Gilded Butterfly Cookies

These beautiful butterfly cookies are almost too pretty to eat. Use a variety of colored fondants and dusting powders to create your own unique look. What You’ll Need Butterfly cookie cutter texture set Blue rolled fondant Lavendar rolled fondant Green rolled fondant Piping gel … Continue reading

Decorating Cookies & Cupcakes Using Stencils

Stencils are a quick and easy way to get professional looking results. They are usually made of food grade plastic and allow you to apply a pattern either using dusting powder, an airbrush or royal icing. The color is applied to the … Continue reading

Employees’ Favorites

We carry a lot of products here at CKSA. So when asked what their favorite product was, many of the employees here had a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Allison’s favorite product is Falls Real Dark Chocolate item #70-2955. It is her “favorite all time chocolate! I eat it straight from the bag!” Allison uses this chocolate in ice cream, for s’mores, in any candy bar she makes, and especially in her baking. “Chocolate chunk cupcakes are really close to my heart” she says, “and don’t forget about hot dark cocoa…even coffee…now I’m hungry!”

  • Autumn has not one, but many favorite items. Her favorites include all of the flower plunger cutters which she says are great to use as quick accents on cookies, cakes and cupcakes as well as all the edible image designer prints. “I like decorating cookies with these prints for quick added color.”
  • Becky couldn’t decide on just one item, so she chose a whole section of the store- the book section. “There is an answer for almost every question a customer may have and the knowledge is unlimited. We have all types of books that have great pictures and directions from novice to pro.”

  • Brian’s favorite products are all of the Satin Ice fondants. He likes the satin ice because of it’s workability, taste, and color options when he’s covering cakes. Brian likes to add a white chocolate and corn syrup mixture to the fondant that makes it much, much easier to work with and tastier too!

  • Cara’s favorite product right now is the ‘Cupcake Decorating Party’ kit #MR-0496. “This kit is awesome because it makes a great gift or a fun party you can host yourself.” The kit includes supplies for 8 quests, including invitations, baking cups, aprons, pastry bags and tips, and recipes. Our selection of icing, sprinkles, and decorations ensures that your party will be a hit! We also sell decorative cupcake boxes that party guests can take their treats home in. Cara also says, “if you don’t live close enough to our store to attend our classes, this is a fun at home alternative!”
  • Like many of our customers, Ethan’s favorite product is our buttercream icing #77-660. He says that it tastes really good, sets up nice, and is easy to use. Ethan likes to use the icing on graham crackers, cookies, and of course, cakes!

  • JB likes the jelly snowmen and trees #AN-50505P that come in around Christmas time. Even though they are only seasonal, he likes them because “they are one of the best tasting gummies I’ve ever had.” JB says they make a great snack between work and home!

  • Jill just loves the espresso crunch #75-1705. At Christmas she uses it to make bark by mixing one bag of the espresso with two bags of the butterscotch candy coating #70-2400. She also uses the crunch to make a cheesecake! Her “favorite”! This is how she makes it: Take the Wind & Willow Tiramisu Dessert Mix #WW-34113 and mix as directed for cheesecake. Chop the espresso crunch until fine and coat the bottom of a prepared chocolate graham cracker crust. Fill the pan with cheesecake mix and top with more espresso crunch. Refrigerate.
  • Jovon’s favorite items in the store are the styrofoam cake dummies– all sizes, round and square. Not only does he use them for display cakes, he makes cake and cupcake stands with them as well. “They add umph to any cake, cookie, cupcake, or cake pop display. They’re great!”

  • Kelly likes the cookie scoops of all sizes. The 26 mm scoop #N-675, she likes to use for bite-size cookies. The 35 mm #53-676, she uses for small cookies and mini cupcakes. For standard size cupcakes and cookies she uses #N-678, the 50 mm scoop. And for big cookies and jumbo cupcakes she likes to use the 56 mm scoop #N-679. But the scoops are not just for using with cookie doughs and cupcakes batters, they work really great for making consistent sized candies as well!

