“Breaking through the darkness of night, traveling unchained across the atmosphere, the three scared shooting stars!”
Okay, I’m going to admit, this is my favorite cake of the three Starlights inspired cakes. Taking inspiration from Taiki Kou, this cake is all Sailor Star Maker; the first of three members of the Three Lights (oh yes, all three get their own cake!).
TikTok has been loving my Sailor Moon Inspired Cakes. A moist and fluffy, melt in your mouth chocolate cake recipe that is wrapped in a creamy, dreamy, and light vanilla buttercream that comes together so easily.
Add some simple fondant techniques, a light bit of frosting, and some chocolate and you will be able to capture all things Sailor Star Maker in one delicious cake! I break down everything I do in this post so you can bake with confidence right at home. If you’d prefer to just get all that you need and the steps click “JUMP TO RECIPE” above.
Below you’ll find all my tips and tricks for how to bake the perfect chocolate cake, how to work and pipe buttercream, using fondant, piping chocolate, and using luster dust. Everything you need to bake with confidence!
More Nerdy Treats To Love:
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I have 20 KitchenAid Stand Mixers to giveaway & one of them could be yours!
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT BAKE
Use Room Temperature Ingredients
Cold ingredients do not mix well with room temperature ingredients. As with any recipe that calls for dairy products, always be sure to take the time to bring ingredients to room temperature because it will result in a lighter, fluffier bake.
Proper measuring of ingredients is key to perfectly baked cakes & cupcakes, especially when you are making them from scratch. Take a moment to kneel down, get face to face with your measuring cup, and measure liquids at eye level in standard liquid measuring cups.
When it comes to dry ingredients, measure by spooning the ingredient into a measuring cup or spoon, then leveling off the top with a knife or straight edge spatula.
Don’t Overmix the Batter
No matter what you will be placing into your oven, over-mixing the batter can lead to over-developing the gluten, which means your cake or cupcakes will come out dense and heavy.
Bake your desserts immediately after mixing the batter. Letting batter stand for too long can cause some of the air you’ve beaten in to escape, making for a denser bake.
While it can be tempting, resist the urge to peek in the oven on your dessert’s progress. Opening or closing the oven door before the baking time is complete can cause fragile air bubbles in the batter to burst, preventing the bakes from rising. Even if you are gentle with the oven door, a rush of cold air can affect the bake while it is trying to set up, resulting in dense, deflated bake. Try to resist the urge to peek until your bakes are at least 2/3 through their baking time.
How to Test if Your Baked Treats are Done
Test your bakes for doneness while they’re still in the oven by inserting a cake tester or wooden toothpick into the center. Your bakes are done when the tester or toothpick comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you should see no wet batter. You can also gently press down on the bake and, if it bounces back leaving no dent, then it is done. If removed too early, the bake will sink in the center as it cools and, if over baked, it will be dry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DO YOU MAKE A SIMPLE VERSION?
- Sift and whisk dry ingredients together.
- Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Add wet to dry mixture and mix until combined.
- Bake in prepared pans until centers are springy to the touch.
WHAT MAKES IT MOIST AND FLUFFY?
- Adding the right amount of fat gives chocolate cake a moist crumb. Using oil, as I did in this recipe lets you chill the cake without having to worry about it hardening. Fluffiness comes from using the right amount of leavening agent; too much and the cake will collapse, too little and it will be dense.
- Another way to get a moist and fluffy crumb is to cream the butter and sugar coupled with whipping egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage then folding them into the batter.
HOW DO YOU MAKE IT MOIST FROM SCRATCH?
Use a nice quality cocoa powder, fresh ingredients and remember to balance the sweetness with a bit of salt. Follow the recipe below for the most moist and fluffy chocolate cake imaginable.
Don’t over bake your layers! Watch the batter and remove from oven when the centers spring back when pressed lightly and the edge starts pulling away from the pan.
WHY DO PEOPLE PUT COFFEE IN?
Coffee brings out and amplifies the chocolate flavor in baked goods like cake and cupcakes. Add ing a little bit will make things taste more “chocolatey” without giving a coffee flavor. Adding a LOT of coffee will create a mocha flavor. If you would like to omit the coffee from this recipe just substitute for warm water or milk. I’ve done this and the cake still tastes great! Just a little toned down in my opinion.
WHAT’S THE BEST FROSTING TO USE?
- I love a chocolate American buttercream. The cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate along with a nice dose of salt really balances out the sugar and creates a decadent flavor explosion!
- If you like things less sweet and maybe a bit more subtle then you should try a meringue-based frosting like Swiss or Italian buttercream. The consistency is VERY light and creamy with not too much sugar.
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
- To get FLAT layers that are moist inside and out try using cake strips! You can make your own from foil and paper towels at home.
- The batter is very liquidy so while it will be AMAZINGLY MOIST the cook time will be longer than your average chocolate cake.
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- If you are not a coffee fan then sub in milk, or water. The coffee, which you really don’t taste, helps bring the chocolate taste out but I know lots of people either can’t stand it or have dietary restrictions.
