Thursday, 22 December 2011

Glitters and disclaimers

How many of you use gorgeous glitters on your cakes?

We asked our fans on

79% of you said no; 15% said that you did and 6% only used glitter if the customer asked for it.

Glitters labeled up as non toxic are not edible and should not be eaten.

On a range on glitter dusts available the following disclaimer is in place- pay particular attention to the last sentence:

Non toxic glitters can be used on decorations that are easily removed. If consumed, then the product will cause no harm and will simply pass through diring digestion. This product can not be classed as edible as this would mean it is digestible and is classed as a food, therefore we simply have to label it as “Non-Toxic”

I don't use glitters on my cakes, although I was given some fabulous red glitter in my Jane Asher goodie bag from the Cake Crawl that I organised earlier this year, and I always ensure that I use pasta as support and not cocktail sticks.

For those of you who have businesses, it would be a good idea to have disclaimers in place that customers sign so that they know there are non-edible products on their cake. You could even use some of the wording above to ensure that that recipients of your cakes are fully informed.

Things you might like to consider in your disclaimer are:

- plastic toy decorations
- non edible toppers
- jewels and beads
- glittered toppers
- wired decorations
- fresh flowers
- ribbons

Here is an example of a disclaimer used by the owner of Cake-y-licious- Louise
******DISCLAIMER: ******
The Food Standards Agency has issued a notice of an enquiry regarding the use of glitters used on cakes and cupcakes

These Non-Toxic glitters, which have been used in baking for many years, have now been put under testing to meet with EU laws. The Glitter is safe to be ingested as it is Non Toxic, however because the body cannot digest the glitter (i.e. it passes through your digestive system unchanged) it cannot be classified as a ‘food’ and has therefore been classified as ‘For Decoration Purpose Only’

For Decoration Purpose Only: - The Non Toxic Glitters can be used on decorations that can be removed from the cake/cupcakes prior to eating. NOT sprinkled directly onto the cake/cupcake.

This has caused a lot of debate and discussions on Cake Decorating forums the last few days, with people trying to find an ‘Edible’ alternative that offers the same quality of sparkle, to sprinkle directly on the cake/cupcake – unfortunately there are none!

Therefore should you order a cake that requires that extra bit of sparkle, I will be able to offer you the following alternatives, until such a time as the Food Standards Agency re-classifies the non-toxic glitter or a suitable substitute comes on the market.

1. Non Toxic Glitter can still be used as long as the decorations are removed prior to eating – this may mean a slight adjustment to your cake design
2. Edible Magic sparkles
3. Pearl Lustre Spray – which gives a subtle shimmer
4. Coloured Lustre Dusts & Paints – Which give a shimmer
5. Coloured Sugar

I apologise for any inconvenience caused and would like to stress again that these glitters will not cause harm if ingested. However we all have to follow Environmental Health and FSA Guidelines

Customers: - I would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this

Always be wary of items that you put on your cake being food safe.  I have seen people put fresh flowers directly onto cakes, when you must put a protective layer between the cake the the non-edible decoration- like a piece of acetate (clear plastic sheet).

Here is the link to the FSA document about non edible items on cakes

What are your thoughts on glitters?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Madagascan Vanilla Pods

Madagascan Vanilla Pods

Some studies show that in the last 4 years the price rises have resulted in a 30% drop in the use of natural vanilla worldwide. However, the market for gourmet-grade whole vanilla beans is on the increase, especially in Europe where high-quality food ingredients have been popularised by numerous celebrity chefs. Americans are the biggest consumers of real vanilla followed by France, although the appreciation of French vanilla’s qualities are now being felt in the United Kingdom as the imports increase considerably. The trend away from additives and preservatives has led to an appreciation of the pure elements of food and healthy eating and has seen a rise in consumption over here.

As mentioned earlier, 97% of all vanilla used in products are synthetic and those that use real vanilla are therefore few and far between. Imitation vanilla is manufactured either from clove oil (eugenol) or as a breakdown product of lignin from a conifer (e.g., spruce, Picea). 

Pure vanilla chemically has over 200 elemental chemicals that give it its taste and smell, and it is impossible to mimic this 100% today. The main compound that gives real vanilla its taste is called vanillin. Madagascan vanilla has 3 times as much vanillin concentration and therefore taste) compared to its nearest competition the Mexican Bourbon variety, and this is why it has such a reputation.

