb coat of icing to seal in the crumbs. Measure the cake – height times two plus the diameter which will equal the amount of fondant that you will roll out. (ex. 8” + 4” x 2 =  roll out to 16 inches) You will want to roll evenly (feel surface to make sure there are no bumps) to the height of a nickel = about 1/16 of an inch. Once you have rolled out to the appropriate amount, you will then lift the fondant (with your rolling pin or hands) to set it on your cake evenly. Then, using a fondant smoothing tool, you will smooth the top of the cake to adhere the fondant to the icing and smoothing out the air bubbles. After the top is smoothed on, slowly smooth around the top half of the cake continuing around moving down to the bottom of the cake. By smoothing slowly and evenly, you will ensure that any excess air will be moved out to the bottom of the cake. If you encounter any wrinkles, slowly lift the fondant away from the cake and smooth that portion down. Remember, if the fondant is too thin, you will encounter wrinkles and tearing.
 
MORE TIPS:
 
·         Fondant that is too soft:
Weather or over-microwaving your fondant can play a part in how your fondant reacts. If the weather is hot and humid, you may encounter soft, sticky, and oily fondant. If this happens, set it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Use a light dusting of corn starch on your rolling mat to help prevent the fondant from sticking. Follow the above steps if you over-microwave.
 
·         Fondant that is too hard:
Weather that is dry and cold can affect your fondant, making it hard to roll out. You will want to put your fondant in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time until you can press into the fondant and fondant is firm – not hard and not soft. All microwaves have different power settings, therefore it is important to use a low setting when warming the fondant. If the weather is dry, you can massage in some shortening to help soften and make the fondant more pliable.
 
·         Modeling:
Modeling is easy with Fondarific. If you require a more firm fondant base, you may mix ½ gumpaste and ½ Fondarific  or 1 tsp of Tylose powder per ½ pound of Fondarific.
 
·         Fruit-flavored Fondarific:
You will not be able to add gel paste to fruit-flavored Fondarific, however if you use a powdered color, you will be able to achieve a deeper color.



Gumpaste - Why I choose Satin Ice

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 7:41 AM
Gumpaste - to make gumpaste or not? For me, I prefer Satin Ice Gumpaste over any other brand on the market because it is always consistent and never sticky. I know what to expect every time I open a tub, which for me is important, because I teach with it on a weekly basis. My beginner students, especially, are successful in any modeling or flower they attempt, and stay motivated to continue to use gumpaste. Years back, I used to make my own gumpaste, and it came out okay however it was the time I had to take to make the gumpaste. Present day, I do not have the time to make gumpaste for myself and students, and am quite pleased with the Satin Ice product.
 
The question arises - will it do the same thing when I roll super thin for competition type flowers that need to be botanically correct? Yes, it will! Of course, you can take recipes from the greats, like Ron Ben-Israel, and be successful - if and only if you follow that recipe to a tee. You can achieve those results. However, if you do not have the time to do so, yes, you can create the most beautiful delicate flowers!
 
To work with gumpaste, you need to condition the gumpaste by massaging it until it is ready to roll. Then use a small rolling pin and roll thinly. Remember that gumpaste dries very quickly, so you must keep the gumpaste under wraps or it will crack and dry too quickly. To color, simply add a bit of color Satin Ice fondant to the gumpaste, as the color is already deep and consistent, and add what you need to achieve the color you are looking for. Or, you may add Americolor color gel or Americolor powder color to your gumpaste to achieve the color you are after.
 
At Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio, we have a Satin Ice color mixing chart, that has virtually every color combination to help you achieve the color you are after. It is free. In addition, we carry every color of Satin Ice Rolled Fondant and Satin Ice Gumpaste.
 
Questions? Feel free to ask!



Edible Images - The New Hot Trend

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:49 PM
Edible images are now the latest and greatest trend in cake decorating. What is an edible image? It is an icing sheet that has been run through a copier that is equipped with edible ink, and when a picture is scanned, the image will be a nearly identical image of the original. It will never be a perfect scan, as the icing sheet tends to soak up a little bit of the edible ink, but it is pretty darn close.
 
