Cake Central

October 26, 2017 | Author: Fernanda Perez | Category: Marshmallow, Recycling, Reuse, Cakes, Bakery
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Leaders In Edible Printing Equipment and Supplies Come discover our exceptional service by calling 888 442 4648 or visit us online at

This Winter Wonderland cake was decorated by Julie Bashore, Accredited Master Confectioner, TLC Champion and owner of The Sugar Arts School. Julie uses only Icing Images’ brand Gold Label Inks and Premium Icing Sheets for all her edible printing.

Raising the standards in edible printing with: Gold Label Spongeless Inks Premium Icing Sheets Chocolate Printing Products


For a complete tutorial of this beautiful cake by

Julie Bashore, visit

Letter from Jackie

from jackie There are few events more exciting for a cake maker (or any cake enthusiast!) than going to a competitive decorating show. Cake shows are full of people who think just like we do, and it’s always a great opportunity to exchange tips and tricks and make some new caking friends along the way. Oh—and did I mention the cakes? Competition cakes are a spectacle; they represent laborious hours of love and dedication put forth to make the best design possible. A few of our staff members were lucky enough to attend the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, and although some of our readers were there in person, we thought it would only be fair to share with you some of the incredible cakes from the show. Some of these decorators were new to the competitive scene, some were veterans, but either way I’d like to send along a big Cake Central congratulations to everyone who participated—you are all an inspiration! Sincerely,


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contents 50

in this issue 28



Cake maker Wish List

New Mexico

34 feature Revival: Rescuing a Desperate World 50 oklahoma State Sugar Art show Grand Prize Winner Flora Aghababyan,


Cake Central Awards, Cakes from the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show 111


International Desserts


112 Now & then 114

Ever wonder…

Top Tier


115 feature Pink Cake Box 140

Bonus Tutorial

Everyday Inspiration 145

Bonus Tutorial

Freehand Fondant Embroidery 148

Science of Baking

Cocoa Madness


the cakes 54 oklahoma state sugar art show 130 Foliage fantasy


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contents 16


in every issue 6 letters from our readers


13 leftovers Cake Scraps 16 Trendsetting


Modern Asian Inspired Cakes

41 tutorial

Buttercream Orchids


Web browsing

46 tutorial

Icing Images

109 Spotlight

Branka Jovanovic



Business of Cake

Building Effective Websites

124 strangely good

Guinness® Molasses Cake


Cake Central Recipes

Orange Cranberry Cake Pumpkin Cheesecake

152 living with a cake maker 153 cake makers list


155 supply shops list 156 buying guide

find this in the buying guide, page 156

126 4

cake central magazine member

contributors magazine CEO

Jackie Shaffer COO

Heath Shaffer President

Leanne Winslow Design

Garit Reuble, CCS Printing Photography

Debi Brim

Summer Stone

Debi Brim is a self-taught cake designer and caterer who has been making and designing cakes for over 30 years. She recently retired from her wedding cake and catering business to devote more time to her writing, consulting, and speaking. [email protected]

Summer Stone has a Masters in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University and is a self-taught cake maker. As a stay-at-home mom, she continues to grow as a cake decorator, combining her love of science and cake art.

Misty Winesberry Connie Riggio MANAGING EDITOR


Katie Shuy Letters to the Editor [email protected] Subscription Orders Advertising Inquiries [email protected] Wholesale Applications [email protected] Printed by CCS Printing, Bellevue, WA To make submissions: [email protected]

Anonymous Husband This husband of a cake maker prefers to remain anonymous to keep his macho image intact and to keep all his fingers and toes in case his wife reads this. She can wield a cake knife with the best of them. [email protected]

Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for errors in advertisements, articles, photographs or illustrations. While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed in the magazine, Cake Central Magazine provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process published in the magazine. Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for readers’ misinterpretation of images in the magazine in such way that might cause injury or damage. Examples of such misinterpretation might include the use of items that appear edible but are not, such as natural flowers that might be poisonous, modeled sugar flowers that contain wires, etc. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed in the magazine do not necessarily state or reflect those of Cake Central Magazine, its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

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from our readers

Thank you to all of you who have sent messages this month. We love hearing what our readers have to say, and we encourage you to keep sending us your feedback and impressions. Send your letters to the Editor to [email protected]

“I am ecstatic about Cake Central Magazine! Yowza! I got two for my birthday, and I actually did a dance in my living room when I saw the beautiful layouts and pictures! Thank you so much.” —Alicia W.


cake central magazine

“I want to just say how much I love your magazine. I have started to see more Canadians in it, and—as a Canadian—I hope we can see more of them in the future!” —Linda G.


A LITTLE LUCKS?™ Edible Food Decorations and Decorating Ideas The completely edible cake shown here was created using Lucks™ Edible Image® Embellishment decorations applied to fondant plaques. Edible Shimmer Ribbons™ decorations wrap around the cake. Lucks Liqua-Gel Colors were mixed to achieve the vibrant teal icing shade. Lucks sells directly to businesses. We also sell to home decorators through distributors. For more ideas or information, visit

Decorations you can eat!™

Lucks Food LUCKS FOOD Decorating DECORATINGCompany COMPANY 800-426-9778 / 253-383-4815

Edible Image®, Dec-Ons®, and Print-Ons® are registered trademarks of The Lucks Company. ©The Lucks Company 2010. All of Lucks manufactured products are made in the USA in FDA inspected and registered facilities and are Orthodox Union Kosher certified.

Book Review Satin Ice Sugar Craft

satin ice sugar craft

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he leading commercial producer of rolled fondant icing in North America, Satin Fine Foods, Inc. has recently announced their publication of Satin Ice Sugar Craft, a pictorial book authored by cake designer, Mercedes Strachwksy. A collaboration of Strachwky’s talent and the commercial success of Satin Fine Foods, this book both highlights Strachwksy’s worldclass talent with sugar art and provides numerous techniques, recommended tools, and inspirational photos. The directions and corresponding photos that appear throughout the book are concise and allow each cake designer the creative freedom to apply the listed techniques to their own unique style. Additionally, the book (and particularly the section devoted to wedding cake design) provides helpful and creative ideas for displaying cakes. Satin Fine Foods’ practical color mixing guide is also featured in the book. The guide, located conveniently near the back, instructs the decorator how to mix colors using the pre-colored Satin Ice Rolled Fondant. This book is not designed in a typical tutorial format, and if you’re looking for detailed written instructions it may not be for you. However, Satin Ice Sugar Craft is inspirational and sure to please any experienced cake enthusiast wanting to expand their knowledge of fondant icing. Visit for more information.


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cc cc ccc cc cc cc ccc cc Now cc cc ccc cc cc cc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc $2,000 ccccccccccc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc ccc cc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc cc cc cccccccccccc ccccccccccc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc cc ccc ccccccccccc cccccccccccc cc cc cccccccccccc cccccccccccc ccccccccccc cccccccccccc ccc cc

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With 30 years of experience in the cake industry, Alan is an honors graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and the Owner of Global Sugar Art, LLC.

Marina Sousa Food Network renowned champion, decorator extraordinaire, and Owner of Just Cake.

Mike McCarey An award-winning master cake sculptor and the Executive Pastry Chef and Owner of Mike’s Amazing Cakes.


cake central magazine open to u.s. residents only >>>11

So what is the Wedding Cake of the Year Contest? Cake Central Magazine is proud to announce the first annual Wedding Cake of the Year Contest! The winning cake maker will receive $2,000 worth of prizes, and their cake will be on the cover of the 2011 Wedding Cake Issue. Additionally, all the finalists will receive certificates and will be featured in the 2011 Wedding Cake Issue. Because the winning cakes will be included in the magazine, we ask that all submissions are photographed printquality, and all criteria are met. We truly hope you take this opportunity to put your best into a wedding creation that is both beautiful and original. See below for all official rules. Good luck, and we look forward to seeing the designs you create!

Cake Central Magazine Wedding Cake Contest Rules HOW TO ENTER: Mail in a completed entry form from weddingcakeoftheyear and photo CD to: Cake Central Media Corp. 1145 Broadway STE 1010 Tacoma, WA 98402 Entries by mail must be postmarked by 12/31/2010. Entries submitted by any other method will not be accepted or considered. Entries will be accepted from 9:00am (PST) 08/01/2010 until 11:59pm (PST) 12/31/2010. Entries that are lost, late, misdirected, garbled, or incompletely received, for any reason, including by reason of hardware, software, browser, or network failure, malfunction, congestion, or incompatibility at the web site or elsewhere, will not be eligible. WHO MAY ENTER: Contest is open to individual legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. One entry per person. Entries must be created and submitted by individuals only. No teams or group work is permitted. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS. Each entry must be of a wedding cake with a minimum of 18 inches in height. Everything visible must be edible. Wires, supports or any other non-edible material may not be visible in the submission photographs. Entries must consist of the completed contest entry form, required photographs, and a 150-200 word description of tools, ingredients, and techniques used in the creation and production of the cake. Entries that do not meet the prescribed qualifications will be immediately disqualified. PHOTOGRAPH REQUIREMENTS: Each entry must include all of the following: • 1 straight-on photo of entire completed cake entry suitable for presentation in Cake Central Magazine. •

3 in-progress photos. Cake maker must be recognizable in all three photos.

• 25% completed cake • 50% completed cake • 75% completed cake • Minimum of 2 close-up photographs of detailed work on cake such as sugar flowers, piping, and detail work. • 1 photograph of completed cake entry with cake maker holding a yard stick beside the cake to prove size requirements. The photographs must be in color. Professional or studio photographs are eligible. Photographs submitted must be in JPEG format, 300 dpi, and a minimum of 8.5” x 11” photo size. Photographs may not display any commercial/corporate advertising (including but not limited to corporate logos, brand names, slogans, political, personal, and religious statements) as determined by Cake Central in its sole discretion. Each entry/photograph must be the entrant’s original work that has not previously been published nor won a prize or award. Entries become the sole property of Cake Central and none will be returned. RIGHTS REGARDING ENTRIES: Cake Central reserves the right to: (a) use entrants’ names and likenesses and publish all entries submitted, (b) alter, amend, edit, or change entries prior to publication, and (c) use, publish, reproduce, alter, and amend for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. Cake Central reserves the right, at its discretion, to modify, adapt, or reproduce the photo in full, or to crop


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the photo for reproduction. The copyright in any submission shall remain the property of the entrant, but entry in this contest constitutes entrant’s irrevocable, perpetual permission and consent, without further compensation or attribution, to use the entry and the entrant’s name and city and state for editorial, advertising, commercial, and publicity purposes by Cake Central and/or others authorized by Cake Central, in any and all media now in existence or hereinafter created, throughout the world, for the duration of the copyright in the entry. JUDGING: Eligible entries received during the entry period will be judged by a panel of judges comprised of professional decorators selected by Cake Central. The panel will determine the finalists, and from among the finalists the panel shall select one (1) grand prize winner. Judging criteria shall be within the sole discretion of the judges, but may include such criteria as overall appearance of the cake, creativity of cake design, and difficulty or complexity of cake decoration. The panel’s decisions are final. WINN ERS: Grand Prize Winner will be notified by email by May 2, 2011. Winner’s name and entry will be published in the Spring 2011 wedding cake special edition of Cake Central Magazine and will be available at after May 2, 2011. To obtain the winner’s name via regular mail, send a separate, stamped, self-addressed envelope to Cake Central Media Corp. 1145 Broadway Plaza, Suite 1010 Tacoma, WA 98402, (253) 353-2504 to be received by 11/30/2010. PRIZES & APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUES: (1) Grand Prize Package – valued at $2,000. Details to be posted online at as details become available. All prizes valued in U.S. Dollars. Prizes consist of only the items specifically listed as part of the prize. Prize package is not redeemable for cash. GENERAL RULES: Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry. Contest is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Cake Central Media Corp, its affiliates, advertising, promotion, and internet agencies and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible. Participation constitutes full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Cake Central’s and judges’ decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to this contest. All entries submitted become the sole property of Cake Central and none will be returned. Potential finalists will be required to complete an Affidavit of Eligibility certifying that the submission was completed by the entrant, the entry submitted is entrant’s own original work, the entrant holds all rights to the entry, entry does not violate the rights of any other person or entity, the entry has not been previously published, entry has not won a previous prize or award, and that entrant has followed the Official Rules of the Contest. Additionally, potential finalists will be required to complete a release of liability, prize acceptance form, and, if legally permissible, publicity release. Grand prize winner will be required to complete an IRS form W-9 as appropriate. All documents must be completed and returned within ten (10) days of attempted delivery of same. Noncompliance within this time period or return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and an alternate will be selected. Entries may not contain profanities or obscenities and may not in any way disparage any persons or organizations. Cake Central and judges reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any entry for any reason, including without limitation that, in Cake Central’s or the judges’ opinion, an entry refers, depicts,

or in any way reflects negatively upon Cake Central, the contest, or any other person or entity, or does not comply with these requirements or these Official Cake Central Magazine Wedding Cake Contest Rules Rules. Entries must be suitable for publication in the sole determination of judges and/or Cake Central. The prize is not transferable. No substitution or transfer of prize by the winner is permitted. All taxes and/or duties, if applicable, are the sole responsibility of winner. Cake Central reserves the right to substitute prize of equal or greater value. By accepting prize, winner agrees to hold Cake Central, its respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, and assigns harmless against any and all claims and liability arising out of use of prize. Winners assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this promotion or use or redemption of any prize. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Cake Central and its affiliates and assigns to use winner’s name and/ or likeness for purposes of advertising, trade, and editorial (print, online, and broadcast media) without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. Cake Central and its affiliates and assigns are not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing, the offering, or announcement of any prize or in the administration of the promotion. In the event there is a discrepancy or inconsistency between disclosures or other statements contained in any promotional materials and the terms and conditions of the Official Rules, the Official Rules shall prevail, govern, and control. In no event will more than the stated number of prizes be awarded. NOTICE TO ALL ENTRANTS: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS PROMOTION IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS, AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, CAKE CENTRAL RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Cake Central is not responsible for faulty, incorrect, or mis-transcribed transmissions, incorrect announcements of any kind, technical hardware, or software failures of any kind including any injury or damage to any person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in or experiencing any materials in connection with the promotion, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incomplete, garbled, or delayed computer transmission that may limit a user’s ability to participate in the promotion. Cake Central reserves the right to cancel or modify the promotion if in Cake Central’s sole determination the contest is not capable of completion as planned, or if fraud, misconduct, or technical failures destroy the integrity of the contest, or if a computer virus, bug, or other technical problem corrupts the administration or security of the contest as determined by Cake Central. In the event the contest is terminated, a notice will be posted online. Any damage made to Cake Central’s website will be the responsibility of the authorized email account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. Proof of submitting entries will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Cake Central. Any use of robotic, automatic, programmed, or the like methods of participation will void all such entries by such methods. Cake Central reserves the right to prohibit the participation of an individual if fraud or tampering is suspected or if the individual fails to comply with any requirement of participation as stated herein or with any provision in these Official Rules. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Cake Central reserves the right to change these Official Rules at any time. SPONSOR: Cake Central Media Corp. 1145 Broadway, Suite 1010 Tacoma, WA 98402, (866) 878-3133.

