Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Language EN | FR
This article was taken from our February 2020 Issue Buy this issue now

Ask the Expert: Karen Davies

Ask the Expert: Karen Davies

Karen Davies is an established and respected mould designer and manufacturer. She believes that the art of cake decorating should be accessible to anyone.


Q: How do I stop my paste sticking in my mould?

A: I always use a cornflour pouch. Pat the pouch onto the mould then turn the mould over and tap out the excess cornflour. The paste will still stick if it isn’t the correct paste. We have our own sugarpaste that works perfectly straight from the packet – you don’t need to add any tylo (CMC) to it. Other sugarpastes/fondants will need tylo adding. A general rule is approximately 5ml of tylo to 225g. This can vary slightly from paste to paste as some are softer/firmer. Once added, the paste will mature over several hours and go firmer.


Q: What is the best way to remove cornflour from decorations?

A: If you can see a little cornflour on your work (especially the dark colours), it can be brushed off with a large damp paintbrush. You can use either a clear alcohol or water to do this. A large soft paintbrush is best. Dip into the alcohol, squeeze out the excess then blot onto kitchen paper so it is only damp not wet.


Q: What top tips do you have for a beginner using moulds to create decorations?

A: If you follow the rules here, you will be off to a good start! Also remember not to start off with too much paste – most people do. If there is no weight for the piece of paste to use on the instruction leaflet that comes with the mould, place a piece to try for size over the mould you want to use. Always look at the shape you are moulding then make the paste roughly that shape and smooth underneath before placing in the mould. I usually start to press the paste into the mould from one side to the opposite, keeping the paste flat at the back and level with the mould. As you work the paste in, do not go over the edges of the piece you are moulding.


Q: Do you recommend moulding my decorations in advance?

A: Yes, this is definitely something that helps when it can be done. If you want the pieces to dry out, they can be left on a piece of sponge and placed in a cardboard cake box. If you want the pieces to stay soft because for example, they are being placed on the sides of a round cake, they would need to be stored in polythene bags then in sealed Tupperware. The time they will stay soft or take to dry out will depend on the size of the piece and what paste has been used.


Q: What are your top tips for moulding with multiple colours?

A: This can take a little longer than placing one piece of paste into the mould, but it looks very effective. Just make sure the coloured paste goes into the deepest part of the mould first and not too much goes in. If it seeps over the edge of the cavity into the next, it will look messy. Use a small ball tool to help push the paste in if it is too small for fingers. Don’t use too much cornflour so the next layer of paste will stick to it. A small amount of water from a slightly damp paintbrush can help but be careful. If this is too tricky for you, painting looks effective but mould using the lightest colour and paint the darker shades.


Q: Can I only use moulds for sugarpaste decorations?

A: Our moulds are great for moulding cookie dough! We have a new range suitable for both sugarpaste/fondant or cookies/gingerbread. Just mould the cookies and place on a baking tray! Moulds can be used for many different mediums – plaster, fimo, air drying clay, soaps, candles, the list is endless! Depending on what non-edible product you are moulding, it may be wise to have separate moulds for crafts and sugarcraft.

Q: How can I ensure my moulds are genuine and not copies?

A: Familiarise yourself with the original manufacturers – names, products, stockists, the colour of their products. We, along with many others, have our logo on our moulds. Genuine manufacturers will list their authorised retailers and usually have their own online shop for you to purchase from. If you do an online search for a ‘teddy bear mould’ you will get listings for far too many to check out. This search will reveal usually very cheap non-food safe moulds manufactured using any type of cheap silicone. There will be no quality guarantee either. Usually they do not have any instructions with them. They will rip and tear very quickly and easily. So when you search for any mould required, enter the manufacturer’s name first then the type of mould you want. If you do find copies on any selling platform, complain to them and let the original manufacturer know.

Ask the Expert: Karen Davies Cakes