- If you don’t have sour cream handy then plain whole milk yogurt will work just fine!
- Buttermilk can be annoying to keep on hand as it expires quickly and most recipes use very little. I often use powdered buttermilk reconstituted with water or add a tablespoon of lemon juice into some whole milk to curdle it.
- If you don’t like coffee just use water or milk instead. Both will still make a tasty cake
American Buttercream: Sweet & Easy
This is my go to frosting and perfect for people who like it sweet! Beat the room temperature butter with powdered sugar, a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract. Super fast and a total crowd pleaser.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT’S THE BEST BUTTER TO USE?
- For a whiter buttercream it’s really important to use a pale butter. Almost every recipe will call for using unsalted butter but then have you add salt back in. This is done because various brands of butter have different amounts of salt in their product.
- Using unsalted butter helps to ensure a consistent result. You can however use salted butter, omit additional salt and have a delicious frosting.
- The most important thing to do when whipping up a batch of buttercream is that it’s room temperature!
HOW CAN YOU MAKE COLD BUTTER ROOM TEMPERATURE?
If you need to warm some cold butter up just slice it into some smaller pieces and microwave them on a plate at 50% power for 10 second bursts. Flip them after each burst and they’ll be nice and room temperature in no time!
IS BUTTERCREAM OR WHIPPED FROSTING BETTER?
The main difference between buttercream and whipped frosting is butter. Whipped frosting does not contain butter and is a lighter and fluffier icing. Buttercream contains a good amount of butter and has more of a rich flavor; so you be the judge! 🙂
WILL THIS RECIPE MELT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?
When buttercream is left out at room temperature, it will form sort of a crust on the outer layer while the inside will stay fairly smooth. If it is very warm or humid, then the buttercream can loose structure. This will affect decorations you’ve piped and may even destabilize layer cakes, causing them to sag or even collapse.
HOW LONG CAN YOU LEAVE IT OUT?
You can leave out buttercream frosting out overnight if covered. If the buttercream contains cream cheese, then it should always be refrigerated for it to remain safe to eat. Buttercream that contains dairy will spoil more quickly so it should be refrigerated after a few hours.
HOW DO I THIN IT OUT?
If you want to thin out buttercream frosting, then you’ll want to add in some extra cream or milk. I recommend mixing in a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
This buttercream recipe is for medium consistency, which is excellent for piping decorations like rosettes and dots. However, it will need to be thinned for frosting birthday cakes and borders.
Stiff Consistency: Gradually add additional confectioners’ sugar for a stiffer consistency. Best for dimensional decorations that need to retain their shape when piped. This consistency is generally used for piping upright petals for flowers.
Medium Consistency: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of stiff frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 2 tablespoons of clear liquid. Medium consistency is used for borders such as stars, dots, rosettes and shells, as well as other decorations that will remain relatively flat.
Thin Consistency: Add 2 teaspoons of liquid (light corn syrup, milk or water) for each cup of buttercream frosting. For pure white frosting, add up to 4 tablespoons of liquid. Thin consistency is best for cake frosting, as well as piping lines and letters. If you are making a buttercream intended for writing, use light corn syrup as your liquid. Writing will flow easily and won’t break.
Piping Tips & Tricks: The Full 101
How to Assemble a Piping Bag and Tip
If you’re planning to use more than one tip on the same bag, you can use a coupler to make it easy to swap out piping tips. Available in standard and large sizes, a coupler comes in two parts. The first part, the base, is inserted into the bag before you fill it with icing. The second part, the ring, is used to secure your tip in place.
If you don’t plan on changing tips, you do not need to use a coupler. Simply drop your tip into the decorating bag and use scissors or a pen to mark a line about ½ way up the tip. Cut the bag at the line, then push the tip down through the opening.
Tips & Tricks for Using Piping Bags and Tips
- Expand your creativity by using larger piping tips to pipe dough, fillings, mashed potatoes, batter, meringue and more.
- If your tip becomes blocked, use a toothpick to loosen the lump, then squeeze carefully to remove the block. To prevent lumpy icing, be sure to sift your confectioners’ sugar before mixing.
- For easy piping, don’t overfill your bag. It’s best to work with about ½ cup of icing at a time. Most Wilton decorating bags have a fill line for easy measuring.
- Pipe two colors at once by filling two 12 in. decorating bags, separately, with different colors of icing. Cut ½ in. off the end of each bag and drop them both into a larger 16 in. bag, prepared with a large tip (1M or 2A works great for this).
How to Use a Piping Bag
Piping tips are nothing if not paired with a piping bag. Depending on your project, there are a few options to choose from when it comes to finding the right decorating bag.
Disposable Decorating Bags – If you like easy cleanup (who doesn’t), these bags are perfect for decorating. Available in both 12 and 16 in. sizes, these bags work with any decorating tip and coupler. When you’re done, simply remove the tip from the bag and throw the bag away.
Featherweight Decorating Bags – Made of flexible, durable polyester material, these decorating bags can be reused over and over again. Available in a variety of sizes ranging from 8 in. to 18 in., these bags have a grease-resistant coating inside, so icing won’t seep through. They are dishwasher safe and only get better with age!
