A few weeks back, you may recall that I visited the Squire’s Kitchen Exhibition for the first time and, while I was there, allowed Rhianydd Webb of Dragon’s and Daffodils Cakes to take me on a very resolve-testing walk around the show’s marketplace – resolve-testing because I had promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anything. Luckily, I was able to stick to my guns – well at the show at least – but alas that didn’t stop me hitting the web when I got home…
One of the products that had really piqued my interest at the show was the new Cake Smoothies, from Sherry Hostler with Squires Kitchen and I must confess that these may have already have found their way into my cake tool box (You can pick them up here if you are interested and why not take advantage of my exclusive 10% discount at the same time – just enter code MRBAKER10 at checkout).
But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about today. No, today I want to discuss the other new product from Squires that had got me thinking. The new Squires Kitchen Edible Wafer Papers by Natasha Collins were designed by the British cake artist and cake-painting specialist behind Nevie Pie Cakes – ‘the home of the painted cake’. She teamed up with Squires Kitchen to produce a whole range of beautiful ‘painted’ designs on strong, flexible and ultra-fine wafer paper, making it suitable for all kinds of uses in baking and sugarcraft.
When I first mentioned them in my blog from the Squires Kitchen Exhibition, I explained that if you are not confident in your cake painting abilities or are looking for an easier alternative, the wafer paper designs by Natasha Collins would be perfect to add pretty painted effects in seconds.
This got me thinking and I wondered if it would be possible for a cake decorating novice to use the papers to create a show-stopping cake without the time and effort that professionals usually put in, and thus, my Painted Giftbox Tutorial was born.
In addition to ‘the cheat’s solution to a painted finish’ as one of my friends has dubbed it, I also used a purchased floral spray to create this cake. Although a couple of the other techniques are not quite so noob-friendly, the tutorial will hopefully make it nice and easy to blend the slightly more-challenging techniques with some simple shortcuts to create a cake with real wow factor.
To find out how to create the full cake, you can find the tutorial via the menu at the top of the page, but today I want to talk about the part of the tutorial that concerns the wafer paper itself.
When it came to applying the wafer paper to a cake, I will admit that I initially struggled. There are no instructions on the packet and, having only used wafer paper a few times in the past, I wasn’t sure how best to attach it. Luckily, I had enough knowledge to know that water would not be my friend, so steaming the cake like one does to apply edible lace was not an option.
I decided to try using piping gel instead and heated a small amount up in the microwave for 45 seconds (stirring every 15) to reduce its viscosity. Around this time, I realised that I still haven’t yet replaced my large paintbrushes for cakes and instead applied the piping gel to the sides of the cake using a flexible smoother. This actually worked really well as it gave me a really smooth finish without any excess gel that could cause pockets when I applied the paper.
I measured the cake and, using a metal ruler and a scalpel, trimmed the top of the paper to just below the height of the cake.
Applying the paper to the cake was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and I managed to do this fairly simply. Unfortunately, I did end up with some bubbling, but that could be because my cake wasn’t as perfectly flat as I had thought, so it’s worth spending some time with your smoothers and a spirit level to ensure this is as perfect as you can get it.
I also discovered, when applying the second piece of paper, that the patterns don’t join at the edges, like with wallpaper. I had been expecting this though and I figured that this would probably be the case with a real gift box too.
Because the bottom of the cake was the part that would be most visible when it was finished, I concentrated on getting that part looking the neatest and then used the giftbox lid and ‘stitched strips’ to cover the other edges of the paper. I had to spend some time with my smoothers to allow the sugarpaste to absorb and mask the lumps and bumps caused by the edge of the wafer paper, but I was mainly happy with the overall effect.
All in all, I pretty pleased with the finish that I was able to produce with the Squire Kitchen wafer papers. I don’t think anyone would immediately realise that the cake isn’t actually painted and, when used as part of an overall design, I think it looks incredibly effective – it also has a very subtle, sweet flavour that would complement all of your favourite recipes. The experienced cake artist could easily smarten up my beginner-level design, using some petal dust colours to add more depth to the sugarpaste embellishments and really pull out the other colours in the design, and, if the Squires Kitchen papers were used as part of a larger piece, such as a multi-tiered wedding cake, I could imagine the effect would be incredibly dramatic.
That said, applying the paper isn’t something that can be rushed and I would advise anyone wanting to have a go to ensure that they practice a few times before using it on a client cake. I’m now planning on using the rest of my paper to create a geometric design inspired by something I saw in a book recently – more on that later though.
The wafer paper comes in packets of two sheets, with different patterns on each, and the set I used for my tutorial was from the Big Blooms collection. Because there is only one of each sheet in a packet, I needed two packets for my cake. Thank you to Natalie in the Squires Kitchen press office for sending me plenty of packets to experiment with though!
Natasha and Squires Kitchen have come up with a whole range of fabulous patterns and finishes, including more child-friendly designs such as the Kawaii Hearts and the Dinosaurs collections and a whole selection of Christmas-themed papers too.
To check out the whole range and to buy, you can find them at Squires Kitchen Shop or you can take advantage of my exclusive 10% discount at Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd by entering code MRBAKER10 at checkout.
And if anyone else has already had a play with the new Squires Kitchen Edible Wafer Paper by Natasha Collins, do let me know what you thought!
And until next time, happy caking! x