Leftovers Cake Scraps

cake scraps Once a cake has been shaped and cut to its design perfection, you are left with a beautifully decorated cake…and a random assortment of scraps and crumbs of cake that have been sliced and diced along the way. Besides the obvious solution (picking at the scraps with your fingers until all are devoured), we’ve come up with some ideas of how you can put those pieces to creative use!

Cake Balls

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Leftovers Cake Scraps

Cake Balls

Break up leftover cake crumbs with your hands, then add a binding ingredient such as frosting or coffee creamer until the crumbs will form into a ball shape. Roll the cake balls smaller than a golf ball. (Note: Add the liquid component a little at a time. If they are too moist they will not stay together.) For cake ball consistency, you may want to use a small scooper to form the balls. Place the balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Dip the chilled cake balls in melted chocolate or candy coating, and embellish them as desired. Store, refrigerated, for up to one week, and serve at room temperature. White Chocolate Marshmallows with Cake Crumbs White Chocolate Marshmallows with Cake Crumbs Photo:


Collect cake crumbs in a small, shallow bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the Candy Melts® and shortening over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from heat.

Using lollipop sticks, skewer a marshmallow and submerge in the Candy Melts® mixture.

Coat the foot of the marshmallow in cake crumbs by dipping the end in the cake crumbs. Lie completed marshmallow on a wax paper covered tray.

Repeat for desired amount of marshmallows. When finished, place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


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Leftovers Cake Scraps

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Break up cake scraps into small pieces (if not already done so), and sprinkle in the bottom of greased ramekins. Slowly drizzle melted butter over the cake.

Combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl, and beat until well-mixed.

Pour the mixture over cake, and press with a fork until cake is completely covered and soaking. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top bounces back with tapped lightly.

Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.

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Trendsetting Modern Asian Inspiration

modern Asian inspired cakes

The Asian continent is rich in ancient tradition, as different dynasties and civilizations have reigned and fallen for thousands of years. The wide assortment of religious practices, historical sites, and cultural customs gives each Asian country its own unique personalization and identity. In keeping with the conventional continental aesthetics, while adding a touch of modernity, these cakes are inspired by the particular beauty of Asian artifacts, both old and new.


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Photo: Jessica Walker, Model: Elizabeth Maiden Makeup & Wardrobe: J-Chans Designs

The Couture Cakery Jasmine Clouser Camp Hill, PA

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The Couture Cakery Jasmine Clouser Camp Hill, PA


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Tessa Uitvlugt Veendam, Netherlands Tessje

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Jene Nato (Rylan Ty) Las Vegas. NV rylan


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Jene Nato (Rylan Ty) Las Vegas. NV rylan

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Michelle Goldberg Newton, MA Photo By: Ticio Nyikos


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Michelle Goldberg Newton, MA Photo By: Ticio Nyikos

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The People's Cake Kaysie Lackey Seattle, WA seattlecakes Photo By Misty Winesberry


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Jacques Fine European Pastries Suncook, NH

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Jacques Fine European Pastries Suncook, NH


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Odds of a child becoming a top fashion designer: 1 in 7,000 Odds of a child being diagnosed with autism: 1 in 110

Some signs to look for:

No big smiles or other joyful expressions by 6 months.

No babbling by 12 months.

No words by 16 months.

To learn more of the signs of autism, visit © 2010 Autism Speaks Inc. "Autism Speaks" and "It's Time To Listen" & design are trademarks owned by Autism Speaks Inc. All rights reserved.

Cakes Across America New Mexico

new mexico


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Cakes Across America New Mexico

“The Land of Enchantment” welcomes Cakes Across America into a couple of its exceptional cake shops to explore their histories, unique specializations, and how they’ve become regional specialists. ABC CAKE SHOP Few small businesses have been around to see different generations of families passing through their doors, enjoying their delicacies. ABC Cake Shop of Albuquerque is one of those few. Ever since it opened in 1972, the shop has served the whole of the Albuquerque area, not to mention satisfied thousands of taste buds! After starting at a strip mall in the Uptown region, ABC moved to a larger space across the street in 1987 by its original owner, Robert Montano. Montano operated the shop until it was bought in April 2007 by Paul & Edwina Bendinskas, the son and daughter of commercial bakers. Currently, the shop is a baking force to be reckoned with. Bendinskas states, “The bakery serves customers in the Albuquerque area the best in cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and quick breads.” These quick breads are certainly intriguing, as they include unique flavors such as cinnamon and green chile. The shop is famous, though, for what else? Cakes. Its increasing number of orders requires an incredible amount of labor, exemplary of the decadence of the creations being produced. “ABC Cake Shop boasts 31 employees, many who have been with the business for more than 10 years. We also have two certified decorators and a certified baker on our staff,” says Bendinskas. Although the thought of 31 employees may seem outrageous, the number of cakes the shop creates and delivers is even more daunting. In 2009, the shop made over 40,000 orders, and this past June the bakery made and delivered 27 wedding cakes in the last weekend. Understandably, the shop is exclusive to the cake and dessert specialty. Bendinskas says, “We don’t do many of the things that some bakeries do – coffee, sandwiches, or catering.” This more concentrated focus, however, allows the bakery to continually improve upon their cake craft. Living in New Mexico, as most chefs and bakers would agree, presents a considerable challenge because of

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Cakes Across America New Mexico

the altitude. Along with adjusting baking times and adding flour, ABC describes the other adjustments that must be made due to the climate. “The shop was remodeled to replace our old evaporative coolers with refrigerated air. Now, we don’t have to deal with the humidity that an evaporative cooler puts into the air, and then having to take the cakes out into a much dryer environment,” Bendinskas adds. This remodel not only made the bakery more comfortable for the cakes, but for the employees as well. Along with the new refrigeration, Bendinskas added new wood shelving, refrigerated display cases, a stained concrete floor, and new lighting, all of which have given the shop a newer, up-to-date look. Bendinskas credits the renovation of the bakery as reasoning behind the increase in the shop’s sales. Sales are up 37 percent this year, speaking to not just the aesthetics of the shop, but its ability to fill thousands of orders with quality products. Because the majority of clients are women, the shop markets to the female clientele. This does not mean, however, that the guys are out of the picture. “Interestingly, 50 percent of our order pick-ups are male. We do a lot of wedding cakes, so we have a presence at wedding shows, and it’s there that the brides are definitely our primary audience,” says Bendinskas. As stated previously, ABC has delivered its services and expertise to Albuquerqueans for decades. “We have been fortunate to be the bakery of choice for multiple generations. In fact, many of ABC’s customers grew up coming in the shop with their parents and grandparents, and now bring their children and grandchildren.” The location of the shop adds an overall mom-and-pop feel, but this is not to say that the bakery doesn’t handle some more ritzy orders. ABC has had a taste of Hollywood flare, as it is a favorite of the bustling New Mexico film industry. The bakery has been able to deliver desserts aplenty to film sets. Bendinskas describes the exposure the bakery has received through the film business: “We met Joe Pesci on the set of Love Ranch when we delivered a life size cake for a New Year’s party scene. And we’ve been able to meet other celebrities when they’re in town filming movies and TV, and we’ve delivered cakes and cupcakes to Kevin Costner on Swing Vote and Jennifer Lopez in Bordertown.” Whether or not the customer is a celebrity, ABC Cake Shop is proud to deliver and serve its goods. Bendinskas says, “For me as the owner, the amazement and awe that people express when we deliver their cakes is truly the most enjoyable part. All the compliments we get about the quality of cakes, how spectacular they look, make all the hard work worthwhile.” ABC gives back to the community that it is so grateful for as well. Recently, the shop filled an order for 10,000 iced and individually bagged cookies for a local hospital. The bakery is ready and willing to do orders of this magnitude, even in addition to the endless stream of wedding and party cake orders they receive every day. It is with this type of large-scale commitment that the bakery continues to have its lasting success.


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Cakes Across America New Mexico

TREE HOUSE PASTRY SHOP AND CAFÉ Green food service has become increasingly more popular throughout the country in the push for more sustainable ways of living. The practice includes using locally grown products and more organic ingredients as a means of preserving energy and cutting back on mass production of goods. One such shop that has advocated for this way of life is Santa Fe’s Tree House Pastry Shop and Café. Believe it or not, a delicious, environmentally-conscious bakery can be located in the desert, and this shop is out to prove that taste and sustainability can and should go hand-in-hand. Tree House has been operating for over four years as a vegetarian, organic shop that not only serves wonderful food, but caters to those who are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free. Owner and chef of Tree House, Maria Bustamante-Bernal, describes how their exquisite desserts and cakes are made with organic ingredients through sustainable production. “We are known for our commitment to local, organic food and for producing dishes and desserts that are truly exceptional and of the highest quality.” The shop decreases their baking environmental impact by making everything from scratch in small batches and buying nearly all their ingredients from local sources including local grown wheat, eggs, milk, and fruits. It’s not just the food that follows this green mentality, either. “Tree House is committed to being as green as possible by being in a sustainable building with water catchments and solar energy, composting all of our compostable waste, and keeping our community in mind with every decision we make.” Such a commitment toward reducing their impact while also being wary of the community around them has made Tree House an institution, and if their sustainability efforts aren’t enough, their products speak for themselves. As the only providers of alternative wedding cakes in northern New Mexico, Tree House has built a reputation as a prime source of custom cakes and delicious desserts. “Our brownies and cupcakes are considered some of the best in the Southwest, and our wedding cakes taste as good as they look,” says Maria. Recently, Gourmet Magazine has raved about Tree House as one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in America, and they highlight the shop’s emphasis on quality over quantity. Being located in New Mexico does present some difficulties at times. “Our weather is a bit chaotic, being very dry most the year and then very humid during the rainy months. It wreaks havoc with French macaroons!” explains Maria. As with any climate temperaments, the shop has learned to adapt; “Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy as pie.” Maria is able to count on her staff to rally and stay composed when anything should go wrong, including delivery malfunctions and kitchen slipups. Tree House’s emphasis on supporting the community has not only made a positive environmental impact, but on the clients they reach out to as well. “Most of our clients are simply looking for a product that looks wonderful and tastes great,” says Maria. She describes how the individual attention and care their customers are given help them to feel that their particular celebration is unique and special. Tree House has great reverence for the city it caters to, and the privilege of working in an area with rich cultural history makes their surroundings, “a truly enchanted place.” Among the numerous impressive qualities of Tree House, perhaps what stands out more than anything is their humility and customer appreciation. Maria describes, “There is so much about our place that is special, and I think that I am so fortunate to do what I do. How lucky are we? We get to make cake all day!” The appreciation of their craft strengthens their commitment to helping the environment, and this combination sets this Santa Fe bakery apart as a smart and delicious culinary trendsetter.

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R 34

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Revival revival

rescuing a desperate world

It’s a movement that has swept over every part of society, and it’s all encompassed by one simple, iconic color: GREEN. This one word has generated an unparalleled national call for sustainability. Every aspect of the way we live our lives has been called into question, forcing us to admit how the small actions we take are negatively impacting our environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, or the “three R’s,” are being practiced everywhere, all in the hopes of changing our consumption and usage habits entirely. Mainstream amenities, such as disposable coffee cups and plastic grocery bags, are being replaced by thermoses and reusable shopping bags. A multitude of businesses are trying to make these -at times- inconvenient changes more practical. The food industry is especially affected by the green movement because of its massive production, consumption, and waste habits. The industry is now feeling pressure to change its protocol in the way sources are handled. For this issue, Cake Central has investigated the changes that can be made in baking, in addition to general lifestyle practices. We are thankful to Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago, IL and Pearl Bakery in Portland, OR, both pioneer sustainable bakeries, who have shared their advice and promise of a more eco-friendly food industry.