  • Leslie likes any of the products that create texture, with her current favorite item being the Floral Texture Set #43-4715. Here’s what she has to say about this and other products like it. “They add beautiful patterns that can be left as is or embellished in a number of ways. The mats can be used with most icings and chocolates making them practical and versatile.”

  • Melissa likes all of the pastry fillings we carry, especially the red raspberry #76-4152 and the strawberry #76-4153. She uses them to fill cupcakes and cakes, make thumbprint cookies, and gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yum!
  • Mindy’s favorite is the combination of the Whirley Pop #WVF-25008A, the Ladyfinger style popcorn #WVF-41403, and the Movie Theater Style Seasoning #WVF-77803. She says that the popper pops to perfection and is very easy to use. The ladyfinger is her favorite being that it is dainty and practically hull-less. And the movie theater seasoning adds the perfect finish.

  • Of all the kitchen gadgets that Nancy has from CKSA, the Pro-Adjustable Cup #KA-55211 is the one she uses the most. She likes the slideability that this particular style offers as opposed to others that are all plastic. She uses this tool to measure out things such as shortening and peanut butter.

  • Sarah’s favorite items would be the silicone baking mats, in particular the 11 3/4″ x 16″ mat #FR-4722. The silicone mats prevent goods from sticking while baking. Also use them when dipping treats in chocolate- the pieces come right off the mat. The mats make clean-up easy! Sarah uses the mats most often when she is making homemade granola.

 

  • Theresa loves the mini measuring glass #H-13211WPRO which measures in teaspoons, tablespoons, and ounces. She likes to use it in place of measuring spoons when she cooks and bakes. “One glass does it all! Makes it quick and easy!”

For those of you reading this who shop in our store or through or website, what’s your favorite product we carry? We would love to hear your thoughts!

How-To Cover a Cupcake in Rolled Fondant

Covering the tops of cupcakes in fondant gives them a clean, smooth surface for additional decorations. Fondant covered cupcakes are great for weddings, bridal showers, or any other event. Dress up ordinary cupcakes with fondant for an elegant and classy look.

Step 1: Bake and cool the cupcakes. Smoothly ice the cupcakes with buttercream or another type of icing. Let the icing crust and brush a thin layer of piping gel over the icing.

Step 2: Roll fondant out to about a 1/8″ thickness.

Step 3: With a round cutter the same diameter as the tops of the cupcakes, cut out fondant pieces. (3″ round cutter usually works well for standard sized cupcakes)

Step 4: Place a fondant circle on top one of the cupcakes. Cover the other fondant circles up with plastic wrap so that they do not dry out. Use your fingers to press the fondant onto the cupcake.

Step 5: Use a fondant smoother to smooth the tops of the cupcakes.

Step 6: Add embellishments to the tops of the cupcakes. Attach decorations with a small amount of piping gel or edible glue.

Other cupcakes decorated with rolled fondant:

Silicone Molds

Silicone molds are a great way to add elegant and detailed decorations to any cake. Molds made of flexible silicone can be bought with all kinds of designs for almost anything you would need. Some molds are very detailed while others have just a small amount of detail. Even the most detailed molds can make crisp, clean pieces. Molds can vary in size from large focal pieces down to the tiniest pieces. Use silicone molds to mold beautiful pieces for on the sides of cakes. Or make edible pieces for on top of cupcakes.

Silicone molds can be used with a range of mediums. Fondant and gum paste are often used, but chocolate, hard candy, isomalt, and candy clay may also be used. Some molds may even work well for soap and candle making. Different mediums will work better in some molds than they will in others. The amount of detail in a mold may determine the medium you use in that mold. The molds are flexible to allow for easy release of the molded pieces and most molds are heat-resistant making them safe for melted chocolate and hot isomalt.

 

Using silicone molds with fondant or gum paste

Knead and soften rolled fondant or gum paste and roll into a ball.

With a soft bristled brush or dusting pouch, dust the mold with cornstarch. Dust the gum paste with cornstarch also.

Press the gumpaste into the cavities in the mold.

Scrape off the extra with a palette knife or thin blade. Use your finger to press the gum paste down into the mold again.

