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cake decorating

18th November 2014 // 0 Comments

Tutorial Tuesday: Easy Meringue Christmas Trees!

Hurrah! Christmas is coming! Whilst this is ever so exciting we understand that whipping up (pun fully intended due to the nature of this blog post) festive treats for the holiday season need to be both striking yet stress-free. That’s why for our collection of Christmas cake, cupcake and cookie decorating tutorials and recipes we’ve tried our best to keep them simple. This week we begin our festive series with some delightfully easy Meringue Christmas Trees!

How to whip up easy Meringue Christmas Trees…

Easy meringue Christmas trees recipe and tutorial

Meringue Christmas Trees

Ingredients needed

  • 60g egg whites (room temperature works best)
  • 120g caster sugar (this needs to be caster sugar as it dissolves perfectly in a meringue)
  • Green gel or paste food colour

Note: As a general rule you need double the amount of caster sugar to egg whites so if you need to make a large bowl of meringue keep this in mind!

Materials needed

  • Piping bag
  • 828 Ateco piping tip
  • Cookie sheet/tray or any flat baking tray
  • Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
  • Clean kitchen paper towels
  • Lemon juice

Meringue recipe

Step 1:

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 2/300F/170C and line a flat baking try with either parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Step 2:

In the lemon juice wiped (this rids any fat residue with can make a meringue seriously fail) bowl on a stand-up mixer add your room temperature egg whites and whisk on high speed for a few minutes or until lovely stiff peaks are formed!

Step 3:

Add in your food coloring and mix for around 20 seconds or until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if your egg whites begin to look a little ‘clumpy’ or if they all seem to congregate inside your whisk. Adding the sugar next ‘loosens’ them.

Step 4:

Gradually add in your caster sugar a tablespoon at a time as you whisk on high until glossy, stiff peaks form.

Pipes meringue Christmas trees

Step 5:

Fill a piping bag fitted with a 828 piping tip with your green meringue mix and shake the bag down to rid yourself of any unwanted air bubbles.

Step 6:

Pipe a row of Christmas trees at least 2 inches apart on your tray. To do this simply pip as your would with  cupcake buttercream/frosting yet a little taller.

Step 7:

Place in the oven on the lowest rack for around 1 hour. To prevent the tops from browning add a thin sheet of foil to the top tray of your oven and increase your baking time to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Step 8:

When baked remove and set aside to cool. You can then work on some decorations like fondant/sugar paste stars using rolled out fondant or sugar paste icing, some star shaped cutters and a little pearlescent, gold or silver lustre dust! Attach any extra decorations on with a tiny dab of melted white chocolate and you should be left with a miniature forest of festive trees.

Recipe for meringue Christmas tree cake toppers

There are lots of fabulous ways you can use these adorable edible Christmas trees for holiday treats. We added ours on top of a red velvet cake smothered with rustic and white cream cheese buttercream before dusting them lightly with a little icing sugar to create a quaint snowy scene.

Simple meringue Christmas tree desserts

Some great ideas on how you could decorate cakes and cupcakes with your easy Meringue Christmas Trees are to nestle them on top of tasty cupcakes, add them around the edges of a freshly baked and iced cake, or your could even serve them up on a silver platter just as they are!

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22nd July 2014 // 0 Comments

Tutorial: Intro to Royal Icing…Stencil Designs!

We’re now onto week three of our ‘Intro to Royal Icing’ tutorial series which we hope you find easy to follow and pretty darn useful. Working with royal icing seems daunting, but with a straightforward recipe and some patience and practice it needn’t be! For our first tutorial of the collection we showed you how to pipe delicate pearl borders and we shared our go-to recipe for royal icing, then last week we featured a how to on making a parchment paper cornet/cone and how to pipe polka dots, this week we’re going to show you how to use stencils and royal icing to apply some fabulous designs onto your cakes and cupcakes!

How to stencil with royal icing by Juniper Cakery

Stenciling cakes tutorial by Juniper Cakery

How to use stencils with royal icing

You’ll need…

  • A flat and clean stencil
  • Cake, cookie or flat fondant disc to top a cupcake (fondant/sugarpaste covered is best)
  • Royal icing (find our recipe here) the consistency of toothpaste
  • Spatula
  • Trex or Crisco (optional)

Step 1: One of the first steps (if obvious) is to make sure that your stencil is the appropriate size for the surface you wish to decorate! Also, it’s best if your stencil is flat so look after them to avoid kinks, bends or folds. If you’re a fresh faced beginner it’s best to steer clear of over-complicated stencil designs until you’re more proficient!

Royal icing stencil tutorial by Juniper Cakery

Step 2: Apply the stencil to the surface (some people paint Trex or Crisco onto the side of the stencil that will touch the cake to help stick it on, some utilise pins instead, and some have someone generous enough to lend their steady hands for a few moments), hold down steadily yet lightly before you apply your royal icing. 

