Patchwork Cutters GiveAway

Patchwork Cutters GiveAway

I thought I’d let you in on a little secret… we have a really cool giveaway running on our Facebook Page this month that gives you the chance to win one of two prize bundles of Patchwork Cutters.

Patchwork Cutters GiveAway

It’s really simple to enter and let’s face it… you have to be in it, to win it!

You don’t need to fill in any long forms you just simply enter through our Facebook Page HERE.

Enter our Give-Away for the chance to win for awesome Patchwork Cutters Sets. There will be 2 winners this month!

Prize 1: 

Patchwork Owl Cutters & 

Patchwork Hot Air Balloon & Parachute Cutters

 

Prize 2: 

Patchwork Wedding Silhouette Cutters

Patchwork Hearts & Swirls Cutters

Patchwork Cutters Owl Cake Cutter

A huge range of Patchwork Cutters can be found on our online store at great prices!

This competition will be open for 3 weeks only. It ends at 12GMT on 22nd February 2017.

TOP TIP: Product Reviews can be entered once per day allowing you up to 21 extra entries over the 3 weeks!

We ship worldwide both for products & giveaways so everyone is welcome to join in whether you are in the UK or Australia!

Good Luck!

Thanks for continuing to support us through our social media sites and our blog. We have loads more helpful tutorials coming soon so keep popping by and enjoy our latest Patchwork Cutters GiveAway, we hope you win!!

TUTORIAL

Check out this fab tutorial on using Patchwork Cutters Owl Set… just one of the fabulous cutters up for grabs in our giveaway!

Christmas Cake Bites Tutorial

Christmas Cake Bites & Cake Pops

Christmas Cake Bites & Cake Pops

These little Christmas Cake bites are a great way to use up extra Rich Fruit Christmas Cake, and if you pop them onto cake pop sticks they make Christmas Cake Pops. Perfect little mouthfuls of Christmas for after dinner or for Christmas buffets!

You will need:Ingredients for Christmas Cake Bites

Because cakes vary I have not given quantities here as it will depend on how dry your fruit cake is as to how much of the apricot jam and brandy to use. I used about 500g of cake, 1 large tablespoon of apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of Brandy for mine but you will need to adjust the quantities depending on your own cake and taste. This quantity made about 30 Christmas cake bites.

Crumble the cake into a bowl and mix in apricot jam and brandy until the mixture sticks together.

Christmas-cake-bites-mixture

Roll the mixture into balls about 1″ in diameter.

mixture rolled into balls

Place the vermicelli into a bowl and roll the balls into it making sure they are well coated and set aside to set up.

roll-mixture-in-chocolate-vermicelli

If making cake pops do not make the mix too wet or they will not stay on the sticks – if your cake is quite moist it is probably better not to add brandy to the mix for the cake pops as this may make your mixture too wet – you can get a similar taste without the liquid by adding a drop or two of Brandy flavouring instead or try my personal favourite Amaretto flavour from Beau Products…yummy!

Make up a small quantity of Royal Icing. I used the Squires Kitchen Royal Icing mix as this can be made easily in small quantities – just remember that like any Royal Icing it needs to be beaten well until thick and standing in firm peaks and if  you are not making up the whole bag at once make sure you give the bag a good shake up before making up to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

For the cake pop bites dip the end of your cake pop stick into the royal icing and fix the ball of cake mixture onto the end. Leave to set up before decorating.

making-christmas-cake-pops

Place about half of your royal icing onto a tile and paddle down with a palette knife until it is smooth. Add a few drops of water until it is at soft-peak consistency. Place in a small bag with a No 2 nozzle and pipe a little onto the top of each bite – allow it to run down a little for the best effect. Leave to set up.

piping the topping

 

Colour your remaining icing – half red and the other half green. This should be stiff.

Colour the icing for the holly

Place the green icing in a bag with a No 2 nozzle and pipe 3 small leaves for your holly.

Place the red icing in a small bag with a No1 Tube and pipe 3 small bulbs for the holly berries and leave to dry completely.

completed cake bites and cake pop

Pop the Christmas Cake bites into petite fours cases for presentation. Serve after dinner or as a special treat during the Christmas period. They also make a lovely little gift if you wrap them in cellophane!

 

Snowballs – An alternative to the Christmas Cake Bites

If you want to make an alternative type of Christmas cake bite how about these snowballs!