The cakedecorating company have a lovely range of this product: 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Streetwise Mat


It has been such a journey for me this year, and I have been overwhelmed with the response on my Cake Masters facebook page.
I want to thank each and everyone one of you who have posted pictures, entered competitions, helped others with fab top tips, and for giving me such wonderful feedback about my page.

I absolutely love my page, and just love looking through all the pictures uploaded and reading each and every comment posted.

To say a big thank you to you all, I have been in touch with the lovely people at the Cake Decorating Company to bring all my fans a very special and exclusive offer.

All fans of my page have an exclusive offer on the fabulous Streetwise MAT- have you tried it? I have been using my mat and it is just brilliant- no icing sugar, no cornflour, no trex on your work surface, no ripping of paste when picking it up and so easy to pick up once rolled out.

This video shows how the mat is used:

The mat is available from the Cake Decorating Company 

The HOME MAT £27.99

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

In the Amersham People

A small article about our classes! YAY!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tiny Shoe Cutters

Frances McNaughton is just brilliant and I just love her tiny shoe cutters! She demonstrates in these videos how she makes her fab range of shoes.

I am selling these shoes in my facebook shop for £8 :)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Day 9, 10 and 11 - Intensive PME Diploma - Sugar Flowers

So I thought I would blog about the last few days of the intensive PME course together as it was just all about making flowers.

Here are some pictures of the individual flowers I made.  All the flowers made were for a spray that we put together on the last day of the intensive course.

I don't really know much about flowers- and I cant remember what this flower was called- if you know - let me know!

This lovely stalk of flowers above is called the lily of the valley

The above picture are my lily petals after dusting - it is amazing how the colour is absorbed into the petal paste!

My yellow rose is something that I was really pleased with

Above is my lily once assembled :)

Tony, the tutor's lilly- lovely colours!

On the last day Tony showed us how to put together bunches of the flowers that we had made earlier on in the week together.

Tony showing his finished spray above.

My finished rose!- Love this!!

My finished spray :)

All the finished sprays together

Our fabulous teacher Tony Warren.

Everyone in my class with their master's diploma that we were all awarded with.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Day 8 - Intensive PME Diploma - Sugar Flowers

Day 8

Today was the first day of sugar flowers and I absolutely loved it!

We started off by making some plaques and decorated them making sugarpaste flowers.
The first flower we made was the gerbera.  I love this flower, with a couple of layers of flowers, you can make some amazing flowers.

We used tints to colour the tips of the petals to make the flower look more life like.

We then moved onto a christmas poinsettia- here it is.

The next thing we made was my favourite- a rose.

The next part of the lesson was making flowers using petal paste and wires.  The wilton petal paste we used was quite good and nice to work with. The rest of today's lesson was learning all about pulled flowers - it is amazing what you can do with this tool.

I made the following pulled flowers and finished off by adding stamens.

We will be making bigger wired flowers tomorrow- looking forward to it :) 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Day 7 - Intensive PME Diploma - Royal Icing

Day 7- Royal Icing

Today was the last day of our Royal Icing module and it was a very difficult one!
We started off piping lace by using templates again.

We also covered off how to brush embroider- I have actually done a tutorial on youtube on this.  It is very easy and quite effective J


We then started on royal icing extensions; these are decorations that come off the side of the cake.  These decorations are extremely delicate and very time consuming.  I don’t think these types of decorations are that common these days, and am not sure if customers would really appreciate the time and effort that goes into them!

The extensions took up most of the lesson- so much time effort and patience is required for this kind of work.

The last past of the lesson was all about finishing off our royal icing cake.  After putting ribbon round the cake, we piped roses and stems round the middle.

We then had the awful job of taking our collars off our pieces of acetate. I was extremely nervous about this part and was convinced I was going to crack my collar- thankfully it came off in one piece.

We popped the collar on our cake and then placed the swan (which I think is beautiful finished in lustre) and our letters and flowers.

This was Tony's cake- our fab teacher!
 Stunning detail!

Sugar flowers module tomorrow - I love to make flowers, so really looking forward to the next few days – yay!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Day 6 - Intensive PME Diploma - Royal Icing

Day 6 and it was all about Royal Icing again!!
Today was all about royal icing.  We started by filling bags with different nozzles and created the following designs using templates.

I think that the use of templates is a great idea and will be looking into creating some templates myself.  The swan will look especially pretty once assembled on my cake.

We then moved onto making royal icing flowers.  I popped some colour into my bag to create some gorgeous looking flowers.  I have seen these flowers being sold in shops- I now know how to do these myself.