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Photography: Laura Ferreira Model - Anya Li


Reducing is a process that prevents waste from occurring in the first place. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the past 50 years the amount of waste created by each individual has nearly doubled from 2.7 to 4.5 pounds every day, which is approximately 1,600 pounds per year. The goal of reducing is to manufacture, purchase, and use goods that help limit how much trash is created. Garden Friendly Teresa from Pearl Bakery says that one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of trash you create is by composting. “Yard trimmings and food residuals make up 26 percent of landfills that we could otherwise use in our own gardens. Vegetable and fruit peels, eggshells, and coffee grinds create growth enhancing natural fertilizer for your garden and patio plants.” Furthermore, composting not only reduces the amount of trash you accumulate, but it is also beneficial to your own soil. If you don’t have a garden, Bleeding Heart Bakery recommends, “Take your compostable debris to a friend or local community garden.” Turn ‘Em Off Reducing waste doesn’t just mean cutting down on trash. If you minimize the amount of energy you use, you won’t only be saving natural resources that generate electricity, but you’ll save cash as well. “We keep a lot of our lights off, so we save a ton of money on energy consumption,” quotes


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Bleeding Heart Bakery. This practice reduces the amount of energy used in electricity. In turn, less coal is used- preserving a natural resource and eliminating excess pollution. Another means of saving on energy costs in a bakery is by baking several batches of goods at once to cut down excess oven time. Get in Gear In terms of reducing pollution, Pearl Bakery employees have put their business practices (and their feet) into gear by switching from driving to bicycling. “Many of our employees bike to work, even through the long, rainy winters. The bakery also offers a biker commuter benefit, in which bikers receive a bonus of up to $20 a month in bike related repairs and purchases.” Offering incentives to your customers who bike instead of drive is a great way to encourage people to stop by on their ride through town. Biking reduces air pollution otherwise caused by driving, and it’s a great way to stay active.

“With populations increasing worldwide, we must take care of the air we breathe, the soil we use to grow our food, and the water we drink from. This must grow into a wide spread collective choice and individual action to prevent further unnecessary impact on the environment.” – Teresa, Pearl Bakery


The principle of reusing goods goes hand-in-hand with recycling. Consider the amount of times you throw away a jam jar that could be used to store another product, a scrap of paper that could become a shopping list, or an old microwave that could be taken to a thrift store. Be Creative There are countless products that, before being heaved into the dumpster, could easily be used again. As a cake maker, there is a fairly common product that few realize can be reused in different ways- cake! “Cake has a lot of waste, and there are so many ways you can use the scraps,” says Bleeding Heart. So next time you’re sculpting a threedimensional masterpiece, and you’re shaving away cake pieces bit by bit, consider the alternative desserts that could come from those scraps. This same principle can be applied to egg yolks you separate from your egg whites. If you take a look in the Leftovers section of this issue, we’ve provided a few recipes for how to use spare cake scraps. Eliminating Quick Fixes Another productive way to both reuse and reduce is to substitute one-time-use materials for things that can be reused over and over again. One-time-use plastic, or other resources that are easily disposable, gathers in landfills and accumulates incredibly quickly. Think of a family picnic, where plastic forks, spoons, knives, and paper plates were used by many and then thrown away. This is a waste expense that can easily be substituted with real utensils, or even compostable versions.

Pay Then Save Stop paying for water by buying a quality, reusable water bottle. Several coffee shops, including Starbucks®, offers discounts when customers use their own mug or thermos, which provides a monetary incentive to eliminate plastic cup usage. Because there is no substitution for the convenience of plastic and paper disposables, companies are now creating biodegradable versions of plastic wear. “I think disposables are very important. It is not much more money to provide biodegradable disposables in place of Styrofoam, etc.” says Bleeding Heart. If paying more isn’t an option, consider saving all that plastic you use on a daily basis and reuse it! One water bottle can go a long way, and it can do a lot of damage when thrown away and left to sit for years in a garbage dump. Substitutions and Cutbacks Bleeding Heart advocates for the use of Silpats® as substitutes for lining cake pans with parchment paper. “Choose to invest in Silpats®, which will ultimately create no waste and cut your cost of continually buying parchment paper.” If you choose not to invest in a Silpat®, another way to switch is to reuse your old parchment paper. Certainly, some projects may ruin the integrity of the paper, but if you’re making cookies or just decorating goods, the parchment paper used in the process could easily be wiped down and reused. The concept of reusing your disposable goods can be applied not just to parchment paper and plastic bottles, but also to aluminum foil, plastic wrap, zipper top bags, cardboard boxes, and almost anything else you can imagine.

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Photography: Koji Arboleda Dress: Maura Isabel Rodriguez Model: Ariel De Leon

Recycling. A mantra that has been preached for years, and perhaps one of the sustainability terms people are most familiar with. Unfortunately, recycling has still not been instituted to the degree that it needs to be. Yes, separating your plastics, glass, and aluminum is progressive, but it’s only the first step. By buying recycled goods, using products made with recycled materials, and supporting the manufacturing of recyclables, there is an incrementally positive impact on the environment. Practical Application Now that recycling has become so prevalent, and making an effort to participate is so practical, there is no excuse to not do so. Teresa explains, “So many systems are set up for recycling ease now that it’s quite expected to have one in place.” If you are unaware as to how your city handles recycling, or how to recycle as a business, visit the Waste Management® Small Business webpage, which provides many helpful tips on effective recycling. Peer Pressure If the environmental impact on your conscience is not enough to encourage you to recycle, perhaps the social pressure will. Like it or not, there is a huge demand from both sustainability groups and everyday good Samaritans requesting that manufacturers go green. “The ‘peer pressure’ of recycling is on the rise, and any shop that doesn’t recycle will eventually

feel the pressure from its employees and customers to do so. A business may even lose customers who are making the choice to purchase only from sustainably responsible businesses,” says Theresa. In the interest of maintaining good PR in an eco-friendly world and eliminating your own carbon footprint, recycling is not just helpful, but necessary. Watch Before You Toss Along the same lines as reusing disposable goods, it’s important to consider how your careless trash-tosses are going to impact the landfill they will eventually reach. There are many items that can, and should, be recycled that you may not have thought of. For example, aerosol spray cans, used for holding cooking spray, whipped cream, and air fresheners, are often times thrown away even though they’re recyclable. “When aerosol cans are thrown into landfills, they become a hazard because they are still pressurized and could explode if exposed to high heat,” says Teresa. There are several other products that can be recycled that you may not have previously considered, such as batteries, light bulbs, and even large electronics that can be reused. Not sure if something you’re throwing out can actually be recycled? There are several online resources including the WM® website that can not only inform you of what can be recycled, but how to go about doing it.

“What encourages me to stay eco-friendly? I see absolutely no other way to create a good life for my children.”

– Michelle, Bleeding Heart Bakery

We live in a world that is being swallowed by the excess debris and trash produced every day. There is a way to slow down this devastation and help save our natural resources; it starts with easy acts such as buying a reusable grocery bag, unplugging your appliances, and buying produce from a local farmer’s market. These simple changes will ultimately help sustain the sources from which our energy and goods originate. Teresa quotes, “A sustainable lifestyle is not only a choice to take care of yourself in your immediate environment, but it impacts the air, land, and water for people all over the world. Choosing this switch inspires others around you to do the same, which keeps sustainable awareness growing and evolving.” Living a sustainable lifestyle is not only a part of positively impacting your world today, but it is essential for establishing a life for future generations to come. When treated as a fundamental necessity instead of an obstacle, sustainability can become an infectious revolution, infiltrating our day-to-day lives in a way that will maintain the beauty and vitality of our earth.

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alternatives to Styrofoam cake dummies!


espite the convenience of using polystyrene foam rounds, commonly known as Styrofoam, for making cake dummies, there are now more than enough reasons to rid ourselves of the product all together. Yes, Styrofoam is one of the least sustainable products around, and below are just a few reasons why it is so harmful.

Non-Recyclable: Because Styrofoam is virtually weightless, it is incredibly difficult to collect or reuse. It fills landfills because it is so difficult to break down, and therefore many public recycling programs don’t even accept Styrofoam as a recyclable good.

Non-Biodegradable: Polystyrene foam is nearly indestructible, and it takes hundreds of years for the polymer to break down. It is resistant to photolysis, or the breakdown of protons by a light source, meaning that the sun cannot even break it down. Also, because it is so lightweight, incalculable Styrofoam products end up in the build-ups of debris in the ocean. Environmental Hazard: Styrofoam manufacturing initially included chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), highly volatile compounds which have been banned due to their harsh effect on the ozone layer. CFCs were replaced by more ozone –friendly substitutes, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are types of organofluorine compounds. However, HFCs are still powerful greenhouses gases, now thought to have a big impact on climate change.

Styrofoam Alternatives

Sugar Round

Not only can you help protect the environment by swapping out your Styrofoam cake dummies, you could also end up saving a few bucks as well! If you are currently stocked with Styrofoam dummies, be sure to reuse, reuse, reuse. But if you’re ready for an alternative, here are a few ideas: Cereal Treat Dummies

Edible Dummy

Besides being a delicious morning staple, cereal can act as an incredibly durable and practical building tool. With the proper maintenance and cleaning, a cereal cake dummy could be used multiple times. The construction is so simple that you can easily remake the dummies each time you need one, meaning you have some flexibility in terms of shape and size. The best part? Cereal is 100% decomposable, meaning you waste much less by disposing of a cereal-based dummy than by trashing an artificial one.

Tired of the messy and tedious process of carving Styrofoam? Well, this edible “cake” dummy makes sculpting much easier, and although it’s entirely made of food products, it will last up to six months. You will probably already have these ingredients in your kitchen, which will shorten the waiting time of ordering a faux cake, and will lessen the environmental effect of distance shipping. Although this edible dummy makes for a logical substitute for real cake, it may not be the best idea to actually serve this to customers!


What You Need: 12 EGGS, SEPARATED





Pulse cereal in a food processor until it is a fine, grainy texture. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter, and then add the marshmallows. Stir until melted. Add the pulsed rice cereal, stir until well combined. In a lined cake pan, firmly press down the mixture. Make sure that it fills the entire pan and that it is packed tightly on all sides. Allow to cool completely, and then remove from pan.


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1 TEASPOON SALT Beat yolks and 1/2 the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat whites and remaining sugar until glossy, stiff peaks form. Sift flour and salt. Gently fold whites into the yolks in 3 parts. Fold flour into eggs in 3 parts. Bake at 350°F until firm. *Will last up to 6 months.

Sugar is a crucial ingredient in all things cake, and now it can be used for your non-edible cake creations as well. By using a biodegradable sticky substance, rice glue, as the molding agent for sugar rounds, you can create very tough, sustainable dummies. These sugar rounds, though heavy, are designed for multiple uses, and once you make them they can be broken down and cleaned again and again for your various faux-cake creations. What You Need: RICE GLUE GRANULATED WHITE SUGAR Rice Glue 1 CUP STICKY RICE 3 to 4 CUPS WATER, MORE IF NEEDED Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes. The consistency should begin to look oatmeal-like. If the mixture still looks like rice, add more water. Once the consistency is right, remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Run the mixture through a strainer to remove the larger pieces. Store in the refrigerator. Will yield 2 cups rice glue Sugar Round Combine the sugar and rice glue in a medium size bowl, about 1:2 ratio glue to sugar. Pack the mixture in a cake pan, adding as necessary to fill. Allow to dry. Once dry, the round should slide out.

Tutorial Buttercream Orchids

buttercream orchids

Tired of using gumpaste to create your decorative flowers? Sure, gumpaste makes for some beautiful floral décor, but what happens if you’re short on time, or you have a “no gumpaste” request? Have no fear, because Lucinda Larson, “The Icing Diva,” has created a lovely substitute: Buttercream orchids. Her step-by-step method of creating these delicate blooms proves how buttercream can provide an impressive amount of lifelike detail.


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Tutorial Buttercream Orchids





PIPING TIPS #127 and #3



Beat shortening until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt.


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Tutorial Buttercream Orchids



Piping Orchids Step 1 In a piping bag, fitted with a #127 piping tip, fill by striping with purple buttercream at the skinny end of the tip, and then filling the rest with white buttercream.


Step 2 Pipe three pillows as the base for dorsal sepal and the lateral sepals spaced at 6:00, 10:00, and 2:00.

Step 3 Starting at the center, pipe a leafshaped petal over each pillow with the fat end toward the center.

Step 4


Pipe 2 additional pillows for the ruffled petals at 4:00 and 8:00.

Step 5 Beginning in the center, use a zigzag motion with your wrist to pipe a ruffled petal on the 2 pillows. The fat end of the piping tip should be in the center.

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Tutorial Buttercream Orchids

Step 6 At 12:00, pipe a large pillow to support the lip of the orchid.

Step 7 Begin with the fat end of the piping tip in the center, and use a zigzag motion to pipe a ruffled petal (the lip) that sits high on the pillow.


Step 8 Pipe 2 straight, vertical petals at the center of the lip.

Step 9 Heat a skewer in boiling water, and then dry it off.

Step 10 Between the 2 vertical petals on the lip, sculpt the buttercream by rolling the skewer side-toside. This will form the throat.


