Category Archives: Cakes

Autumn’s Bounty

As Halloween’s witching hour grows closer, it’s time to pay homage to an icon of autumn: the pumpkin.

I’ve created this cake with a kaleidoscope of autumn colours in mind: fiery glowing leaves, purple grapes and golden-yellow Jerusalem artichoke flowers.

Jerusalem artichoke blooms in October with large flower heads and showy yellow petals that capture the vibrancy of autumn days. They make the crowning touch in this autumn arrangement.

This cake is my contribution to Cakes & Sugarcraft 118. Check out the magazine to find the step-by-step guide to recreating this project.

Le Torte di Toni – Backstage 2

Did you enjoy the tropical cake? Here’s some backstage pictures: as you can see, the cake was assembled on location. Click here for the 1st backstage of “Le torte di Toni – Masterclass”, Gambero Rosso Channel (Sky 411).

Picking the right ribbon is very important.

In this picture, Toni is wearing a Sugar Florist Paste frangipani lei. Frangipani are also part of the decoration on the cake.

Close-up on the floral arrangement.

Tropical Cake: chocolate plastique cover, sugar flowers: hibiscus and frangipani.

Wisteria Wedding Cake

A few months ago, I was asked by Squires Kitchen Publishing to submit an article for their magazine Cakes & Sugarcraft.

I’ve been a regular reader of C&S for a while and I love the beautiful projects and cakes featured in it.

I was very happy and pleased about this wonderful opportunity but a bit concerned also, because this was my first time at contributing a magazine with my work.

The whole process was very exciting, creating the flowers, writing the step-by-step instructions and taking pictures. I was quite pleased with the result and was very glad that the editor liked it too.

I really enjoyed every moment of this project and loved to have creative control – following the editor’s rules – over the different stages of it.

If you want to learn how to make a beautiful wisteria wedding cake have a look at Cakes & Sugarcraft Magazine issue 117, available from  Squires Shop

Le Torte di Toni – Backstage

Filming of the fourth season of “Le Torte di Toni” just ended.

For the new season, Toni invited a few Italian sugarcrafters to show their craft decorating a cake.

Various episodes will feature all sugarcraft specialties: royal icing, modeling and… sugar floristry!

I found Toni’s invitation flattering, but I was also a bit worried.

My previous experience was limited to this video, which took a whole afternoon to fim.

I got to the filming location one day before the actual filming, and I met the lovely guys from the troupe. They were a bit restless, not because of my arrival, but because it was past dinner time.

During dinner, the team’s cohesion was pretty evident, and everybody did their best to make me feel at home.

The following morning, during make-up, I realised I felt surrounded by friends. Filming was very funny, especially considerino a few “bloopers”.

I’d like to thank Toni, our lovely host, Stefano, the director, Mario, the audio engineer, camera operators Fulvio (macro) and Leo (tele), Sabrina, makeup, Sara and Federico, producers, for making me feel at home.

My heartfelt thanks to Elga from B&B Villa la Bianca.

Be our guest at “Le Torte di Toni” with Italian-style Master Classes!

This post was written March 18, but published following 1st aired episode.

SK Chocolate Ganache Mix Review

During my last trip to England, I had the chance to visit Squires Kitchen’s shop in Farnham. Squires Kitchen’s one of the most renown British manufacturers and sellers of cake decorating equipment and ingredients. Among their vast selection of products, I found some particularly interesting: SK Mixes. You basically just add water to obtain different baking essentials: ganache, marzipan, fondant. I bought those I found more intriguing for testing, and also cross-testing against their traditionally-made counterparts.

The first product I put to the test is SK Chocolate Ganache Mix, sold by Squires Kitchen’s Online Shop.

Place the mix into a microwave bowl, add the suggested amount (85ml) of cooled boiled water. At this point you might want to add a personal twist to your ganache: coffee essence, liquor or essential oils (but remember, the total amount of added liquids should not exceed 85ml).
Stir with a whisk, then place in the microwave at full power for a minute, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir once more, and your ganache is ready.
The ganache can be used warm as a fluid icing, or cooled at room temperature and put into the fridge for about 30 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Cooled ganache can be used for filling or icing cakes and cupcakes, for filling chocolates, making “Bûche de Noël” or banana skewers, one of my favourite treats!

Whipped Ganache
Alternatively, you can whip the ganache in the mixer: adding air to the mixture will make it lighter (in colour and consistency). I got good results whipping for 3/4 minutes at medium speed.
Whipped ganache is great for filling chocolates, and looks (and tastes) great piped on top of your cupcakes with a large star nozzle.

I filled and iced the two halves of the same vanilla cake: one with ganache made from scratch (cream and dark chocolate 50% cocoa, same quantity), one with SK Chocolate Ganache Mix.
Visually, the results are pretty similar: traditional ganache is just a shade darker and glossy, probably because of the type of chocolate I used.
Once the cake covered, SK Ganache dries faster. That’s especially useful if you’re planning to coat your cake with marzipan or sugar paste: you won’t have to wait as long!

Tasting wasn’t limited to myself: I got help from two trusted “testers”. They were given no indication and were asked to evaluate both cakes. The results are substantially equal, with a slight preference for traditional ganache texture by one of the tasters.

I believe SK Chocolate Ganache Mix is a great product: it scored on par with a ganache made from scratch. Preparation is even easier than traditional ganache. The main reason to use this mix is its convenience: the shelf life is incomparable to fresh cream (many months for the mix, a few days for fresh cream). You can keep a few packs in your pantry without worrying about expiry dates, and you’ll have an excellent ganache ready in no time with just a little of tap water.

Stocking up with SK Ganache Mix is a great idea: even if ganache is quite easy to make, it is also easy not to have fresh cream readily available. In all those cases, the mix comes to your rescue. Last, but not least, your friends (or clients) will love it!