Monday, November 23, 2009
Translating cake decorating skills
From Icing Roses to Clay Roses
It’s funny how a skill you learned for one purpose can carry over into another medium. Take for example creating roses. When I was growing up my mother taught me how to make roses from icing.
The consistency of the icing is the key to rose success. Too firm and it gets stuck in the tip causing your bag will burst open. Too soft and your rose petals melt into a big heap. Yet even with its temperamental mood, icing is a forgiving medium. In fact, I look forward to making mistakes because you get to eat those.
To make a rose you squeeze out a blob of icing on the center of the metal nail. Then you add petals at the top—small ones first then slowly increasing in scale as you work your way around.
It is a strangely relaxing activity. The soothing smell of vanilla couples with the familiar rhythm: squeeze-turn, squeeze-turn, squeeze-turn, and soon a flower appears right before your eyes.
When I started to make clay roses, I tapped into those cake-decorating skills I learned long ago. I start with a cone shaped blob and add the petals in the same manor that I use for icing roses. Sure, this activity isn’t as tasty, but it is far less fattening.
Mom’s Icing Recipe
1 ¼ cup shortening
¼ tsp. salt
2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar
4 tbsp. flour
¾ cup water (may need less for roses depending on humidity)
3 tsp. vanilla