Step 11 Using a #3 piping tip with yellow/orange buttercream, pipe a column in the throat of the orchid so it sticks out of the throat. If you choose to pipe leaves, you may want to use avocado green buttercream.

lucinda’s tips


Buy a botanical book to see the flowers and their colors. For more buttercream piping and basic buttercream decorating, visit and check out her DVD, Borders, Basics of Baking and Decorating.

Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.


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Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes. Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.


Web Browsing Dorie Greenspan

in the kitchen & on the road with Dorie Never did a big-time food critic and culinary connoisseur feel as personable and accessible as Dorie Greenspan in her blog, The successful writer, cook, and all-around food mastermind has created “In the Kitchen and on the Road with Dorie,” a site detailing her experiences with food and different recipes. Dorie is the renowned author of nine cookbooks and five time winner of James Beard and IACP awards. Currently, she contributes her writing to Parade and Bon Appétit, and she is the food critic for the Louis Vuitton City Guide to New York. The website describes her travels around the world, all of which are centered on food as the hot topic. Her recipe section is packed with different ideas, each compartmentalized by meal type. The extensive catalogue of sweets, including “Breakfast Treats,” “Cookies,” “Pies and Tarts,” and “Ice Cream, Pudding, and Custards,” leaves the reader pining for a trip to the baking isle and a countertop covered in flour. Her posts not only provide various recipes, but also fun stories and information on particular treats. This treasure trove of quality, easy-to-read tips and ideas brings Dorie and her fondness for food right into your own kitchen.

Tutorial Icing Images

icing images We've combined the innovative ideas of Icing Images and Sugar Veil products to demonstrate the possibilities they can bring to cake design. This Eiffel Tower cake, fit for a Parisian-themed wedding, is just one example of how Icing Images can transform a simple cake into an elegant, professional design.


cake central magazine Photography:

Tutorial Icing Images














Step 1 Prepare sugar veil according to the packaged directions.

Step 2


Grease your sugar veil lace mat, and using a confectionary spreader, spread the sugar veil over the lace mat from top to bottom, left to right, and then diagonally. Let sit overnight. Repeat this step for desired amount of lace.

Step 3 Once the lace is dry, remove from the mat and cut into desired shapes.

Step 4


Using graphic design software, create the images you would like to impress on your cake with Icing Images. We used a toile patterned Eiffel Tower, 10 inches high by 6 inches wide, and 2 sheets of toile pattern used for swags, and 1 sheet of a fleur de lis pattern to be used for medallions and dressing the board. You can use stock images to find the image you’d like to use, as they are license free and high resolution.

Step 5 Print your Icing Images.

Step 6


Rub a sparse amount of shortening to the cake where you will be applying the Eiffel Tower.

Step 7 Cut the Eiffel Tower image into 3 equal sections.

Step 8 Trim the Eiffel Tower so the cutout is clean and free of excess paper.

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Step 9 Apply the Eiffel Tower cutout onto the cake over the shortening.

Step 10 Mark your cake every 3 inches where you will attach the swags.


Step 11 Apply your sugar veil lace pieces onto the cake on the markings. Repeat around all 3 tiers.

Step 12 Roll a piece of fondant 1/8 inch thick, and rub a small amount of shortening on it to cover the whole surface. Apply the toile pattern to the fondant

Step 13


Using a very sharp artist’s knife or pizza cutter, cut the imaged fondant into strips 3 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Step 14 Lay a strip over skewers or dowels, and use your fingers to smooth over the dowels to create ridges. Make sure to smooth lightly so as not to smudge the image.


Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.


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15 Step 15 Pinch both ends, and using piping gel apply the swag onto the cake, laying over a lace swag. Trim the excess with a palate knife. Repeat steps 14 and 15 until every tier is complete with swags.

Step 16


Using scissors cut out each fleur de lis individually.

Step 17 Apply a thin layer of shortening on a cake board, then apply the fleur de lis around the cake board in desired pattern.

Step 18


Roll fondant 1/4 inch thick, apply a thin layer of shortening, and using a circle or oval cutter, cut out circles. Repeat until you have enough to cover the meeting points of each swag.

Step 19 Apply a cut out fleur de lis to each medallion. Using piping gel, attach the medallions to cover the meeting points of each swag.

notes Store your Icing Images in air tight containers away from sunlight, until ready to use. If necessary, trim your Icing Images using scissors.


Store Sugar Veil between 2 sheets of parchment paper in a food storage bag out of sunlight.


Use the highest quality inks and icing sheets which will ensure minimal tearing and/or smudging.

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prize winner

It’s getting late on Sunday night, and after two intense days of competition, the crowds and hype are finally dying down. As hundreds of tables are wheeled away and crates are being stacked, cake makers from all over the country dismantle their beautiful designs from display. A bittersweet finale; the exciting energy of competition weekend is beginning to wane, with one exception; a petite brunette, who continues glowing throughout all the disassembly and packing. 50

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Flora Aghababyan,

a native of Armenia, had every reason to continue celebrating, for she had just been named the Grand Prize Winner of the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. Flora’s design, “Visions of Heaven,” inspired by the Ettal Monastery in Bavaria, Germany, was worthy to be showcased in the Monastery itself. The four ornate tiers, the hand painted domed centerpiece, and the immaculate attention to detail, all put together in perfect symmetry, showcased the prestige of Flora’s talent as a cake enthusiast and an artist. Flora traveled to Tulsa, OK from Las Vegas where she is currently the cake artist for the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel. This was her third year competing at the show, and her fifth year on the competition circuit. Although her modest demeanor could imply that she lacks a certain aggressive edge, her less-than-modest cakes suggest otherwise. Her designs are exceptional; they defy decorating limitations and demonstrate the value of relentless practice. Flora spoke to Cake Central about her journey as a decorator and how her win in Oklahoma is just another step along the way. Portrait of an Artist Ten years ago, Flora was living in Armenia, and her creative side was not yet in cake— but in dance. “I have been a dancer since I was six years old, and I danced in all different styles for probably 15 years,” says Flora. She was also an avid drawer and painter, taking art classes all throughout her schooling. “I loved and still love

OSSAS Photography By: Misty Winesberry

going to museums to see all the different kinds of art being produced around the world.” In search of a change of pace for her daughter and herself, Flora came to the U.S. in 2000 and eventually found work at a bakery in Las Vegas. Although cake decorating had not yet been a career choice for Flora, she had already dabbled around with it as a hobby. Back in Armenia, she would decorate cakes for her family members, and as her skills developed her interest deepened. Coming to the States provided an opportunity for her cake creativity to expand further. “I realized that cake was much more respected here than in Armenia, and after trying out pastries for a while I decided to focus on my cake decorating abilities.” Do-It-Yourself Flora first began her cake career by working at the famous Bellagio Hotel, and she gave herself a steep learning curve right from the beginning. “I was presented with a photo of a cake and asked if I could make it. I responded, ‘Yes of course,’ even though it was something I’d never done before.” Though most would be daunted by the pressure of taking on something they’d never practiced (for one of the country’s most renowned hotels, no less), Flora used this assignment as a learning tool, and through her own methods she was able to replicate the cake. This system of self-teaching continued as she began taking orders from clients. “I started looking at pictures that customers would give me, and I would copy the pictures to build my skills. Once I learned all the techniques, I was able to do everything based on my own knowledge and creativity.” Consequentially, Flora is an entirely self-taught decorator who forced herself to adapt and learn the necessary skills. Viva La Cake Working for both the Bellagio and Wynn Hotels has refined Flora’s skills, and she is continually faced with new orders and design requests. Flora’s staff of six, herself included, has become a top-notch team of collaborative skill. Although Flora used to do the majority of the harder work, each of her decorators has adapted to her learn-by-doing mentality, and now each of them can perform all the techniques. “Everyone is getting better every day, and out of all the kitchens at the hotel we have the most fun. My decorators are the happiest staff because we always have something new and exciting coming in,” praises Flora. A good deal of these exciting orders includes several celebrity cake requests, which are typically novelty cakes. “We will do 4 to 5 celebrity cakes a week, and they are for all types of occasions in just about every shape and style possible! Typically these are people who don’t care how much money they are spending because they just want a beautiful cake.” The celebrity cakes, however, only make up a small fraction of the orders coming into the Wynn. “We do 80 to 100 small cakes every week, as well as 7 to 10 wedding cakes at a time. Las Vegas is a funny place—people will decide to have a wedding with only one day’s notice.” Wynn-ing Creations So what happens when you order a cake from this Grand Prize winning artist? Despite her extensive creative background, Flora likes to pay respects to a client’s particular preferences when designing their cake. She will ask what interests you, the customer, and she will inquire about the wedding or party’s theme. “I do research to see what would be a good fit for the theme, and I always like the complicated stuff and to ‘do the impossible.’” Furthermore, customers are encouraged to push even

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Flora’s boundaries and to come up with a cake that is particular to their style and aesthetics. In terms of her personal taste, Flora says that she doesn’t particularly like bright colors for wedding cakes and instead prefers soft pastels and light colors. “I like classic, elegant cakes, but this could also be something very special that looks more like a piece of art.” Her winning OSSAS cake demonstrates her particular taste through its color scheme, ornate decoration, and unique structure. No Comfort Zone For a decorator who welcomes a challenge with open arms, it’s no surprise that Flora thrives in the competitive cake arena. “Every year, competitions want to see new things, new techniques. So each time I compete I try to do something different, and not what I do every day.” Even before the winners were announced at OSSAS, Flora told us that she’s not interested in repeating the ideas she used in “Visions of Heaven” because she thrives on change and novelty (Perhaps after winning her mind may have changed a bit…). Coming out on top, however, isn’t her motive behind competing. “I love competing because it’s what makes you better; if I didn’t do it I would always stay at the same level and wouldn’t be growing, winning will always come second.” Because of her hectic work schedule, Flora is unable to compete too often, but as she says, “When I know it’s my time, competing is always what I want to do, and I never do anything too comfortable.” Despite her accelerating fame and industry recognition, Flora’s greatest hope is that she will be able to use her knowledge and skills to teach new decorators. “My goal is to teach, train, and pass on everything I’m learning every day to younger generations.” Ultimately, Flora would like to teach classes, but with her learning attitude she is still in the process of improving upon her already exceptional talent. She would not only like to expand on her technical skills, but also to incorporate all different sugar mediums into her repertoire. “You need to try every product out there so you can be good at everything,” Flora says. And we have no doubt she is well on her way to such a goal; with a fiery work ethic and endless perseverance, this Las Vegas cake starlet is sure to break through the industry’s limits. “I know if I push myself and tell myself that I have to do it, and I want to do it—I can do it.”

“visions of heaven”

“I was very interested in the concept of this cake, but it was definitely complicated. The most difficult part was getting the sketch down on paper; sometimes I look deep into myself to find inspiration and I get lost because there are so many possibilities. I found the Ettal Monastery online, and I really loved the beautiful paintings, and the gold rococo shape of the picture frames. I did a lot of hand modeling on most of the cake as well as hand painting.”

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Bob Johnson Huntsville, AL


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“I wanted to go for grandeur and baroque, and the inspiration for the design came from a room at the Marble House, a Rhode Island Vanderbilt mansion. All of the flowers were inspired by the flowers at Alva Vanderbilt’s wedding, including Chinese peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs, and roses. The most difficult part was incorporating a chandelier into the design, in terms of supporting it and creating its silhouette.” —Johnson

Jackie’s Award

“Amidst the commotion of all the cakes at the show, I made a beeline for this cake. It was so striking to me initially, and as I continued to look at it I noticed all the different levels of texture used, and every new angle was something new and interesting. The overall composition, however, wasn’t overwhelming, which really impressed me. I love it!”


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Highland Bakery Karen Portaleo Atlanta, GA

“I have a background in art, so I started thinking about collections in churches that could be translated in a cake design. This was influenced by the paintings of Jean- Honoré Fragonard, specifically his work, The Swing. Because my inspiration came from a painting itself, I wanted the final product to reflect the look of a painting, so I did the whole cake in white and then hand painted everything.” —Portaleo


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President’s Award

“The beautiful hand painting on this cake immediately caught my eye.  After taking a closer look, I was drawn in and captured by the rich and layered details I originally missed in my first glance.  This cake tells a story, just as Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Swing does.  The true allure of this cake is that I can look at it for an hour and catch myself holding my breath in appreciation of the fine detail.”


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Seon Young Jeong Los Angeles, CA

“The cake's red image was influenced by part of the library in The Abbey of Saint Gall. The library's interior incorporates gold and a baroque style, so I incorporated both these features with styling molds. Also, I used a lot of roses because I think the color red and roses represent the strongest image of the Catholic Church. I tried to make the sugar flowers very true to life, and I love to make the ribbon look as real as possible.” ­—Jeong


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Editor’s Award

“I can’t come up with a word other than ‘fabulous’ to describe the overall essence of this cake. When I first saw it, I was awe-struck by its use of color—these were hues I would never think to pair together, and she was able to make them work beautifully. The flowers are exquisite, and her use of gold adds an element of glamour. Just stunning.”


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LuLu's Sweet Art Amanda Hamilton San Diego, CA

“My inspiration came from the Winchester Mystery House, and despite its somber history, I really enjoyed translating a few of its more beautiful and romantic elements onto my cake. The brush embroidery Lincrusta patterning as well as the hand-cut stained glass window stencils were painstakingly replicated from photographs of the originals, while the royal icing extension work was meant to echo the spider web motif that can be found throughout the house.” —Hamilton


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Photographer’s Award

“I absolutely LOVE the stained glass technique that was done on the cake.  I wouldn’t have expected it to look so great in such pastel colors, but the look was a home run in my book!  I was amazed at how stunning the effect was. I really liked the string work as well. The flowers were beautiful, and overall it was a very striking cake to me.”


