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Everything posted by chefpeon

  1. Wow! What a great idea! I know just the gloves you are talking about too......I can find them in my local drugstore. Do you think that latex gloves would also work? They sort of have a rubbery friction-y thing going on.......so maybe they could grip the skins too.......I'm going to try that tomorrow at work.......I'll report back!
  2. I was thinking about that.....but I've had trouble in the past when I've made gumpaste items to add as attachments to a cake. They work fine at first, but as moisture from the cake (and sometimes the walk-in) get to them, they start to soften and "wilt". I remember once I had made a bunch of spiral type things out of gumpaste that I had intended to stick into the top of the cake for sort of an exploding whimsical look. I let them dry for two weeks....they were good and hard. Stuck em in the cake....then when I went to deliver it the next day, all my spiral things were lying flat. LUCKILY, I had made a LOT of spiral things in anticipation of breakage, so I just took the softened ones off, and stuck the extra ones in the cake once I delivered it. Whew. I made a mental note to myself that if I did that again, I would mount them on wires and just stick the wires in the cake. Also, the little description of the cake in the picture says the blossoms are made from sugarpaste and the branches are chocolate. So I was assuming the little stuck-out branches were chocolate too. The more I think about it, the more I think that dipping floral-taped wires in tempered chocolate is the best way to go. I'm all for totally edible and delicate.....but it's gotta survive transportation.......with wedding cakes, that's half the battle!
  3. Click for pic! A client would like me to do a cake similar to this, and I know how to do all of it except for those little chocolate branches that are sticking out. Actually I'm not even sure about the branches at all. The main part of the trunk and the branches that are adhered to the sides of the cake are dark modeling chocolate (I'm assuming). But maybe not. If the branches that are sticking out are modeling chocolate, then they must be formed over wire, no? Dark modeling chocolate would not stand up on its own like that. I can't imagine those little branches being straight tempered chocolate either.....they're just so delicate and I could see major breakage happening.....especially since there is little sugarpaste buds attached to the ends of them. My best guess is dark modeling chocolate over wire. Anyone have any other guesses?
  4. Can't.....stop.....myself.........must.........post........ This whole safety cage thing is probably my NUMBER ONE pet peeve. I worked in a shop a couple years ago that finally decided to get a brand new Hobart since our belt drive Blakeslee couldn't even whip cream without blowing a circuit. (true). I was so excited......a new mixer! But of course, our lovely brand new model came with the brand new safety features. When I figured out that this mixer was a major pain in the ass to use and I couldn't add anything while it was running (and most of the time my recipes required it), I went back to using the Blakeslee and just kept running back to the circuit box....it ended up being less of a hassle than that damn cage. I mentioned this problem to my husband, who loves to mess with stuff, and he figured out how to disable the cage switch with an appropriately placed magnet. Yay! Ok, so I know this is "dumbass".......but you know, I've worked close to 20 years in bakeries with large mixers and other dangerous equipment, and I've never been dumb enough to stick my hand in a running mixer. My hair wouldn't get caught because it's tied back. Don't wear necklaces or any kind of jewelry that may be caught either. Always wear short sleeves too. I mean, I was taught from infancy that the world is dangerous.....and one must be careful. Look both ways before you cross the street and all that other common sense stuff. But of course, we all know that common sense ain't common, and we as a society, must protect the proverbial dumbasses from harming themselves. Gee, back in the old days, dumbasses did a fine job taking themselves out of the gene pool, so perhaps the human race had a chance of evolving into a higher intelligence. Well, thanks to our newfangled safety features, we have assured ourselves future idiocy. But I digress. It's not because Hobart, or your place of work, or the state, or the feds, actually CARE about your safety that the cages are there. They care about not being sued...plain and simple. They're just covering their butts, really. If Hobart actually CARED.....they might actually think about a mixer design that meets safety standards AND allows us to do our jobs the way we're supposed to. I'm pretty darn sure Hobart didn't have any professional pastry people in on the design board when they came up with the new mixer safety features. Cuisinart, for example, has safety features on their food processors that make sure you can't run it without the lid in place........BUT, since food processors are basically worthless unless you can add ingredients while it's running, it was designed for safety and functionality. There's a feed tube so you can add ingredients, but it's small enough so you can't stick your hand in there. So, I say, there MUST be a way for Hobart to do the same thing! Somewhat along the lines of the pouring shield that a KitchenAid has. Something that will let you add ingredients while making sure you don't harm yourself. Do you hear me, Hobart???
