Cookie Cutters

Here are some cookies:

I love to paint cookies, too! I make a lot of my own cookie cutters.
>>> Cookie Cutters >>>


Can we end on a better note? How about mythological animals? Like DRAGONS!
That feels better.
And there you have it, my Sugar Zoo! Some of the exhibits are closed to the public, and some are yet to be displayed, but thank you for visiting today. Now please proceed to the Gift Shop...
>>> Like DRAGONS >>>

Green Tara

Delayed by the hospitalization of my laptop, I am finally rejoining the blogosphere! I've been wanting to post about one of my favorite cake arts, which is painting on cake, so let's get to it!

One of the reasons the transition between the art world and the cake world felt so seamless to me is because  many of the techniques I used with clay sculpting translate well in the cake realm. Some are even easier. Certainly many of them are faster. Getting color on a 3-D object is most definitely one of those faster/easier activities. In clay, there are loooooong firings, layers of color, and big surprises when you open the kiln! 
But CAKE...well, cake is a kinder, gentler object d'art.  It doesn't explode, (well it can, but it's gonna cost ya), the colors stay (fairly) true, and unlike clay sculptures, cake is delicious. 
Almost every cake I do involves laying on color of some sort, usually with either airbrush or paintbrush, or both. I love both. You've already seen, in previous posts, a lot of painting, but here are a few I haven't posted before.

On this piece,  I was able to combine paint and airbrush, as well as a little royal icing detailing. I painted the whole scene on a flat, cut out sheet of fondant to which I had added tylose so that it would dry into a nice hard surface. After I finish painting, I simply place it on a fondant covered cake. The advantages to this method are many; I can work and work for as long as it takes (and this one took a while!) without having a cake going stale under it, I don't have to worry about damaging the cake while I'm painting, and the client can remove the whole thing from the top of the cake before they serve it. They can keep it indefinitely, too, as long as they keep it dry and out of direct sunlight. 
Here's another "painted disc"...
This one makes me giggle. It was a baby shower for a couple who's last name was Bacon, so their friends asked for "Bacon Baby", the superhero. Notice the bacon cape!
Here's another little baby shower cake, based on the invite :
This cake is a portrait of the deity "Green Tara":
"Green Tara" involved a variation of the painted disc, as her face and hand and flower were all painted on tylosed fondant which I cut out into the shapes, and then painted. Again, airbrush, brush and royal icing.
>>> Green Tara >>>

Happy Halloween

Hello people of Bloglandia! I have been drifting out somewhere on the fringes of the Blogosphere, but I have returned! (Actually I have been to the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show by the invitation of Kerry Vincent, giving  demonstrations and teaching classes!)  While I deeply respect those people who blog with such regularity,  alas, I may never be one of them. But I have dusted off the cobwebs here at Special Sugar, brewed a huge cafe con leche, and I'm ready to post something new!
I recently had the opportunity to make a cake for an event benefitting Kate's Club here in Atlanta. Kate's Club is a place for kids who have lost family members. They can hang out and talk to other kids who understand what they are going through. Amazing, right?
The event was a cabaret, in the style of Moulin Rouge. They gave me free range to do what ever I wanted (rubs hands together with devilish expression), so I said "OOOOH, I'm making a big Can Can Dancer!!!!" before they had a chance to suggest restraint and good taste.
Right around the same time, I got a call from a German television show called Galileo, asking if I had any good cakes coming up that they could film me making. " a matter of fact.." So they flew a small crew in, and they filmed the making of Busty McChesterfield. (of COURSE Joshua came up with that!)
So let me show you what I did...

In building my armature, I had to plan support for the figure, which needed to float out in front of the cake rather than emerging from the center as most of them do.

Next I piled on the cake. I think I ended up using 16 full sheets of yellow cake, soaked with Grand Marnier, with chocolate butter cream.
Once the cake was filled and in place, i carved some folds into it to create the look of bunched fabric. Ordinarily I would have used the fondant to make the folds in the fabric, but this is such a big skirt I wanted the folds to be big and deep enough.

Next came the big sheet of fondant. This part is always challenging. I lucked out on the Sumo Cake, as one try gave me the perfect covering.  However, Ms McChesterfield proved slightly more challenging. We had a few rips in the fondant here and there, but as I always say, if you can't hide it, decorate it!

Now the fun. I would like to take a moment here to point out our fabulous newly renovated workspace! Hallalujer!
Even though I have folds in the fabric, I added more to increase the realism. I want her to be holding the edge of her skirt, so I need a bunched up look.