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3 Brothers Bakery Elizabeth Balderaz Houston, TX

“I hand painted the bottom tier, and hand wrapped the green (material looking) tier. The fleur-de-lis was made out of white chocolate with a hand made mold. The blue tier used a rope mold, and I added the flowers and piping leaves with royal icing.” —Balderaz


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Sweet Nothings Fiona Black Lincoln Park, MI

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cake central magazine

“The inspiration for this cake came from a Bohemian style purse, as well as an Indian dress pattern. I hand made the orange poppy flowers.” —Barrière

Cakes by Gina Ayanna Barriere Houston, TX

Cake Craft Shoppe Cynthia Bayne Sugar Land, TX

“The cake is a representation of the Shangri La mansion in Hawaii. Overall, the cake took about 400 hours to complete, and the most time consuming part were the flowers. There are 70 total flowers on the whole cake, and each required 31 pieces…lots of work!” —Bayne


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cake central magazine


Alice Cosani Sugar Land, TX


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“There’s a clock at my old college, Dowling College, which meant something to me so I decided to incorporate that in my design. The hardest part for me was gravity, because I love when things are sticking out or when proportions are beyond reason. So this cake was kind of a ‘let’s see what happens’ type of deal, and I wanted to use it all as a learning experience.”

Michael Guasta West Babylon, NY


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“I have always loved the wine and grapes theme, so I chose to incorporate these ideas and colors in my design. Working with the dark color, however, turned out to be one of the most challenging parts of the design. I molded the wine bottle from an actual bottle, and I used a scrapbooking punch on the borders.” —Dittomaso


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Connie Ditommaso Poughkeepsie, NY

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Elizabeth Dickson Bossier City, LA


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cake central magazine


Mindy, Garcia ON, Canada


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cake central magazine


Roberta Graham Harper, KS


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“I found a Haveli palace in India which I really loved; everything incorporated in those buildings is so incredibly detailed, so I wanted to use as much design in my cake as possible. The larger string work was very difficult, especially since it’s actually floating in eight different spots around the cake.”

Cakes With the Personal Touch Edith Hall Hallsville, MO


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A Couple of Sweet Things Jenny Leisure Indianappolis IN


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Hidden Cafe Katharine Hincak Mukwonago, WI

“The gold piping work on this cake was both my favorite part and the most difficult part. I have a bad hand, and as most decorators know doing this kind of piping work takes a very steady hand, therefore the work on this cake was really good therapy. The majority of the cake was extensive hand piping, using #000 and #1 tips.” —Holgate

Cakes by Design Diane Holgate Farmington, NM

Carter Holton Kansas City, MO


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cake central magazine


Frosted Art Kaitlin Massey Dallas, TX


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“My cake was inspired by a photo of the Monastery of Our Lady of Pandanassa in Greece; specifically the tall tower. The most difficult aspect was applying the tiny fondant brick oneat-a-time to give the impression of an old, worn masonry. I was particularly pleased with the colors on this cake the look of sun-washed brick, the terra cotta roof tiles, and the contrast of the red and purple gumpaste flowers.”

Carol Lowe Auburn Hills, MI


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Luckey Cakes Tammi Luckey Fort Worth, TX

"When I saw Kaysie Lackey’s tattoo cake on the July cover of Cake Central, I thought it was one of the coolest cakes I had ever seen! I was immediately inspired by it to make my competition cake for the Oklahoma show. So, I researched and combined several tattoo ideas and this is what I came up with." —Luckey

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Bon Bon Constance McLin Huntington Beach, CA

“I really love gothic architecture in any form, and I thought I could incorporate it in the look of a monastery-inspired cake. A monastery doesn’t need to be drab and dark, and it can actually rival the pristine look of a cathedral. My inspiration came from the Batalha Monastery in Portugal, designed by King João who promised to build the most beautiful cathedral if his men would be saved from battle.” —McLin


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cake central magazine


Out of this World Cakes Carmon Middleton Spring, TX


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Christina Meisner Bloomington, MN

Richard Parker Edmond, OK

“I’m a structural engineer, so all the arches and gothic stylizing went really well. I used an engineer scale to press down and make the molding, and I carved my own tile. The cake required a good deal of woodshop work as well, and I used CAD drawings while developing the concept for my project, similar to what I do when engineering a building structure—only applied to cake.” —Parker


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Wedding Cakes by Kim Payne Kim Payne Cheyenne, OK

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Dawn Parrot Houston, TX

“I do 80 to 90 percent of my cakes with some form of influence from architecture, so I really took to this idea. Mont Saint-Michel, a tidal island in Normandy, France, was my primary inspiration for this design. I hand made a good deal of the cake, including the crown on top which is a pastillage. I like the bevel tiers with the hanging fleurde-lis, which of course reflected the French theme, and I hope to incorporate that idea again in another cake.” —Parrott


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Dawn Parrot Houston, TX

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Create a Cake Gary Silverthorn Kimball, MI

“The design took about 6 weeks, and I struggled a bit with the concept and how exactly to put it all together. The inspiration came from a single column in a Spanish monastery, and I wanted to reproduce pieces of it. I really like the final result and I would like to do this sort of column design again, maybe in a different color on a different cake.” —Silverthorn


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cake central magazine


Rachel Snider Halfway, MO


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Gypsy Cakes Edible Art Boutique Rossemary Stinson Edmond, OK

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Cathy Stone Dolores, CO

“My first thought was of flying buttresses and Victorian paintings, and so I went with this idea and used a book of paintings as my inspiration guide. My final product, called ‘Stars of the Clerestory,’ is based on a star vault that I used in my design. I used lace points for the arches, and I like how they turned out.” —Stone


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Sugar Creations Rebecca Sutterby Savonburg, KS

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Bake Me a Cake Mercedes Strachwsky Orlando, FL

“I loved the idea of coral rocks, which is what first started my design. I did all the roses freehand, and I used texture brushes on the stones. I was able to make the little stones in the garden by mixing my leftover scraps in a blender, then sifting them just like real rocks because they had dried. I then used water to mush them into the deck area, similar to sand.” —Strachwsky


cake central magazine

cake central magazine


Cakes By Gina Gina Yobbagy Houston, TX


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Robin Vanhoozer Newcastle, OK

“My biggest goal with this design was to improve upon the figurines so they were as lifelike as possible. Therefore, I focused a lot of my attention on the bride and groom. On the bride’s dress, any flaw can be covered with a decoration, but the groom’s suit was tricky. You don’t have the ability on a suit to cover anything up, so I had to be very precise to get it right.” —Vanhoozer

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Kelli Watkins Murphy, TX


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Spotlight Branka Jovanovic

Branka Jovanovic

an inspiring cake story from Serbia


obody in my family has ever been in the confectionary business, and before I started making cakes I never thought doing so would give me so much joy and pleasure. I lived my life quietly in a happy marriage with my husband and our two daughters. My husband and I were employed (he is a radiologist and I was an accountant), and our daughters were in school and eventually got college degrees and jobs of their own. Years were passing by. In 1998 I got sick and I had to retire. In November of the following year, I had a very difficult surgery and developed a pulmonary embolism due to a serious complication. I was fighting for my own life. I remember that there was a young girl lying next to me in the hospital room. We both had oxygen masks on our faces and we could only look at each other. At one point I looked over at her, and she was dead! In a blink of the eye, she was gone. My father also died while I was in the hospital, and only a few months before, I had experienced the bombardment of my country and my city. That was a very difficult time for me. I thought I was going to die without ever doing something just for myself. I was 50 years old at the time. After I was released from the hospital and was still recovering, a Wilton Cake Decorating Yearbook from 1998 came into my hands. In the yearbook, I saw cakes decorated with rolled fondant for the first time. They were breathtaking. My husband translated the rolled fondant recipe for me, but I couldn’t find glucose because so many of our factories were out of business.

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Spotlight Branka Jovanovic

My first decorations for cakes were made of royal icing. Lacking proper tools, I used plastic bags, and in one corner of the bag I made a small perforation which I used to make beautiful lace decorations. After two years of trying, I managed to find glucose and made my first rolled fondant. I was indescribably happy. Soon after, I visited confectionery fairs in Hungary and Italy where I bought my first cake decorating books, cutters, impressions, and other molds. At that time, you couldn’t buy those things in my country. Today, I have more than 30 books and I have learned everything I know from them. I got translation help from my husband and daughters. In 2005, one of the most popular magazines for women, Nasa Praktika, organized an exhibition for amateur confectioners. Each participant brought their handmade decorations and cakes. My work was noticed by the chief editor of the magazine. She asked me to write for Nasa Praktika about different cake decorating techniques with rolled fondant. Fondant was very rarely used at that time in Serbia. The magazine came out once a month, and I wrote columns for about two years. During that time, I taught many readers across what was then Yugoslavia how to decorate cakes with rolled fondant and flowers made of gumpaste. I never accepted money for these lessons but I met many dear friends! For the past 20 years or more, a big humanitarian competition called Najtorte (meaning “best cake”) has been organized in the month of October. It’s held in Belgrade, and it usually has more than 300 participants. After the jury makes their decision and the prizes are awarded, cakes are distributed to institutions for sick children and children without parents. The most complicated and beautiful cakes I have made were for these occasions. I have participated about 10 times, and I have always won awards. Since 2005, it has been my great pleasure to buy books and cake decorating tools over the internet, and also see beautifully decorated cakes from all around the world. Now I can only make a few cakes per month because I am 61 years old, my health isn’t so good, and I make the cakes all by myself. But I still enjoy every step of the process, from having my first ideas to the final decorated cake. I’m especially happy when I see the stunned faces of my clients. My hobby has helped me get over some difficult times in my life. Today, I am a happy woman! The only thing I regret is not discovering the beauty of this art earlier!


cake central magazine

International Desserts Tembleque

Puerto Rican dancing queen, tembleque Tembleque, a delicious coconut pudding, is a popular Latin American dessert that originated in Puerto Rico.  The dish has a pudding taste with the consistency much like gelatin, and it is made from simple ingredients such as sugar and coconut milk. This dish is traditionally made around the Christmas season, however it has become a year-round custom. Tembleque translates into “trembling,” due to the gelatin nature and its tendency to jiggle. In addition to being served across all of Puerto Rico, tembleque is also a custom treat throughout Latin America, some South American countries, and even in some Southeast Asian cuisines.

Tembleque is served with a wide assortment of toppings and garnishes which add supplemental flavor. The dessert is quite rich, and with its beautiful presentation it makes for a perfect ending to serve at a dinner party. It is also a snap to make at home, with its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow preparation. The pudding is typically made in a decorative mold, which gives it its distinctive jiggle, although it can also be eaten right out of the mold. Similar to any gelatin made in a tall mold, tembleque is a sweet that will excitedly dance across your plate.



Combine 3 cups coconut milk with salt and sugar in a pot.

Stir to dissolve the cornstarch with 1 cup of the milk, and run through a strainer. Add it to the rest of the milk.

Cook on medium high, stirring constantly with a whisk to avoid lumps until it’s fully cooked. Reduce the temperature to low, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

Pour into a mold that has been soaked in water. The time it takes to cool will depend on the mold you use. Aluminum molds with curved details are best for this dish.

Turn into a shallow dish when cold. Sprinkle some ground cinnamon over the top.

If you want more cinnamon flavor, pour some of the ground cinnamon into the milk before it cooks. You can also add a tablespoon of orange flower water for extra flavor. *Unsweetened coconut milk is best.

cake central magazine


Now & Then Jene Nato (Rylan Ty)



By Jene Nato (Rylan Ty)


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Now & Then Jene Nato (Rylan Ty)

now: My attention was first drawn

to the pillars, which seemed to be a good chance to challenge myself by using them in my design. To do so, I asked my father to build a custom cake stand that would mimic the architectural details of the pillars. I then brought the details to the separator to give it a continuous flow, just like the “then” cake.  I was very inspired by the couple’s attire. The color palette and square tiers came from the groom’s sleek tuxedo. I thought it was a great way to add some masculine touches to the cake and at the same time, it gave the cake a contemporary look. Also, if you look closely, the bride has this beautiful embroidered pattern on the facade of her dress. I used that element to add floral texture to the white borders. I thought the birds were important so I created simplified gumpaste birds with intricate wings to achieve a traditional yet updated feel. Since the birds were more than a theme, I added eggs to fill out the open spaces, thus creating some balance. Finally, I hand cut the monogram to give the cake that extra personalization for this special couple.


Kathy and Rod, the bride and groom in the photograph, certainly tied several aspects of their wedding into the design of their cake. The color coordination between the light blue and the white mimicked the look of both Kathy’s dress and the Rod’s ruffled shirt. Additionally, carnations were used to decorate the base of the cake and the stand, in addition to being the flower on Rod’s boutonniere and the crown of flowers on Kathy’s veil. The ornate features of the cake, including the swan pillars, the tulle, and the arrangement of the topper compliments the detail used on the dress, as well as the intricate lace lining of the veil.