Parchment Bags – If you’re piping small details or you’re looking for extra control, like piping lettering, you can make your own decorating bag by folding a piece of parchment paper. These bags are best used for small amounts of icing and are disposable for easy cleanup.
Plastic vs. Metal Piping Tips
Most decorating tips are made of metal; however, some are also available in plastic. Plastic tips are great for beginners. They often come in standard sizes and are more durable than metal tips. They’re also cheaper and will last a long time if taken care of correctly.
Metal tips cost a little more than plastic ones, but often give your decorations a sharper, more defined shape. While these tips are durable, they are a bit more fragile than plastic tips, so take care to wash and store them properly.
How to Wash Piping Tips
Wilton piping tips are stainless steel and dishwasher safe (on the top rack). After use, wash your tips in warm, soapy water, then rinse and allow to dry completely before storing.
You can also use a tip brush to get into those little nooks and crevasses of your tips, especially good for cleaning star and drop-flower tips!
When you’re ready to store them, it’s best to store tips with the narrow end up. Use a tip organizer case for easy storage and organization.
Specialty Decorating Tips
These tips are in a class of their own because each one does a something different. This catch-all category includes the grass, the triple star, the basketweave, the Bismarck and the cake icing tip, just to name a few!
The grass tip is one of the most popular in this category and can be used to pipe grass and fur.
The basketweave tip, which has both a flat and serrated side, is great for adding texture to the sides of your cake.
This category is also home to the Bismarck tip, used to fill pastries and cupcakes, as well as the large cake icing tip, which makes it quick and easy to ice your cake with a smooth or textured finish.
Easy Blooms Tips are a fun addition to this category. Designed to pipe a lovely rose or mum with just one squeeze, these tips are great for quick and easy decorating!
Types of Piping Tips
Piping tips are classified by the shape the opening makes. Within those groups, tips range in size and shape, so you can choose the size that best suits your decorating project.
Round Decorating Tips
Round tips are a great place to get started. These tips all feature a round opening, making them perfect for piping letters and lines. The smaller sizes are often used for piping lettering, dots or outlining cookies, while the larger sizes can be used to pipe large dot borders, swirls and lines.
Star Decorating Tips
The star tip is very versatile, making it great for beginning decorators. A simple squeeze of the bag and any sized star tip will produce a cute star-shaped design, perfect for making borders or filling in large areas of your cake.
Star tips are also used to pipe shells, swirls and rosettes, simple techniques with a big impact!
Drop Flower Decorating Tips
The drop flower tip looks like a star tip, but the grooves are slightly closed, making it easier to pipe a flower shape. These tips allow you to pipe a flower with just one squeeze, or you can make a swirled flower by simply twisting your wrist as you pipe.
Leaf Decorating Tips
Pipe flat, ruffled or stand-up leaves to make your flowers more life-like. You can also use these tips to pipe sunflower petals or a leaf border in different shapes and sizes.
Petal Decorating Tip
As the name suggests, this tip is used to pipe buttercream flowers, such as roses and tulips. However, this tip can also be used to pipe lovely ribbons, ruffles and simpler three or five-petal flowers, such as an apple blossom.
How to Melt White Chocolate? The Ultimate Guide
Melting white chocolate seems to require quite some skill. Since it’s not real chocolate, but a combination of sugar, milk, cocoa butter, vanilla and fat, it doesn’t melt as easy as milk or dark chocolate. It has a lower melting point and is a little trickier to melt. However, it’s great for many things – glazing, topping or coating, it just tastes delicious!
How to Melt White Chocolate?
You don’t have to be an expert to know the best way for melting white chocolate. You have to be patient, careful and not let it burn. But if you still need a little guidance, read on for a few useful tips!
- Equip Yourself
Any cooking experiment shouldn’t start without the right equipment. You will probably need a double-boiler or a microwave for the mere process of melting, and all the dishes that you consider necessary for the process – cups, bowls and spatulas.
If you’re, for example, melting white chocolate for dipping, you will need bowls to put it in afterwards. Make sure that everything is in your reach because you will have to be cautious and quick to make this work!
- The Double-boiler Method
This method has been used effectively and reliably to melt chocolate for years. Even if you’re melting white chocolate chips, this method works. Double-boiler is a special pan made of two parts: a saucepan that holds the water and a bowl that goes on top of it.
If you don’t have it, you can make your own double-boiler at home, using any saucepan and a heatproof or metal bowl.
Before you heat the chocolate, cut it into small bits. Fill the bottom part of the double-boiler with about 1 inch of water, the water must not touch the bowl with the chocolate, even when heated.
When the water starts boiling, lower the heat and put the chocolate into the bowl.
You should stir it gently, but continuously until only a few lumps have remained. Then, remove it from the heat and stir until it’s even.
If you’re wondering how to melt white chocolate chips, this is a great way! The chances for scorching are minimal.
