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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.

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Could I be Britain’s Next Top Model-ler?

The short answer is no, but after Vicky Turner of The Yellow Bee Cake Company went Live! on Facebook to reveal that she had been beavering away behind the scenes with the lovely Rachel Wyatt-Brown of The-Old Piping Bag to create a line of exclusive food-safe silicone moulds, cast from her very own models, I must admit that I was itching to have a play with them.

Well-known for her cute and adorable modelling, I have often wished that I was able to model adorable figures like Vicky’s (not to mention work as cleanly as she does!) and when I realised that Vicky and Rachel had made it possible for us all to emulate Vicky’s stunning work for ourselves, I was genuinely excited! As a result, I featured the new moulds in that week’s Something Sweet and, on seeing my comments, Rachel very kindly sent me some to try.

Thank you again, Rachel! 😍

Now, of course I have already posted my Easter offerings for this year’s big day, but I still wanted to give the new moulds a go as soon as I could, so I decided to whip up a batch of Easter-themed cupcakes for us to enjoy at home over the bank holiday weekend.

To give me a base to build my models on, I used the leftover sugarpaste that I had used for the boards of my Easter Buddies and replicated the same scrubbing brush technique to create a grass effect for my cupcake toppers. Once I had done this, I used a fluted cutter to cut out a selection of shapes – way more than I needed, of course, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst!

When using the moulds themselves, Rachel recommends washing them in hot soapy water and allowing them to air dry before the first use. She also advises that one uses modelling paste or flower paste to get the best results. Luckily, I had a packet of Renshaw Modelling Paste tucked away, so I was good to go.

To mould the bunnies themselves, I used my white paste as it comes and I was watching Vicky’s Live! video religiously on playback to ensure that I did it right. I left them in for a few minutes to firm back up, but I did struggle to remove the more delicate parts (the arms) from the mould first time. I decided to pop them into the freezer briefly and that worked like a charm.

However, the smaller parts on the accessories moulds were much easier to use, even with freshly coloured paste, and I found myself making oodles of each accessory – way more than I needed – simply because they were so quick and simple to do. I even started to experiment by adding multiple colours to one accessory – like the patterned Easter egg and the daisies – and I loved the results that that produced.

I did have one sticky moment (literally) when I tried to handle the just-out-of-the-freezer bunnies a bit too prematurely, so if you do resort to a bit of chilling, remember to let any condensation dry first, but other than that, I found the moulds incredibly easy to use – and I should clarify that I don’t really use moulds, so those that are used to working with them should find these a dream.

Assembling the pieces together is best done with edible glue and do allow your models time to dry before handling them too much. Running around the house to show them to people just after you have put them together is not advisable – unless you want a trail of ears, tongues and feet littering the ground behind you. *ahem*

Available in two different poses and with a choice of accessories, each of the sets of bunnies come with two moulds – one Cute Rabbit mould and one Accessory mould.  You can also mix and match, by purchasing the extra Accessory mould or take advantage of the special launch offer for all four of the unique moulds – for the bargain price of just £27.50! They are all available directly from Rachel’s website, The Old Piping Bag NOW!

The cupcakes I made used all four of the moulds and I can already see many ways that they could be used for other projects too. The bunnies themselves could easily be adapted to other animals with the substitution of some different ears and accessories (and a little bird tells me that some extra moulds might be on the way to do just that), the carrots are perfect for decorating a garden cake or even to top a miniature carrot cake and the daisy is so adorable, I think I’ll be put them on everything I make from now on!

A quick preview, from my ‘little bird’ friend, of how the new accessory kits can completely change the look of your mould.

Annoyingly, I took my photos before it occurred to me to dust my bunnies ears, cheeks and belly with a little blush pink to add some additional colour (like Vicky suggests in her video), so learn from my mistake and ensure you allow time for that. It really helps bring your creations to life.

And while I don’t think my modelling, even with the help of her wonderful moulds, will be vying for Vicky’s modelling crown anytime soon, I’m sure you’ll agree that my tasty Easter treats would brighten up any special celebration.

Thanks again to Rachel for sending me these lovely moulds and to Vicky for her oh-so-helpful video (and for answering all my annoying questions). And if anyone else has had a play with the new moulds from The Old Piping Bag with The Yellow Bee Cake Company, do let me know what you thought!

And until next time, happy caking! x