Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tea For Me Too . . . Cake!


A while back, I made some edible tea cups from ice cream conesI wanted to do something special with them. More than just use them as they were. Don't get me wrong. I'm not fickle. I still love them all by themselves on their little chocolate saucers. Very much.


But they seemed to be calling out for something more. When I saw this photo, I knew this was what they were born for.


I'd spied this adorable, "Tea For Me Too" tea set while browsing online several weeks before I ever finished all the teacups.


The colors of my cups were already dictated by the colors of Candy Melts since I'd made the saucers first.


And the handles to match. I didn't think it was too far of a stretch to use them with the dreamy watercolor art in this lovely set. When I finally completed the cups, I went back online to find the source of the photo. Ever do that? Find something and not pay attention to the source?


After some searching, I discovered it was from a company that I already knew and loved for their gorgeous cake pedestals. Small world.

I'm even lucky enough to own their three mini pedestals thanks to my generous sister-in-law. (She knows me and my love of cupcakes well! Thanks again TS!) Just days before, I had been lusting over & fondling admiring some of their collections on display in one of my favorite stores ever, Molbak'sTS also introduced me to Molbak's. BIG mistake. Or just a happy accident? Ask my banker.

Looking back, it seems like the stars were aligning themselves. If you believe in that sort of thing. Or fairy dust. Which, by the way, adds a nice sparkle to the piping gel tea. In grown-up terms it's called luster dust.

Although I was familiar with some of their products, I was happy to learn that Rosanna is located in nearby Seattle. Seemed like a very wise idea to try and get permission to use the art before going any further. Even as I pressed the "send" button, my heart was sinking and I was thinking that the cake would remain just a dream. I fully expected a stock reply with words to the effect of, "No, thank you." And, "Please see our legal department."

just a little of Rosanna's fame . . .

I also hadn't taken time to read all about the company yet.  Or I may have been too intimidated to even ask in the first place. I only knew that they sold my beloved pedestals and the tea set.

My goodness! They're huge! And famous! And in some very high end stores! After learning this, I was quite certain that the cake idea  was doomed before it ever began.

Even the top of the box is precious!

So, you could have knocked me over with a feather when later that same day, I received a reply giving me permission to use the art! Along with some splendid compliments on my teacup creations. I was (and am) elated.

I'd attached a photo of my edible teacups so they could see exactly what I had in mind. Chris Winn, Public Relations & Media Coordinator has been SO very far above and beyond nice with everything. Rosanna is lucky to have you representing her Chris! Thank you so very much for all the kind words and for putting my idea in front of Rosanna. And thank you Rosanna for letting me recreate the beautiful packaging on your tea set in cake! And frosting. And all things sweet.

Update: Thank you Rosanna for your generous compliments and mention in your blogFood artist? I'm speechless.

I'm still in awe and in need of a good pinching. Her style is incredible. And her taste is impeccable. And she let allowed me to copy one of her lovely designs in cake!

Please read all about Rosanna and her company hereAnd for heavens sake, go out and get another pedestal already! A girl can never have too many!

I've got my eye on the small white one.
Perfect size for a future project in the works.

Oh . . . and these black ones!

And squares. I love squares. And tall and skinny with red velvet cake. . . ahhhhh. Easy to see how you could accumulate a rather large small collection with all of these delicious choices.


Meanwhile, back from my imaginary shopping trip . . . 
The cake is covered in fondant with edible images. And of course the edible teacups from ice cream cones with chocolate saucers on top. The tutorial for making them can be found here.

The teapot is molded from Candy Melts with a gumpaste handle. I rubbed the shiny finish down to coordinate with the rest of the set. The scalloped lace trim was hand cut from frosting sheets and had the tiniest holes along each scallop. Details, details!


This top view without the cups and teapot shows all the artwork hidden beneath the cups and saucers. And the cute logo. I also included a couple of special touches of my own. If you're going to play tea time, you might as well live it up!


Labels on the bottom of the cups and saucers. Just like the really fancy stuff.


And an edible tea bag made from wafer paper and filled with tea colored sugar crystals. Rosanna Sweet Tea Brand.


Sugar and spice and everything nice.

That's what Rosanna Bowles is made of.

Thanks for taking some time out for tea!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teacups from Ice Cream Cones

I've had this idea in my head and on my list
of experiments to try for several years now.
The story of my life is to discover what I thought
was my very own original idea 
already done by someone else.
Oh, the joys and horrors of Internet
access to the rest of the world.
Edible Teacups by Cindy Littlefield for Disney Family
A few weeks ago, while on the hunt for some other ice cream
cone cups, my sweet new friend from Holland sent me this photo.
These weren't exactly the same idea as the one in my head
but close enough to get me off my backside and into
the kitchen to make my version.
Before someone makes that too.
I had shoved it to the back of the to-do list since most
of the little girls I know that play tea party are growing up
WAY too fast and may have reached an age
where they stop playing make believe.
I'm so VERY HAPPY to report that at least one of them is STILL
playing tea party and has no intention of stopping anytime soon!
Thanks for restoring my faith in never-ending childhood, Allison.
These will be great for your next party!