- The Microwave Method
Although some people don’t favor this method, it can be equally effective if you approach it carefully. You can cut the chocolate the same as for the double-boiler method, but put it in a microwave-friendly bowl. The microwave should be set to 50% power in order to avoid burning.
Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds, take it out and stir it. You should always stir it because it will hold its shape even when melted. You might have to repeat the procedure a few times before you see the white chocolate melting evenly.
As you can see, melting white chocolate doesn’t have to be such a big deal. With the right equipment and the right attitude, you can master this procedure in no time!
How to Use Candy Melts for Baking and Decorating
If working with chocolate is not your thing, you can always use candy melts. These are my go to when I’m looking for easy decorations and short on time.
From how to melt Candy Melts candy to troubleshooting tips and tricks, this is the comprehensive guide on how to use Candy Melts for baking and decorating
What is Candy Melts Candy?
Often known for covering cake pops, Candy Melts candy is a sweet confectionary coating that can be used to dip treats, mold candy, pipe and drizzle decorations and even make ganache. It’s available in a variety of colors and flavors, can be melted to a semi-liquid state and sets hard with a smooth and shiny finish.
Besides the traditional uses, Candy Melts can also be used to make ganache and fudge. You can pipe it or thin it out to a pouring consistency. Colors can be mixed to form new shades and leftover candy can be re-melted and used again! From simple dipped pretzel sticks to rainbow candy curls, Candy Melts candy can help you do it all!
Candy Melts vs. Chocolate
Though Candy Melts have a similar look, taste and texture to chocolate, they are quite different. Melting chocolate requires a process called tempering, which gives chocolate that nice, shiny finish. Tempering involves temperature precision and a candy thermometer to do it properly.
Candy Melts, on the other hand, do not require tempering, making them easier to use for everyone, especially beginners! Unlike chocolate, Candy Melts will also hold their shape at room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about your candy melting if left out.
How to Melt Candy Melts Candy
Before You Start
- Whatever method you use, make sure that your bowl, pot, slow cooker and utensils are completely dry
- Any water could cause your candy to harden and streak
- Make sure not to overheat your candy by melting on too high of a setting or for too long; it will lose its consistency if it is overheated or if liquids are added
- Candy Melts candy is ready for molding, dipping or drizzling when the texture is smooth and resembles cooked pudding
- If candy becomes too thick, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening per 10 oz. of candy; 2 teaspoons per 12 oz.
Candy Melts can be melted one of three ways: in the microwave, using a double boiler or in a Candy Melts Melting Pot.
Microwave: The microwave is the quickest way to melt your Candy Melts. It’s also the preferred method if you’re melting smaller amounts of candy.
To melt in the microwave, place your candy in a microwave-safe container or disposable decorating bag and microwave at 50% power or defrost setting for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly in container or knead bag. Return to the microwave, stirring or kneading at 30-second intervals until candy is mostly melted.
Let your melted candy stand in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds before removing. This lets the residual heat from the bowl or bag melt any remaining candy. Continue stirring or kneading to better distribute any residual heat. When candy is nice and smooth, it’s ready to use.
Double Boiler: The double boiler method uses steam to melt your candy and is great if you’re planning to melt large amounts.
To melt using a double boiler, fill a small pot with about 1 in. of water. Place a large heat-safe bowl on the pot and place the pot on low heat. Add your Candy Melts candy to the heat-safe bowl, stirring constantly to help distribute heat. The steam from the boiling water will help melt your candy.
If too much steam is releasing from the saucepan, turn down your heat. Water and steam can cause your Candy Melts to seize, rendering them unusable.
Once almost completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring until nice and smooth.
Candy Melts Melting Pot: Perhaps the safest way to melt your candy is with a candy melting pot or small fondue pot. Usually a small pot can melt up to 2½ cups of Candy Melts in less than 10 minutes and will keep your candy warm until your project is completed. It’s great for any project that requires dipping, such as cake pops or pretzels. The silicone pot is also easy to clean!
How to Make Candy Melts Candy Thinner
If your melted candy appears too thick or is not smoothly covering your treat, you can thin it out using EZ Thin Dipping Aid from Wilton. These crystals dissolve into your melted candy, making it the perfect consistency for dipping and drizzling.
To use EZ Thin, simply add 2 tablespoons of crystals to 12 oz. melted candy. Stir until completely incorporated. If you’re using less than 12 oz. of melted candy, start with a small amount of EZ Thin, then continue adding until you achieve the correct consistency.
You can also thin out your melted candy with solid vegetable shortening (2 tablespoons per 12 oz. bag). Do not use liquid vegetable oil, butter, milk, water or any other liquid to thin your candy. These will all cause your candy to break or seize, rendering it unusable. This can also happen if your candy is burned or overheated.
Whether it’s thinned with EZ Thin or vegetable shortening, Candy Melts will still harden and retain its sheen.
How Long Do Candy Melts Take to Harden?
Depending on the project, candy can take anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes to harden completely. Smaller items, like cake pops, dipped pretzels or drizzled popcorn, can harden in roughly 10 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Larger candy projects, like bark or cake toppers, could take a little longer, probably closer to 45 minutes.
