7 Tips for Making Healthy Choices while Eating Out

Amy

Happy March! I feel like yesterday I was putting up my Christmas decorations, and now it is already March…where has the time gone! Throughout the year we find that we face different nutritional and health challenges. Continue reading “7 Tips for Making Healthy Choices while Eating Out”

How to Ice a Cake with Roll Fondant

How to Ice a Cake with Roll Fondant

www.cobornsblog.com The art of Cakes with Amanda
Amanda

Time to get fancy! Let’s talk fondant. Get out your rolling pin and nonstick mat and prepare those arm muscles for a little work out. I’ve included a little video to see the process but let’s also discuss the process from supplies to cake.

First thing you’ll need, a few special supplies. A cake, lightly iced. When you put the fondant on top it can get a bit too squishy and create a mess if your frosting is too thick. I’m going to be covering an 8” round, double layered, cake. I used 1 lb. of fondant to cover my cake but you could use a little more to give yourself a little wiggle room when covering. You should also have a fondant smoothing tool, a paddle like looking device, and a nonstick silpat mat for rolling on. Most important you need a rolling pin. I like a big heavy rolling pin for the job. You’ll also need to sprinkle powdered sugar, I like to use a shaker for this, but you could do it by hand too. I also like to use a pizza cutter for trimming my cake. It will roll smoothly around the cake. I don’t use a knife, those I keep far away from the silpat mat. Any knicks or cuts you leave behind when using a blade will show up forever after when you roll out fondant.

Ok, now to get rolling. If you want to color your fondant go ahead and do that first, then cover it up to keep it from getting crusty. Next I base ice my cake and then keep it close as I go back to start on the fondant again.

Knead your fondant, a lot. Keep kneading until it feels silky and smooth. Your hands should warm it up and make it pliable. The more you knead it the better your fondant covering experience will go. If your fondant feels dry and stiff, keep kneading. There should be a little stretch. Once it’s warmed up you can start rolling it out.

SuppliesDust your mat with powdered sugar and place your flattened ball of fondant in the center of the mat. I usually squish it out a little into the shape I want, a circle or a square. Dust the top a little with powdered sugar then start rolling. Keep rolling and rolling. Work the fondant into the shape you want. Rotate your pin, rotate the fondant. If it gets too oval or rectangular don’t be afraid to stretch back into the shape you want with your hands. Covering your cake will be easier if you can keep your fondant in a shape relatively similar to your cake. Keep checking the thickness. Give a little more muscle to the parts that are thicker. It can be tempting to use a thick a slab of fondant on your cake in the excitement of covering your cake, but be patient. A thick slab isn’t going to taste good and can squish your cake down creating slouching and puckering after an hour or so. Go thin. Shoot for about ¼” or less for a typical cake, but a little on the thicker side of that for a shaped cake to allow for stretching.

Now that you are at your desired thickness and size you are ready to cover. How big should it be? The height of your cake x 2, plus the width of the top. Then add a couple inches to allow for fidgeting and fussing.

You want to do the next steps in one, uninterrupted step. Don’t answer the phone, don’t stop for a snack. The fondant is already drying and getting a skin and if you walk away it will wrinkle and tear when you try to do anything with it, then you get to start all over.

Move your iced cake over next to your fondant slab. There are many way and tricks to picking up fondant. I don’t use them. I just pick it up like a pizzeria guy. Do it quick, yet gentle, and keep the fondant moving and you shouldn’t get any tears. If you stand around thinking with it draped over your fingers, yes, it will get deformed, but why are you just standing there? Place your fondant over the cake. There should be a little moisture left in the frosting to make it stick. If you think you are going to take more than 15 minutes to roll out your fondant covering your cake wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Lay your fondant across the top, let the sides drape down. Use your hand to smooth out the fondant from the middle to the outside. Then use your smoothing tool to briskly rub the surface. Apply pressure, just enough to work out any air bubbles. Try to work from the middle to the outside to move out any bubbles. Work quickly; your sides are starting to firm up.

Now for the tricky part, the sides. You need to start smoothing the fondant to the frosting. Work in small areas, going in a circle around your cake. You Using Fondant Icingdon’t need to stick it all at once. Imagine there are horizontal lines on your cake, about an 1 or so apart, just work from the top imaginary ring down to the next. By the time you get to the bottom half you’ll need to gently tug and stretch at the fondant to avoid the folds and pleats. Keep moving, keep working at it, and keep being patient. Smooth as you go to avoid air bubbles.

Once you have your cake covered you can trim the excess off from around the bottom with your pizza cutter. Now pick up your smoother again and start rubbing all over. At this point you are trying to polish the fondant up. Rub out any ripples, move any air bubbles down and out. If you have any stubborn bubbles you can poke a small hole with a thin pin and let the air out. This will leave a hole, but sometimes it’s worth the trade off on stubborn bubbles.