In loving memory of Rodney Thaut cake central magazine


Ever Wonder top tier

why do couples save the top tier? O

f all the elaborate design put into creating a custom cake for a wedding, few elements are quite as particular to the couple as their top tier. The top tier is the peak of the cake creation, and as many people know, the tier is often frozen after the wedding and saved for the couple’s first anniversary. Aside from the obvious sentimental value of this tradition, have you ever considered how the custom was started? Saving the top tier dates back to the latter part of the nineteenth century. During this time, large cakes similar to wedding cakes were baked for christening ceremonies, and because it was assumed that a christening would shortly follow the wedding, the celebrations were often connected. Because the wedding was typically a larger celebration than the christening, the leftovers of the wedding cake (namely, the cake topper) were subsequently used for the christening. This provided a convenient opportunity to use the remainder of the wedding cake and also to celebrate the christening. Naturally as time wore on, the wedding and christening events became more separate, and the reasoning of saving the top tier became disassociated from christening celebrations. However, the tradition of saving the top tier remained, and it now serves as a reminder for couples of their special day one year later.

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blushing inspiration New Jersey's Anne Heap


A hue synonymous with all things lively, loving, fresh, and bright. There is a certain excitement that comes from the color, and when Anne Heap needed a name for her cake business, she used this excitement as her guide. She quotes, “I love pink! I thought I would be able to sell all of my products in pink boxes.” This dream has come true, and customers of Pink Cake Box in Denville, NJ continue to receive goodies in pretty, sealed boxes. However, the most impressive accomplishments of Anne Heap and Pink Cake Box simply cannot be confined to a small box.

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Today, Anne Heap’s creations have defied cake decorating boundaries, and her exceptional skills and design versatility have made her one of the most acclaimed cake artists around. Between her television appearances and frequent blog posts, we were fortunate enough to speak with Anne about her impressive trek through the cake world. Baker-in-the-Making From the time she was five, Anne began learning the tricks of flour and sugar through baking with her mother and grandmother. “I remember baking cookies and cakes…and soon I was baking on my own!” she says. Luckily, this new-found hobby came at the same time her creative side began to develop. For Anne, art came naturally, and she found all different outlets to use her budding imagination, which continued throughout her childhood. “I had always loved to draw, paint, and doodle on just about anything that could be doodled on. I used to make jewelry for fun, and I even sculpted animals out of ivory soap. In high school, I loved art class and it helped my creative side continue to flourish.” Anne used her creativity in different arenas before finding her way to the kitchens of culinary school. After attending Boston College, she spent four years working in advertising, which was a great intermediary between being an undergraduate and a culinary student. “My creative juices were flowing at that point, and it was the perfect time for me to marry my love of baking with my artistic side.” The opportune time had come, drawing Anne away from the professional world to the French Culinary Institute. School Days Although Anne already had natural baking skills, attending the Institute allowed her to master the fundamentals of the craft. “I learned the science of baking, which helped me develop recipes and become a better baker.” This was also when Anne’s attention was turned toward cake decorating, and as she enthusiastically remembers, “I was in love instantly!” Cake infatuation led Anne to an internship with industry master Ron Ben-Israel in New York City, which helped refine her decorating skills and develop a new repertoire of techniques. “I learned so much with Ron about gumpaste sugar work and cake decoration, and I knew my career path was set.” Inside Pink Cake Box Before her time in pastry school, operating a cake business hadn’t even crossed Anne’s mind, but once she got her feet wet in the industry her aspirations grew. “I started making cakes, and I couldn’t stop! I loved coming up with designs and creating cakes for all different events. My ambition

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steadily increased, and before I knew it, Pink Cake Box was born!” As stated previously, it was Anne’s vision of pink boxed desserts that led her to the name of the shop, which opened in 2005 from a restaurant kitchen. In the beginning, she worked all by herself, and after nearly a year and a half she hired her friend Indira from pastry school to help operate the new store front location. Today, the staff is comprised of about 12 people, including some full time, some part time, and some interns. When asked about her staff, Anne heartily explains, “We are ALL a lot like our cakes! Fun whimsical, creative, and one-of-a-kind!” The staff’s variety of backgrounds enables everyone to contribute something unique while still working as a unit. “Every member of my staff has individual strengths that make us a great team,” says Anne. “Many, including myself, are career changers so we have knowledge from our former lives that helps us be more multi-dimensional.” A fun fact about the Pink Cake Box crew that Anne affectionately shared: “Despite their sophisticated schooling and palates, half of my staff just loves Duncan Hines® cake mix and frosting…you know who you are!” Inspiration and Stylization As with any type of product design, Pink Cake Box’s style changes according to new and different trends in the cake world. As shown throughout their cake galleries, the staff’s skills are not limited to one particular technique, and once they create something new it becomes a customer hit. “We notice that we often do similar cakes in groups. So if we post a cake on our blog, we will get 10 more orders for a similar cake within the next two months,” says Anne. Trends in fashion and artistic design tend to dictate a good deal of what clients order from Pink Cake Box as well. “With damask being such a popular design on invitations and fabric right now, we have seen an increase in this type of design on our cakes.” Similar to other master designers, Anne is able to use elements involved in a wedding or party in the creation of a cake. “I often find inspiration from clients’ invitations, wedding gowns, floral arrangements, and party themes.” With her artistic background and natural creativity, however, she is accustomed to finding ideas for cake design just about everywhere she turns. Even simple, day-today activities help to stir Anne’s imagination. “I am inspired by just about everything around me! If I see a cute display in a store window, I might be inspired to design a cake.” Competition and Classroom Anne is well known as a competitor on The Food Network’s show Challenge, where she has competed twice so far. Additionally, she’s appeared twice


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on TLC’s Ultimate Cake-Off and won once with her Legoland Birthday Cake, which can be seen on Pink Cake Box’s website. Her first appearance on Challenge was in June of 2008, and she quotes it was, “Definitely an eye-opening experience, as I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into!” The particular Challenge she first competed in was a mystery, meaning that the competitors were all unprepared ahead of time for the cake they were assigned to make, and they were not provided with a trained assistant (which they are normally given). Anne remembers the experience as, “Very humbling, to say the least,” however the more she competed the more comfortable the arena became. “I soon realized these TV competitions are a fun break from reality, and aren’t always a good example of your capabilities.” Surely, some would disagree —as Anne’s competition cakes have always been impressive—but she agrees that the more competitions you do, the better and easier they are to handle.

When Anne is not competing or decorating, she helps others learn the art of cake design by teaching classes. For all the classes taught at Pink Cake Box, Anne is the primary instructor, and she always has help from at least one member of her staff. Teaching allows Anne a break from cake creation, and she gets the opportunity to share her skills with aspiring designers. “I really enjoy teaching and absolutely love watching people become inspired the way I so often feel. It is so rewarding to see the beautiful cakes my students create!” The difficulty in perfecting cake craft is something Anne has a lot of experience with, and she will humbly admit that learning the best techniques takes a lot of trial and error. However, these “mistakes” are what help Anne improve and eventually learn all the best tricks. As a teacher, she can pass on these pieces of decorating knowledge to others, and she is continually finding new ways to learn for herself. “I really enjoy reading cake decorating books and tutorials online. Even watching cake shows is a good method of learning new techniques!” Industry knowledge is always developing, and even masters like Anne know that a decorator can never stop learning something new. Linked In One of the valuable attributes of Pink Cake Box is their online accessibility. The shop has used the digital world to their advantage; their website is regularly updated with new cakes and news, they maintain a frequent presence on Facebook and Twitter, and their blog posts are just as exciting and enthusiastic as the shop itself. “We decided that social media was going to be a central part of our strategy back in 2005 when we launched our blog and started posting our cakes on Flickr.” The advantage of this publicity? As opposed to many bakeries that don’t even have a web page, Pink Cake Box is able to attract customers over a network as highly accessed as the internet, and they are also able to connect with clients at any time of day, any day of the week. “Social media gives us another avenue to engage with the community. It has also helped us get closer to our fans and customers, and it has helped increase brand awareness.” In a digital age, it is no wonder that utilizing social media to such a degree has helped Pink Cake Box, and they are certainly thankful to have such a tech-savvy audience. Anne adds, “We are very fortunate to have very engaged and passionate fans and customers who enjoy and appreciate our work.” Pink Cake Box’s presence on the internet has certainly bolstered their fame and customers; however, the real strength of their operation is rooted in Anne’s talent and aspirations for success. “I can attribute my success to extreme perseverance, dedication, and finding talented

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people who could help me convey my vision through cake,” says Anne. And cake is only half of the equation of what makes Pink Cake Box great. The positive dynamic Anne has nurtured in the shop adds an exceptional experience for the staff, making their attitudes and work ethic all the more strong. Anne says, “The experiences I have had over the past five years have not only made me a better cake designer, but they have also taught me that with happy employees, you will have happy customers, and therefore a happy and healthy business.” Her passion for both cake and a thriving workplace, matched with the support of her husband Jesse and her wonderful staff, have generated a cake sensation, sure to continue to awe and inspire the industry.


cake central magazine

cake central magazine


Business of Cake Debi Brim

it’s a techno world: building effective websites By: Debi Brim


he average wedding couple today is in their mid-20s, and they were born in a techno world. In their minds, the words “yellow pages” always ends with “dot com.” Having a website for your business is as necessary today as having a phone in the 50's and having a fax machine in the 80's. But don’t confuse this viable piece of advertising as just an oversized phone book advertisement. A website can include your price list, your screening system, your photo album, and your business card. It’s how you communicate with your customers and connect with other businesses. It’s an ever-changing, interactive tool to keep customers coming back to see what’s new in your business. In other words…. it’s your salesman! Pricing and Pages There are many opinions on whether to put pricing on a website. In my opinion, some kind of price range needs to be on there, even if it’s a, “Starts at …” indicator. Many brides have said that if they land on a website that has no pricing information at all, they will just click out and move on to the next one. Posted pricing can also act as a screening system. If a potential customer sees your pricing and finds it to be in their budget, then you have already moved past a few steps. If it is outside their budget, then time was not wasted for either of you.


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When I first set up my website, I was told by a tech-savant that I needed a separate “Contact” page. He said people are used to seeing those, and they will be looking for one, so make it easy for them to find you. That being said, make sure you list your city and state on your website. It is not necessary to list your physical address, but your general location is essential. Your “About Us” page should have information pertinent to your business, which is meant to entice a customer to want you to be the creator of their wedding cake. Photos Not surprisingly, the most frequently visited pages on cake maker’s websites are the photo pages. Brides are window shopping and getting ideas, and one of the first things they want to see is the quality of a baker’s work. Make sure to adjust the size of the photos you post, so as to ensure all different levels of the internet may display your cakes at an appropriate size. While most people have high-speed internet, you don’t want to alienate people whose downloading capabilities may be a bit slower. Add-Ons Today’s internet shoppers tend to like being able to interact with the website. Consider putting a survey on your site asking questions about the viewer’s wedding or their planning process. Posting the survey results prompts couples to come back to see additional results. This is just one example of how to engage the potential client further with your business. Accommodating the viewer and lending them a hand in specific tasks can really improve your customer service status. An example would be to set up a link that enables a couple to download a free copy of a budget spreadsheet, which would help them figure the cost of their catered reception right down to the dime, in addition to switching around their pricing in separate areas so that it all may fit their budget. The potential customer will feel they had received something free, and they will be able to determine how your pricing will fit into their overall budget. Buddy System One of the best advantages you can put to use on your site is exchanging links with other wedding vendors. This is an excellent way in which your site can be reached by a wide range of searches. When a client is researching a venue to begin their wedding plans, and they see your site on the venue’s page, they will feel as if they are getting free advice and will more than likely click on your link next. If you, in turn, put other vendors on your site, it becomes an advantageous promotion method for both of you. Finally, do not let your website become dormant or stale. It is the technological version of a storefront window, so be diligent about keeping the information fresh, current, and interesting!

tips for building your website By Renee Fujii PR Manager for


ave a webThe People’s Cake site. You need a in Seattle, WA website, and you should know this. There are so many consumers that preview services online before even contacting a provider. If you’re unable to design your own site, and don’t have a lot of money to spend on it, check into local universities. Most are full of ambitious, bright minds willing to design your site for a fraction of the cost. Your domain name needs to be easy to find; when you say the name of your Make sure it’s good. In website out loud, you should truth, a bad website is better not say the word “slash.” than no website at all, but often Make it simple. your website is a potential client’s first impression of you. If your website is disorganized, clients will think you are disorganized. Conversely, if your website is thorough and professional, clients will think the same about you. Double, triple check every click a viewer could make, and proof read everything. Showcase your cakes through photos. It’s true, a picture is in fact worth a thousand words. Showcasing your cakes through photos is more effective than just telling people what you can do. Make sure your photos are professional quality or close to it, and take Each page should offer detail shots. something valuable. Your website can have as many pages as you need; contact information, photo galleries, pricing guidelines, and frequently asked questions are all fine, just ensure that each page is relevant. If you attach a link to your blog, make sure to write about topics potential customers will care about. Tell us about the cake you made this weekend, how you came up with the concept, and how you made it work. We don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast or that your dog has a new sweatersave that for Twitter.

Play up your strengths. When deciding on photos to include on your website, make sure you play to your strengths. If you’re great with buttercream, but not so fantastic with sculpted cakes, stick with the buttercream photos. Additionally, I highly recommend having no more than 10 photos per gallery. Pick your best 10, and go with it. Let people know anything that helps you to stand out from the competition. Free deliveries, free consultations, etc. need to be highlighted on your website.

