New Books in the Mail

I’m so excited, I just got a few new books in the mail last week.

I ordered them on (they have a Canadian site and a US site,, and was so happy when they finally arrived!

There are so many areas in cake decorating that I still want to learn more about and refine my skills in. Some areas that I would love to learn more are in making gumpaste flowers and also in royal icing work.

These books may not be for everyone. For example, I personally like books with lots of technical written instruction and theory.

I know I always need more practice, and most importantly, theoretical knowledge – so that’s why I chose  the following:

The International School of Sugarcraft, Book Two –  Advanced

This is a very technical book, full of in-depth written instructions, clear photographs of the process, and various templates. This book touches on traditional techniques that you might not see too often today in mainstream cake decorating, including:

  • royal icing work such as brush embroidery, lace decorations, extension work, filigree, and run outs.
  • sugar flowers that you can make with or without cutters
  • how to assemble sprays or groups of sugar flowers together
  • marzipan figures, moulded chocolate figures, and pastillage.

The book is compiled from a number of instructors, with the Principal teacher being Nicholas Lodge from The International Sugar Art Collection School of Sugar Art

The International School of Sugarcraft, Book Three  – New Skills and Techniques

Like the above Book Two, this is a very technical book. It touches on areas that are more popular today in mainstream cake decorating, such as:

  • using moulds and cutters
  • creating textures and fabric effects
  • modelling figures using gumpaste
  • popular sugar flowers such as the peopny, gerbera daisy, and hydrangea

Again, the Princical teacher is Nicholas Lodge from The International Sugar Art Collection School of Sugar Art , but this time along with Margaret Ford from CelCakes products.

Sugar Orchid for Cakes

This is a very pretty book, full of photographs of flower arrangements. It  focused on how to make realistic, detailed gumpaste orchids. In my opinion, it’s a very current type of flower used often in today’s modern wedding cakes.

It goes over numerous species of orchids, and shows step-by-step photographs of the flower making process, along with written instructions of each step.

If you like sugar flowers, check out Alan Dunn’s website for more amazing flower arrangements.

Sugar Roses for Cakes

And last but not least, Sugar Roses for Cakes. Can you believe that’s a sugar rose on the cover? This is probably my favourite book out of this post.

The rose has always been known as the Queen of all flowers, and I think it will always be a classic wedding cake decoration. Like the previously listed book, this book shows the making of many different species of roses, and has photographs of the process along with concise written instructions. It’s clear to me that the authors and creators of this book have a love for roses and for botany.

Making Gumpaste Sugar Orchids

I’ve been practicing lately. Sugar flowers that is. The last time I even attempted gumpaste sugar flowers was nearly four years ago in Baking and Pastry Arts school at SAIT.

The perfect opportunity came up for me to get back into it again. And it was also an opportunity to test out the new camera!

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

Gumpaste is an edible cake decorating medium, similar to fondant. It is mostly made out of icing sugar, binding agents (such as corn syrup or egg whites), and vegetable gums (hence the word “Gum.”) To difference between gumpaste and fondant is that gumpaste can be rolled incredibly thin, and I mean really  thin. Think see-through-paper-thin. It also tends to dry hard and brittle, which can be very visually appealing, yet so fragile.

It takes a certain mindset to get into the groove of making sugar flowers. I compare it to the same attention-to-detail mindset one would need when cross stitching. It was also a great chance to get together with the girls, as each one of us worked on different parts of the flower. I think I’ll have to adjust the colour of them to be a bit more purply, but I’m pretty happy with the overall feel of them.

What I really love about making gumpaste flowers is the process of taking very basic materials and turning them into something that can be so pretty.

It’s like re-creating nature.

Gumpaste Sugar Orchid

What do you think? Does it look like the real thing?

Gumpaste Shoe How-To: Tips and Template

(Update July 17/2013: Sugar Delites now sells a high heel shoe kit, which includes a heel mold, cutter, drying form/ramp, etc. Click here and scroll down for an excellent gumpaste shoe tutorial by Iris Rezoagli on the Sugar Delites Newsletter, using this kit.

I also suggest the Pink Cake Box gumpaste shoe video tutorial. More gumpaste shoe tutorials are available at Cake Fu.

Below are tips to create a shoe without the kit.)

I recently got a great email question regarding how to make the Manolo Sedarby D’orsay gumpaste shoe:

  • To make the template, I found a real shoe at home that had the same shape used it to make the template. I exaggerated the shape to look curvier. Here are photos of the actual shoe templates made (click for full size):

Gumpaste Shoe Template

Gumpaste Shoe Template

  • To make the form that the shoe sits on, I hand-sculpted a form out of modeling clay and covered it in saran wrap. This way, I got a nice exaggerated curve.  I was particular about the curve of the form… if you look closely, you can see how it gradually curves out at the bottom. You can use anything for a form, but this is just what I had on hand. (Update Oct 17/2011: I’ve made a better shoe form out of foam core. See my new gumpaste shoe form here.)

  • To make the stitching, the Wilton Gumpaste tool kit has a great stitching tool.
  • To shape the top of the shoe, I used a ball of saran wrap lightly pressed into the shape that I needed. Similar to the shape of that wad of tissue you sometimes get in a pair of new shoes.
  • For the the brooch, I used circle cutters to make a flat wheel shape out of grey coloured gumpaste. I bent the wheel shape a bit to make an oval, brushed on some clear piping gel and stuck small silver beads on. It was hard to get the beads to look even, and had to use tweezers in some spots.
  • For the silver colour, I airbrushed it using edible silver food colouring. You can get the same effect by painting in thin layers using a mixture of edible silver lustre powder and alcohol.
  • The heel is done using the method shown in the video. See the 4:45 mark for details.

Canoe Cake

There is a really sweet story behind this lake themed cake…. For their engagement, David had surprised Felicity by proposing to her while they were on a canoe in Moraine Lake – a very stunning glacier-fed lake!

This was their cake was for their wedding – where they have since returned to the mountains to get married.

I know this may sound funny, but I especially had a really great time making the rocks! The larger rocks were made of cake, and were covered in buttercream and then in fondant. The smaller rocks were made of just fondant. After hand shaping the rocks,  rough texture was added by using an craft knife. Airbrushing really helped bring out the texture – they were first painted in a thin coat of black, then dabbed with a clean cotton dishcloth to create more texture.

Congratulations David & Felicity!

New Tool: Water Pen

Woohoo, I just got this water pen in the mail!

It can be used to attach gumpaste/fondant pieces together using water – thus eliminating the need for using a paintbrush and water:

Ordered it from winningpen on