Release the pieces by flexing the mold and pushing on the back with your thumbs.

Brush the gum paste pieces with different colored luster and petal dusts to give them a more realistic look.

Using silicone molds with chocolate and candy coating

Melt candy coating or melt and temper real chocolate. Melted candy coating can be poured into a squeeze bottle and squeezed into the cavities. Real chocolate must be spooned into the mold. Let chocolate set up and release the pieces by twisting and flexing the mold. Luster and petal dusts can be added to the chocolate pieces to give them a more realistic appearance.

How-To use Plunger Cutters

Plunger cutters are a great way to easily add details to your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Plunger cutters come in all different shapes and sizes, from geometric to flowers and leaves. Some cutters are simply cutters, while others cut and emboss realistic designs into the fondant or gum paste. Using plunger cutters is a great way to get started working with fondant or gum paste if you haven’t had any experience using them before. They are simple to use, inexpensive, and offer a wide range of decorating options.

How-To use Plunger Cutters

Follow these basic steps for using plunger cutters and make fun and easy decorations out of fondant or gum paste! These steps call for fondant, but gum paste may also be used.

Step 1: Soften fondant or gum paste by kneading with hands. Roll out thinly.

Step 1

Step 2: Dust your work surface with cornstarch and place rolled fondant on the prepared surface. Holding the cutter at the base, cut down into the fondant and lift out.

Step 2

Step 3: With the fondant piece still in the cutter, use thumb to rub over the edges of the cutter. This gets rid of any extra pieces. If your cutter does not have any veining or details, skip Step 4 and continue on to Step 5.

Step 3

Step 4: Place cutter back down onto work surface and push the plunger down. This will emboss the details onto the fondant piece.

Step 4

Step 5: Lift cutter and press plunger again, this time to release the shape from the cutter. *If fondant piece sticks to work surface, not enough cornstarch was used or the fondant was too sticky. You can re-roll out the fondant and try again, this time with more cornstarch.

Step 5

*Small flowers can be released onto a piece of foam to allow for shaping. Use a ball tool to shape the flowers or some cutters will have a center piece that helps to do this.

Using foam to form and shape

*Once flowers have been released from the cutter, they can be placed in formers to dry. This will give the flowers a natural cupped shape.

Using flower formers to shape pieces

To make above cupcakes: Roll out various colors of rolled fondant and use an assortment of shapes and sizes of flower plunger cutters to cut out flowers. Cut leaves from green fondant with different sized leaf plunger cutters. Set fondant pieces in formers to dry (these dried overnight). Attach flowers together using edible glue and let dry. In the mean time, bake, cool, and ice cupcakes. Immediately arrange flowers and leaves into the wet icing.

All About Rolled Fondant

Fondant has become increasingly popular in American cake decorating in the last several years. Previously more popular in Europe, fondant cakes have grown in number here, due in part to the amount of cake decorating shows on television. Not to be confused with fondant that is used for candy centers, rolled fondant is primarily used to cover cakes. Fondant icing is a thick dough-like icing that must be rolled out to cover a cake or can be molded to create fondant accents. While the texture is different from the traditional buttercream, many use fondant to get a smooth, ‘perfect’ finish on their cakes.

Pre-made Rolled Fondant- Rolled fondant is available to be purchased ready-made for convenience. There are several different brands of rolled fondant available, each with their own taste and ease to work with. There are many fondants that come in white and ivory and even pre-colored in bright, vivid colors. Some brands even have chocolate as an ingredient adding to its flavor. Working with different types may help you to decide which you prefer. When using pre-made rolled fondant, you will want to first knead the fondant to soften it a bit, making it easier to work with. This may require a little work as fondant is usually quite firm starting out. The shelf life of rolled fondant will vary by brand but for the most part, it will keep for several months as long as its wrapped in plastic and sealed in an airtight container.

Rolled Fondant Recipe- There are many recipes available for rolled fondant as well as rolled buttercream and marshmallow fondant. Their uses will be the same but the ingredients will vary. This recipe (taken from Autumn Carpenter’s The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating) is a good icing to cover a cake with or just make decorative pieces for a cake. This recipe yields approximately 2 lb. of rolled fondant.

