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This article was taken from our March 2021 Issue Buy this issue now

Ask the Expert: Jenny Chambers

Jenny Chambers

Jenny Chambers is an award-winning cake designer with a talent for sculpting lifelike creatures, fantasy and realism. She won a spot in the Cake Masters Top 10 Cake Artists UK and Ireland in 2020. 

To find more out about Jenny and her work, follow this link to her website: www.jennyliciouscakes.com

Q: What’s the best food-safe way to add lights to my cake? Which lights can I use? 

A: I occasionally use small battery LED lights. Make sure that, as with any non-food-safe item, you create a barrier from the cake. I might make a small hollow to fit my light into and smooth with ganache, then carefully place a small piece of parchment or wafer paper under my light. Make sure to give instructions to any client on how to remove any non-edible components before they eat the cake! 

Jenny Chambers

Q: Is there another way to add shading to my cakes if I dont have an airbrush? 

A: Well, I do favour my trusty Spectrum Flow airbrush. But if you don’t have one, depending on the project, you can add shading using edible dust colours. I have a large selection of soft brushes in various sizes (brand new makeup brushes mainly) and a large selection of edible dust colours. My favourites at the moment are Fractal Colours Fundustic colours. I place my pots of colour on paper towel and brush the colours out of the pot lids – that way I don’t waste any. When finished, I either lightly steam my project to fix the dust, or if I have interesting dusted textures that I want to enhance, I’ll brush over with dipping solution. 

Jenny Chambers

Q: Which tool is best for creating fur texture? 

A: It really depends on the fur you want to create. For longer lustrous fur, I would probably use long strokes with a dresden tool, clay knife, or sharp end of a silicone tool handle. For a shaggier fur, possibly a fork? I have a crazy selection of tools which I have found at cake shows, in craft shops, in the kitchen drawer… I found a marvellous selection of clay tools in a cheap bundle on Amazon, most of which I can’t name. I like toothbrushes (brand new and unused!), scrubbing brushes (again new), but to be honest, I probably use my trusty dresden for most projects, for instance, with fur where I want some control on the direction of growth. 

Jenny Chambers

Q: My sugarpaste always sticks to silicone moulds – how can I avoid this? 

A: Sugarpaste will stick to a mould and not release properly if you don’t use a few simple techniques. Firstly, firm the sugarpaste slightly with tylose – it works so much better in a mould if its firmer. Then dust moulds with cornflour and tap out excess. I have occasionally used Trex (vegetable shortening). Press the paste into the  mould, remove excess (don’t use a sharp knife as you’ll damage the mould) then start to bend the mould away to loosen the creation before turning out. 

Jenny Chambers

Q: What are your top three tools?  

A: That’s a tough question! Can I only choose 3? If we’re talking tools for sculpting, I would say my silicone tipped tools from Cerart (K207, K205) – I love them. My dresden tool obviously, and my ball tools in various sizes. A small sharp knife… Oops, that’s four! 

Q: How can I airbrush a darker colour without the paint appearing wet? 

A: Build up layers, take your time, and don’t just hold the airbrush in one spot for ages! You’ll make a wet puddle and that’s never a good look. If you’re trying to make a darker green for instance, you can add a little red or brown or a tiny bit of black. But I would suggest layering up colour, allowing to dry between coats. 

Jenny Chambers