Congratulations! You did it! You have a smooth fondant cake. Have fun dressing it up from this point. You can paint it, stick fondant to it, and quilt it. And don’t forget the important part, you can eat it.

Amanda
Coborn’s Cake Decorator
Sartell, MN – Pine Cone Road

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Simply Spooky Oreo Cookies

Simply Spooky Oreos

Holly - Practial Party Planning - www.cobornsblog.com
Holly

Halloween is almost here and it is one of my favorite holidays. It is so fun decorating, dressing up and trick-or-treating with the kids. This year my sister-in-law is hosting a Halloween Party and we are all to bring something to share. I will be bringing these “Simply Spooky” Oreo Cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkins

I don’t know about you but Oreos are my all-time favorite cookies. Every variety they come out with are absolutely delicious. This year I noticed they have a Pumpkin Spice Oreo. I was intrigued… and not disappointed. They are amazing. I decided to “Spice” them up a bit, pun intended, and make them into little pumpkins. I added a half of a pretzel stick in the frosting to create the look of a stem I then added orange frosting to the tops and a little fleck of green near the stem to look like leaves. I made the frosting by mixing heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until I reached a desired consistency. I then added some yellow and red dye to make my orange and green with a bit of yellow to make my bright green for the leaves. This frosting combination works well because it sets up nice and gets a little firm, but still tastes good and does not take away from the flavor of the cookie.

Oreo Spiders

For my Oreo spiders I used the original Oreos. I again mixed up my heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar frosting to dab on some eyes and simply opened the cookies and put in some Pull ‘N’ Peel Twizzlers to look like legs. After I finished these cookies I felt that they appeared to resemble little crabs. So even though I am not a black licorice fan, I think I will use black next time to make them look more like spiders.

Monster Cookies

These “Monster Cookies” I made really are Monster Cookies. I simply purchased a package of fresh Monster Cookies from the Coborn’s Bakery and added Monster Eyes. I made the Monster Eyes by carefully twisting apart Mini Oreos. Using the side with the frosting as the eyeball and adding a brown Reese’s Pieces as the pupil. I then smeared a small amount of frosting on the back of the eye and attached it to my Monster Cookie. Three Cookies in one, and oh so spooky!

I hope you enjoy these Simply Spooky Oreo Cookies this Halloween!

Party On,
Holly

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How To Decorate with the Leaf Tip

How to decorate with the leaf tip - www.cobornsblog.com

Hello, again! Welcome back for another exciting adventure into the world of cake decorating. If not exciting, I hope you at least find it mildly interesting. This time around, we are going to be having fun with leaf tips!

How to decorate with the leaf tip - M and V tips - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Basics

I’ll be using two shapes of leaf tip. One tip is shaped like a “V” at the end; one is shaped like an “M.” For today’s demonstrations I will be using pink frosting with the M-shaped leaf tip and blue with the V-shaped tip.

You may be familiar with the classic use of the leaf tip already. With a little squeeze and pull, you can make a perfect little bit foliage. With your V-shaped tip, you want to make sure you are holding it like a bird beak to get the leaf to come out right. With the other tip, you want to turn the tip 90 degrees and hold it so you can see the M shape from the top.

Both do the job well, as you can see, but I usually use the V-shaped tip because the pointy tips of the leaves turn out nicer, with less fuss.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Making Ruffles - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Ruffles

So, what is there beyond making leaves for these little tips? How about ruffles! We can do swag-style ruffles or thick frilly ruffles.  To make the classic swag shape, you just load up that leaf tip and draw some “C” shapes.  I tend to do swag ruffles with the M-shaped tip. It’s not a huge difference, but I think the edges are a little thinner and lighter looking. What’s that you ask, why not use a rose tip? Well, sure, you could, but when you use a leaf tip, you get a little frilly edge to both sides of your ruffle. Wow! Now with extra prettiness!

To do the wide ruffle band, you hold the tip like you would if you were going to make a leaf and then make small, side-to-side motions. Pretend you are scribbling with a crayon. The wider your side-to-side motions, the wider and frillier your ruffles with be.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Making Cupcake Ruffles - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Cupcake Ruffle

Now that we’ve talked about some ways to pipe, let’s talk about how to use these ideas for projects. To create a ruffle look on a cupcake, use your side-to-side squiggle to add a ruffled edge. Once you get all the way around, do it again, this time making a slightly smaller circle. Repeat the process once more to cover the top of your cupcake. Now you have a cupcake fit for a princess. Wouldn’t it look nice finished with a few candy pearls?

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Using the Leaf Tip VS. Rose Tip - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip VS. Rose Tip

But, why not use a rose tip? Well, yes, you could… check out that photo. It’s not a huge difference, but the rose tip has a more even, flower-petal appearance, whereas the leaf tip is more irregular and frilled.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - How to make Carnation Cupcake - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Carnation Cupcake

Let’s do another cupcake project. If you turn you tip 90 degrees and use it sideways, you can create a whole new look. Just wave the tip back and forth, making lots of little folds. Try not to go in circles or in a straight line. Make small clusters here and there as you work your way across the cupcakes. The end result has a carnation look. Imagine a bouquet of these in lots of pretty colors!

