About Me

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Durham, NC, United States
My name is Veronica and I own Southern Gold Leaf Cakes. I opened my home-based business in 2008. I am a licensed and inspected home bakery specializing in custom cakes. Since all cakes are made to order there are no frozen cakes here, only fresh and only home made. I am a self-taught baker but I have a strong art background with years of baking experience. It is the most rewarding feeling in the world when you can apply your skills to do something you love. To see my cake creations and view our yummy menu visit us at www.southerngoldleafcakes.com!

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Luke's School Scholarship Golf Tournament, Spring Carnival and Silent Auction

Date:  Saturday, April 2, 2011
Time: 2pm - 5:30 pm
Where: Umstead Pines at Willowhaven
            253 Country Club Drive
             Durham, NC 27712

Bouncy houses, balloon artists, face painting, snow cones, popcorn, bake sale and a whole lot more!
**hint hint - we're helping with cupcakes in the bake sale**

Silent auction, raffle, hot dog  & hamburger cookout to follow the Golf Tournament
$10 for adults $5 for children (ages 3-10)

Items included in the raffle and silent auction include:
2011 autographed Dke basketball and poster,  PlayNation birthday party, a cake package from Southern Gold Leaf Cakees, gift certificates and more. 

for more information please contact Kim Carpenter at forewcc@aol.com

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Final thoughts and Comparisons on Cold Porcelain

While looking on line for some items I came across some figurines that looked interesting. Actually, it was more the name than the figurines but when I began reading about them I became really intrigued in how they were made. All the items were made from cold porcelain. I felt like I should know what this was after going to art school for four years but I had no idea what this was or how to use it. My internet search originally came up with a lot of repetitive information and I lucked into one recipe that seemed easy enough and I figured I could do this.

Cold porcelain is a non-toxic but non-edible medium that dries hard like porcelain but does not have to be fired like porcelain. It can be molded, modeled, painted, and sculpted just like clay or gum paste. It seems ideal for keepsake items, such as toppers, bouquets or figurines, because it can be sealed and is essentially porcelain. It will melt from water or extreme heat, the sealing helps with the water, but so will sugar so you would instruct to treat it like any other type of keepsake item. The paints need to be either acrylic or oil based, not water based, and it can be tinted in small batches. If left alone it dries “translucent” which is kind of an off white appearance. You should use a sealant that can either be brushed on or dipped into and not sprayed on and you can have satin, matte or gloss finish as well.

I have tried and compared two recipes. The first is white school glue, corn starch, mineral oil and lemon juice. The mineral oil adds moisture and the lemon juice uses citric acid to keep mold from forming. This particular recipe has to be kept air tight and refrigerated. You cook these four ingredients together over low heat, stirring constantly for ten or more minutes until it forms a ball, sticking to itself, and then turn it out onto your work surface. Then you add a bit more corn starch, keeping your hands greased with mineral oil, and you need it until it’s workable. Wrap in plastic and then put in a Ziploc baggie and refrigerate.

The second recipe is white school glue, cornstarch, glycerin and cold cream. I liked this one a bit better because it smells a little better, thanks to Ponds cold cream, and it cooked really fast. The first recipe just tired my arm out so much. This recipe has you cook the glue, glycerin and cold cream for a few minutes on med-low until the cold cream is smooth and then add the corn starch a little at a time mixing really well. By the time you’ve added the last of the cornstarch you’ve got a pretty well formed ball. It took all of about five minutes. This one does not refrigerate but still needs to be wrapped and kept air tight. Both recipes make approximately half-a-pound of cold porcelain.

Truth be told it is easy to work with but it took some getting used to. I decided I really wanted to give it a go mostly because I have so many brides who want some portion of their flowers to be keepsakes or a monogram. When it comes to smaller celebration cakes I’m often as to make some sort of figurine. This seems like the perfect solution.

It is much softer than regular gum paste and requires a very light touch to work with. I’m pretty heavy handed and can use a very thin skewer as a rolling pin and get it as thin as paper with little effort. All the items I’ve attempted with it so far seem to dry very quickly, most over night, and fairly evenly. It is very sturdy.

I’ve painted in acrylics, which dry super fast, and oil which takes a lot longer. If using to create flowers you should definitively tint it first and then work into your shapes so that you don’t have to over handle the finished product too much. Since I don’t know if it will airbrush or not pre-coloring seems like the better option if you need large patches of color. Figurines and other modeled items will probably yield better results from mixing both tinted and untinted pieces and applying paint in detailed spaces.

All in all it’s an item I think I am going to enjoy working with. It’s inexpensive to make. It seems, so far, to go quite a long way. It looks as though it will be a better option for items that are meant to be keep sakes and not just decoration and its non-toxic so it can still be placed on the cake. It’s not a piece of flotsam that you buy in the store that will get tossed. It took me back to my college days working in the ceramics studio learning about clay. I enjoy a medium that makes me use other creative parts of my brain that may have been asleep for a while. I am breaking out my acrylics and oils again, remembering the basics of working in ceramics and getting to create more lasting pieces of art to go along with my edible creations of art.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cold Porcelain - part II

So yesterday I made a batch of cold porcelain.  Last night I decided to play with it a bit and see what results I would get. 
Observation A:  It's very soft and pliable.  I mean, to roll it out takes almost no pressure whatsoever.  It's the purest white I've ever seen. It's possible I didn't cook it long enough but I don't think so.  I'll have to try a second batch to kow for sure.
  Now when I kneaded it together it was much the same as fondant or gumpaste and I had to work in extra cornstarch just like you would work extra powdered sugar in to the other two.  The interesting thing is it doesn't appear to firm up at all.   I found that due to it's extremely soft texture I had to made pretty severe adjustments to how think I rolled something out and the size of the cutter I was using. 