What Do Candy Melts Candy Taste Like?
Traditional Candy Melts candy is vanilla flavored; however, you can also find them in dark cocoa and light cocoa, as well as a variety of limited edition flavors.
If you want to add your own flavoring, make sure your extract is oil-based. Anything that’s not oil-based may ruin your melted candy.
How to Color Candy Melts Candy
Candy Melts come in a wide selection of colors, but if you can’t find the color you need, you can create your own custom shades using our primary Candy Color Sets. These candy colors are similar to icing colors, but are specially designed to work with Candy Melts.
I suggest not using icing colors or Color Right food coloring to color your candy, as these are not oil-based and may ruin your candy.
You can also mix different colors of Candy Melts candy together to achieve a whole slew of colors!
What Are Candy Melts Used For?
From dipping cake pops to molding your own candies, Candy Melts can be used in all kinds of ways.
Candy Melts for Cake Pops
Perhaps the most common use for Candy Melts is to coat cake pops. The candy helps seal in the flavor and moisture of the pop and also acts as a blank canvas for decorating!
To coat cake pops, we suggest using a Candy Melting Pot, then thinning your candy with EZ Thin. This will help ensure your candy stays at the right consistency from the first pop to the last.
Dipping and Drizzling
Everything is better with a candy coating! From apple slices to potato chips, you can have fun dipping all your favorite foods into your favorite Candy Melts candy colors.
Candy Melts can also be molded into a variety of shapes and designs using plastic and silicone candy molds (which you can learn about below). For best results, we suggest melting your candy in a disposable decorating bag, then piping it directly into the mold.
Molded candies can be used to top cakes and cupcakes, or just enjoyed on their own! You can even fill them with candies, nuts, chocolate or peanut butter.
The marble effect looks great on everything from cake pops to donuts. All you need is one main color (often Bright White) and a few highlighting colors (Drizzle Pouches are great for this).
To make marbleized treats, simply melt all your candy, separately, according to package instructions. Drizzle your highlighting colors over the main color, then use a toothpick to lightly swirl the colors together. Dip your treats in the swirled candy for a unique effect!
For quick and easy decorating, turn your favorite color of Candy Melts candy into a pourable ganache or mirror glaze. By combining your candy with heavy cream or condensed milk, you can quickly cover cakes, petit fours, cookies and more with a sweet and colorful topping.
Candy bark is a great candy project for beginners. It’s easy to customize with your favorite colors and toppings and makes a great handmade gift for parties or the holidays.
To make candy bark, simply melt your candy, pour it into a large cookie sheet tray (usually 9 x 13 in. will work for this), and top with your favorite candies, sprinkles or icing decorations. Once it sets, break it up into large pieces and serve.
Candy Brush Strokes
Use a brush or a spatula to spread a thin layer of candy on parchment paper. Once set, these candy strokes can be added to cakes or cupcakes for height and dimension, or can be used to form wings, leaves and feathers.
Candy curls are a fun way to dress up cakes, cupcakes or even hot chocolate! Made by layering melted candy in a small loaf pan, then shaving with a vegetable peeler, candy curls are a fun and simple way to add color and texture to your desserts.
Do Candy Melts Expire?
Though they will last a while if stored properly, Candy Melts are best used within 18 months of the date they were made. Each package contains a stamped series of numbers and letters to help mark the date they were packaged. We use a Julian Date calendar and go off the first five digits of this code. For example: 19114, the first two numbers are the year (2019), and the last three numbers (114) are the day of the year out of 365, which is April 24.
How to Store Candy Melts Candy
The great thing about Candy Melts is that leftover melted candy, or candy that has dripped off your treat and is crumb-free, can be re-melted and re-used. To keep your candy as fresh as possible, follow these simple storage instructions.
- Allow pre-melted candy to cool completely.
- Place candy (or leftover candy wafers) in an airtight plastic bag or container.
- Store your candy in a cool, dry place. Do not freeze or refrigerate your candy, as the moisture from these cold environments can be absorbed into your candy, causing uneven melting.
How to Use Candy Molds
Making edible cake decorations or delicious toppers for cupcakes is easy when you know how to use candy molds to create delicious homemade candies. They’re an excellent way for beginner bakers to add personality and flavor to their baked treats with minimum effort. With hundreds of designs to choose from, you know there’s one to match your mood. Read on for our candy mold FAQ.
What’s the Difference Between Plastic and Silicone Candy Molds?
There are plenty of clear plastic molds you can find that are reusable, easy to clean (simply flex to release remaining candy), and come in several varieties suitable for lollipops, candy cups and pretzels, among other things.
Silicone molds are a bit more of an investment but, unlike the plastic molds, they are dishwasher safe.
How Do I Use a Candy Mold?
For basic, solid candies, use candy melts or melting chocolate and follow the instructions on the package. Once melted, use a spoon, melting bottle or disposable decorating bag to fill the mold and gently tap it lightly to remove air bubbles will float to the surface.
