The Art of Sugarcraft reprint

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Summer is here and I hope you are all enjoying some warm, lovely weather. More of us will be taking time off work and spending time at home, hopefully indulging in some sugarcraft. So I think this is the perfect time to remind you that the reprint of The Art of Sugarcraft is here!

The first print run reached number 1 in the amazon.co.uk cake decorating bestseller list just three weeks after going on sale and sold quickly, so more copies are available now.

As I am one of the tutors who contributed to the book, you’ll be able to see my Tuberose Cake with step-by-step instructions for all the techniques used for both the flowers and the cake. If you are looking for a cake to celebrate a summer wedding or anniversary, this could be the one you’ve been searching for. In addition, with this fantastic book you could hone your skills in royal icing, sugar-flower making, modeling, and the art of baking and chocolate. This book truly is a cake decorator’s/baker’s dream and the perfect companion for some sugarcraft fun on your long, lazy summer days!

Of Tuberoses, books and romantic cakes

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I couldn’t be more excited about the news I am going to share. Today is the launch day of the long-awaited book The Art of Sugarcraft (Amazon UKAmazon US), published by B.Dutton Publishing Ltd, which I had the great pleasure to contribute to.

Joining several first-class names of the industry to create this huge sugarcraft “bible” was an honour, and I was very flattered that my tuberose flowers were among the few images chosen for the press release as well as for other advertising of the book.

The Art of Sugarcraft AI Sheet

When B. Dutton Publishing contacted me for this project I was over the moon, they asked me to create sugar flowers that could pair well with a wedding cake.

My credo – when it comes to sugar flowers and sugarcraft – is all about neat style; I like to believe that if my cakes were poems they’d be haiku rather than baroque.

I immediately decided that I wanted something a bit different from typical wedding cakes, too often congested with a miscellany of different flowers.

I’d rather stick to a single variety and make it the leading character.

So I turned to Tuberoses.

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Undoubtedly romantic in appearance, their luscious white petals, so pleasingly rich, would be ideal for my purpose. The only thing I regretted about the sugar version was the lack of a real flower’s scent. The two-tiered cake on which the flowers are displayed is covered in two different shades of the tenderest green to provide a soft counterpoint.

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As usual, I took care of the photography as well. Photographing my sugar flowers provides the perfect finale to all my projects, big and small. It closes my creative circle.

Developing this project has been an utter joy and I hope it will inspire readers to have fun making sugar flowers and beautiful cakes and to unleash their creative potential.

I wish to thank Jennifer Kelly and Frankie New at B.Dutton Publishing. Thank you so much for your support.

Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to be present for the book launch at Squires Kitchen’s annual exhibition today. But I do hope you’ll be able to have a look at the book which is packed with information and ideas and is the ultimate text for both beginners and experienced cake decorators who wish to hone their skills and dive in 520 pages of pure sugarcraft fun!

Gumpaste Holly Tutorial

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December is a busy yet lovely time of the year here at Sugargarden. This year, among sugar flower projects and new cake designs I managed to create this easy tutorial for one of the most classic of Christmas decorations: the Holly.

You can make a few now and store them in a cardboard box until needed.

Use the lovely little sprays to decorate mini-cakes or cupcakes (please be advised that wired floral decorations are not designed to be eaten, due to the presence of inedible elements like wire and floristry tape) or add a tag and use them as place holders or Christmas table decorations.

Elegant and understated, holly is so easy and fun to make in gumpaste, I never get tired of it. I hope you will enjoy making holly berries and leaves as much as I do. So, if you are in the mood for an easy but rewarding DIY project this Christmas just check out this tutorial and have fun!

I wish you all my best and a really Merry & sweet Christmas time.