Make the balls of cake mix as before but this time cover with a thin layer of marzipan. Roll your marzipan into a strip, roll the cake mix into it and cut to size. Pinch the ends to seal and snip of any excess marzipan. Roll in your hand to form a round ball.

Marzipanning the snowball bites

Leave to set up. Then let down a little of your royal icing on a tile so that it is just at soft peak and roll each of the marzipanned bites into it before popping them on a cake pop stick and standing to dry. You can finish with a sprinkle of edible glitter for a bit of glitz!

covering-marzipanned-bites

Anyone will be impressed with these yummy little mouthfuls when you hand them round after your dinner or when you are all chilling in front of the Christmas TV.

How to Marzipan a Square Fruit Cake for Royal Icing

How to Marzipan a Square Fruit Cake for Royal Icing

Royal Icing is one of my favourite coverings and it is really starting to become very fashionable again.   I love the flavour and the crisp sharp appearance of a Royal Iced cake but if you want a great Royal Iced cake you need to start with a good base coat of Marzipan. this tutorial will teach you how to marzipan a square fruit cake ready for Royal Icing.

Unlike most sugarpaste cakes where we marzipan to get rounded edges by marzipanning the cake all-in-one. With Royal Icing we need the marzipan to give really sharp edges so we do the top and each side separately.

We have recorded the following video tutorial to show you the best way to professionally marzipan your square fruit cake. The cake in the video is a 7″ square cake and uses about 850g marzipan.

We start off by marzipanning the top of the cake which takes about 2/3 of the marzipan. The remaining third is used to marzipan the cake sides. This means that you do not have too much marzipan on the sides but there will be enough to seal the cake ready for the royal iced coatings whilst the top has the depth of marzipan to give great flavour to each slice.

Requirements for Marzipanning a Fruit Cake for Royal Icing
You will need:

  • Square Rich Fruit Cake
  • Alcohol or orange juice for feeding
  • Apricot Jam
  • Marzipan (I use the Renshaws Rencol Marzipan because it is smooth and has great flavour!)
  • Cake Board – Do not use the board you will be finally presenting the cake on – start with a rough board until after you have completed the Royal Icing covering

The tools you will need are:

Once you have completed the mazipanning leave the cake at least overnight. The ideal is a few days to crust over but you can leave it up to a couple of weeks before covering with Royal Icing. It can even be left longer but if you leave it too long the marzipan will dry out and lose its flavour.

Coming Soon…

How to Marzipan a Round Cake for Royal Icing

creating_easy_sugar_flowers

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

A few months back we wrote to you about creating the easiest rose ever, well now we are here to tell you about creating easy carnation sugar flowers using the fantastic Easiest Carnation Cutter Ever by FMM Sugarcraft. Of course like all the new products we keep you up to date with, these cutters are also available in our online store.

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

 

After the huge success from the rose cutter, it’s just fabulous news that FMM Sugarcraft keep releasing belting new products that really do make creating easier and less time consuming. These take 5 minutes to create, a few hours to set and a simple dust of colour on top to give your carnation a realistic finish.

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

 

Here’s some great tips when creating your carnations.

  • Always use flower or modelling paste. Using sugarpaste will cause the flowers to crack and crumble.
  • Dust your surface lightly with icing sugar to stop your paste from sticking, also non-stick boards are extremely helpful.
  • Roll thin. With a good quality flower paste the thinner you roll the more realistic your sugar flowers will look.
  • Dust the flower once dried with powder colour like sugarflair blossom tints and a dry brush to create a variegated finish.
  • If you love this cutter then you have to try The Easiest Rose cutter.. it’s just as fantastic & saves hours of time!

Cover cakes & cupcakes in beautiful carnations!

Creating Easy Carnation Sugar Flowers

Learn how to use the Easiest Carnation Cutter. FMM Sugarcraft have kindly made us a free tutorial to watch at your leisure.

If you loved this post, give these ones a read! We think you’ll like them just as much!

Make the Easiest Rose Ever

Metallic Cake Finish

Camera Cake Inspiration

Silhouette Cakes

beau_vape

Are Food Flavours Safe to Vape?

beau_vape

Are Food Flavours Safe to Vape?

We have found that we are getting an increasing number of people contacting us to ask whether the Beau Products food flavours that we sell are safe to vape.