  5. It's called SugarVeil. I have some, but haven't used it yet.
  6. chefpeon

    Guava Paste

    Silly me. And I thought guava paste was for gluing broken guava back together.
  7. Neil yeah, you're right about the frozen cookies cooling off the tempered chocolate too quickly....forgot about that. The only reason I mentioned freezing them is because: A) I've never seen or baked an Alfajore, and don't know how crumbly they could be, and I'm not sure how firm her filling is at room temp. I had thought if the dipping fork was inserted in the cream filling part (frozen), it would be much easier to dip and release onto the parchment. B) I would think at room temp, there is a greater chance for the sandwich cookie to come apart in the melted chocolate, and that's no fun at all. Keith Not really sure how your method, as compared to Neil's, reduces "feet". The only way I know to really reduce "feet", is to dip the cookie, lift it out, tap it a few times (and hope it doesn't fall off the fork), let it drip until it stops dripping, then scrape the bottom of it against the side of the bowl, and release onto parchment. Problem is, when you're dipping 100+ cookies, that time you're sitting there waiting for the dripping to stop, seems MUCH too long. Finally, at the 20th cookie you sort of lose a little patience, and think, "fuck it....I'll just trim the feet....". Abra Have we scared you off about the chocolate dipping thing yet? Well, there IS another alternative......which <ahem>, I use a lot. I have a lot less patience than I used to....why is that? Anyway, more often than not, I'll put my melted (tempered? sometimes yes, sometimes no....sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry) into a parchment paper cone, snip the tip off, and pipe stripes across the top of the cookie one way, then more stripes the other way, so it ends up looking like a tight crosshatch pattern. Kind of a cool look; you have your obligatory chocolate on there; and it's a heck of a lot faster. Just another thought for ya.
  8. Ok......here's how I'd do it...... first, though, I wouldn't use ganache, because it doesn't set up hard enough for a person to eat it with the fingers without being quite messy. I'd make the little sandwich cookies, then put them in the freezer. While they are freezing, I would melt my chocolate (couverture or tempered chocolate, or you could just melt chopped chocolate and not worry about tempering it, but it doesn't look as nice. Don't use chocolate chips....they don't melt well and end up being too thick for dipping). Once frozen, I would take a candy dipping fork (do you have one? It's a little wiry two tined fork that I couldn't do without) and then I would stick the fork tines in the cream filling, and dip the cookie in my melted chocolate, let it drain off, gently rub the bottom part of the cookie along the edge of the bowl to wipe off the excess, and set it on parchment to set. You may get some chocolate "feet" along the bottom edge of the cookie as it sets, but it's easy to trim off with a paring knife. You can also set your dipped cookies on a fine mesh wire rack, so the chocolate can drip off on a pan beneath it, but I have found it's hard to get the cookies off the rack once the chocolate has set, so I stick with parchment. Hope this helps you! Cheers! Annie
  9. Sorry I forgot to answer your question earlier! No, I don't temper the chocolate....the dark or the white. I don't have time to do that. I just stick it in the microwave and my only concern for temperature is that I don't burn it!!
  10. It just goes to show you how "regional" and individual taste preferences are! Just the other day at work, we were having a debate about cornbread. One side loved the tall fluffy sweet cornbread, and the other camp loved the crunchy dense unsweetened skillet cornbread. Moral to the story.....there's no wrong, and no right. Just find out what they like... then make it. But even then, it's not that simple!
  11. Cliche'? Well allrighty then......guess I'll make sure to run my suggestions through the "Clichometer" before I go shooting my mouth off. Seems you didn't need my help anyway, as you seem to have plenty of good ideas of your own. Guess I won't suggest you make petit fours that look like little firecrackers.....that's probably too cliche' too. Happy 4th. Annie
  12. Ok, so like, maybe you could....... make a bunch of mini strawberry fruit tarts, a bunch of mini blueberry fruit tarts, and a bunch of mini lemon meringue tarts....... THEN...... you arrange them for service in a "flag" pattern......the strawberry tarts form the red stripes, the blueberry tarts and the lemon meringue tarts form the "stars" and the lemon meringue tarts are the white stripes........ Easy and patriotic!