I tried several methods of covering the cones before
I landed on what I hope will work for all of you.
Among the many failures:
a thin layer of fondant, a double layer of white chocolate
to cover the tan showing through, and frosting sheets.
I also tried baking the cake batter inside the cones before coating them.
Unfortunately the cones became too soggy. And on and on.
You get the idea. I've been at it for a bit.

Here's one of the methods that finally worked for me.
Hope you'll give them a try sometime and let me know how these
turn out for you in your kitchen in your little corner of the world.
And send photos with links!
I'd love to hear how your experiment went!

At least two future posts will also be all about teacups.
I found a great new trick to coat them with chocolate.
Right after I'd perfected this one.
Wouldn't you know it?
A bit more expensive but much quicker and easier.

EVEN BETTER, in the very near future,
you can see the cake I created with these fun colored tea cups.
I'm so excited to finish it up and share it with all of you!
Did I mention that it has a tiny edible tea bag?
With tiny little "tea leaves" of sugar inside?
Be sure to check back soon!!!

Tea Cups from Ice Cream Cones
Makes about 10

Microwave oven
Microwave safe bowl(s) for Candy Melts, one per color
Small bowl(s) for painting, one per color
Grease free mixing bowl & beaters
Mixer for royal icing
Serrated knife
Sharp craft scissors
Small offset spatula or butter knife
Paper towels
Rolling pin
Pizza cutter
Potato peeler or large knife
Artist's paint brushes
Small parchment or waxed paper squares
Disposable piping bags or freezer storage bags


1/8 c Gumpaste OR 1/8 c fondant plus 1/4 t Gum Tragacanth (+/- 20 cup handles)
Powdered sugar for rolling
Oreo truffle OR cake pop filling from Bakerella OR Rice Crispy Treats
14 oz Candy Melts OR white almond bark coating
Oil based candy colors if desired
1/3 bar household paraffin waxed, shaved
10 Keebler Ice Cream Cones plus extras for breakage
5 Kroeger Vanilla or Lemon Sandwich cookies plus extras for breakage
Piping gel tinted w/brown food coloring or pre-colored by Wilton
AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Colors
White White Icing Color by Wilton
1/2 recipe of royal icing mixed per recipe then thinned

Mold for scalloped plate (by Life of the Party: Teacup set #D-78)
OR large scalloped cookie for saucer
Freezer to speed up setting
Heat or Halogen lamp to speed up drying
Large marshmallows & extra Candy Melts for alternate filling

Not all Candy Melt packages contain 14 oz, especially the seasonal colors. Adjust as needed. Or not.
Exact measurements for the candy/wax proportions aren't critical when thinning the coating so adjust to your preference. 14 oz makes about 10 saucers with enough left to join pieces.

Gulf or Parawax brands of paraffin can be found in the canning section of most stores and contain 4 bars per package.

If the thought of thinning the Candy Melts with wax is unacceptable to you, you can get more info on thinning options here. Bakerella recommends Paramount Crystals but some other options are to add shortening or oil. I'm not sure how these would work, but please let me know if these alternatives worked better for you.

Substitute any shortbread type cookie for the Kroeger brand if it's unavailable. Size: 1 7/8" diameter x 1/4" thick with a scalloped edge.
These art brushes came in a set available at Michaels and are dedicated to kitchen use. They have a no slip grip and I like the white bristles for cleaning. It's much easier to see what's clean on all white. A little bleach removes any stubborn color & sanitizes them in the process.

The icing "paint" should be slightly thinner than white school glue. Not much water is needed to get the proper consistency. Color Flow didn't provide the sheen I'd hoped for. Most likely because it was brushed on rather than applied as directed. Royal icing provided the same effect as the Color Flow for this project. Be sure to keep your icing covered with plastic wrap as it will thicken and start to develop a skin if exposed to the air for too long.

Both royal icing and Color Flow contain eggs. If you need an egg-free color you can try the canned food coloring sprays from Wilton. Petal dusts and shading with thinned food colors may also work for you. These methods won't look the same as royal icing but you'll have some color nonetheless.

To save time and money I tried painting without the royal icing and just used Wilton's White White Icing Color tinted with AmeriColor gels. The cones never dried completely over 2 days so this method isn't recommended.

1)   Print out the template above to 8.5 x 11 paper & use to form scroll cup handles. Tape template to cookie sheet then tape plastic wrap on top. Let scrolls dry before moving.