Tutorial on how to stencil with royal icing by Juniper Cakery

Step 3: With a good spatula (we recommend a cranked or angled spatula for good control). Whilst holding the stencil steady apply some royal icing and use the spatula to smooth over the stencil. Scrape excess royal icing away with the spatula and when ready slowly peel the stencil away. Remember to always work pragmatically… clean and wipe your stencil between each cookie or side of a cake to avoid blurred or indecipherable designs. Impatience will lead to mess! 

How to stencil onto cakes with Juniper Cakery

Tutorial on how to stencil cakes by Juniper Cakery

Once you become more confident with this technique adding stencil designs to your cakes and cookies with royal icing will be a fantastic and fast way to add detail! Now that our ‘Into to Royal Icing’ series is over why not keep test your new-found skills on a batch of cookies or cupcakes? Stop by next week to find out what our next collection of tutorials will be!

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15th July 2014 // 1 Comments

Tutorial: Intro to Royal Icing… Piping Polka Dots!

Last week we kick started our ‘Intro to Royal Icing’ tutorials with our go-to royal icing recipe and a tutorial on how to pipe a lovely and delicate pearl border! Now it’s time for us to show you how to pipe polka dots (or random dots if you like) onto cakes, cookies and cupcakes. This technique is wonderful and perfect for adding texture to decorated treats; piping royal icing dots into a polka dot formation also adds a very subtle vintage feel to a finished cake!

Polka dot icing tutorial by Juniper Cakery

This week we’re also going to show you how to create a parchment cornet /cone used for piping royal icing designs. We use a combination of both parchment cornets and disposable piping bags and personally haven’t noticed too much of a different between the two. One notable thing is that the smaller parchment cornet is better if piping smaller or more ‘fiddly’ detail due to the way you end up holding it and also due to the size. Using a parchment cornet is generally great for writing, string-work or lace.

How to make a parchment cornet / cone

You’ll need…

  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Piping tip
  • Small round piping tip (we used a 2.5 writer tip by PME
  • Royal icing (find our recipe here) the consistency of toothpaste

 

Step 1: Take a roll of parchment paper and cut a square portion from this.

Step 2: Fold corner to corner to form a triangle and cut down the fold.

how to make a parchment cone for royal icing by Juniper Cakery

Step 3: Think of each corner as being marked with a letter. The middle point should face you and be corner B. The outer points should be A and C. A being the left and C being the right.

Step 4: To form the cornet bring point A to point B to form a conical shape.

how to make a parchment cornet by Juniper Cakery

Step 5: Take point C and bring this to point B. This should, in a sense, double up the cornet shape.

Step 6: Take your piping tip and fit into the bottom of the cornet as with a disposable piping bag. You can adjust the points to fit the tip.

Step 7: When all points meet rip two notches parallel to each other and fold this to hold the bag.

Step 8: Fold the piping bag at the points a few times to secure.

Step 9: Fill with a little royal icing.

how to make a parchment  piping bag by Juniper Cakery

Step 10: Fold the parchment cornet in on itself from the sides and then from the top a few times and you’re ready to pipe!

Royal icing dots tutorial by Juniper Cakery

How to pipe royal icing polka dots

 You’ll need…

  • Parchment cornet/cone filled with royal icing and fitted with a small plain round tip
  • Cake, cookie or fondant/sugarpaste covered cupcake
  • Food safe paintbrush
  • Icing sugar
  • Dressmaker’s pin (optional)

How to pipe dots with royal icing by Juniper Cakery

Step 1: When you’re relatively new to piping out polka dots or a design made up of small royal icing dots it’s a good idea to mark out your design or pattern with pin pricks. Use a clean dressmakers pin to do so.

Step 2: With your parchment cornet/cone filled with royal icing and fitted with a seamless (this is important as a seam can send your royal icing out crooked and hard to control) small round piping tip and position yourself at a good height to your cake or cookie. For cakes work from the direct front and for cookies or cupcakes work from directly above.

Piping dots with royal icing by Juniper Cakery

Step 3: Apply a little pressure to add a small dot of royal icing. Don’t pipe for too long if you need a larger dot as this will create ridged spots that won’t look too elegant, instead swap to a large round tip if needed. Another tip is to not place the piping tip too close to the surface or else you’ll be left with flat spots instead of nicely rounded dots.

Step 4: Don’t worry if you’re left with a bit of a tip to each dot. This is fairly normal; if you’ve the perfect consistency dots do ‘settle’ after a few seconds and without spreading out. If you do have tips that don’t settle you can flatten these slightly with a food safe (only ever used on edible items) paintbrush dipped in a  little icing sugar. You’ll need to work fast  as royal icing sets quickly. It may be frustrating but don’t be tempted to pipe out all your dots before tapping the tips down because they’ll have dried before you have the chance!

Royal icing dots tutorial by Juniper Cakery

Keep practising! It takes a little time to get any technique perfected especially when it involves royal icing. If you’re feeling adventurous why not edge a cake with the pearl border we showed you how to create last week and decorate with this week’s dainty polka dot tutorial! Next we’ll be showing you how to use royal icing to stencil designs on your cakes and cookies!

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