Place the filled mold in the fridge or freezer until the entire bottom of the mold looks frosted over and the candy is set. Watch out for dark-looking areas, as these indicate candy is still soft. Unmold candy by turning the mold over about an inch from a flat surface or by gently flexing or tapping the top of the mold to loosen them.
What if I Want to Add a Color to My Candy?
If using a plain design with little to no detail, the melted candy can be poured directly into the mold. If using a more detailed design, or if you want to add different colors, fill a piping bag with melted candy or any excess chocolate you might have on hand and snip a small hole off the tip. Piping the details will allow you to control where you place the candy—just remember to let each color dry before placing another on top.
How Do I Add a Nut Center to My Candy?
To get the classic salty-sweet combo of nuts in candy or chocolate, melt your candy as directed, place it in a disposable decorating bag and then fill each cavity half full. Tap to let the bubbles escape, and then place one nut per each cavity in the mold. Fill the rest of the cavity with more candy, tap again to release bubbles and place in your refrigerator or freezer until set.
How Do I Make Layered Candy?
For layered candy that looks like it’s got striped sides, melt two or more colors of candy or chocolate and place in disposable decorating bags, then pipe in the desired number of layers. Tap the mold after each layer to make sure you release any air bubbles, then chill to set. For a different look, you can experiment with propping the mold at an angle while it chills.
How Do I Add a Filling to My Candy?
To make candy with a delicious creamy or caramel center, fill each cavity of your mold less than half full and use a decorator brush to paint the sides all the way to the top edge of the cavity until no light can be seen through it. Chill for a few minutes to allow candy to set.
Fill each cavity with your filling of choice, but make sure it’s room-temperature or cold—a hot filling could melt all your hard work. Leave about 1/8 inch below the edge, and then top if off with the rest of the melted chocolate or candy. Tap the mold to release any air bubbles, and chill to set. If candy doesn’t easily release, chill for a few extra minutes until the bottom of the mold looks completely frosted over.
How Do I Make Candy Lollipops?
A lot of candy lollipop molds come with a convenient notch to hold your treat or lollipop sticks. Pipe melted candy or chocolate about halfway into each cavity and tap it to release air bubbles. Insert a lollipop stick in the notch, twirling it around until it’s completely covered.
This ensures the stick gets a firm grip on the candy. Fill each cavity to the top with more melted candy, tap and chill until set. Check the underside to see if it’s frosted over. Once done, tap the mold on your counter and lift it by using the stick.
Now don’t be afraid to switch things up and swap out any of the milk chocolate people usually use for some decadent dark chocolate or some white chocolate.
Fondant Tips & Tricks
Fondant is a fun and versatile medium for covering and decorating cakes; however, it can be tricky to work with. Weather, temperature and environment can all affect the texture and performance of your homemade fondant. You can avoid these problems before they start with these helpful fondant tips and tricks!
From how to color fondant to the best ways to store it, these tips for working with fondant are great to keep in mind before starting your next project.
How to Work with Fondant
- Dust your work station with powdered sugar, cornstarch, or vegetable shortening
Fondant can be sticky and has a tendency to pick up crumbs and dirt, so make sure your work surface is nice and clean before you start rolling. Prevent fondant from sticking to your counter by lightly dust your work surface and fondant roller with confectioners’ sugar or cornstarch. You can also use solid vegetable shortening to prevent sticking if you live in a very dry climate or if your fondant is already a little dry.
- Coat clean hands in vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves
Before rolling, take some time to knead your fondant until it’s soft and pliable. Make sure you wash your hands before you start so nothing sticks to the fondant. You can also coat your hands with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening or wear food-safe gloves.
- Keep fondant moving
It’s also important to keep the fondant moving as you work. Never flip it over after you start to roll. Just turn it about a quarter of the way to prevent sticking and help ensure the thickness of your fondant is even.
How to Work with Fondant
As you roll and mold fondant, you might find that it tends to crack, especially on edges and corners. If you notice that your fondant is cracking, rub some solid vegetable shortening over the crack in a circular motion to smooth the cracked area together. We suggest not using water to do this, as too much liquid can break down your fondant.
How to Decorate with Fondant
You can use fondant to cover a cake, make little figurines or cut out decorations for cakes, cupcakes and cookies. For assembling figurines and fondant decorations, you can use water or buttercream frosting to adhere pieces together. Fondant will also start to dry as it sits out. If you need your fondant decorations or figurines to be hard, make them at least two days ahead of time and let them sit at room temperature to dry.
How to Soften Fondant
Soften fondant that’s too hard to knead using about 1/8 teaspoon of water for every 24 ounces of fondant. If your fondant is too soft, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar or Gum-Tex powder to help strengthen it. Soft fondant is usually caused by kneading too much or adding too much liquid.
How to Color Fondant
There are a couple ways to color your fondant. The most common way is to use gel food coloring or Color Right concentrated food coloring. Both of these options offer concentrated color, so you only need a little to add rich color to your fondant. Liquid-based food colorings can change the consistency of your fondant, so we suggest avoiding those.