2)   Knead Gum Tragacanth into fondant after tinting with color of choice OR use gumpaste. You can also leave the scrolls white and paint them later. This is what I did since I couldn't choose between all the pretty colors at first and wanted to keep my options open. Just be sure to allow some extra drying time after painting.
Pre-coloring the dough would've been easier.

3)   Roll out the dough to about 1/8" thickness and cut into strips 3" long  by 1/4" wide using pizza cutter. Form strips into scroll or curly C shape per template and allow to dry on their side. Make extras for breakage. Set aside overnight to dry. If you're in a hurry, you can also pipe scrolls from Candy Melts.

4)   Shave or grate paraffin wax into small pieces with potato peeler or large knife for quicker melting. OR use an alternate method of your choice to thin the Candy Melts.

5)   Mix shaved paraffin bits or other thinner of choice with Candy Melts or almond bark in a microwave safe bowl. Melt in microwave per manufacturer's directions.

Note: I start with 2 minutes at 50% power. Stir. Microwave 1 minute at 50%. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute at 50%. You just want to make sure that all the wax has melted and that the coating is smooth. You may have to reheat as you go in 1 minute intervals at 50%.

6)   Fill scalloped plate mold and tap to remove air bubbles. Chill in freezer for a few minutes then unmold. Slightly warm the mold before you refill it if it's still really cold from the freezer. Repeat for as many cups as needed OR use large scalloped cookie of choice.

Note: You can lighten the stock colors of Candy Melts by adding a few white discs or mix up the colored discs to create your own shades. Adding oil based candy colors to white almond bark is another option.

7)   Sort and examine cones for large chips or breakage at the top rim, lower ridge and seam areas. Trim any excess bits from these areas as well as from the bottom of the cone so that it will sit level on the counter when drying. Be sure to do all the trimming and clean up the crumbs well away from any melted coating so that it remains crumb-free.

Some chipped areas can be salvaged by patching with royal icing before it's been thinned but an extra drying time is required before painting.

Another rescue maneuver for chipped areas is to trim the rim with your scissors at an angle to create a beveled edge. The amount of time you spend on this step may depend on your "customer" or recipient. Is a 3-year-old going to notice perfection? If not, don't kill yourself on the details. If the cones are too crushed, they can always be used as "Chip" from "Beauty and the Beast" or here's a wild idea,
fill them with ice cream!

I use Cutter Bee brand scissors by EK for trimming and dedicate them to food use only.

8)   Lay cone on it's side. Using a serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, trim the bottom or handle portion of the cone away just past the lower ridge line. Be sure to keep the knife perpendicular to the cone for a straight cut. The first cut around the perimeter should be more of a score with the second pass cutting the rest of the way through.

First round of sawing/cutting.
The knife can be slightly deeper into the surface of the cone
than shown above but not as deep as the next photo.

Second pass with knife a bit deeper into the cone.

The markings here show the approximate length of each cut before turning.

Turn the cone a little after each cut, about 8 turns in all, working
around the perimeter of the ridge rather than one cut straight down.
A paper towel both cushions the cone and catches the crumbs.
Simply shake off the towel and move on to the next cone.

Gently brush any crumbs from the trimmed cup (top of cone)  and handle (bottom of cone) parts and set aside.
Cone parts should be stored in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag until needed.

9)   Examine edges of cookies for any chips in the scallops and set the damaged ones aside for snacking. You deserve a break about now. Go ahead. And how about a cup of tea to go along with them? You can call it research if you're feeling guilty.
Okay. Rested. Now back to the project . . .

10)   Carefully pry the cookie halves apart with a butter knife and scrape the filling from the middles. Any remaining filling will act as a resist during painting but since this is the bottom, it's not that important. Brush any crumbs off and set aside. Store cookie halves in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag until needed.

11)   Make cake pop truffle filling of choice and refrigerate in covered bowl until needed.


1)   Set out an equal amount of cookie halves, cone bottoms (which will become the temporary handles) and cone cups.

2)   Reheat Candy Melts/paraffin mixture to smooth consistency.

Note: Use the same color for this step as your planned color for the outside of the cup. The edible paint won't stick to the cooled coating since it acts as a wax resist. Take care not to get it all over your hands and on to the cone at this point. Like I did. Don't do as I do. Do better.
3)   With an offset spatula or butter knife, apply a small amount of melted coating to the bottom most edge of the cup. 

Note: You can also pipe the coating on if you'd rather. A plastic disposable piping bag is handy for melting and piping a small amount.

4)   Attach the bottom edge of the cup to the cookie with the embossed design on the cookie facing up. Use the outermost points of the triangles in the cookie's embossed design as guides to center the cookie on the cup. Gently but firmly press the cup to the cookie and hold in place for a few seconds with the palm of your hand. Be careful not to crush the rim.