  13. Here's the post in another thread where I talk about my favorite tools and techniques for smooth icing.....! I use both a swiss meringue buttercream and another type of simpler buttercream that's just powdered sugar, water, vanilla, pinch of salt and butter. When I make the swiss meringue buttercream, I use the whip, since I need it to whip my whites up anyway. Then I add cool butter in chunks and let it whip til the buttercream looks smooth in the mixer. When I make the other buttercream, I use the paddle, because if I use the whip the spokes eventually break. Believe me, I know! Nothing worse than a whip with broken spokes! Even if my buttercream has some air bubbles in it, I just stir it around in the bowl first, fill my icing bag, and apply it to the cake. The icing bag helps get some of the air bubbles out, and then any other air bubbles are worked out with my elbow spatula or my paint masker thingy. Like I said in the previous thread, it takes a little practice to get used to the paint masker thingy, but once you "get it" you'll never want to be without one! I can get a pretty smooth surface with just my elbow spat......but not quite as perfect as the ol' paint masker thingy! Man I love that thing!
  14. Yep! White chocolate is my best friend. I go through so much of it, it's not funny. The martini glass and the retro guy are what I call "flat chocolate art". It's just like the royal icing runout technique, but instead you use chocolate. All I do is find the desired picture, make a copy, or print it out on my computer, then put the paper on a flat piece of card board (I "glue" it down with a little squiggle of chocolate), then make my dark lines with dark chocolate, let it set a bit, then fill in the lines with white chocolate that is colored with powdered color. After the colors are filled in, then I draw an outline around the whole image with white chocolate and "back" it with more white chocolate, so it's strong. Flat chocolate art breaks easily. Then you put it in the fridge or freezer to set up for a few minutes. After it has just set, flip the image over and let it set for about 15 minutes. Then peel the paper off. Voila! Pretty cool! For the martini glass, after I backed it with the white chocolate, I gently laid a bamboo skewer in the unset chocolate, and covered it with more chocolate. When it was set, all I had to do was insert the "glass" into the cake. One point to remember! When you do text, or a picture that requires an image that can't be "mirrored" (for example, a car-you want the driver's side to be on the correct side), make SURE you reverse the image first! Text should look backwards....then when you flip it and peel the paper off, everything will be the right way 'round. Regarding text, I freehand most of it. I've always been really good at writing, and I can copy virtually any font. Sometimes though, it looks better as flat chocolate art, and that's what I did for the retro guy martini cake. All I did, was use Adobe Photoshop (or you can use any other DTP or photo or paint program) and typed out what I wanted. I chose the appropriate font, in this case "FontdinerLoungy" and then "reversed" it, so it was backwards. Then I printed it out. Then I did the flat chocolate art thing. Voila! Easy and so cool! Hope this helps........ Happy writing! Cheers....... Annie
  15. Here are two pics of some martini themed cakes that I did....... Maybe these will help..... As a matter of fact, the second one I just finished today.....it's for my boss's birthday tomorrow........ (No, I'm not sucking up!!) His wife ordered it.
  16. Ok, you've been baking this particular cake for two months in your bakery....both sheets and 9 inch rounds, and you haven't had any trouble til recently. The first question I'd have would be, if it worked before, and doesn't now, what changed? Did you get a different kind of flour or sugar? Any other ingredients change? Did a supplier sub something in? Did the weather change drastically? Are you using a different mixer? Different sized eggs? Here's a handy site that lists cake faults and their causes. Maybe that will help....... Annie
  17. Yeah.....I'm not real big on looky-loos that's for sure! I hate it when my husband watches too.....because INVARIABLY....that's when I mess up. Why do I always look like a dork in front of people? I'm never a dork when I'm by myself.......REALLY! No, really! Bet you're damn glad you did a practice run, huh? Just imagine how panicked you'd be if this were the big day! Give yourself a pat on the back......you done good! Bet the next picture you post will be wonderful!!! Keep us posted! Annie
