I can't believe it's been a year since I wrote these two sentences: "My New Year's Resolution is to attempt to master as many cake decorating skills as possible, and to share what I learn here. I have a wild idea that I might be able to come up with 365 posts by this time next year." When I wrote that I was being pretty serious; I rarely come up with resolutions I don't think I can stick to, because in my mind a resolution is like a Lenten vow that lasts for at least a year (which is why you'll never hear me resolving to give up caffeine or be asleep by midnight every night or some other impossible goal that I'll fail at by January 2nd).
When I started this blog, I made a little side-bet with myself that I'd post something, ANYTHING, by midnight every day, which I'm sure was annoying to my subscribers, who probably got used to posts that read something like "Sorry today's post is all photos; I SWEAR I'll write in the instructions later." That gum paste Easter lily I was working on during the thunderstorm haunts me to this day; I STILL haven't written the directions to that one, but I figure I have a couple months before people start bugging me for them (I'll have to check the calendar to see when Easter is in 2013). I'm dreading that a bit, because I haven't worked with gum paste in FOREVER. I got kind of burned out on gum paste. I don't care what you've heard about it being edible; it tastes vile and has a revulsive consistency. I think for a thing to be considered edible it has to at least be palatable as well (and how that stuff earned the Kosher symbol is beyond me).
If you've followed along with this blog for any amount of time, you've probably noticed that once I got into royal icing, I never looked back. I thought of my nearly exclusive focus on royal icing like this: if you want to learn how to make things out of gum paste and fondant, head for Amazon and pick up any one of the gazillion books on those substances or watch any episode of Cake Boss or America's Next Great Baker; just watch and learn (almost every project/challenge has SOMETHING to do with fondant). If you want to learn how to do tricky things with royal icing, stalk my blog for an hour; surely you'll find SOMETHING to do with that huge Tupperware tub of icing left over from your Wilton class. I still haven't given up on the dream of someday publishing a book on royal icing; I'm hoping the title will be something descriptive like Easy Royal Icing Projects, as opposed to Eddie Spence's book which might as well be titled Insanely Challenging Royal Icing Projects (don't get me wrong; I love this inspiring book, but can't imagine ever being competent enough to attempt half the things in it. Oh, and that link will probably be stale in about a day, because it's out of print and only available on Amazon Marketplace right now, sometimes for as much as $500). So, here's my plea: if any of you "know somebody" who might be able to help me turn this blog into a book, please write me!
Here's what's next for The Iced Queen (both the blog and the person): a sizable break. As I think of new projects or acquire new skills, I'll certainly blog about them (I'm keeping the sweet domain name theicedqueen.com forever; if you found this post because you're trying to buy it, move on; I doubt you could afford the amount I'd surrender it for). I might add a little more to this post, if I think of an anecdote or two that should have been here. I actually really feel melancholy right now; this is the first evening in months that hasn't involved me sticking "a square of parchment paper to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick"; my dusting pouch is probably wondering where I am. Anyway, I want to thank you for visiting this blog; I'm grateful to you whether you read one post or 300.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
I don't blame you if your initial reaction to this post is "That doesn't look like an orchid." Well, since there are as many as 26,049 currently accepted species, I picked this one at random. All you'll need to pipe a basic white orchid is stiff consistency royal icing, a petal tip #104, a flower nail, a glue stick, parchment paper squares, a Styrofoam brick to rest the nail in, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 blend of cornstarch and powdered sugar. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
color dust or petal dust. Place several of them in a wreath on a cake and you'll have a lei!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I had a hard time naming this post, because the above photo looks like a mashup of a flamingo AND a swan. I would have called it "flamingo" except I forgot to hook the beak over, and I would have called it "swan" if it was white. With some minor adjustments, you can pipe either one with just a few simple tools. You'll need a round #12 tip, an oval #55 tip, white or pink stiff consistency royal icing, a glue stick, a flower nail, a Styrofoam block, parchment paper squares, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, round toothpicks, and black food coloring like AmeriColor's Soft Gel Paste. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
John Waters' Pink Flamingos).
Friday, December 28, 2012
A couple years ago I produced a production of the play "Noises Off," which heavily features sardines. If only I'd known how to make these then; what a cute decoration for cast party cupcakes these would have been. All you'll need to pipe sardines, (or, as my husband observed, airplanes), are white stiff consistency royal icing, oval tip #55, round tips #12 and #5, petal tip #101, a flower nail, a glue stick, parchment paper squares, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, periwinkle Color Dust, silver Pearl Dust, soft decorating brushes, round toothpicks, and black food coloring like AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The main trick when piping a royal icing bear is doing everything you can to make it NOT look like a royal icing mouse! You'll need white stiff consistency royal icing, round tips #12 and #3, oval tip #55, a flower nail, parchment paper squares, a glue stick, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch, flat toothpicks, and black paste food coloring, like AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tonight's post is a ridiculously tiny Yule log; it's not even a Yule stick! If you'd like to see the other time I ventured into this type of thing, check out my Yule Stump (it has links to all the various elements like meringue toadstools and royal icing pine cones and needles). This mini Yule log starts life as a Royal Icing Ho-Ho; basically an inch-long line of brown icing piped from a #12 round tip, with a spiral of white icing piped at both ends with a #2 tip.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Tonight's post is, like yesterday's, short and sweet; attention to Christmas details has definitely pushed the attention I can pay to my blog to the back seat! One of my favorite candies to decorate gingerbread houses with is ribbon candy, but it always gets so unappetizingly sticky. When you live in a damp climate, ribbon candy sometimes actually comes out of the bag in one giant piece. You can pipe your own rock-hard version with royal icing that should last indefinitely. All you'll need is flat, chiseled tip #150, a flower nail, parchment paper squares, a Styrofoam block to rest the nail in, a glue stick, and a dusting pouch filled with a 50/50 mix of powdered sugar and cornstarch. Start by sticking a parchment square to the flower nail with a dab from the glue stick.
stripe the icing in the same way you stripe icing for piping roses; put a few stripes of different colors in there! I hope you had a lovely Christmas, if that's what you were celebrating today.