What you need to bring us at Ro Z's, is a clear copy of the image you would like copied. It must be a 7x10 image on an 8 1/2 by 11 non glossy paper. We do not have a computer hooked up to the printer, and we cannot print out a quality print for you, as our regular copy machine is not the greatest. It is best for you to go to a Kinkos or copy place to get the best quality image for scanning. The icing sheet is 7x10 centered on an 8 1/2x11 acetate. To remove the icing sheet, you just need to take a metal spatula and carefully move the blade under the sheet to remove. Then you can place it directly on the cake and put an icing border around it or not!
 
Just a few tips: wait until the very last moment to use your edible image. The ink like a regular photo scan does not like light, and it will tend to fade if you use it too soon. So, if you have a cake due on a Saturday, wait until Saturday (if you can) to put the image on the cake. Do not put the image in the freezer or refrigerator. Keep it flat in a cool place, like a cupboard. You just need to loosen the EDGES and carefully peel the image from the acetate liner. If you place the image in a freezer or frig, it can get soggy or even brittle.

A customer, Lisa, came to me to get edible images to create an art gallery for her cake. She had a very special client, and wanted to create the ultimate cake for her. Well, she did it, and here are her pictures! (Please respect the cake artist, and do not copy her designs, she gave me these pics out of the kindness of her heart.)



 



Cake Pops

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:12 PM
Cake Pops - Hmmm, the greatest latest trend? I cannot be in agreement because honestly it is such a time consuming endeavor, that I prefer spending the time baking scratch and decorating an awesome cake. But, noooooo. All my peeps are asking for the pop. Pops, cupcakes, cake balls, really?! What happened to a good old fashioned cake? With yummy ganache or with homemade ice cream!? So, I have been teaching lots of cupcake deco classes and lots of cake pop demo workshops, and I have to say, they are both so time consuming that it kind of takes away from the whole decorating process. With cake pops, you have to form them correctly - period. You can read a book, read this blog, watch a video, or even call me on the phone.....but you need to see the crumb in person to get it right. At least that is what the feedback has been from my students and guests at the demos. Once they are prepped correctly, then you are the right page, so to speak. There is nothing worse then rolling the dang ball and then have it drop in chocolate, lost to your stick and even the fork you dredge up to get it out! I know most of you are nodding your head right now! It is frustrating.
 
Of course having the right tools are essential. A deep bowl for dipping; microwave and pyrex measuring cups; quality confectionery coating (found only at cake shops or specialty food/kitchen stores); paramount crystals; flavoring - optional; Americolor color oils; Americolor Flo-coat; wax paper; cookie sheet; latex-free gloves; 6" candy sticks; fork; sprinkles and sanding sugars; and, a glass of wine....so you can chillax while you are creating these pop things!
 
Yes, I can show you how to create perfectly rounded covered cake pops, no problem. Can I help you shave some time? Maybe, maybe not. It is time consuming to yield a nice final products. Rushing through never produces a quality product. So, if you are having issues, take the time to come by one of my demonstrations. It is worth it, and you will go away with a lot of knowledge and hopefully will be able to be successful at these tiny cakes that have caused a craze!



Why does my cake bulge? How can I fix it?

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 10:27 PM
Cake bulge?  Hmm, it might mean you have overfilled your cake. If you like the taste of filling, I would recommend torting your cake a couple of times, then create a dam of icing to hold the filling in. Do not go over that dam because then you will have filling leakage. Then once you have all your layers on, make sure your rounds are even and level. If you have any cake over hanging or uneven, you will want to trim the cake so it is all even. Once your cake is level and even all the way around, you will want to crumb coat the cake. Refrigerate for a bit, then put a nice even coat of icing on the cake. If you are covering with fondant, then you will want to cover with 1/16th thickeness of fondant over the cake and finish with your fondant smoother.
Or, air is trapped. With icing, you can poke the bulge with a tooth pick and usually fix it quite easily. With fondant, depending on the brand used, it might be an issue. However you need to let the air out by poking the bubble with a very tiny utensil that is food safe.
 
Questions? Feel free to drop me a line!
 



Why Does My Color Fade?

Ro Zinniger: Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2011 1:52 PM
A customer came in the other day and was wondering why her Americolo violet color faded the day after she kneaded it into her Fondx fondant. I was wondering the same thing, so I dialed up Fay Molina, Owner of Americolor and asked her. She said that due to the high PH in the icing, the color faded much more quickly than usual. The solution is to add a pinch of baking soda to your icing and it will bring the color back! Well done! It does work, and I am so excited to pass along this information! Have a cake issue? Send me a message! Happy Caking!
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