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Review: Half-Sphere Multi Mould and Edible Transfers by The Old Piping Bag

The school holidays are finally here and do you know what that means? I can finally pay some attention to the mammoth, cakey ‘to-do list’ that I have been ignoring for the past few weeks. I actually have a dedicated shelf in my cake room that is purely for projects that I want to get to ‘at some point’ and, if I’m honest, lately it has been looking rather full.

I know some people think that blogging is all getting sent free stuff, but actually, for every product that you get sent for review, you need to come up with a creation to go with it and that’s before you even start putting pen to paper. It’s a lot of work.

And actually, many of the products or tools that I share with you are things that I have bought myself – either because I think that you would all be interested in seeing them in action or because I think they will be useful within my own cake artistry – and today, I finally got the chance to play with a product that fits into both of those categories.

The new Half Sphere Multi-Mould and Edible Transfers are some of the latest innovations to come out of the workshop of Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The-Old Piping Bag: Handmade Silicone Moulds for Cake & Craft and she told me they allow sugarcrafters to create realistic eyes, eyeballs and sports balls.

The combination of her isomalt mould and the pre-cut transfers ensure that even a complete isomalt-noob like me can achieve the sort of realistic eyes that used to be the exclusive purview of only the finest cake artists and sugar sculptors.

Now, if I’m honest, one of the main reasons that this project has been left languishing on my shelf (besides time) is because I have never used isomalt before and I’ve always been a little bit scared of it. Isomalt is an ‘inverted sugar’, which means that it is sweet like sugar, but it has a slower rate of crystallisation. This makes it ideal for modelling and moulding, because it doesn’t break down as quickly as regular sugar sculpting.

The other reason I had shelved this project for a while was due to the fact that Squires Kitchen Ready-Tempered Isomalt seemed to be out of stock absolutely everywhere. While there are other brands available, I had only heard good things about the Squires isomalt, so I was keen to use this during my first experience with the medium. However, it seemed that the rest of the world had had a similar idea and I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Luckily, my lovely friend Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co had a little bit left over from a previous project and she was generous enough to post it to me.

You also need a fair bit of kit to work with isomalt, it seems. Number one on your purchase list needs to be some silicone containers. Melted sugar is sticky – and hot! I bought a pack of silicone cupcake cases from Amazon and they seemed to do the trick perfectly.

If you want to achieve a perfect finish to your isomalt art, you will also need a blowtorch – I have this one by Andrew James – and some PME Clear Edible Glaze Spray. This will stop the sugar absorbing moisture from the air and breaking down over time.

Finally, I would advise that you wear some heat-proof gloves while you are working with your isomalt. Perhaps stupidly, I just used my usual food-safe vinyl gloves today, which of course do not offer any protection from the heat. However, I was able to whip mine off quick enough to ensure that I didn’t get badly burnt by the molten sugar when I inevitably shoved my finger into the discarded pot of leftover mix.

While I was using Rachel’s moulds for the first time, the thing I struggled with the most was patience. You need to let each step of the process cool before moving on to the next and I didn’t really do this. I won’t show you a picture of how my first attempts came out, but luckily I had just enough isomalt crystals left for one final go.

This time, I allowed myself to be distracted between each step so that I could allow sufficient cooling time and the results were much better, as you can see here.

Next up, I want to see how I can incorporate these realistic looking eyes into a chocolate sculpture like the one I made during my time with Carla Puig earlier this year.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed the similarities between Rachel’s new product and another, devised by Lizzo Marek with Simi Cakes, that also became available this year. It seems that both of them had them in development at the same time and, although she is aware that people may think she copied Lizzo, whose eye moulds and transfers came to market first, Rachel explained that she had already invested far too much time and money into her product to be able to discontinue her work on them.

I don’t know about you, but I think there is plenty of space on the market for both of them – particularly as one is US-based and one is here – and I was certainly thrilled with the results I was able to achieve on my initial play with Rachel’s kit.

So much so, that now it seems to be back in stock everywhere, I have ordered a load more isomalt so that I can carry on with my explorations – before tackling my chocolate bust of course!

If you fancy having a go at creating realistic isomalt eyes, then you can pick up Rachel’s Half Sphere Multi Mould and Edible Transfers via her website here.

To get your hands on some of the elusive Squires Kitchen Ready-Tempered Isomalt, you can head to my other online home, Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd. And don’t forget to take advantage of my exclusive discount code MRBAKER10 while you’re there, to save 10% on all of your essential cake decorating needs.

A Weekly Slice of Something Sweet, All Content, Blog

Good morning, cake fans! It’s time for Something Sweet…

Welcome to another issue of Something Sweet, the weekly online magazine from Mr Baker’s Blog. It has been another fabulous week in cake and Issue 24 is here to tell you all about it.