I tried a chrysanthemum, but these were not as good as the roses.

After the flowers, we royal iced our dummy cake and then used a scrapper to make a rim round our cake.

We move onto sugar flowers next week- yay!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cake International comes to London!!!

Friday 27th – Sunday 29th April, 2012

Leading event organiser ICHF Ltd are expanding their highly successful Cake International show to ExCeL in London Docklands for the first time from the 27th – 29th April 2012.

This fantastic show will be bringing the best in cake decorating and baking to the London region for the first time, following this year’s record breaking show at the NEC.  Visitors can expect to see the very latest cutting edge products and techniques from a huge variety of exhibitors from across the UK and abroad.

Other features will include a bakery theatre with top tips and advice from the experts, college displays and lively demonstrations in the Cake Decorators Kitchen - showing all the latest trends and ideas in sugarcraft and cake decoration.  Visitors can take part in the Competition Classes and showcase their talents and imagination.  With a selection of classes there will be something for everyone, including novice and junior classes for anyone under the age of 18.

Visitors from across the globe came along to the 2011 Cake International show at the NEC from as far afield as Peru, America, Korea, France and Portugal.  The show saw record number of visitors with an increase of 32% on the previous record year in 2010.

Show organiser Simon Burns from ICHF Events said, “Following the success of our Cake International show at the NEC we are excited to announce that we will also be taking this show to ExCeL in London Docklands from the 27 – 29 April 2012. We have seen our visitor numbers at Cake International at the NEC dramatically increase by 72% in the last two years and we hope that this can be echoed at ExCeL. The effect of the revival in home baking can clearly be seen and it is from the popularity of this that we wanted to extend our events calendar to include a Cake Decorating and Baking show in London.”

Cake International will also return to the Birmingham NEC from the 9 – 11 November 2012 with Crafts for Christmas, Hobbycrafts and Art Materials Live running alongside it from the 8 – 11 November 2012. ICHF Ltd is also launching their popular Creative Stitches / Hobbycrafts shows at Glow, Bluewater Events Centre, Kent, from 2nd to 5th February 2012.

Cake International – ExCeL, London
27 – 29 April, 2012
Open 09.30-17.30 (Sunday 17.00)

Tickets Prices: TBC

Buy tickets on-line at  or Phone Ticket Hotline: 01425 277988

Friday, 18 November 2011

Day 5 - Intensive PME Diploma - Royal Icing

Day 5 and it was all about Royal Icing.

I don’t work that much with royal icing as I think that cakes with buttercream and sugarpaste coverings are more common these days. Also lettering on cakes tend to be with the use of cutters, moulds or even fabulous tools like Clickstix.
I only really use royal icing to pipe round the edge of cakes, to give a shell border and that is about it...  I used to make royal icing using egg whites, but ever since setting up Cake Masters, I was aware of various regulations regarding uncooked egg in food items.  Instead of using egg whites to make royal icing I would use meri-white meringue powder.  I learnt in class today that Wilton Colour Flow (or albumen) is much better to use to get a stronger royal icing which you can make amazing structures with. I found that with my royal icing made with meri-white, my structures would quite annoyingly break and were quite brittle.
Tony, our tutor showed us how to mix up royal icing using Wilton colour flow, icing sugar and water as well as showing us how to make our own piping bags from parchment paper- I am officially an extraordinaire in this department as I made about 20 cones today!
After filling our piping bags we started with straight lines and attempts at writing.

We then used the wilton nozzles 44 and 43 to create these gorgeous scrolls.  Today’s class took me back in the day when my royal icing birthday cake would have a very fancy royal iced, hand piped border- I today was creating these sorts of designs myself and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The next part of the lesson was to cover a board and have a go at piping an “S” and “C” scroll and a border, it was all a bit wobbly!

Next we moved onto something more challenging- a royal icing collar! Have you seen these before? Very old school- but amazing engineering!
We started by piping very thin lines and then dots on those lines- after carefully doing this on top of acetate on a template, we moved to flooding.

I was quite nervous about this part, and thought that I might over flood my collar. I was very careful and managed to fill it all in perfectly.

I will take a picture of the collar, and will let you know if I can get it off in one piece once dry- I am very used to my pieces breaking, so have my fingers crossed that it all goes well tomorrow.

Just as a note, although I don’t think I will be using much of what I learnt today on actual cakes that I make, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as most of today was very new to me J
Look forward to seeing how my collar is doing when I get in tomorrow morning- yes there is a Saturday class -no rest for the wicked!