Observation B:  it will roll out to near transparency.  After deciding to roll it out thicker than I would normally roll out any paste for using cutters, I used my second to smallest heart cutter to see how it rolled out from there.  I used a small wooden rolling stick and gently, VERY gently, rolled out the form.  It easily tripled the size of the cut out and was rice paper thin.  It was much more difficult to curl the edges however.  I put that in a former to dry so I could see it today.

second view of calla

Observation C:  doesn't need much moisture to stick together.  It took next to no water/gum glue or any other moist adhesive to get parts to stick together.  The next form I cut was a small calla lilly because they are easy to form and dry.  Again, I rolledthe dough thicker but this tme I only really elongated the "tip" and tried not to thin the petal too much just to see how a thicker petal would dry.  I found that I also needed to dust the former with cornstarch so that it would release. 

Observation D:  shapes very easily.  Now I decided to make a little figurine to see how easy it shaped and how long a more thick, solid piece would take to dry since it claims 24 hours.  I made a number "1" and put a few little frills on it.  It seemed appropriate as my first tests.

This morning, just 12 hours later, I find that the thinner shaped pieces are pretty set, very light and pretty durable.  I dusted the one with petal dust to see how it takes powdered colors.  I plan to paint the number figurine with oils since it is supposed to take those well. 

I decided to look around last night and see how many different recipes there are and what kind of following CP has and it's pretty widely used.  There are a few big names that are well known for it.  I found two more recipes and the few differences are include cold cream (in both) and white liquid tempra paint in the other. I even found one that uses glycerin.  The amounts of each ingredient are pretty similar so I'm debating if trying the other batches is worth it.  

heart petal with red velvet petal dust

The one type of feedback I haven't found is how the consistency should feel, how workable it should be and how long a batch should last before it's too old to use. 

figurine and calla

Hopefully you can see the color difference between the number one and the flower.  The flower is so thin you can see through it while the thicker piece seems a bit tinted.  I read that with white paint you get a "true" porcelain look. 

The flower was so light I couldn't believe it.  I must have dropped it about three times trying to get a picture and it never once cracked.  However it hasn't had it's full 24 set up time so it may be much more fragile after it's truly set.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cold Porcelain

I recently went shopping (on-line window shopping pricing some near future purchases) and ran across an item that made me pause and say, "what's that?"  It was a listing for some figures but that wasn't the interesting fact.  They were listed as cold porcelain.  They were very cute and reminded me a little of the Precious Moments figurines you buy at Hallmark.  The description listed them as not-edible but non-toxic which is whey they could be used as cake toppers or decoration because they were food safe (I guess that's the non-toxic part). 

Immediately I searched for cold porcelain on the internet and found an easy to make recipe and a complete description of this new intriguing item.  It  could  be edible except for one very important ingredient: glue. Yep, white glue, cornstarch, mineral oil and lemon juice.  That's it.  Because it isn't baked and fired it isn't good for crockery and it's not water tight but it can be sealed.  It can be painted with oils or acrylics and once it's made can be used just like modeling clay. 

I made my first batch today.  My thoughts: lots of brides do like keepsake flowers when they are made for their cake or they want a customized topper.  I usually do both of these types of things out of some sort of sugar.  I've used royal icing, gumpaste, modeling chocolate.   The thought of using something that was a bit more stable and could be sealed was nice.  The fact that it's non-toxic if not edible was also good.   It still has to stay dry and away from high heat because either will cause it to melt but otherwise it seems like a fit.

If you try this yourself I will tell you it's a work out.  I would use a saucepan you do not intend to ever cook food in again.  Even though it washes out it's not a risk you want to take.  Eating paste in grade school is one thing but residual cooked glue is it's own trouble.  The recipe says it takes about 10 minutes of constant stirring over low heat.  I found it close to 15 mintues and I ended up switching hands regularly but hopefully my shoulders, biceps and triceps will thank me later.  Once it's cooked it's much like making your fondant or gumpaste.  You turn it onto your work surface and then knead it until it's pliable.  It will be lumpy but will eventually work smooth.  It's then wrapped in plastic wrap and then bagged air tight and placed in the fridge.  The recipe I used made about half-a-pound which is not very much but enough to play around with. 

All in all, a simple recipe that does require a bit of elbow grease but not too difficult at all.  The clean up is pretty easy and the storage is easy too.  I don't know the life span but if you're like me you won't have it around long enough to find out.  So now I'm off to play with my new clay and see if I really like it enough to make more.  I'll try to have pictures soon.