This week’s big news has to include the fact that nominations are now open for the annual Cake Masters Magazine Awards, but we also check out a new sugary addition to the London Skyline, courtesy of Michelle Wibewo and Mr Kipling, and find out how Dot Klerck got on with her awesome, week-long live-build to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s centenary and in support of Cupcakes of Hope.

Karen Keaney and Ben Fullard are on hand, ready to answer all your Cake International competition-related questions; we check out the stunning Arabian Nights International Cake Collaboration – only a week late; and I preview some new classes by the uber talented Little Cherry Cake Company.

I’m also still going on about how much I love Cakes by Carol’s Sharp Edge Smoother, I shine my spotlight on Mr Cupcake himself, Sébastien Haramendy, of Un Cupcake, l’Addition! and my Twitter chum, BecksBakes get some much-deserved love as well

Oh, and there’s the small matter of this week’s Cake of the Week of course… Will it be you?

Also featuring Cakeflix, Cake Dutchess, Roses and Bows Cakery, Ben the Cake Man, Nana Rose Cake and Global Sugar Artist Network.

Check out all this and more in Issue 24 of Something Sweet, from Mr Baker’s Blog.

Find it here…

All Content, Blog, Exclusive Preview

A new look for Paul Bradford: Cakeflix is here!

Paul Bradford has a new look – and I don’t mean he got his hair did…

Having released a tutorial every week since his online learning platform, the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School launched seven years ago, Paul Bradford prides himself on always having his finger on the pulse of what his online audience are looking for.

However, last year, Paul and his partner David started to notice that things were changing. Their weekly tutorials were getting fewer views, while shorter, snappier techniques, and their hints & tips-led content were growing in popularity.

With more and more cake artists beginning to share their own content via short videos and tutorials on YouTube, it seemed that cake decorators were starting to find themselves spoiled for choice.

Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Paul and David decided to look to their discerning members to see how they could develop their platform to meet the evolving requirements of their subscribers.

After reviewing what their 195,000(!!) members were saying they wanted, they set about designing the new-look Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School – but then inspiration hit: why not use this as an opportunity for a full rebrand? And after a LOT of planning and hard work – including securing the all-important domains and Trademark – CakeFlix was born.

Having produced high quality content every week for seven years, Paul and David already had a huge number of fantastic classes and tutorials that were hidden away in the murky depths of the original site. It all needed to be catalogued and thus the Techniques section of Cakeflix came to be. On the old site, you would quite literally have had to search through every single tutorial if you were after a specific skill or technique. If you wanted to learn how to make a selection of different roses, well, you’d have had your work cut out trying to track them all down!

On the new site, it will be as simple as clicking: Techniques > Flowers > Roses and you’ll find a whole host of rose-specific lessons to choose from.

And it’s not just roses, either. You’ll be able to find dedicated sections on flowers, models, royal icing techniques, chocolate work and they’re even working on a structured stands section. It really does sound like Paul and David have really listened to their members and, based on the feedback they have been given, I know they have plans to collect even more tutorials and classes to develop these sections even further – and to top up any areas where they have identified any content shortfalls.

Their members had also mentioned that they didn’t always have time each week to watch the weekly course, so for a few months now Paul and David have been providing a 10-15minute Highlight edit, as well as the fast forward Quickbite video, which condenses the course down to just one minute! After all, I’m sure we can all spare one minute a week, can’t we?

You will also be able to find a wide selection of promotional videos explaining how to use various specific cake products and tools, but importantly, CakeFlix do not get paid to host these or take any commission from them. The aim of the site is to be educational and a neutral shopping place – Paul and David won’t be pushing one product over any other.

The final key addition for the new site was that members wanted more live shows. Paul had been using Facebook Live, but the problem is that then Facebook own that content, so it can’t be easily catalogued and used after the event. Hosting Live events on the CakeFlix site will allow for audience interaction and the videos can be edited and reused after the show too.

All in all, a lot of changes happening at the same time is always going to be a bit risky, but as Paul and David have identified, you have to be able to move quickly if you want to say relevant in any developing industry, and none seem to be moving as quickly as the cake industry at the moment. It really is a great industry to be involved in, but as Paul and David have identified, our clients and customers can never be taken for granted, so it’s important to listen, learn and act in response to what they want.

Paul and David are very excited about their new site, explaining that they are looking forward to opening up the platform to many new artists and they can’t wait to work with and support a whole new generation of cake artists. As Cakeflix develops and grows, it will continue to provide a platform where cake artists worldwide can have their content shared and catalogued on a professional site and allowing them to reach an engaged cake decorating audience – and it will ensure they get paid for their hard work.

With their Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant status and having won the Cake Masters Magazine award for the Best Learning Experience three times in the last four years, Paul and David already have some excellent foundations on which to build this great new brand and I wish them every success with it.

If you would like to find out more about Cakeflix, Paul and David are offering a seven-day FREE Trial to allow visitors to check out the 775 courses that they already have on offer.

Click here to see it for yourself…