You can do it. Your cakes are great, and the world needs to know this. A website is the first step. Good luck.

cake central magazine


Strangely Good Guinness® Molasses Cake

Guinness® molasses cake


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Strangely Good Guinness® Molasses Cake

Despite your own personal preference for its taste, there is one fact about beer that can’t be denied: The world loves it. All different kinds of beer are brewed every day in several different countries, and the science behind beer brewing enables many variations in flavor to be made. For those who can’t stand the thought of drinking beer (or those who can’t get enough of it), there are now several ways to incorporate beer in baking. This month’s Strangely Good combines beer with a molasses and chocolate cake, creating a rich, mouth watering treat no matter your beverage choice. Cake


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three, 8 inch cake pans.

In a heavy medium saucepan, bring beer and molasses to a boil. Remove from heat.

Stir in baking soda, mixture will quadruple in size, and let cool completely (about 1 hour). In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars. Stir in oil and the cooled beer mixture.

Slowly whisk the beer and egg mixture into the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cakes test done.

Brown Sugar Buttercream


Whisk brown sugar and egg whites together in a stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl on a simmering bain-marie on the stove. Continue gently whisking until the mixture is no longer grainy to touch, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, and put on your mixer with whisk for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until it reaches a meringue-like consistency.

Add in the butter a little at a time, and then add the vanilla.

Mixture may look curdled for a few minutes into the mixing, but keep mixing until you achieve a smooth, silky texture.

Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting, either on the rack or in the pans.

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Cake Central Recipe Orange Cranberry Cake

orange cranberry cake

Photo By:


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Cake Central Recipe Orange Cranberry Cake

Orange Cranberry Cake


Preheat oven to 350°F, and prepare a tube pan.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cranberries and grated orange rind. Stir in eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Mix well.

Pour mixture in pan, and bake for 1 hour until cake tests done. Remove pan from oven.

Mix together the orange juice and powdered sugar.*

Poke holes in the top of the cake with a fork, and pour the orange juice mixture over the cake until it is absorbed. *Baker’s Tip: Put orange juice and powdered sugar in a jar or air tight container. Close and shake well to mix.

Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.

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Cake Central Recipe Pumpkin Cheesecake

pumpkin cheesecake


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Cake Central Recipe Orange Cranberry Cake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Submitted by harc Crust



Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 inch springform.

Combine all ingredients for crust, and press mixture with fingers onto bottom and sides (about 2/3 of the way up) of the pan. Refrigerate.

Heat pumpkin and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture begins to sputter. Reduce to low, and continue stirring until the mixture darkens and texture is similar to applesauce.

Pour mixture in a mixing bowl, and beat for one minute to make smooth. Add whipping cream and cream cheese, blend well until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Add eggs and yolks, mix until just incorporated.

Remove pan from fridge. Wrap bottom and sides of pan tightly in double layers of foil to stop water from getting into the cheesecake. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Place the pan inside a larger shallow pan, and surround with 1 inch of very hot water.

Bake for 45 minutes on center rack, without opening the oven door. After 45 minutes, keep the door closed and turn off the oven. Leave cheesecake inside for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove from the oven. Separate the two pans, and remove the foil from the springform pan. Rack for 1 hour without removing the sides. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Once ready to serve, sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and serve with whipped cream. Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.

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foliage fantasy 130

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The season for new blooms is over, and the annual hype of flowergrowing extravagance has once again come and gone. This wane in floral freshness, however, presents a creative opportunity for those who typically decorate heavily with flowers. These featured cakes put alternative natural pieces on display, as they use branches, greenery, succulents, and other non-floral plant décor as exquisite, tasteful embellishment. Photography By: Model: Martine van roy

Ron Ben-Israel New York, NY

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Crazy Cake Company Lien Sanchez Davis, CA lien


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Sin Desserts Jennifer Luxmoore Providence, RI

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Jacques Fine European Pastries Suncook, NH


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Jacques Fine European Pastries Suncook, NH

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Sin Desserts Jennifer Luxmoore Providence, RI


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Sugar Delites Jennifer Dontz Manistee, MI cakebabe1

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Helen Swarts Bakersfield, CA helenswarts


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Patisserie Angelica Sebastopol, CA

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Bonus Tutorial Everyday inspiration

everyday inspiration As a cake maker, nothing is more exciting or enticing than being inspired for a new cake idea. Unfortunately, sometimes inspiration can be hard to come by. Instead of sketching or creating an idea for an original design, it’s easier to look at cakes others have made and use those as models for your cake. However, with a little imagination it’s not hard to find inspiration from all different objects in your day-to-day life. Specialty cake creator Jessica Harris shows how most anything can be turned into a cake design, just by using a bit of creativity.

In the Bathroom

Jessica used this tasteful and simple design on a small bottle of lotion in her vision for a modern cake. As shown, the top and bottom tiers have a matching pattern, mimicking the look on the bottle. The color scheme used throughout the cake, white, black, and purple are consistent in Jessica’s design. The “Love Faith Joy” inscription on the middle tier makes the design entirely suitable for a wedding, or even an evening party.


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Bonus Tutorial Everyday inspiration

On Your Desk

This small clock, though seemingly nondescript, inspired an incredibly ornate and beautiful cake design. Jessica used both the shapes incorporated in the clock design as well as the color of the clock in the sketch of her cake. By varying the use of black and silver, her design is able to contrast bold and delicate details, specifically the vertical strips and the delicate pattern lining the top and bottom tiers. The pattern reflects the lining of pearls surrounding the clock. Jessica, furthermore, used the idea of pearls themselves in the borders on the top and bottom tiers.

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Bonus Tutorial Everyday inspiration

In a Bedroom Patterning on different fabrics can be a go-to for inspiring an idea for a new cake design. Blankets, curtains, and carpets can all be an excellent source of new ideas, as there are several designs and colors to choose from. The only hitch to using fabric can be that sometimes there is too much to choose from, and the designs may be a bit excessive for one cake. However, in the fabric that Jessica used, she is able to use only one part of the detailing in an entire cake sketch. The geometric black-and-white patterning was tweaked in color and applied to the entire bottom of her two-tier design, and she added some flair by including an enlarged flower.


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Bonus Tutorial Everyday inspiration

On the Fridge Many times, cake decorators will ask for the invitation for a wedding or shower when asked to create a cake for the event. This is partially for the sake of continuing a theme or color arrangement, but invitations are also a great source of decorative inspiration. Jessica’s use of this baby shower invitation is a prime example of how a simple card can become a sensational cake design. The border on the card created the idea for damask on the bottom tier, and the light pink color is used throughout different elements on the sketch. The square tiers are unique as well, and they add a certain sophistication to the cake. After using several elements from the card in the design, Jessica included her own touch by incorporating white and pink roses to be used “randomly” once the cake is complete.

Thanks to Tiny Prints for their baby shower invitation used as inspiration on this page. Visit holiday for more cards, and receive a discount when you mention Cake Central!

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Bonus Tutorial Fondant Embroidery

Mercedes Strachwsky’s freehand fondant embroidery

Photos by Michael Strachwsky

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Bonus Tutorial Fondant Embroidery

Step 1 Using your hand, roll up a small piece of pea-size fondant into a tear drop. You may use a larger piece of fondant if desired.

Step 2 Roll the fondant until it becomes thinner and longer.

Step 3 Once rolled to the proper thinness, moisten the back with a small paintbrush dipped in water. Apply the teardrop on the cake and curve as desired.





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Bonus Tutorial Fondant Embroidery

Step 4 Once the fondant has been placed on the cake, curve it to desired upside-down shape and repeat as necessary. Use both hands to hold up the teardrops until secured and fastened. Continue doing this throughout the cake.

Step 5 Once the pattern is complete, you can use a small amount of royal icing to add elegant dots to the design.


5 Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes. Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.

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Science of Baking Cocoa Madness


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Science of Baking Cocoa Madness

cocoa madness Moist, rich, fudgy chocolate cake, in my opinion, is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. There is something mystical and wonderful about the depth and complexity of chocolate that is satisfying to the body and the soul. Chocolate, in cake form, is often achieved by the addition of cocoa powder, melted block chocolate, or a combination of the two to standard butter cake batter. Solid chocolate alone can make for a tasty, mild chocolate cake, but cocoa powder can transform a cake into a dark, aromatic masterpiece. This said, cocoa powders can vary greatly in color, texture, acidity, and flavor resulting in profound differences in a final cake product. I wanted to explore the reasons for these differences in cocoas, examine how these differences affected the final cake product, and determine which cocoas resulted in the most flavorful, best textured cakes. What is Cocoa? Cocoa powder is produced from the beans of the cacao tree which grows in tropical, equatorial regions of the world, predominately in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The cacao “beans” are actually the seeds of a fibrous fruit pod that grow on the cacao tree. There are three botanical varieties of cacao trees which yield beans that differ in production and flavor characteristics. ~ The Forastero variety is high-yielding and resistant to many of the diseases that can affect cacao trees; these trees produce at least 90 percent of the world’s cocoa beans, and are characterized by a dark, full chocolate flavor. ~ Criollos, which compose less than five percent of the world’s cocoa bean production, are light in color and they provide a fine, fruity aromatic top note that is missing in the Forastero variety. Their low-volume production and susceptibility to disease limit their availability. ~ The Trinatarios, hybrids of Criollos and Foraseteros, make up less than five percent of cocoa bean production and have the fruity qualities of Criollos and the earthy flavors as well as the heartiness of Forastero beans. Most cocoas are blends of bulk amounts of Forastero beans, which provide full base notes and small amounts of flavor beans for fruity top notes.

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Science of Baking Cocoa Madness

Moist Cocoa Cake

3/4 CUP COCOA POWDER OF CHOICE 3 TEASPOONS ESPRESSO POWDER 1 1/2 CUPS BOILING WATER 1 1/2 STICKS (3/4 CUP) UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED 2 1/2 CUPS SUGAR 3 EGGS 1 1/4 CUPS LESS 2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR 1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA 3/4 TEASPOON SALT 3/4 CUP BUTTERMILK 1 TABLESPOON VANILLA EXTRACT Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three, 8 inch round cake pans. Whisk together cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water, and set aside to cool to room temperature. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed for 4 minutes until light colored and fluffy. Meanwhile, add the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In another bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture, and beat for 30 seconds after each addition; scrape down and beat for an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture, and stir to combine. Add buttermilk mixture, and stir to blend. Fold in cocoa mixture, and stir until well combined. Pour into pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a moist crumb or 2. Cool 10 minutes in pan, and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cake Central Magazine is not responsible for the outcome of any attempt to create or replicate any of the Cake Central techniques, cakes, projects or recipes.    Desired results may not be achieved due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, tools, techniques, typographical errors or omissions, or personal skill level.


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From Bean to Powder To achieve the complex chocolate essence, cocoa beans must go through a series of steps in order to eliminate astringent flavors and develop desirable undertones. 1) The first step is fermentation, after harvest, of the broken-up pods, either under banana leaves or in fermentation boxes. During this stage, the pulp of the fruit ferments and the resulting acetic acid leaches into the seeds and transforms the internal contents. This prepares the seed’s internal chemistry for flavor development that occurs in the roasting process. 2) The beans are spread out on a flat surface in the sun to dry for several days. This step reduces their moisture level to about seven percent and makes them resistant to spoilage. The beans are then packaged and shipped to manufacturers for roasting. 3) Before roasting, the flavor of the beans is quite acidic and underdeveloped; the roasting process eliminates many volatile acids and alters various flavor precursors, transforming them into characteristic chocolate flavors. 4) Once the cocoa beans are roasted and the outer shells are removed, the cocoa nibs can be ground into cocoa liquor. 5) Cocoa powder is made when the cocoa liquor is pressed to remove some of the liquor’s fat, cocoa butter. The cake that remains when the desired amount of cocoa butter is removed is then ground into cocoa powder. Cocoa powder at this stage is in its natural state and remains quite acidic (around pH 5), pungent, bitter, and light in color. Cocoa powder may also be “dutched” in which an alkali solution, such as potassium carbonate, is applied to the cocoa either as a nib, liquor, or to the final powder itself. The alkalization of the cocoa raises the pH of the solution to neutral or alkaline (pH 8); this dutch processed cocoa is darker due to the conversion of bitter phenolic compounds into flavorless dark pigments. What’s more, when some of the harsher notes are removed from the natural cocoa through alkalization, some claim the resulting cocoa is more distinctly chocolatey. Cocoa Experiment I decided to take a look at eight super market and gourmet cocoa powders in order to determine whether or not the acidity of natural cocoa or the alkalinity of dutched cocoa affected the flavor and texture of a cocoa-based chocolate cake and if there was a distinguishable preference of one over the other. I also wanted to examine whether it made a difference if I used high-quality expensive cocoa powders or their less costly counterparts. The natural cocoa powders that I chose were Hershey’s® Unsweetened Natural Cocoa, Dagoba®, Holy Kakow™, and Sharffen Berger™. The dutch processed cocoas were Frontier™, Valrhona®, and Pernigotti™, as well as SaCo® which is a blend of dutched and natural cocoa powders. The first difference that I noticed among the cocoas was their appearance; the natural cocoas were generally a pale golden brown color, whereas the alkalized cocoa powders varied from dark brown to a rich reddish brown color. The texture of the cocoa powders was quite different as well. Many of the cocoas were dry and chalky in appearance with clumpy aggregates, but the Valrhona® and Pernigotti™ cocoa powders were velvety, almost silky textured. This may be testament to the fine grind of the cocoa, as well as the fact that these cocoas contain a greater percentage of fat than many cocoa powders. The aroma of the powders varied as well. The natural cocoas had a sharp, acidic smell in general; this smell was mellower and more rounded out in the Sharffen Berger™ than the other natural powders, but was more pronounced than in the dutched cocoas. The dutch processed cocoas varied more amongst each other. The Saco® powder had an unpleasant chemical odor and was lacking a true chocolate smell. The Frontier™ powder strangely reminded me of chocolate mint. The Valrhona® cocoa powder had a lovely, fruity dark chocolate smell, while the Pernigotti™ had a rich chocolate aroma with wonderful vanilla notes. In cake batter form, the natural cocoas paled in both color and flavor to the dutched powders. It seemed that if I had my eyes closed, the cake batters made with natural cocoa would almost entirely be lacking chocolate essence. In contrast, the batters made with the alkalized powders were decidedly fragrant with chocolate and dark in color. As the cakes baked, they generally were consistent in baking pattern and

