Hello again sugar friend!
I’m sure you’re in full holiday prep mode by now and super busy. I hope all your projects are going well, and you fully enjoy the season.
I wanted to let you know about this rare and special offer:
You may know that the Agbay cake leveler is the best on the planet, and you may have seen me use it in some of my videos.
You may also know that they literally never go on sale.
BUT the kind folks at Agbay are offering a one time special offer of 15% off any model for SugarEd followers. Ask Santa to get you one for Christmas!
Use coupon code SUGARED15 (offer expires 12/31/17)
Join us at www.sugaredproductions.com
Hi cakey friend!
I started SugarEd in 2007 when I saw a need in the caking community for good quality instruction on using buttercream.
It started with DVDs, and has evolved over the years to a fully comprehensive buttercream course, available to you right in our website!
This course teaches about the different types, pros and cons of each, the recipes, how to ice round and square cakes, and troubleshooting.
I have the course items listed below in the logical order for a beginner to learn.
And of course we have even more tutorials that go from there: working with fondant, stacking, and endless decorating techniques.
Right now I’m offering a 30 day $1 trial to my online school to celebrate our anniversary.
This is a great opportunity to see what we have to offer, at no risk. You can cancel at any time during the first month and never be charged again.
CLICK HERE to read all the details.
I hope you will join me!
PS. Want to see what’s new in the online school?
You may know that the Agbay cake leveler is the best on the planet, and you may have seen me use it in some of my videos. You may also know that they literally NEVER go on sale. But the kind folks at Agbay are offering a one time special offer of 15% off any model for SugarEd fans.
Use coupon code SUGARED15 at checkout. (I get no commission for sales; just promoting a product I believe in and helping out a friend 🙂
Ask Santa to get you one for Christmas!
First off, thank you to Sharon for the opportunity to connect with her readers. I’m Sarah, and I work at CandyStore.com. We have a lot of experience helping people plan candy buffets for their weddings and events. I am excited to share this great tip to get you started. Here goes!
If you’re new to building a candy buffet, you may be intimidated by the prospect of building one yourself. Don’t be. The main reason people give up on having a candy buffet at their event is not money, it’s fear*. The solution to removing that fear is here. With one tip, we can soothe this savage beast.
“Fear?” you say. I ain’t scurred. Right, I’m not talking about grizzly bear fear or public speaking-type fear.
I’m talking more about the fear that it’ll take too much time to plan and fear that even after all that time it won’t turn out well. It’s that overwhelming, my-brain-just-turned-off feeling where you just think. I can’t even. But you CAN! Here’s the tip that will save you:
This is true in many avenues of life, even scientists agree. With candy buffets, it’s a little more nuanced. It boils down to choosing the appropriate size buffet for your event and budget. You don’t need to have a magazine cover-style Candy Buffet of the Year spread.
If building a diy candy dessert bar gives you anxiety attacks – are you ready? – use a small table.
You can see your shoulders dropping already. Your breathing is getting more relaxed. That’s it, thaaaaat’s it.
And yeah, a small table – that’s it! The beauty of a small table is that you can break it down in your mind more easily. It’s more doable in your head. It’s also less expensive, easier to plan and has just as much impact as a large table, if not more. Now that you’re nice and relaxed, here’s the rest of the plan.
The biggest decisions you have to make for a candy buffet have already been made.
You know the answer already. Since you’ll likely want to match the colors of your event, that takes care of that step. Bulk candy can be bought in most general colors now-a-days and even some more specific colors like maroon and aqua. Gold candy and dust are popular and fit within many events color schemes. Just be careful with the edible stuff.
Ok, this is already gaining momentum! You’re on your way.
You need 3 types. Big, medium and small. There we go with the bear metaphor again, goldilocks. A nice looking candy buffet uses zones to create depth and (sometimes just the illusion of) abundance. There’s more detail in my DIY candy buffet guide here, but basically, that feeling of abundance is harder to create over a larger space. Keep the table small.
Put the small containers – bowls, platters – in front and put your individually wrapped candy bars here. Other appropriate things to put here are baked goods and desserts that don’t ‘scoop’ and wrapped items that might get handled a bit. Larger, bulkier items tend to work best here. Cookies, cupcakes, etc.
Medium containers in the middle will contain some unwrapped candy that may need somewhat gentle handling. Gummy sharks, old-fashioned stick candy, chocolate covered espresso beans. Use tongs or scoops where appropriate.