Pour cream into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on cream and cook on low until gelatin is dissolved. Add glucose, butter, glycerin, and flavorings. Heat until butter is melted. Set aside. Sift powdered sugar. Place 7 cups of powdered sugar in a mixer bowl. Pour cream mixture over the powdered sugar and mix slowly with a dough hook until powdered sugar is thoroughly mixed. Add the additional cups of powdered sugar. The fondant will be very sticky, but should hold its shape. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and coat with a thin layer of vegetable shortening. Wrap fondant in greased plastic wrap and allow to set for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the fondant should be less sticky. If not, add additional powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Rolled Fondant Amounts- Different types and brands of fondant will require you to use different amounts to cover a cake. This cake chart gives amounts needed for round cakes based on rolling the icing out to approximately a 1/8″ thickness. Square cakes will require more icing.

  • 6″- 1 lb.
  • 8″- 2 lb.
  • 10″- 2 1/2 lb.
  • 12″- 3 1/2 lb.

Coloring Rolled Fondant- Although pre-made fondant is available in a range of colors, you still may find yourself needing to color fondant. Coloring rolled fondant can be easy but a bit messy. To avoid the color staining your hands when mixing, you can either wear plastic gloves or coat your hands with a small amount of shortening. You first want to make sure to knead the fondant to make it soft and pliable. Add your concentrated food color to the rolled fondant and begin to knead it in. Continue kneading until all the color is blended in and there are no streaks left. To keep from ruining a large amount of fondant with an undesirable color, you can first color a small piece of fondant and then color the rest.

You can also marble fondant to create a really neat effect on a cake. There are a couple of simple ways to do this. One way is to add food coloring to white fondant and only knead slightly so that the color is not completely incorporated. Another way to marble fondant is to start with a hunk of white fondant and a smaller portion of colored fondant and the roll into 2 ropes. Fold the ropes together and begin kneading to create marbled streaks. (information taken from Autumn Carpenter’s Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating)

Using Fondant- Rolled fondant has many uses the most popular being to cover a cake with, but there are many other uses as well.

  • Covering with fondant- Many of us know that rolled fondant can be used to cover cakes, but it can cover a number of other treats as well. Fondant can also be used to cover cookies and cupcakes. It creates a nice smooth canvas for any additional decorations. Use the same cutter used to cut out the cookie shape to cut the fondant with and attach to the cookie with piping gel or buttercream. Use a 3″ round cutter to cut fondant out for on the tops of cupcakes.
  • Fondant accents- Fondant can be rolled thin and cut into various shapes and decorations and attached to a cake. This is a nice option if you like the look of fondant but do not want to cover your entire cake with it. You can ice your cake in buttercream and attach any fondant pieces before the icing has crusted. Heavier pieces may require a dab of buttercream or an edible glue to hold them in place.
  • Modeling fondant- Fondant can be used to hand model figures and shapes. Gum paste is generally used to make more intricate decorations, like flowers, but fondant can be used to make thicker, more solid pieces. The project you are working on may help to determine whether to use fondant or gum paste. Powdered sugar may also be added to fondant to make it a little more firm.
  • Molding with fondant- If you do not want to hand model pieces, fondant can be pushed into hard plastic or silicone molds to create shapes. Molds come in a wide variety of shapes and designs. For plastic molds, lightly dust the fondant with cornstarch. Push into mold and pull shape out using another piece of fondant. Silicone molds can be flexed to release shapes from them. This type of molding is easy and can create just the right decoration for your cake.
  • Flavoring fondant- If you find you don’t prefer the taste of fondant or you want the fondant to compliment the flavor of your cake, flavorings can be added to rolled fondant. Use a few drops of concentrated flavoring oils to enhance the flavor of the fondant. Knead flavor in as you would coloring.

There is a wide selection of tools available to use with fondant and gum paste. Mats to roll fondant out on, tiny cutters, rolling pins, embossing mats, crimping tools and many others all help to create the perfect decorations for your cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.