Susanna x

tutorial

[Click on the picture for a larger view]

Equipment:
• Non-stick board
• Foam pad
• Rolling pin
• Ball tool
• Edible glue
• Cornflour
• White vegetable fat
• Wire cutters
• Pliers
• Green floral tape
• Half strength Confectioner’s Glaze / Edible varnish
• Clear alcohol
• Flat brushes for dusting

Holly Berries:
• White gumpaste
• 33 gauge green wire 
• Dust food colours – poinsettia, ruby red, blackberry

Holly Leaves:


• Pale green gumpaste
• 28 gauge green wire
• Leaf veiner or dresden tool to mark veins onto the leaves
• Holly leaf cutters
• Dust food colours – holly and foliage green

For the leaves:

Work some Pale green gumpaste and roll out on a lightly greased board, leaving a ridge for the wire.
Cut a leaf with the holly leaf cutter. Moisten a 28-gauge green floristry wire with edible glue and insert into the leaf. Soften the edges with a ball tool and shape. Let firm and colour with holly and foliage green.

For the berries:

Cut short lengths of 33-gauge wire, make a tiny hook at one end of each. Roll a tiny ball of Poinsettia SFP, about the size of a small pea. Lightly moisten the end of one wire with edible glue and insert in the middle of the ball, leaving the tip of the hook barely visible. Tinge the top of the hook with blackberry edible dust diluted with a drop of clear alcohol. Dust the berry with poinsettia and ruby dust food colours.

Dip leaves and berries in half-strength confectioners’ glaze, or spay with edible varnish. Let dry.

Assemble the leaves first and then the berries with mid-green floristry tape. Add a tiny ribbon at the base of the leaves if you wish.

Freehand Peony

Peony 1

A few months ago I worked on a new kind of peony. It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time but it seemed thetime was never right for this project. There was always something else, more important or urgent to do. Then, one day I found the time and inspiration to sit at my working table and began to give substance to what was in my mind.

My aim was to achieve something visually impressive but easy to make. Most of all, I wanted to shape it using my hands instead of cutters.

Peony 2

I’ve been making sugar flowers for quite a while now, and one of the things I favour is shaping blooms using as little equipment as possible, to make them really personal and unique.

I was extremely satisfied with the result. I knew from the moment I assembled the centre of the bloom that it matched exactly the picture i had in my mind. I was so happy that I grabbed my camera, shot a picture with the idea of sharing it on my blog.

Peony 4

Oddly enough, publishing the pictures of that flower after the photoshoot took almost as long as letting it out of my mind and into reality.

But in the end here it is, diligently photographed for you to enjoy and hopefully to provide inspiration. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Peony 3

Squires School Class July 2013

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This year I seem to be blessed with the opportunity to teach my beloved sugar flowers beyond the borders of Italy. After attending Squires Kitchen’s Exhibition in England and Expotarta in Spain, last July I had the pleasure to be invited to teach a two-day class at Squires Kitchen International School in Farnham, Surrey.

Besides being my first two-day class in the UK, the course scored other pleasant records. The one I cherish the most is having the youngest student ever, a lovely, talented 14 years-old girl named Helena. In spite of her young age, Helena has already attended several classes and acquired quite an impressive experience for her age. I really admired her professional and determined approach to the course. I was also delighted to learn that another student had flown right from Ireland to attend my class.

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The course was about one of my favourite combination of flowers: roses and hydrangeas. Well, I guess this might not be just a favourite of mine, since theclass sold-out pretty quickly!

Students worked hard and concentrated on techniques such as wiring petals and leaves, colouring each piece to obtain a rich, yet natural look and assembling their flowers to make them stand out.

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Many of the students had little and some none-at-all experience of sugar flowers making. All made great flowers (you can judge by the picture of the lovely arrangements) and sported big, pleased smiles at the end of the course (I think this shows in the pictures too!). I felt my mission was accomplished.

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Sometimes as I teach I tend to forget that I’m actually working, it is more like spending great time doing what I like the most, in company of lovely, like-minded people, sharing our love for the craft. This is literally how I felt about my class at SK’s school.

This relaxed feeling is highly supported by Squires Kitchen school environment. They provide the perfect conditions to learn in a professional, friendly atmosphere.