In the back you put your tallest containers. Fill them up with wrapped or unwrapped bulk candy. Depending on how tall they are scooping may be awkward if people need to reach over the rest of the display. Consider wrapped candy that’s easily grab-able by hand if this is a concern. Foil-wrapped chocolate balls are great and come in a ton of cool colors. Alternatively, use single-color gum balls or another easily scoop-able candy item.
If you’re getting the hang of this and your brain is flowing with ideas, consider this. An optional centerpiece. If you wanna go the extra step, use a loaded up cupcake stand as a center piece and curve your zones around it. Cupcake stand, flower arrangement, or even the event’s main cake or dessert!
You may need a slightly bigger table for this, but by now maybe you feel like you can handle that. If not, stay small. A high and tight candy buffet looks much better than a loose-goosey arrangement on a bigger table.
This is the part you’re already good at. Once you have the layout all worked out, add some personal touches to the decor. Some ribbon around the containers, maybe some tasteful confetti will look nice, fresh flowers. A framed picture of the honored guest(s).
Tie it into your existing event decor. The dessert bar doesn’t need it’s own theme, it is merely an extension of the theme of the party it lives in.
I’ll leave you with this one last thing. There are no rules. Have fun with your arrangement. If you get overwhelmed, dial it down. If you’re feeling empowered and want some more knowledge, we put together this amazing infographic (below) from my Ultimate Guide to DIY Candy Buffets. Pin it, print it out, use it to your advantage.
I’ll be answering any questions in the comments section, so let them fly. Also love to hear about how it went! So please let me know if you used these tips and how your candy display table turned out. Love to Sharon and SugarEd Productions!
(* You may be saying, fear isn’t the only reason people give up. They might also think it’s going to cost too much because they’ll have to hire someone to build the darn thing. This is a subset of the fear you have of doing it yourself. There’s no reason buying some bulk candy and some containers should be expensive. The bang for your buck is there if you can get past your fear!)
Some of you who have been with me for a few years may remember this story. It’s a re-post of an older blog, but I’ve gotten a lot of requests for it again, so here goes…. (read thru to the end for a quick tutorial.)
Once upon a time there were 3 sisters that grew up in the city of New Orleans with their 2 older brothers and parents. They were not exactly poor, but things were very tight, as they were living on one modest accountant’s salary. Melba, the mom, knew how to make every penny stretch. She was very frugal. There were never any treats like candy, soda, chips, or cookies in the house. Those things were reserved for very special occasions.
Since vacations were out of the budget, the family would make day trips a few times a summer to a nearby state park. The kids would swim in the Bogafalaya river and play on the sandy beach. Melba would pack an ice chest and picnic basket and they would spend the day swimming, eating, and relaxing.
On one particular trip to the river, Melba really splurged and bought a bag of fresh cherries. Not a big bag, mind you. But this was still a really special treat for the kids to get such an extravagance.
So on this particular day, after lunch, the 2 youngest sisters, Sharon and Janice, decided to go for a nice long swim, anticipating their refreshing treat of cherries upon their return. They wanted to save them for the just the right moment, to enjoy them to their fullest. So after their nice swim in the river, they happily skipped back to the picnic table, excited about the luscious fruit that awaited them. But alas, to their dismay, they discovered that their older sister Barbara (aka the Cherry Hog) had eaten them all! All of them! All that was left was a bag of pits and stems.
Needless to say the 2 little sisters were disappointed….. no, devastated….. no, scarred for life! Despite years in therapy and reading many self help books, they have not been able to work through the trauma of this event. In this tragic story they did not live happily ever after. So needless to say, to this day they give Barbara grief about it any chance they can get.
PS. Remember you can click on the photos for a larger view.
Hi Sugar Friend!
Hope you are having a great week and all your cakes this past weekend were a huge success!
Lately here on the blog we have been discussing cake baking, recipes, icing and baking issues. I thought it might be helpful to consolidate that valuable information (and more) for you. So I’ve created 3 awesome free charts that you can keep and reference forever. I’ve bundled them into one PDF file. Print them out or keep them on your mobile device to have at your fingertips anytime.
Here’s what’s included in the free PDF bundle:
1) The famous WASC recipe and a chart on how much batter to put into each cake pan size.
2) A handy chart of wedding and party servings for each size cake and shape.
3) An easy to reference guide with tips to troubleshoot common baking problems.
You’ll get all 3 full size info-graphics in PDF form. The images are way too big to post here on the blog and still be able to read them clearly. You will of course get the full size (free) PDF that you can zoom into as close as you like. (Me, I have to zoom in reeeeeeal close 🙂
Just click the button below and fill out the form, telling me which email address to send the PDF to. (I promise that I do not sell, share or in any other way abuse your email address. I guard it with my life, as I do my own.)
