Tasha is a multiple gold award-winning sugarcraft artist running Cakeium, ‘The Element of Cake’. The name is a play on the periodic table and a nod to her dual career as a scientist. She enjoys a challenge and gravitates towards complex architectural styled cakes with intricate piping and painting. Mandala art is colourful and therapeutic, so this month, Tasha shows you how to get chilled out with cake using Rainbow Dust Colours Food Art Pens.
For more information about Natasha and her cakes, visit: www.cakeium.com
Rainbow Dust Colours products are available in all good cake decorating stores. For more information, visit: www.rainbowdust.co.uk
- Prepared cakes on an 8” iced board (5×3” tier iced in white sugarpaste stacked on a 6×6” (double height) tier iced in sky blue sugarpaste)
- 6x 3” polystyrene cake dummy cut in half and iced so it has the same diameter as the double height cake tier (this will be a former)
- Rainbow Dust confectioner’s glaze
- Rainbow Dust glaze cleaner
- White vegetable fat (Trex)
- Rainbow Dust edible glue
- Rainbow Dust Edible Silk colours: Metallic Light Silver and Pearl White
- Rainbow Dust ProGel: Sky Blue and Orange
- Rainbow Dust Paint It! Sky Blue
- Flower paste/gum paste
- Renshaw Flower and Modelling Paste: 60g white and 60g coloured orange
- 150g firm peak royal icing, uncoloured
- Rainbow Dust Food Art Pens: Orange, Red, Dark Gold, Canary Yellow, Grape Violet, Dusky Pink, Holly/Ivy Green, Teal, Royal Blue and Sky Blue
- Bead mould
- Non-stick rolling board with vein grooves
- Small non-stick rolling pin
- Paintbrushes: flat natural/coarse bristle in medium and small; flat soft large, medium and small; plus a round small
- Paint palette with round recesses
- Dimpled food grade foam mat
- 15cm silver satin ribbon and narrow double sided tape to attach
- Cranked and small straight palette knives
- Medium ball tool
- Scribe tool
- Half width floral tape
- Longiflorum lily cutter set (Tinkertech TT569-70)
- Sugarcraft gun with 3mm hole disc attached
- Tin foil and cling film (plastic food wrap)
- Paper towels (kitchen towel)
- PME Daisy cutter set
- Paper covered floral wire: 26g and 22g
- Sharp craft knife and suitable cutting board
- Wire cutters
- Needle nosed pliers
- Medium flower pic
- Cotton wool buds
- Tilting turntable
- Templates printed onto paper and cut out (petal length 3” and Mandala diameter 5.5”)
- Small and medium sized scissors
- Plastic shot glasses
- Pearl head pins
For the flower centre base: Take a 22g wire and cut into thirds. Bend a hook in one end using needle nosed pliers. Take a 2g/1.5cm diameter ball of flower paste and form it into a cone. Touch the very tip of the hook into the edible glue and thread down the cone with the point at the bottom. Re-shape as necessary and remove any excess paste. Indent the top with a ball tool. Leave to dry overnight.
For the flower centre top: Roll out a small amount of flower paste to about 1mm thick. Use the three larger daisy cutters from the set and cut out one of each. With a little edible glue, stick the cut outs on one another from largest to smallest, interleaving the petals on each layer. Put the flower centre into a curved paint palette or dimpled foam cup and leave to dry overnight. Attach to the flower centre base using a little royal icing.
For the petals: Roll out flower paste to about 1mm thick over the largest groove of the non-stick board. Cut out a petal with the narrower petal from the set (excluding the stalk), placing the petal base at the bottom of the ridge. Trim a point into the petal tip using the template and a small pair of scissors. If you do not have the cutter, use the template and a craft knife to cut out the petal on the ridged paste.
Cut a 26g wire into thirds (cut at an angle, the wires will go into the paste more easily) and insert about ¾ of the way up the petal ridge. Pinch at the base and remove any excess paste. Curve the petal into a gentle S shape using the flower centre and the picture as a guide. Lay down to dry for several hours or overnight on dimpled food grade foam. You will need eight petals.
To draw the pattern onto the petals: Take the petal template, this has the guide lines drawn on. Use the template on top or to the side of a petal to mark where the two dusky pink lines go. You will need the thicker tip for the petals, sketching the lines across. Draw in the red guide line and fill in the space between that and the edge of the petal with red circles. Fill in the rest of the petal pattern using the picture and guide lines to help. Next, draw a pattern onto the flower centre, using a different colour and design on each set of leaves. You may need to use the fine tip to get into the crevices. Use the Sky Blue Paint it! and apply very thinly to the back and sides of each petal and the base of the flower centre. Leave to dry overnight.
To create the brushed metal texture: Starting from the back of the cake, paddle a thin layer of royal icing onto the side of the top tier using a cranked palette knife in a section about 8cm/3” wide.