5)   Spoon about 2 teaspoons of melted candy melts into cavity of cup and slide or wiggle from side to side while keeping cookie bottom on a smooth level surface. This should flatten and even out the coating. The extra coating is needed to keep the joint secure and hold the cookie base to the cup.
6)   Spread a small amount of melted coating to the outside bottom of the cone near the cut edge. Place the temporary handle piece of the cone upside down in the cavity making sure it is somewhat level. This temporary handle will be removed later but will give you something to hold onto during the painting step without smudging the paint. Set aside to harden or hasten by placing in freezer for a few minutes.


1)   Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of royal icing into a small bowl. This is enough to paint about 4 cups and handles so adjust this amount depending on how many colors you plan to use. Add a couple of drops of water at a time and stir until the icing is slightly thinner than white school glue. Start by adding a couple of drops of AmeriColor Gel Paste in desired shade and mix thoroughly. Add more color until proper shade is reached. The color will change as it dries so, if this matters, do a test first. Colors can be lightened by adding a bit of white royal icing or some White White Icing Color from Wilton.


Note: To coordinate with the Candy Melt stock colors, I used colors from the AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Student Colors Kit. Wilton's White White Icing color was also added. Most icings deepen in color as they dry & this is no exception so adjust accordingly.

Orange - Add a drop or two of fuchsia to orange
Pink - Add a drop of orange to deep pink
Green - Leaf green & lemon yellow, drop of chocolate brown
Purple - Violet & fuchsia
Blue - Sky blue
Yellow - Lemon yellow & orange

2)  Holding the cup by the temporary handle, paint a thin coat of color onto the cup with an artist brush. Be sure to get inside all the crevices of the embossed cookie and under the rims. Paint the bottom of the cup or cookie last if desired or leave unpainted. You may want to paint just inside the cup a bit for a more finished look. Invert cone to bottom edge of handle to dry.

Note: You may want to paint the rim and slightly down inside the cup first with the cup sitting on the counter. A little extra paint on the edge helps hide any imperfections. Cones and cookies are porous, so you may want to give the cups a quick touch up after the first coat has dried if time allows.

Inverting the painted cup while it's wet can be a bit tricky. If you don't care what the bottom of the cup looks like, you can omit this step. The paint brush can be used to steady the bottom during flipping maneuver as you slide your fingers out to stand it up.

I couldn't resist the temptation to add one more little detail.

Edible image. Fine "Cone" China. Get it? Sorry. HAD to do it.

A small square of parchment or waxed paper can be used to place the wet cups on for drying. This is handy for sliding them around just in case you need more counter space and don't want to smudge your paint job. Pre-cut squares are sold as patty paper for burgers in Smart & Final or Cash 'n Carry and are quite reasonable in price.

1)   Carefully remove the temporary cone handle from the dry cup by gently wiggling it back and forth or loosen it with a thin bladed knife. These can later be filled with ice cream or truffle filling then dipped as cake pop mini cones.

2)   Check the placement and direction of the scroll on the gumpaste handle before applying the coating. Your working time is short here since the small amount of coating sets up rather quickly. The side seam is a great place to attach it and will act as a perpendicular guide.


3)   Dip the very edges of the dried scroll into the melted coating where they will meet the cup. Gently press and hold the handle against the cup until slightly hardened. Set cup aside to harden completely. If you need to adjust the handle once it's been attached, carefully pry it loose, scrape off any extra coating & try again.
Ask me how I know . . .

4)   Fill center cavity of cup with cake pop truffle filling or filling of choice.
Note: A large marshmallow with a bit trimmed off one end also works great. Glue the marshmallow inside by sticking a dab of melted coating on the cut end. This keeps it from floating up. Fill the rest of the cup with melted coating, swirling it around to cover right up to the rim. Tap gently to remove air bubbles and smooth the coating.

5)   Smooth the top surface and apply a thin coat of melted Candy Melts. The disposable piping bags come in handy here. An accent color can be used to make it look like the cup is a different color inside. Be sure not to fill the cup to the rim, leaving space for the piping gel "tea."

6)   Tint piping gel a light brown or use pre-colored piping gel from Wilton. Carefully spoon or pipe just enough gel inside the cup to cover the surface. Swirl slightly. Gel can be thinned with a small amount of water or light corn syrup if needed.

7)   Set the cup on top of the molded scalloped plate or use scalloped shaped cookie dipped in melted coating. This can be secured with more melted coating if desired. When picking the cup up, be sure to grab it by the plate rather than the cup handle. They are fragile and will most likely break off.

Thanks for stopping by and trying out my 1st tutorial.
And don't forget to check back soon for a fun way to incorporate these into a charming cake!


Meanwhile, have fun playing tea party!

Bottoms Up!