Please note: Sometimes the email that contains the PDF gets bounced back or goes to spam/junk and you may not receive it. Please know we do send out every request immediately, but if you do not get it within 15 minutes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally zip one back to you. I really want you to have it; these are such helpful and convenient graphics to have on hand.
Grab yours now. I hope you find it helpful, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below. I’m happy to help.
(Be sure to check your emails daily this coming week (after you get the PDF). I have more free info and some fun stuff coming your way.)
PS. I’m running a very rare FREE TRIAL to my online school this week.
You can have access to the whole website and over 300 tutorials for a full 2 weeks. (I have tons more information about baking cakes as well as cake decorating in the school.)
You can stay and pay at the end of the trial or cancel anytime and never be charged. It’s a rare opportunity to have a look at all the great things inside the school. See why we were named a finalist in the Cake Masters Awards for Best Learning Experience.
Join our thousands of happy members…. and me! (I give full personal support to all members.) Hope to see you on the inside!
Today I want to talk a little bit about a topic that’s really hot right now in the cake world- edible gold dusts.
There’s a lot of incorrect info out there about this.
And it can be rather confusing.
So I hope to clarify a few things. My goal is that each decorator knows what is and is not allowed to be consumed, and what can be used for decorative purposes only.
Non toxic means just that; it won’t hurt if it touches the cake but it is not intended to be eaten.
There are many many petal, luster and highlighter dusts that are non toxic, but aren’t food grade nor considered edible. These can be used to color flowers and other decorations that will be removed from the cake before serving.
Non toxic dusts are not to be used to cover an entire cake, cookie, or any other part of the cake that will be consumed.
This is where it gets a little confusing.
The most important thing to know and remember is that what is deemed as food safe is determined by the government of each individual country.
Seeing a product advertised as “edible” does not mean it is FDA approved in the USA (and vice versa.)
Countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, and the USA all have different guidelines as to what ingredients are considered safe to eat ie “edible”.
You may be purchasing a dust that was manufactured in another country, or is being sold online by an overseas based vendor.
If the product is approved for eating in that country, you may see the description say “food safe”, “100% edible” or something similar.
But that does not mean it is edible or approved in your country of residence.
You may see the term “EU approved”. This means that dust is approved as food safe for Europe. That does not mean it is edible in the USA.
The FDA is the one and only food regulatory agency for the USA.
If an item does not say “FDA APPROVED” , it is not considered an edible product in the USA, and may not be used in a manner in which it will be consumed.
You can’t assume a dust is food safe in your country just because the website you are shopping on says it is “edible”.
If you live in the USA, you must see “FDA approved edible” to use it in edible applications.
If in Europe, look for “EU approved.”
Canada: look for “approved by Health Canada.”
There is no edible metallic gold highlighter dust on the market for the USA at this time.
There are FDA approved luster dusts, but no gold metallic dusts.
They may not be used in an edible application on cakes or cookies. They can be used on items that will be taken off before serving and not ingested.
Please don’t rely solely on what you see listed on a website as “edible” or “food safe”.
I’ll answer both to the best of my ability:
1) A luster dust is a shimmery, pearlescent dust. It has a mostly translucent look when mixed with alcohol and used as a paint. (You can get good coverage if the paint is thick enough or more than one coat applied.) But it still remains more of a shimmer look, as opposed to…..
A metallic dust (also known as a highlighter dust), which gives an opaque, metallic reflective look. This looks the most like a true metal (shiny gold, silver.)
luster = shimmer
highlighter = metallic
2) Below is a list of edible dusts as far as I know**:
Chef Alan’s Hybrid Dusts
Roxy & Rich
The Sugar Art
Sugarflair – EU, AUS and Canada
Rainbow Dusts – UK, Canada
Rolkem – EU and Canada
Rolkem (approved in EU and Canada)
Ideale / Albert Uster
*NOTE #1: within any one brand there may be some individual colors that are approved and others that are not, depending upon the ingredients. Always check each and every color to be sure.
Note #2: Some retailers buy in bulk and relabel as their own product. They may be advertised as “edible”, but if you cannot see a list of ingredients in order to check for yourself, then you must assume it’s not an edible dust.
**Disclaimer: Don’t take my word as gospel truth. I pass along what I can to the best of my knowledge. But regulations and ingredients are always changing. As I mentioned, you’ll need to do your own research to be sure each specific dust is approved for consumption in your country of residence.
