Let’s Talk Cake Decorating 101 with Chef Gina.
I feel like this is a really important topic to touch base on with handmade mini food. It is so important to know the difference between materials that mini food artists make and what you are bringing into your home. Some of us have thousands of dollars valued in our collection and we purchase quality dolls at high end prices. Me personally, I don’t want cheap garbage, I am like that in clothing I buy too. I definitely want quality pieces that will last me a life time. Face it, we work hard for our money and I want my items to last.
The main materials I am discussing today are: Royal Icing, Fondant, Plaster of Paris, Gum Paste and Rubber (which my cakes are made of).
Royal Icing: Royal Icing is typically used in cake decorating to get a nice hard icing look. The basic recipe includes, powder sugar, meringue powder, water and coloring. Think of the super cute cookies with designs. These beautiful cookies below are made with royal icing. These are edible cookies and they taste delicious. But, if you let them sit, in time they get old. If you use Royal Icing on a fake cake, yes, you can get beautiful intricate detail. However, Royal Icing fades, it cracks and since it is made with powder sugar, its going to attract ants and bugs. Not to mention in time it will fall apart.
Fondant: Another product I am seeing people use for mini food. The recipe for fondant is marshmallow and powder sugar. Nothing screams Ants on this one. Fondant will also give you extreme detail on a mini cake. Fondant in time fades and cracks over time. Here is a picture of a beautiful cake that is covered in fondant as well as the flowers made of fondant.
Plaster of Paris: Plaster of Paris is typically used on ceilings. It is also used to make casts in the medical field. Plaster of Paris is not durable, it crumbles and will crack in time.
Gum Paste: Gum Paste is powder sugar, egg whites, salt and vanilla. Gum Paste is extremely delicate. Gum paste are usually the flowers on wedding cakes. This will also attract bugs, crack and crumble in time.
Rubber: The material I use is rubber. These cakes will not crack, they will not mold, or attract bugs. They are highly durable and pass the Chef Gina Throw test. The Test includes throwing a cake against the wall. I do not suggest you throw my cake against the wall. Some years back when I first started making cakes, with rubber, I wanted to see just how durable it was. So, I threw the cake and nothing happened. It was perfect. Starting out 21 years ago, we did research on making mini food. We had our trial and errors too, but we learned from the mistakes.
In conclusion, I just want you to be aware of what others are selling. So you know, you are getting quality pieces. There are some who are just starting out making mini food and know nothing about the materials they are using and the effects it has on the product in the long run. Their food looks beautiful but don’t be surprised in a 5 years when it break and molds. It is always good to ask what the product is made from. Don’t be afraid to ask. If a seller really stands behind their product, and wants YOU to come back and be a repeat customer, they will tell you if its made from clay, rubber or so forth. Be wary, if they don’t. I’m sure they won’t tell you how to make it, but they should tell you if there are food products in it. I would be really unhappy if I purchased a mini food for an expensive price and it crumbled or got mold.
If you enjoyed reading this article be sure to check out the Bread Dough Vs Clay Blog (click here) where I talk about the difference in mini food products.