As you can see, the fondant needs some refining. 
Next I forced Joshua to get up under her skirt and make a bajillion ruffles, even though he protested that it made him uncomfortable. Too bad! Get up under that hood and fix that skirt!
He did a bang-up job, btw.
From here on it's all details. (That's where the devil lives).

I do love the details! 

There she goes! Out the door to entertain at the cabaret! Busty, I loved you for the few moments I knew you! (Dancers...they'll break your heart...)

And just for fun, here's the cake I did at the Oklahoma show, assisted by Joshua...
Happy Halloween!!!!!
PS, you can see me this month on Halloween Wars, on Food Network, Sundays at 9 and in repeats here and there during the week. Tune in and see me get all girly gushy over Rob Zombie! (I'm a fan, what can I say...)
>>> Happy Halloween >>>

Giant Octopus Cake

Probably more than any other cake I have done to date, my Giant Octopus Cake has gotten a bit of attention. It was recently in National Geographic Kid's, and will be in their upcoming book "Weird But True". Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to see my name associated with that title. A picture of it also went viral, a phenomenon I learned about when my Flickr account suddenly had 113,000 hits over night.
For those of you who haven't seen her, here she is...
Awwww...she's pretty, right? Well, as her Cake Mother, I think she's lovely, anyway. Because she's a giant! Octopus! Cake!
Making a giant octopus cake is, as you might imagine, complicated. Love them as I may, there were moments I was wishing I were more passionate about manatees.
To begin, I had to visualize the octopus on the board, and try to figure out which tentacles would need support, and which would not. And if I could get away with saying she was sitting on three of them. But probably not. 
Once I had a good sketch, and a buttercream outline on my cake board, I affixed the copper tubing to the base. The next step was to pile on 9 full sheet cakes, being careful to lower each one over the armature. I wanted the octopus to be sitting on  cake, to ensure enough servings. 
Next comes the layers that will be carved. I ordered all kinds of layers from our pastry team; half sheets, 18" rounds, on down to 7" rounds. Then I began layering and filling, being careful to keep in mind the ultimate shape I was hoping to achieve.
It helped to carve a bit as I went along, because it was a big cake. The tips of some of the tentacles were rice cereal treats. Finally, I had a basic shape, filled, carved, and ready for fondant.
 You may have noticed that there was sunlight coming through the windows at the start of this cake...
Now the fondant. While I tried my best to use the biggest pieces possible, one of the advantages of this complex shape was lots of nooks and crannies to hide seams!
One of the goals in this design was to have the octopus holding a few select bottles of wine. My idea here turned out to be a bit too ambitious, as the copper tubing I had chosen would not support a bottle full of wine. And unlike in my studio, I supposed they were not going to let me empty a few bottles there at the event. REDESIGN! A cake decorator values her ability to stay flexible! (She values it even more in her clients, am I right? Did I just hear an Amen?)
Now the good stuff...I've had a little sleep, and so has Large Marge, and now I get to airbrush! (This, by the way, was my old work area. This is why we are now in MAJOR RENOVATIONS! YAY!)
I added the suckers. They were like giant Smartees.
Almost done!
AAAANNND...Octocake! Now for a shower and some lipstick, and I will be back to immediately deconstruct her...
So there she is, coming and going! And though she lived a mere 30 or so hours, she will always be one of my favorites. 
Farewell, Large Marge!
>>> Giant Octopus Cake >>>


Today's post is a little less "this is how I did it" and a lot more "this is what I've done". I'd hoped to have a post about the making of a Scarlett O'Hara cake, but the fickle Miss Scarlett cancelled her party. Well fiddle-dee-dee. I was going to do the green gown, but now it's curtains. (I posted that line on Facebook, and I think everyone missed the joke, but I'm not giving up...), and alas, there were no cakes these past few weeks which I would like to show you the making of. There was another Gucci purse with a yorkie, this time it had hundred dollar bills in its mouth and bursting out of the purse. I love you all too much, and frankly, I can't really explain that one.
But it did make me reflect on animal cakes I've done, and this brings me to today's post. Animals are one of the most popular themes for cakes. Everyone wants their dog made from something they can cut into and eat. I guess. No one ever asks for their cat. Now there's a subject to ponder...
>>> Zoo >>>

Mindy Solomon

Bart Johnson recently created a series of drawings for an upcoming exhibition, “Explicit Content,” a visual and sensory pictorial of the carnal aspects of human . (Show opens April 14, 2012 at the Mindy Solomon Gallery, FL). Bart was kind enough to share his thoughts about the new work and points of inspiration.

>>> Mindy Solomon >>>
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