  18. Ok......so it looks like you have a leaning problem, and the source of the leaning is coming from the bottom tier. Your description above isn't totally clear to me.....you said you filled and frosted the bottom tier and put it back in the fridge, then frosted the second tier, stacked it on top of the bottom tier and THEN inserted dowel rods. My question is, you DID insert supports in the bottom tier didn't you? I can't tell by your wording whether you did so or not. If anything, it's the bottom tier that needs the supports the MOST. Here is where I explain my procedure for stacking cakes in another thread. It could also be that when you inserted the rod that goes through all three cakes, you did some major "squishing" there. It's hard to say. I personally don't think that final rod is needed, if you use my skewer method as I described in the other thread. There is no danger of squishing the lower tiers if you use skewers. Once you smooth your icing (or Bettercreme, in your case) on each cake, you shouldn't have to touch it again after you stack it. The more you mess with it, the worse it gets, as I'm sure you have discovered. Learning to stack cakes without marring the icing is something that takes a little practice. Since you said the cake is a heart shape (hard to tell from the photo) I don't quite know how you figured you put the third tier on "backwards". With a heart shape, there's only ONE way to put it on......how can it be "backwards"? As far as the wires on your gumpaste flowers.....leave them on!! They are your "insurance". They will stay where you leave them......don't make it hard on yourself! In fact, I find that the wires are fairly long, so for extra strength, I always bend the wire in half and twist it on itself for extra strength. Hope this helps.......post again if you need any more assistance! Annie
  19. I must say, as a wedding cake professional, it's been very difficult reading this thread, to be perfectly honest. I was lucky enough to have been mentored by the best, and so I've been spared many of the "horror stories" that have been mentioned here. If you've been taught the "right way", then baking, decorating, and delivering a wedding cake (any wedding cake) is quite easy. I'm not trying to "brag" or anything....definitely NOT! I'm just saying I'm extremely puzzled by the hardships that you all write about here. Bottom line is, I wish I could help all of you. Come out there and teach you.....show you that there is no reason to freak out...that it all can be done.....stress and worry free! You have to know your ingredients and what they can and cannot do, and especially how to work with them to achieve maximum workable results. Also, I believe that people who are first-time wedding cake makers who know little about the process they are undertaking and do it in time-crunch conditions, are setting themselves up for yet another horror-story. No offense people, but I've had many a well-meaning friend or mother-in-law show up at my cake shop with a cake they've attempted to construct and realize they were way in over their heads. They'd be crying (literally) saying they'd pay me whatever it took to get the cake decorated and to the reception. I'm a major softie, so I never charged them a dime, but I would make them sit with me while I talked them through it and showed them HOW it should be done. Never mind that it put me behind schedule on my OWN cakes, but I felt I was doing a valuable service and it was a good feeling. The gratitude showed me by those people far outweighed any money I could have charged them for their shortsightedness. So what's this about a "no fondant" rule? Goodness, I use fondant all the time......it's probably one of the most easy mediums to use when it comes to decorating cakes. Why are you having so much trouble with it? I'm not real clear on the hardship there. I used to work with a PC from Massachusetts. She said the humidity there made fondant a completely different animal and that it COULD melt off. I believed her, but have never experienced what heat and humidity could do to it, since I live in probably one of the best cake decorating climates in the country. Lucky me. I also talked extensively with a cake artist in Atlanta, and she filled me in on what she had to do with her cakes to prevent heat and humidity disasters. I am always happy to be enlightened about varying conditions regarding climate in all parts of the country, because I know someday I WILL have to deal with it and I'd best be prepared! My best advice to first-timers: Do a practice cake first! Then you will know EXACTLY what you need to do when it's time for the actual event. I cannot stress this enough. You will be SO GLAD you did. Sometimes, even I do practice cakes. I frequently get requests for cakes that are so unique in their configuration that I'm not confident enough to wait til the actual day. I do a practice one, either in miniature or actual size depending on what it is and what I'm trying to figure out, then I donate the cake to a homeless shelter or a food bank. Again: BE PREPARED. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. DON'T "WING IT". And of course, I'm here to help. Any way I can.
