Impressionism with Royal Icing

supplies to paint with royal icing cakeNext up in my attempt at recreating famous works of art with various cake supplies: Monet’s “Sunset in Venice.” Which reminds me- who’s with me for a trip to Venice? The only place I’ve ever had an attempted pickpocketing take place- and it was by an American. I mean, come on. Luckily the bag was twisted around my wrist so the grab only succeeded in nearly dislocating my shoulder. Apparently the thief did not know of my special shoulders that can dislocate at a moment’s notice. If he’d asked, I would have demonstrated how I can play the piano backwards.

In this series so far, I have used buttercream, modeling chocolate, fruit, and candy. In an effort to use as many different types of cake decorating techniques as possible, I now turn to royal icing. (Royal icing is that type of icing that is usually on cut-out cookies. It dries hard and shiny.) Since royal icing dries incredibly fast, I knew that blending was out of the question, so I needed an art technique that was more… dabby. And so it happened that I fell again to Monet, again to Impressionism- but what can I say! It’s a nice era and lends itself to sugar! 🙂

Once the cake was covered in fondant, I separated the royal icing into several small bowls and tinted them various colors. Once a dab of color was painted on, it was dry within 15 seconds, which caused a bit of a conundrum. Not only was the cake itself drying rapidly and with little time for blending, but the icing in the bowls themselves was hardening. One way to help stop this is to keep a wet paper towel across the rim of the bowl- it slows down the drying. But you’ll need to keep moistening the paper towel. 🙂

After that, it’s time to paint! Here are the “in progress” photos:

in progress sunset royal icing painting cake 1in progress sunset royal icing painting cake 2in progress sunset royal icing painting cake 3  And here is the final product, with a nice lovely frame to make it look like a real painting!

painted sunset cake royal icingI am running out of ideas for techniques! I have a plan for a fondant cake, and that is it. Please leave a note in the comments below if you can think of a different decorating idea. And a different artist. 🙂 I’m missing the 1600s-1700s completely, and can’t even fathom a decorating technique that would allow me to create such realistic figures. HELP!!!

Dessert Sushi

Fintraditional costa rican foodally, a type of sushi that I love! I created this sushi for my college friends’ annual summer get-together. We take turns planning it each year and I was in charge this summer. I decided to go with a global theme, and so each meal was representative of a different part of the world. My favorite meal was the Costa Rican breakfast- yum!!

I know this is a dessert blog, but dang, these Costa Rican foods are delicious! The main dish, gallo pinto, is rice and beans. We also made patacones (plantains filled with refried black beans and white cheese and then fried). Add some eggs, typical Tico fruits (pineapple, mango, and papaya), some coffee, and a fresh fruit smoothie, and you have a meal fit for a king!costa rican chorreador We even used a chorreador (at right) to make the coffee- and both the coffee and the chorreador were purchased in CR. This typical method of brewing just means that you place the grounds in the bolsita, put a cup underneath (don’t forget that part, like I did my first time!), and then pour boiling water over the grounds. This eliminates the need for paper filters, and the accumulated coffee grounds that collect in the bolsita add a richness and flavor. ¡Qué rico!

But I digress.

In an attempt to create a dessert in keeping with our global theme, I decided to try to make dessert sushi. After a long time oogling real sushi photos on the internet (now THERE are some real artists! Wow!), I chose a few types that lent themselves fairly easily to recreation with sugar. 🙂

The process is fairly simple. I cooked a pan of brownies and used a small circle cookie cutter to make the rolls. (I wanted something dark and smooth to mimic the look of the seaweed wrapping.) Then I used white sprinkles and pressed them in to the top in an effort to recreate rice. For one roll, I chose strawberries and kiwi to dice up and put amidst the rice to act as avocado and fish. The other is topped with pomegranate seeds (to mimic fish eggs). For the tuna in the middle, I molded rice krispies and topped each one with a slice of peeled plum. Yum!

dessert sushi