My hands are stained with food dye. My kitchen bench is dusted with cornstarch. I am in my element. I am in the zone! I have wonderful visions of spectacular sugar art. There will be ooh’s and ahh’s. I stand at my bench and work. The minutes turn into hours. The hours into the entire night. The night into several nights. By the end of the week, my excitement wanes. I swear to myself, “Never again”. Then the day of the party arrives. My children see the cake. I see their smiles. “Never again… until the next birthday,” I think to myself.

When cake decorating, I make the modelled figures first as these can be made days or weeks before hand. There’s a plethora of resources to inspire and guide cake decorating pursuits. As with any art, in cake decorating, there’s all manner of techniques involved and the masters of it have practised and refined their skills. I am a mum; making a cake for her children. I’m keeping it simple. Yes, my superhero modelled figures are pudgy. Yes, I’ve mixed the DC and Marvel universes. Are my kids’ favourite characters there? Yes. Can they recognise them? Yes. Then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do. With a few simple ingredients and tools you can too. It really isn’t hard, and it’s so much fun letting your creativity loose.

My basic materials and tools for cake decorating modelled figures include: an assortment of food colouring gel; sugar glue (though you can also just use water to stick the various parts of your models together); small rolling pin; brushes; scalpels; edible ink pens and gum paste. The basic process of making the modelled figures is to knead the gum paste until it is pliable; colour it with food colouring gel; mould it to the shape you require; assemble the various parts of your model together.

Any creature can be shaped out of gum paste. Figures can also shaped out of marzipan, modelling chocolate and fondant. Once you have made one type of figure, many others can be made using the same techniques with only slight colour and detail variations.

Yes, my superhero modelled figures are pudgy. Yes, I’ve mixed the DC and Marvel universes. Yes, my kids loved them. Yes, I’ll be decorating their birthday cakes again next year.

N & M: 4 years
E: 2 years
June 2012

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Pauline Pauline & Lessons Learnt Journal is all about life with kids. Pauline is an Aussie mum and teacher who shares her love for play, math games, writing and reading activities. She believes that #playmatters, values curiosity & wonder, wisdom, obedience and respect. She also needs naps. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed.

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