Fave Finds is Erica OBrien Cake Design’s weekly list of the products, gizmos, gadgets, tools and must-haves we’re wanting, needing, buying or using. Have a great product you’d like to see on our list? We’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to leave a comment or contact us.
Here’s what’s in our shopping cart this week.
1. 32″ Portable Photography Reflector. It took me years to figure out how to photograph my cakes. (I even wrote a blog post in 2009 about how bad my photos were.) My husband used to take them for me (the mechanics of photography are very intuitive for him and he picked it up right away), but we disagreed on lighting and composition (read: we had some major blowouts over how exposed the photos should be and how many props we needed). Plus, hes 6’5″, so his photos, taken from a different angle than my 5’2″ self saw the photos, never looked right to me. Anyway, I can still only photograph my cakes in all the right circumstances (good natural light, my little lens, etc.) and have to take a ton of photos to get one good one, but I’ve definitely improved. When photographing indoors, I set the cake up near a window, which means that the cake is lit only from one side, so I always use a reflector. The reflector helps balance the light, eliminate shadows, and create a controlled luminosity on given parts of the cake. This is a must-have for me. It folds up to about a 12″ circle so it’s easy to store.
2. Heavy-Duty Large Circle Cutter. There’s nothing sexy about this tool, but man is it a necessity. I cut all my own cake boards out of foamcore (it’s sturdier than cardboard cake rounds) but it’s hard to handcut a perfect circle. I currently have the Olfa Heavy Duty circle cutter, which is great for smaller circles but only goes up to 12″. We’ll use one for cutting larger, perfectly round circles in our foamcore.
3. Martha Stewart Crafts Deep Edge Punch, Embroidery. Holy crap am I obsessed with this technique. Perhaps you’ve taken my Craftsy class and seen the cake I made featuring the eyelet lace, or maybe you watched me on CakeFu last week demonstrating the Fiskars AdvantEdge Antique Lace punch (a die cut that works with the AdvantEdge system) with beautiful results. The finished design will be featured on The Cake Blog soon. Either way, gumpaste rolled extra thin and put through a punch or die cut is my new obsession. Expect to see it a lot from me this year.
4. Martha Stewart Fringe Scissors. Oh, Martha. It’s not like I need this. I don’t even know what I would use it for (although I have a few ideas). I just want it. Is that so wrong?
5. Sugarflair Grape Violet. If you’ve ever struggled to retain deep purple fondant designs (I know I have; read this post), this is the brand for you. I love their claret and ruby, which I bought and imported (illegally?) from Canada. I was thrilled to see that they’re now available on Amazon. Sugarflair colors are more concentrated and tend to fade less than other brands, but you’ll still want to take precautions and store your purple and pink sugar decorations away from any light, natural or otherwise.