The great thing about Color Right concentrated food coloring is that you can simply squeeze the color directly onto your fondant without any mess. If you’re using gel icing colors, use a toothpick to add the color to your fondant. Make sure to wear food-safe gloves to mix in the color so it doesn’t stain your hands.
You can also mix more than one color of fondant together to get a whole rainbow of shades! Add a small amount of dark teal fondant to white fondant to get a lighter teal, or combine red and blue fondant for purple. This is a great way to use up any leftover fondant you may have from another project, so don’t throw your scraps away!
For super rich colors, like black or red, you may need to add quite a bit of color to get the shade you need. This might affect the consistency of your fondant. For those instances, we suggest buying pre-colored Decorator Preferred fondant, which comes in a variety of shades.
How to Cover a Cake with Fondant
To get a nice, clean finish to your fondant cake, make sure you frost your cake smooth with a thin layer of buttercream frosting before covering it with fondant. This will prevent any imperfections on your cake from poking through the fondant.
If you’re using a lighter shade of fondant, frost your cake with white buttercream. Using white buttercream is a good rule all around unless you’re using black fondant, in which case chocolate frosting works just as well.
Use a rolling pin to help drape the fondant over your cake. Once draped, work quickly to smooth out the fondant using a Fondant Smoother for the top and your hand to smooth out the sides.
Any excess fondant on the base of your cake should be cut off with a knife.
How to Store Fondant
Sadly, fondant does not keep as well as other icings. Once pre-made fondant has been opened, the best way to store it is to cover it with a thin layer of shortening, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container.
This may seem like overdoing it, but in my experience, this has worked the best. Store it at room temperature.
There’s no exact timeline for how long it will last, as it depends on the environment and conditions it’s stored in.
Fondant will start to get a crusty layer on top (the shortening helps resist this) the longer it sits. When it starts to crust, the fondant is no longer workable.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
Be sure to grab the full recipe & check out the full video tutorial in the recipe card below. And if you try this recipe (I mean you totally should be), tag me on Instagram @imancake and use the hashtag #BakingWithMANCAKE.
If you’ve tried this tasty treat then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Cake Decorating Templates
What You’ll Need For Decorating
For Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 & 1/2 cup fresh brewed hot coffee
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 & 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
For Vanilla Buttercream
- 1 stick butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream at room temperature
- Yellow Food Gel Color
- Purple Food Gel Color
- Yellow Fondant
- White Fondant
- Black Fondant
- Yellow Candy Melts
- Silicone Star Mold
- X-Acto Knife
- Piping Bags
- Star Cookie Cutters (optional)
For Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F and prep cake pans.
- Sift together the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add the wet ingredients the dry ingredients.
- Whisk to combine then mix on low for about a minute.
- Distribute batter evenly cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350F or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow time to cool for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool fully.
Feel free to adjust the buttercream frosting ingredients if you'd like to make more buttercream.
- Cream butter & shortening.
- Blend in vanilla extract.
- Scrape down the sides.
- Place your mixer on the lowest speed & slowly add in your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Do not worry if your buttercream looks crumbly & dry because we will fix that next.
- Scrape down the sides one last time.
- With your mixer on a medium high speed, slowly add in heavy cream.
- Turn mixer up to a high speed and whip your buttercream until you have light & fluffy consistency you are looking for.
- Portion out 1/2 cup of buttercream, add a few drops of yellow food gel color, and mix until color has fully mixed into the frosting.
- Portion out another 1/2 cup of buttercream, add a few drops of purple food gel color, and mix until color has fully mixed into the frosting.
- After your cakes have cooled, level your cakes. If you'd like to make this a 4-layer cake, half each cake.
- Place your first layer onto your cake turntable.
- Spread a generous amount of vanilla buttercream frosting on top and spread evenly with your straight or offset spatula.
- Place your next layer of cake, top with more buttercream frosting and spread evenly. Continue these steps for all of your lays.
- Once your cakes have been filled and stacked, you’re ready to add buttercream frosting around your cake.
- Start from the bottom, and while rotating your cake turntable, pipe on your buttercream in an upward motion.
- Using a cake frosting scraper, straight spatula, or offset spatula you will want to smooth over your buttercream. The best way is to hold your smoothing tool upright and gently pressed against your cake while rotating your cake turntable.
- You'll want to continue this until you have a smooth coating. When you’re doing the final smoothing and you notice the texture of the buttercream become a bit ragged there’s an easy fix! Get a bowl of HOT water and dip your tools into the bowl to warm them up. pat dry and smooth. The warm metal will melt the buttercream and give you a nice SMOOTH finish.
- Smooth the top of your cake with an offset spatula.
- Set in the fridge and allow to chill for 5 minutes.
Making Yellow Chocolate Stars
- Melt your yellow candy melts per package instructions.
- Once melted, use a spoon, melting bottle or disposable decorating bag to fill the mold and gently tap it lightly to remove air bubbles will float to the surface.
- Place the filled mold in the fridge or freezer until the entire bottom of the mold looks frosted over and the candy is set. Watch out for dark-looking areas, as these indicate candy is still soft. Unmold candy by turning the mold over about an inch from a flat surface or by gently flexing or tapping the top of the mold to loosen them.