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Making a flowe with the leaft tip - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Flower

Speaking of carnations… let’s make a flower! Get out that flower nail for this one. Start with just making a base like you would when making a rose. Start in the middle. On top of your frosting base, make small concentric circle like you would when making a rose. Give your hand a tiny bit of shake to get the edges frilled. You can stop and start at any point. The frilliness with hide any parts where the ruffles aren’t connected. Keep working your way out in the same way as making a rose.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Flowers and Border - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Flowers and Border

I placed my flowers onto a cake that I had already piped leaf tip swag borders onto. This cake reminded me of an arts and crafts project, more specifically sewing. I finished it off with some “stitching” vines to give it that artsy look.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Leaf Tip Feather Boa Border - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Feather Boa Boarder

Well, let’s give the pink a rest, shall we? Let’s get out that V-shaped tip. I wanted to do something a little more wild this time. I have a cake I’ve prepared with a cheetah print in blue.  Girl’s night out, anyone? For this cake, a leaf tip will make a terrific feather boa border. Pick pretty much any color (I would avoid green, as it might look like a wreath) and start piping. Make lots of leaves going in lots of directions. You want them to go up, down, left, right. Think fluffy feathers! It might start out strange in the beginning but stick with it. Once you get all the way around, you’ll be rewarded. Try doing this with different shades of the same color to give it real pizzazz.

How to decorate with the leaf tip - Using the leaf tip for the entire cake - www.cobornsblog.com

Leaf Tip Ruffle Cake

For our last project let’s make one more cake.  Load up a bag with frosting and an M-shaped leaf tip. You’ll want to ice your cake first, in a color that matches your outside color for best results. Making these ruffles, it will be hard to completely hide what color is underneath. Using the technique for making those flat ruffles, start at the bottom of your cake and pipe a squiggly line up to the top. Make sure you go all the way up and past the top edge a bit. In the photo, I’ve made some ruffles with a tight wiggle pattern and some less wiggly. As you can see, the amount of shake you put into your piping really affects the look of your ruffle. Continue piping ruffles around the entire cake. Once you are all the way around, you can go back and knock all those points down toward the center if they aren’t already.  The next step is to finish the top with ruffles. It works in the same manner as the cupcake we did earlier. Simply pipe a circle of ruffles on the outside edge. Then repeat again and again in overlapping circles. And now you have a super ruffle cake! Add a flower or two, or a tiara! It’s so easy – just let the leaf tip do all the work.

www.cobornsblog.com The art of Cakes with Amanda
Amanda

I hope you have fun and find ways to expand on the ideas we talked about. And I hope that lonely little leaf tip makes it out of the tool kit more often. With a little imagination, it’ll be a MVP in no time.

Amanda
Cake Designer
Coborn’s, Sartell, MN on Pine Cone Road

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Floral Tips and Traditions for Easter

Easter Candle Centerpiece - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Stop & Smell the Roses with Dar
Dar

Easter will be here soon, falling on Sunday, April 5th.  My family celebrates with some fun traditions; we color and decorate Easter eggs a day or two before Easter and put in the refrigerator. On Easter morning the “Easter Bunny” takes them out and hides them around the house, both inside and outside, depending on the weather. My kids and the neighbor kids hunt for the eggs after dinner. Sometimes they would have so much fun that they would re-hide them and do it all over again. Believe me, it was quite entertaining, and my grown kids remember it still. Now the grandchildren enjoy the same tradition with just as much enthusiasm. Holidays are a time for tradition. I love being in the store and hearing the traditions of my customers.  It is fun to hear how everyone celebrates. Easter is one of the first holidays in spring, and that means it is time for flowers!

Floral centerpieces make a great hostess gift

Easter Lilies - www.cobornsblog.comOur most popular arrangement for Easter is our candle centerpiece. Which includes an assortment of spring flowers that will brighten up any table. We use long lasting flowers so that they can be used for days to come. Most people celebrate by going to a family member’s house for dinner and it makes a great hostess gift.

Easter Lilies

Then, there is the ever so popular Easter Lily. We sell the traditional white lilies as well as colored ones that have become popular. The care and handling is the same for both kinds of lilies. I have provided some information and tips on lilies below.

Easter Lily Tips and Information www.cobornsblog.com

Whatever your family traditions might be, I would like to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Easter. Remember that my staff and I at the Coborn’s in Sauk Rapids or at any floral shop in any Coborn’s store would love to help you with any of your floral needs for the season. Can’t make it in? Simply order online at http://www.floral.coborns.com/

Dar
Coborn’s Floral Manager, Sauk Rapids, MN

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Stop and Smell the Roses Blog with Dar - www.cobornsblog.com