These lists are intended only to be a starting point for you to further investigate and ensure the food safety of the dusts you use.
I hope this clears things up a bit. Drop me a note if you have any questions.
To safe decorating,
Visit my online school: www.sugaredproductions.com
**ALL INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE SUGARED APPLICATIONS IS STRICTLY FOR PERSONAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. SUGARED DISCLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY AND YOU EXPLICITLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT INFORMATION PROVIDED ON SUGARED APPLICATIONS IS NOT NOR SHOULD EVER BE RELIED UPON AS LEGAL, BUSINESS, FOOD SAFETY, OR FINANCIAL ADVICE.
ALL SURFACES, MATERIALS, INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT THAT COME IN CONTACT WITH YOUR CAKE OR COOKING PROJECT MUST BE FOODSAFE AND PROPERLY SANITIZED. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY CAKE DECORATOR TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON FOOD SAFETY, SANITATION AND PROPER FOOD HANDLING PROCEDURES. TECHNIQUES AND TOPICS DISCUSSED ON SUGARED APPLICATIONS ARE FOR INFORMATION AND DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR INFORMATION ON PROPER FOOD HANDLING TECHNIQUES. SUGARED ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR DAMAGES OR INJURY SUSTAINED OR INCURRED BY USING IMPROPER FOOD, EQUIPMENT, OR INGREDIENTS HANDLING PROCEDURES OR TECHNIQUES.
Speaking of Mardi Gras, that brings me to the topic of the day. I am not a cake decorator. I see some of the magnificent pieces of art that you all do and I am in complete awe. But, I am here today to talk about the king of all cakes – the King Cake.
If you are not from the New Orleans are, you might be asking yourself “what is a King Cake?” A king cake is a brioche-style cake similar to a coffee cake that is served throughout the carnival season in New Orleans. The carnival season begins on the 12th Day of Christmas, the Epiphany (January 6), which is the day the three kings visited the Baby Jesus. It is believed that it took the three kings 12 days to find their way to the stable. The carnival season ends on Mardi Gras Day, which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
The king cake is circular, representing the circular path the three kings had to take to ward off King Herod, who was seeking them so that he could kill the Christ Child. The king cake is typically decorated with colored icing and/or sugar. The three colors are purple, green and gold, the colors of Mardi Gras, which represent justice, faith and power. I’ve also heard that the three colors represent the three gifts presented by the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh.) Within each cake is hidden a small plastic doll, which represents the Baby Jesus. (In olden times, it used to be a porcelain doll, or a bean or pea.)
The making of a king cake should not be taken lightly. Since this is a yeast sweet bread, it has to be kneaded and left to rise twice, and is a day-long commitment. There are many bakeries that make excellent king cakes, so why in the world would anyone want to make their own? Just for the fun of it!!
My introduction into making home-made king cakes came many years ago. I found a recipe and tried it out on my family. Geez almighty, it was horrible. It came out heavy and hard as a rock, so much so that they called it the King Rock. My other sister, Janice, told her office mates about it and they accused her of exaggerating – that it couldn’t possibly have been that bad. So, they asked me to make a cake for their office party. Much to my dismay, it was just as horrible, but everyone was so polite and complimentary so as not to hurt my feelings, but I knew it was a bomb. I hope to think that I have gotten a little better at it over the years, but it is still tricky. I continue to try out new recipes and techniques, as I continue my search for perfection.
The recipe below is a really good one. It produces a light, but moist cinnamon cake. A few pointers for success: You have to get the yeast at just the right temperature (105 to 115 degrees) and let it foam for at least 10 minutes. You have to be careful not to add too much flour and not to over knead it. The dough should be slightly sticky, but elastic and able to hold its own shape, but never firm.
Let rise until double in bulk.
This is what it looks like right out of the oven.
And that’s me with my cake.
You can do these in a variety of ways. You can divide the rectangle of dough into thirds and braid it like this. I rolled these strings in the cinnamon sugar to get it on the outside, rather than on the inside.
(This recipe makes two medium size cakes.)
¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
5 ¾ to 6 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
finely grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
7 tablespoons hot water, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
Hey Sugar Babies!
Valentine’s Day is almost here. Love is in the air….. and I’m feelin’ it.
So I’ve got a free PDF tutorial for you of this cute Teddy topper:
In the interest of full disclosure, there will be an offer to join my online school for $1 after you sign up to get the PDF.
That’s totally optional and the PDF is yours for free no matter what.
I hope you enjoy it!