  20. Oh yeah...... and the IRONY? Here I am after work......TYPING ON A KEYBOARD. D'oh!!!!
  21. I know exactly what you're going through! Wrist, arm (and foot) pain have been part of my everyday life for the last 5 or 6 years now. When I first started experiencing pain in my arms and wrists and the constant numbness (especially at night), I went to see the doc about it. He sent me to a specialist, who at that time told me I had pretty bad carpal tunnel syndrome. He suggested I have a carpal tunnel "release" surgery, which would alleviate the pain. I asked how long it would put me out of work and he told me it depended if I had one wrist done at a time or both at the same time. Either way, 4 to 6 weeks out of work was out of the question for me. And we all know, even if I had just one wrist done at a time, I still wouldn't be able to work. No way you can PC with just one hand. Actually, I could use 4 hands, but guess I'll have to settle for two. Well, that was about 6 years ago (maybe longer, I can't remember now). Over time, the initial annoying pain and numbness has become much worse, and almost to the point where I'm starting to feel handicapped from it. I cannot hold a saute pan with one hand anymore....I have to use two. Hoisting around heavy mixer bowls is enormously difficult, and squeezing a pastry bag is almost unbearable. This is very scary for me. My hands are my living, and now instead of gritting my teeth through that occasional twinge of pain, I'm grinding my teeth from the ceaselessness of it. I haven't seen a doc about it, because I know the answer will be surgery, and I can't afford the surgery (I have medical insurance, but I can't afford to be away from work that long). Not only that, after surgery, your hands are much weaker and I sure don't need that hassle. I've tried wrist brace therapy, but that proved ineffective as well as being annoying as hell when you're trying to work. The main reason I never got the surgery 6 years ago was because I asked the doc this question: "If I get the surgery, after I'm recovered, and I go back to work doing the same thing that caused the problem in the first place, will it happen again?" And the doc said, "Of course it would." I figured "why bother, then?" I'm not about to change careers. So, really, what is there to do? Have surgery and quit being a PC or not have surgery and work until my arms fall off? Of course, I could have surgery and resume being a PC, but that would only be after I got out of jail for not being able to pay my bills while I was laid up. Ok, not jail. Bankruptcy proceedings....which is as bad as jail as far as I'm concerned. Regardless, no choice has a very good outcome. Actually, I should be encouraging you! You'll get through it.....the pain will go away! Well, it does temporarily, but it always comes back....with a vengeance too. I just went back to work in a commercial establishment after a year off.....my hands and arms were feeling almost normal, but after JUST ONE DAY at being back on the job, I was back to pain, square one. I sure wish I had a positive answer for you....but I don't. I don't know what to do. Like I said, it's scary. I also think you and I have something in common.......we both worked in Corporate World....you in computers and me at the Phone Co. I typed on a keyboard 8 hours a day for ten years....and I'm sure you've done your fair share of typing on your computer. I think all that keyboarding made us very susceptible to repetitive stress injuries that usually take longer to manifest themselves in people who don't keyboard for a living. It was like us choosing careers in pastry was the "straw that broke the camel's back" as far as our wrists go. I KNOW I'm going to have to see a doc soon.......at least maybe for some type of painkiller. I'm not looking forward to the news he has for me, that's for sure! Carpal Tunnel be damned!!!!!
  22. Hey Jen! Ditto ditto ditto what you said......a thousand times over! Especially this: I always warn all the starry eyed culinary students that they don't know what they're in for. Or people who want to quit "le corporation" and work in a kitchen......'cause (according to them) "it would be fun." I say to them, "If you are prepared to work as hard as you've ever worked, for the least amount of money you've ever been paid, then MAYBE you'll "make it" in our world." I was one of those starry eyed culinary students once. Breezed through school. Had a small hint of the type of labor that was involved since my school really did try to tailor their curriculum as close to "real world" as possible.....but you know.....students are fairly sheltered nonetheless. After I graduated, little did I know the REAL education that was to follow! I quit a very cushy, benefit laden, vacation-days-out-of-my-butt, high payin' corporate job in 1990 to follow my bliss. I distinctly remember being CONVINCED that I would leave office politics behind when I got into a kitchen job! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Silly silly me! Office politics BAD.....kitchen politics......WORSE! That was my hardest lesson learned and I tumbled off my blissful pastry cloud but fast! I have never made even CLOSE to the money I made in "CubicleLand". Not even now. Only twice was offered inclusion into a group medical plan by my employers. Paid vacations.......very rare. One employer I worked for required that you work 5 years before you were even eligible for ONE WEEK of paid vacation. I didn't even make it 5 years there! I think that was his plan. Bastard! But here's the thing. In KitchenWorld, I work harder than ever, get paid less than ever, have less time off than ever.....but......in a really weird way......happier than ever. I HATED my corporate job. Hated every stinking minute of it. The time I wasn't there, I spent dreading going back. It was no way to live my life, that's for sure. I figured it would be better to be happy and poor than rich and miserable. I'm actually sort of glad no one "warned" me that my visions of kitchen utopia were just fantasy. If they had, I may have backed out and not pursued one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. I really had no idea what I was in for. But now, it's all I know.......it's who I am and what I do. No turning back now. My feet hurt, my back hurts, my arms hurt, my hands hurt, my eyes hurt, my legs hurt, and my brain hurts....... but......I'm happy. And this is why we "Foodies" are downright CRAZY. Annie