Fondant Winged Star Brooch
- Being to roll out your yellow fondant. Your fondant should be rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
- Using 1 & ½ inch star cookie cutter, punch out a fondant star. Smooth edges with fingers and set aside.
- From your remaining rolled out yellow fondant, but out yellow fondant triangle. Your fondant triangle should have a base that is about ½ inch while being 1 inch long.
- Before gathering up your yellow fondant, re-roll to that same ½ inch thickness.
- Cut out a large yellow fondant triangle. This larger triangle should have a base that is about 3 inches long and a height of ½ inch tall.
- Gather up your yellow fondant and store and grab your white fondant.
- Being to roll our white fondant to about a ½ inch thickness.
- Either by free hand or with my template in this post, cut out two white fondant wings: a left wing and a right wing.
- Grab a paint brush and a small amount of water and lightly brush the back of your yellow star.
- Place your star in the middle and centered of both white fondant wings.
- Take your smaller yellow triangle, lightly brush with water near the base, and place underneath your yellow star between the bottom two star points.
Black Fondant Borders
- Begin to roll, length wise, your black fondant to about a half inch thickness. I prefer to roll out my fondant on a silicone mat ever so lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
- Your fondant should be rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness and rolled out length wise. The goal here is to have a 19 inch stretch of fondant. You can go as short as 16 inches and slightly pull as you wrap your cake, but this may cause the fondant to tear.
- Using a fondant cutter, cut out a 19 inch fondant strip about ¼ - ½ inch tall. This will be your bottom fondant border.
- You should not have to re-roll your fondant for the top fondant border but you’re more than welcomed to. Just roll out length wise.
- Once rolled out, cut a 15 inch fondant strip about 1 to 1.5 inch tall. This will be your top fondant border.
- For your top fondant border, we want to trim the edges. Using your fondant cutter, cut from one side of the fondant strip to the other at a 45 degree angle. One quick swipe of your cutter is best as going slowly increases the likelihood of crooked line.
- Lightly brush the back of your bottom fondant border with water. If you add too much water, you can pat away with a paper towel.
- Gently pick up your bottom fondant border and with the brushed water side facing the cake, gently wrap the bottom of your cake and bring both ends together in the back.
- Cut off any excess and secure the bottom fondant border.
- Now let's talk fondant seams. Seams, like tears and cracks, can be repaired by filling them in with a fresh piece of fondant. Smooth edges with your fingertips coated in shortening. Seams can also be smoothed out with an icing smoother or your fingertips. Do not wet your fingers with water, as this will cause the fondant to melt and tear further.
- Lightly brush the back of your top fondant border with water. Again, if you add too much water, simply pat away with a paper towel.
- Gently pick up your top fondant border and with the brushed water side facing the cake, gently wrap the top of your cake from the back to the front so that the points of both ends meet in the middle. This should leave you with an inverted triangle like peek-a-boo shape while securing your fondant strip in place.
- Next, take your purple buttercream and pipe two parallel purple lines within the opening of your top fondant border.
- Now let’s lightly brush water on the back of our winged star brooch.
- Gently pick up and lightly press into your cake so that it is lined up in the middle and centered.
- Take your larger yellow fondant triangle and brush the back with water. We are then going to place this right on top and centered of our winged star brooch with the point facing down.
- Swap our for a larger round tip with your purple buttercream or cut a large hole and pipe backwards "E's" on both the left and right sides of the cake.
- For the top of your cake use a large tip to pipe yellow buttercream dollops on top of your cake.
- Give each dollop of buttercream a yellow chocolate star.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Be sure to allow your dairy ingredients to reach room temperature. Room temperature ingredients not only combine more effortlessly (no over-mixing needed) but they also trap air so much better. This trap air will expand and produce a fluffy texture during your baking process.
- Prepared Pan: There will always be the "next best way to prepare your pan" article. Simply put however, the most effective way i find in my kitchen is a light rub of shortening around the sides, parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, & a very light dusting of flour (cocoa powder for chocolate baked goods) all throughout.
- You can use this buttercream right away or place it in an airtight container in your fridge until ready to use. Just be sure to whip before using.
- If you’d prefer to skip the shortening, simply swap it out with 1 additional stick of room temperature butter.
- If you’d prefer a more white, stiffer, buttercream then simply omit the butter & replace with 1 additional cup of shortening. Also be sure to swap out the vanilla extract for clear vanilla extract.
- Make sure you sift your powdered sugar. This will help the sugar mix into the butter & shortening smoothly.
- When all your powdered sugar has been added in, the buttercream will appear dry. Don’t raise the alarms. When adding in your milk or heavy cream, your buttercream will start to have the fluffy texture it‘s known for.
- Keep in mind that your heavy cream should be added in 1 tablespoon at a time. I do this way to make sure I am not drowning my buttercream to the point of a soupy mess.
- Also worth mentioning, if desired, you can easily swap out the heavy cream for equal parts of your preferred milk such as whole milk or buttermilk.
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