Lightly dampen a flat natural bristle medium paintbrush with water. Blot off the excess water using a paper towel. Start at the beginning of the section and sweep upwards with the brush through the royal icing from the base to the tip of the tier to form vertical ridges. Move along the section and texture all the icing. Clean the brush off regularly between several strokes in water. If the brush drags through the icing, it is too dry and if it leaves no marks and dissolves, the icing it is too wet. You can go back over the icing while it is wet until you are happy. If you are not happy with the finish, scrape of the icing and start again. Tidy up the tip and base of the cake tier as you go by removing excess icing with a small palette knife. Repeat around the whole tier. Apply the same method to cover the top of each cake tier and the cake board. This time, you will need to sweep round in a circular motion from the outside to the inside to replicate the age lines on a tree stump. Put the cake on a turntable to aid.
Apply the metallic. Line your work area with tin foil to protect it from the glaze and make cleaning up easier. Put equal amounts of the white and silver lustre dust into a shot glass or paint palette using a small palette knife. Tip in a little confectioner’s glaze and mix with a flat soft paintbrush, the consistency should be that of single cream. Pour a little glaze cleaner into another shot glass and put some kitchen towel down. Apply the paint all over areas that have been textured, using the brush tip to work the paint in all the ridges. Change up and down the size of the brush to suit the area you are painting. You may need two coats. Every so often, clean your brush off in the glaze cleaner. If you make a mistake, dip a cotton wool bud into the glaze cleaner and gently rub the paint off the cake. Next, highlight the ridges with pearl lustre dust prepared in the same way. You will need to use the side of the brush so only the ridge tips are coloured. Go over the more pronounced ridges again for depth.
To make the pearl border: Take the orange flower and modelling paste and mix in small amounts of white vegetable fat until it doesn’t feel sticky. Dust the smallest pearl mould with pearl lustre dust to help release the paste easily. Make a snake of paste and pinch and push it into the mould. Trim off the excess paste with a small palette knife. Stretch the mould gently either side of the paste and turn it over. Coax the pearls out from one side to the other, they should come out quite easily with a little stretching of the mould. If you still find your paste is sticking inside the mould, you have two options: pop in the freezer for ten minutes or start again and dust the inside of the mould with a little icing sugar after the lustre dust. Attach a pearl border with edible glue to the base of the blue cake tier and the base and top of the top tier.
Scribe a place marker for the mandala design: Centre the mandala template on the front of the cake and attach it using sanitised pearl head pins. Scratch a line around the template. Remove the pins and template. Fill the pin holes with royal icing to keep the cake well sealed before the mandala design is applied later.
Make the mandala plaque. Cover the cake dummy former with cling film. Roll the white flower and modelling paste out into a circle about 2mm thick. Apply a little white vegetable fat to your cutting surface. Place the rolled out paste onto the cutting board and then place the mandala template on top. Cut around the template with a sharp craft knife. Gently lift the paste off the board and lay in the centre of your former as shown. Push a hole through the centre of the plaque using a pearl head pin (lay the template on top to find the centre point easily). Leave for six to eight hours or overnight to firm up.
Transfer the design to the mandala plaque: Working from the outside to the inside, cut down to consecutive guide lines. Attach the template to the plaque using the centre hole and a pearl head pin. You will only need to sketch around one scallop to get the spacing right and then the rest can be put in freehand.
This image shows you all the guide lines you must put in before starting to apply the fine detail. When you get to the star pattern and smaller, you will need to draw all the way around as these are not as easy to apply freehand.
The guide lines from the outside to the inside are the following colours: Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Holly/Ivy Green, Teal, Dark Gold, Red, Red, Dusky Pink, Holly/Ivy Green. Once your guide lines are applied correctly, start to fill in the fine detail, working from the inside to the outside. The patterns are stars, circles, lines and arches, but do not feel bound to replicate this exact design - use the template guide lines and create your own pattern. You will see that the overall look of the design will vary depending on how densely packed the pattern is (e.g. how much gap there is between different patterns). The flower in comparison is less densely packed than the mandala. Leave to dry for an hour or so once finished.
Stick the mandala plaque to the cake using a little royal icing. Soften some of the sky blue sugarpaste using a little cooled boiled water and white vegetable fat (until it is quite soft and not sticky). Put a small amount into a craft gun fitted with a 1.5mm diameter circular hole. Extrude enough paste to go around the mandala. If the paste is too firm, it will not come out easily and if it is too soft, it will distort very easily when you handle it. Attach the string of paste around the mandala using edible glue. Stick a tiny blue dot of sugarpaste to the centre of the mandala plaque using edible glue to cover the pin hole.
Wire the mandala flower together using half width floral tape in two layers of four. Insert the mandala flower into the top tier of the cake using a flower pick.