Science of Baking Cocoa Madness

structure, except the Holy Kakow™ cake bubbled from the outer edge toward the middle as the baking soda reacted with this, apparently, strongly acidic cocoa. The cakes all finished baking at a similar time, which was surprising to me since acidic batters are known to “set” faster than alkaline cake batters. The recipe I used called for natural cocoa powder, and I expected there to be vast differences amongst the cakes since the two types of cocoas are not generally considered interchangeable in baking. In fact, the cakes were generally similar in structure and texture, only the Holy Kakow™ being slightly more open and spongy. A natural cocoa powder, such as this, would work well in a red velvet cake in which an acidic profile is necessary for the cake’s chemical balance. It was the taste of the chocolate cakes that truly distinguished one cocoa powder from the other. In my opinion, the Pernigotti™ cocoa powder was the clear winner. The cake made with this powder had a rich, rounded chocolate flavor that filled the entire mouth. Not only was the flavor lovely, but this cake had a beautiful dark chocolate color and moist, fudgy quality to it. In second place was the Sharffen Berger™ cocoa powder cake. This was a distinctly different cake, but it was still quite pleasant. The cake made from this cocoa reminded me of milk chocolate or hot cocoa; the kind of cake a child would adore. At nearly $27 per pound (the most expensive of the cocoa powders), I don’t know that I would make my three-year-old a cake with this cocoa powder, but if someone else were paying for it this would be my choice for a mild chocolate cake. At less than one-quarter the price of the Scharffen Berger™, the Hershey’s® Natural Cocoa yielded a cake with a similarly nice mild flavor, yet it lacked some of the depth of the Scharffen Berger™ cocoa powder. The Valrhona® cocoa, highly touted by some, resulted in a cake that seemed very fruity and one-dimensional to me, hitting the high notes but not the fullness of the chocolate bouquet. The cakes made from the Holy Kakow™ and Dagoba® cocoas were entirely flat and bland, while the Frontier™ tasted of baking soda, and the Saco®powder cake had an awful chemical taste to it. I was surprised by the dramatic differences among the cocoa powders and what variation in flavor they produced in the resulting cakes. It was also interesting to observe that a recipe developed for one type of cocoa (natural in this case) could also produce a wonderful cake using another style of cocoa. Both natural and dutched cocoas resulted in cakes that were well structured, textured, and delicious. It seems that it was the quality of the cocoa, be it natural or ditched, that resulted in a cake that was both flavorful and aromatic, and it’s interesting that you can vary the chocolate profile of a cake by switching cocoa styles. With great versatility in chemistry and flavor available in cocoa powders, there is an entire world of chocolate wonderfulness to be explored. May you too be inspired to evaluate new brands and styles of cocoa in order to find the ones that are right for you.

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Living with a Cake Maker

By an anonymous husband


e took a wedding cake to Los Angeles this month. It was our first destination cake, the first time flying with a cake, and the first time I’ve ever been panic stricken at 10,000 feet. Flying is flat out scary these days, and for some reason, every time I go into an airport I’m all but strip searched for something illegal. Needless to say, I was worried when we rolled into an airport with a three-tiered cake and decorations in two unmarked cardboard boxes. We’d known about the cake for over a year, and I’d been dreading this day because my wife had no intention of making the cake in Los Angeles. I pleaded with her to make this occasion easier on us and bake the cake there a day or two before the wedding. I tried bribing her with new tools and offered to give her a fancy, cake maker’s shopping spree. She didn’t budge, because she’s an artist and her kitchen is where she is most comfortable. My wife was completely set on making the cake in our hometown, and then we were going to fly with the cake as our carry on. Usually, the husband of a cake maker would be


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panic stricken for an hour or two on the day when a wedding cake is delivered, but with a destination cake, it’s a full day of ridiculousness. Fishing the cake out of my wife’s kitchen was a breeze, and the cake looked great. She had two boxes set up for the cake to be transported, and luckily it was a smooth ride all the way to the airport. When we checked in at the ticket counter, the attendant didn’t ask about the cake, and we didn’t draw any attention to it. It was almost too easy. We checked our bags, and then I saw the army men, in green uniforms, holding assault rifles. “What’s in the boxes?” asked the officer checking the identification cards. My wife told him it was cake, and we slipped passed the second checkpoint no problem. The army men started to stare at us as we neared the x-ray machines and the metal detectors. We took off our shoes, and as I properly walked through the metal detector, I was pulled aside with the cake. My wife tried to step in and speak for me because I was basically inaudible from fear. I opened up the box, they saw it was cake, and they let us through no problem. They didn’t need

a sample of the cake, and they didn’t make us eat a slice of it to see if it was poison. We got to the gate, and people everywhere were watching my wife and me with our suspicious, unmarked boxes. Our flight was called over the loud speaker, and we waited with our boxes as the first class flyers took their seats. We walked onto the plane and strolled past the first class flyers. The first class flyers’ faces were priceless; they looked very disappointed because they paid an extra $100 to have a relaxing flight and not a flight where they would be looking over their shoulders the entire time, wondering what was in the mysterious boxes. I started to relax after we got into the air and took a peek at the cakes, and the cakes and decorations were in one piece. We got the cakes off the plane and to the wedding, and everything went better than expected. The wedding was a blast, it was Mexican-themed and the festivities and food were some of the finest we’ve experienced as wedding attending connoisseurs. We danced a little, we played a little, and everyone at the wedding loved the cake.

cake makers ALABAMA


Couture Cakes Hunstville, AL pg. 54, 55

Carol Lowe Auburn Hills, MI pg. 87


Create a Cake Kimball, MI pg. 98, 99

Bon Bon Huntington Beach, CA pg. 90, 91 Calico Cake Shop Bueno Park, CA

Sweet Nothings Lincoln Park, MI sweetnothingsfinecakesanddesserts. com pg. 63

Crazy Cake Company Davis, CA pg. 132

Sugar Delites Manistee, MI pg. 137

Helen Swarts Bakersfield, CA pg. 138


Lulu’s Sweet Art San Diego, CA pg. 60, 61 Patisserie Angelica Sebastopol, CA pg. 139 Seon Young Jeong Los Angeles, CA pg. 58, 59 COLORADO

Cathy Stone Dolores, CO pg. 102 FLORIDA

Bake Me a Cake Orlando, FL pg. 104,105,145-147 GEORGIA

Highland Bakery Atlanta, GA pg. 56, 57 INDIANA

A Couple of Sweet Things Indianapolis, IN pg. 80 KANSAS

Roberta Graham Harper, KS pg. 76, 77 Sugar Creations Savonburg, KS pg. 103 LOUISIANA

Elizabeth Dickson Bossier City, LA pg. 72, 73 MASSACHUSETS

Michelle Goldberg Newton, MA pg. 22, 23

Christina Meisner Bloomington, MN pg. 93 MISSOURI

Carter Holton Kansas City, MO pg. 84, 85 Edith Hall Hallsville, MO pg. 78, 79 Rachel Snider Halfway, MO pg. 100 NEVADA

Flora Agha Babyan Las Vegas, NV pg. 50 - 53 Jene Nato (Rylan Ty) Las Vegas, NV pg. 20, 21, 112 NEW HAMPSHIRE

Jacques Fine European Pastries Suncook, NH pg. 25, 26, 134,135 NEW Jersey

Anne Heap pg. 115 - 120 NEW MEXICO

ABC Cakeshop Albuquerque, MN pg. 29, 30 Cakes by Design Farmington, NM pg. 82, 83 Treehouse Pastry Shop Santa Fe, NM pg. 31

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Connie Ditommaso Poughkeepsie, NY pg. 70, 71

3 Brothers Bakery Houston, TX pg. 62

Michael Guasta West Babylon, NY pg. 69 Ron Ben - Israel Cakes New York, NY pg. 131 OKLAHOMA

Are you charging enough for your cakes?

Gypsy Cakes Edible Art Boutique Edmond, OK pg. 101 Richard Parker Edmond, OK pg. 94 Robin Vanhoozer Newcastle, OK pg. 107 Wedding Cakes by Kim Payne Cheyenne, OK pg. 95 PENNSYLVANIA

The Couture Cakery Camp Hill, PA pg. 17, 18 RHODE ISLAND

Sin Desserts Providence, RI pg. 133, 136

Alice Cosani Sugar Land, TX pg. 68 Cakes by Gina Houston, TX pg. 64, 65, 106 Cake Craft Shoppe Sugar Land, TX pg. 66, 67 Dawn Parrot Houston, TX pg. 96, 97 Frosted Art Dallas, TX pg. 86 Kelli Watkins Murphy, TX pg. 108 Luckey Cakes Fort Worth, TX pg. 88, 89 Out of this World Cakes Spring, TX pg. 92 WASHINGTON

Lucinda Larson Maple Valley, WA pg. 41- 44 The People’s Cake Seattle, WA pg. 24 WISCONSON

Hidden Cafe Mukwonago, WI pg. 81 INTERNATIONAL

Branka Jovanovic Serbia pg. 109, 110

Essential software for your cake business. calculate costs | save recipes shopping lists | record expenses invoicing | and so much more!

Mindy Garcia Ontario, Canada pg. 74, 75 Tessa Uitvlugt Veendam, Netherlands pg. 19

supply shops CALIFORNIA

Calico Cake Shop 7321 Orangethorpe Avenue Buena Park, CA Supplies, Classes Creative Cakes and More 4930 E Ashlan Avenue, Suite 107 Fresno, CA Supplies, Classes NY Cake West 10665 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio 277 South Rancho Santa Fe Road San Marcos, CA Supplies, Classes Spun Sugar 1611 University Avenue Berkeley, CA Supplies, Classes GEORGIA

International Sugar Art Collection 6060 McDonough Drive, Suite F Norcross, GA Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes INDIANA

Country Kitchen Sweet Art 4621 Speedway Drive Fort Wayne, IN Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes MASSACHUSETTS

Pisky Pixie Cakecrafts 25 Blackpoint Road Webster, MA Supplies, Instructional materials NEW YORK  

Global Sugar Art 28 Plattsburgh Plaza Plattsburg, NY Supplies, Instructional materials Kerekes Bakery and Restaurant Equipment 6103 15th Avenue Brooklyn, NY Supplies, Instructional materials NY Cake & Baking Distributor 56 West 22nd Street New York, NY Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes NEW JERSEY

Sweet N’ Fancy Emporium 1 South Avenue East Cranford, NJ Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes TEXAS

Cake Carousel  1002 North Central Expressway Richardson, TX Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes

Cake Craft Shoppe 3530 Highway 6 Sugar Land, TX Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Elizabeth’s Cake Supplies 112 South Ector Drive Euless, TX Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes VIRGINIA

Icing Images, LLC 161Properity Drive, Suite 106 Winchester, VA Supplies CANADA

Flour Confections 1750 Plummer St., Unit 19 Pickering, ON Canada Supplies, Instructional DVDs, Classes Geraldine’s Creative Cutters 561 Edward Avenue, Unit 2 Richmond Hill, ON Canada Supplies, Classes, Tutorials Online Retail:

Beryl’s Cake Decorating and Pastry Supplies Supplies, Instructional materials CakeBoss Supplies, Tutorials Cake Carousel Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Cake Craft Shoppe Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Country Kitchen Sweet Art Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Designer Stencils Supplies, Tutorials Geraldine’s Creative Cutters Supplies, Classes, Tutorials Global Sugar Art Supplies, Instructional materials Icing Images Supplies International Sugar Art Collection Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Kerekes Bakery and Restaurant Equipment Supplies, Instructional materials NY Cake & Baking Distributor Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes Spun Sugar Supplies, Classes Sweet N’ Fancy Emporium Supplies, Instructional materials, Classes

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Marvelous Molds “Ruth” Mold — Cake Central Mug — Americolor Gourmet Writer —  Polymer Clay Express 1” Barrel Food Extruder — Make Your Own Molds Starter Ki — Subscription to Cake Central Magazine —  White Marble Pastry Board — Icing Images Gold Label Printing System — Agbay — Airbrush System — Infared Pistol Grip Thermometer — Buttercream Orchids Tutorial

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Cake Central Magazine is published monthly by Cake Central Media Corp., 1145 Broadway Suite 1010, Tacoma, WA 98402 U.S.A. Subscriptions: 12 issues per year, $60.00US, Canada: $110.00US (includes GST and HST where applicable), foreign: $110.00US. Allow up to 8 weeks for delivery. Application to mail at periodicals postage prices is pending at Tacoma, WA 98402. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cake Central Magazine, 1145 Broadway Suite 1010, Tacoma, WA 98402 U.S.A. Volume 1, Issue 7 printed in the U.S.A.

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