  23. Hey Neil..... Maybe they didn't or COULDN'T do it anymore.....and that's why you and the other guy got hired. I'm betting that before you came on board, there was a burned out pastry cook throwing his apron on the floor and exclaiming....."I quit!" Annie
  24. Wendy I am a HUGE believer in the fact that if a cake doesn't taste good, then I haven't done my job right. Customers will buy a beautiful cake on eye appeal the first time, but they won't come back the second time if it tastes like crap. Believe me, my cakes are quite yummy. I love it when people call me up later to tell me how much they enjoyed eating it. It's like getting double compliments.....one for the looks and another for the taste. I STILL don't like being around when they cut it though. When one pulls an "all-nighter" to make an elaborate cake, it's just too depressing to watch 'em "kill" it in a fraction of the time. In fact, taste "issues" are a determining factor in what I will and won't do for a customer. I do NOT want a reputation of being a pastry chef that makes yukky cakes. When you get into the business of sculpting cakes, there are "engineering factors" to consider. You don't want to sculpt a cake that is too fragile, soft or crumbly.......it's got to have some substance to support itself depending on what shape you are sculpting. Cakes that have the consistency of pound cake are the best for sculpture work. I always tell people upfront that sculpted cakes limit their flavor and filling choices. If taste is the main reason they are ordering a cake, I usually steer them away from doing sculpted, and tell them they can have whatever flavor they like if we approach the decoration differently. Surprisingly, I have a lot of clients that really are just chiefly concerned with the looks of the thing. They are sort of in a society where "one upping" each other is the name of the game. If Joe orders a sculpted tortoise, then John comes in and orders an elephant. I see that all the time. Now I'm not saying my sculpted cakes taste terrible.......not at all. They're quite good actually........but they're not as exciting or delicate tasting as cakes I can do that AREN'T sculpted. bkeith and everyone I use commercially made fondants because I go through SO MUCH of it. I don't have time to make my own. Pettinice is the one I use mostly. It's ok. I'm used to it's "behavior" so I just make the best of it.. In fact, I find that working with stuff that isn't exactly "easy" to use, challenges me and I don't panic when I lose my "security blanket". If my supplier subs in a different brand of fondant......I just.......you know, deal. TP Chocolate Clay, Plastic Chocolate, or Modeling Chocolate......all the same thing. I like to call it modeling chocolate personally. Plastic doesn't sound very yummy, and neither does "clay". When I explain things to my clients.....I don't like to use words that are "unappetizing". Regarding supports in my "french dude"..... he is mounted on a bamboo skewer so he won't fall over. The skewer also supports some of his weight, so he won't "sink" into the cake as it warms up. If you look closely at the bottom of the easel you can see that I've wrapped modeling chocolate around skewers to form the supports in it. If you use a lot of modeling chocolate, it can be very heavy.....many times, supports are needed. It all depends on what you're doing. For me, almost every cake is something new. There are a few popular designs that I've done time and time again that I can do in my sleep (for instance, Polly Schoonmaker's Whimsy Tilted Cake.......who here HASN'T been asked to do that one?). I'm SO BORED with that one already! But most of the time, each cake I do is so unique it has it's own set of challenges, and so far I've been successful with them. Regarding what I use to color my white modeling chocolate: Pretty much anything.....powder, liquid, gel, paste.......it all works. Since the white chocolate has already "seized" with the addition of corn syrup, you don't need to worry about adding liquid to it and having the chocolate get all weird on you. It's already weird! Now, of course, you know adding liquid to anything will make it "looser" (for lack of a better word?), so I don't use it much. I don't want to mess with the consistency of my modeling chocolate or it becomes hard to work with. When I need a deep color, like red or black, I add a combination of powder and gel paste to get the color I need, without either drying or softening the chocolate too much. When I melt down plain white chocolate for piping or writing or whatever, I use only powdered color because any other kind of color would seize it. I really have a pet peeve about powder though.......I think it should be as easy to come by as any other kind of food coloring, and it isn't. My suppliers don't carry it, and I either have to make a 2 hour trip to Seattle to get it or order it online. What a hassle! What I REALLY like about powdered color is that it doesn't seem to impart that off taste that other colors seem to.....especially when you're using a lot of it. And now, today's picture...... This is a cake I did for Tom Douglas, when his first restaurant, The Dahlia Lounge in Seattle celebrated its 5th anniversary. I used the decor from the original location (the Dahlia Lounge moved across the street to roomier digs since then) as a theme for the cake design. He had fish lamps all over his restaurant, the walls were red, and the borders on the cake were recreations of the wall trim. I have a thing about doing fish. I LOVE doing fish!!!!! Annie
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