Many companies claim that their flavours are safe for e-cigarettes because they are approved for food use or GRAS registered (generally recognised as safe) by FEMA (the flavour extracts manufacturers association). However those recognised safety checks are only for ingested foods and they have not been tested for inhalation. The problem is that there are different factors when directly inhaling the fumes from a heated element which can lead to changes that you do not find in digestion.  Additionally vaping itself has not been passed for safety so it is misleading and potentially dangerous to state that food flavours are safe to vape.

That being said many people are using flavours in their e-cigarettes and many people are finding that Beau products are good as they are produced by a reputable manufacturer producing pure and concentrated flavours. We do also sell to a few of the well known vape companies who use Beau in their prepared flavour mixes so they obviously consider they are of a safe standard.

Whilst there is no such thing as a registered safe flavour there are things that you can do to make sure that you stay as safe as possible and more research is ongoing with the increased popularity of vaping. There are also flavours which are definitely NOT safe to vape and these should certainly be avoided.

What Flavours have been found to be unsafe for vaping?

The worst culprit is the buttery flavours and these are generally known to be totally unsafe. The additive DIACETYL is known to cause bronchiolitis or ‘popcorn lung’ when inhaled. This is an untreatable and potentially fatal lung condition first identified in workers in a butter popcorn factory and beacause of this Diacetyl is being phased out of use. Unfortunately the flavours that are being used to replace it are proving to be equally unsafe. ACETOIN breaks down to Diacetyl under certain conditions particularly where heat is used, and ACETYL PROPIONYL has been shown to have similar risks as Diacetyl based on recent studies with rats so it is best to totally avoid flavours containing these buttery additives.

COUMARIN, derived from Cassia bark, a cheap cinnamon flavour, used in the tobacco industry but now banned in food flavours should also be looked out for and avoided due to the toxic effect on kidneys and the liver. VANILLIN used to flavour some cheap vanilla flavours is also derived from Cassia bark and should also be avoided although the higher quality ‘Madagascan Vanilla, which is derived from Vanilla Pods does not have the same effect.
OIL BASED FLAVOURS although used by some vapers are generally believed to cause problems and most of the forums advise against using these to inhale.

FOOD COLOURS added to some flavours should also be avoided.

ACETIC ACID can also be irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract so should be taken with great caution.

beau_summer_fruits

How to make your vaping as safe as possible

Life carries risks every day from crossing the road to simply making a cup of tea at home there are risks involved and you should ask whether the activity is worth the risk. Many people consider vaping to be worth the risk especially when trying to give up cigarettes but you should try to minimise those risks as much as possible.

Firstly make sure that you invest in a good quality e-cigarette. There have been studies that have found that some of the cheaper brands have elements that can break down and release metallic compounds into your lungs. It is best to get one where the element is separated from the liquid. Some of the pipes with refillable chambers made of poor quality plastic have also been shown to break over time when triacetin is used due to the fact that triacetin will leach the plasticisers from some plastics making them brittle.

The general opinion in the research papers is that vaping is a lot safer than smoking conventional cigarettes and so if they are being used as a replacement to aid in giving up smoking then they have been shown to be much more effective than other nicotine replacement therapies like gum and patches. It should however be remembered that nicotine levels in some e-liquids can be very high and if accidentally ingested can cause dire consequences and could even be fatal so they should always be kept safe from children and animals.

Obviously the purer you keep your e-juice the better as there are less additives to cause problems however if you do want to use flavoured juices there are advantages with mixing your own using flavours from a reputable manufacturer like Beau. By doing this you can add as little or as much as you feel is safe and you are sure what additives have actually been added by checking the ingredients listed on the bottle.

The general advice on the forums when you are using flavours is to try with caution and should you experience any adverse reactions such as nose or throat irritation or coughing you should not use that flavour but try something different. The food flavours and additives listed above  have been found to be UNSAFE and it would be wise to totally avoid them when flavouring your e-juice.

Some people are making their own infusions however this is generally a much more risky business. You are a lot safer using food grade flavours from a reputable manufacturer as organic compounds contain many impurities which are removed during the manufacturing process but which may be present in home infusions.

In Conclusion

If you are going to vape try to keep your e-juice as pure as possible. If you want to flavour the juice use food flavours which are concentrated and from a reputable manufacturer. By adding your own flavours you have more control over what is being added since at present there are no regulations stating that e-juice mixers have to disclose the additives unlike with food. Check on the forums to keep updated with the latest research to find if any flavours have had harmful side effects and finally if someone tells you that their flavours are safe to vape I would be very cautious about anything else they are telling you as they cannot possibly state that at this time and the FDA has stated that this is misleading and unsafe advice. Beau Products produce pure and high quality food flavours and with the exception of the flavours listed above are as safe and as good if not better than other products on the market but at the end of the day it is a choice that you need to make after taking on board all available information.

For more information and details of scientific sources used you can check out Vaping with Food Flavours as well as the following:

Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping: A New Challenge in Clinical Medicine and Public Health. A Literature Review

FDA papers about e-cigarettes

Zamplebox blog

Medical Press Article

 

 

 

 

 

flexi_bannwe

Using Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers

Using Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers

I wanted to bring you all the information about these in one post so you can obtain all the information you’ll need and instructions for use, I will also add in links and offer links in case you don’t already have these little beauties in your collection already. This is a new piece of cake decorating equipment that is now a MUST in every bakers tool kit! It will change your life….

– Hello professional finish! –

bellissimo2

What’s It All About?

Squires Kitchen has teamed up with award-winning cake designer Helen Mansey of Bellissimo Cakes to create this fantastic smoother set! Who would’ve thought two little sheets of plastic would make so much difference?

Since stocking these flexi smoothers at PartyAnimalOnline a few months a go they have been flying out like hot cakes, on many items we can find we have mixed reviews but this has had nothing but positive feedback and glowing reviews from all our customers. This is how we decide whether to keep stocking a product as we only sell the top quality brands & equipment.

Squires Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers are made with very high quality FDA approved plastic allow extremely easy use, sharp edges and smooth polished icing.

bellissimo1

How Do I Use It?

Before using the Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers on sugarpaste it is important to create a clean, crisp edge on the cake coating underneath (e.g. marzipan or ganache). Please see further details below for pre-coating methods that I have included further down. Ganache seems to be the most popular method at current. Ganche is extremely tasty and goes with all flavoured cakes, for lemon & vanilla cakes try using white chocolate ganache for a more subtle flavour.

Use the Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers on freshly-covered cakes while the sugarpaste is still soft. For a round cake, hold the smoother with the curved edge on the top of the cake and hold the straight smoother against the side of the cake. Apply light pressure and gently run the two smoothers together around the top edge of the cake. You will notice a crisp edge starting to appear. Repeat as necessary until you are happy with the results. For a square cake, use the straight edges of each smoother to achieve a sharp edge.

This fabulous YouTube Tutorial shows you the technique used by Helen Mansey.

Pre Cake Coating

As I mentioned earlier on these are some techniques that can be used with pre-coating your cake to ensure the very best results and finish with the Squires Flexi Smoother.

Ganache method

  1. Make a ganache using one part whipping cream and two parts dark chocolate. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Layer and fill the cake with the ganache then secure the cake onto a thin cake board.
  3. Coat the top of the cake with ganache then coat the sides, ensuring you achieve straight sides and a crisp top edge. Allow to harden overnight.
  4. Brush the ganache very lightly with cooled, boiled water and apply a 4mm layer of sugarpaste to the cake. Use regular smoothers to smooth the sugarpaste. Use the Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers straight away following the instructions above.

Marzipan method

  1. Cover a cake as you would in preparation for royal icing to create a sharp top edge (i.e. top and sides separately) and leave to dry for 24 hours.
  2. Brush with clear spirit and apply a 4mm layer of sugarpaste to the cake. Use regular smoothers to smooth the icing then follow the instructions for using the Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers above.

 

Where Can You Get Them?

From us of course! We stock over 1,200 lines of cake decorating & Sugarcraft equipment and we are very pleased to add the Squires Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers to our collection. They come in three sizes and we also do a discount pack when buying all three. If you are just after one for testing we recommend using the medium, it’s made to handle 6″ – 9″ cakes although from the feedback so far from our customers they say it has been fine to use on larger sizes too… a good place to start!

Using Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers

  • Small Bellissimo Flexi Smoother for use on 3″-6″ cakes
  • Medium Bellissimo Flexi Smoother for use on 8″-9″ cakes
  • Large Bellissimo Flexi Smoother for use on 9″ cakes upwards
  • Promotional Discount Full set – Small, Medium & Large.

More information on using Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers & to buying them can be found > HERE

 

 

Have you used this product? Why not review it…HERE