Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Colour Mixing

Last night’s project was to do a little experimenting with colour mixing. The eight colour Wilton set that I bought before I made Cameron’s birthday cake has red, yellow, blue, green, purple, pink, ivory and black gels. The colours are all very ‘pure’ and not the greatest for realistic looking flowers, but that’s what colour wheels are for! I should (theoretically, at least!) be able to mix any colour of the rainbow from that basic set.

First up was my little ball of bright green paste. I went out and nabbed a couple of rose leaves from the garden to use as a colour reference, and my first thought was to add some black to darken it. I only added a tiny dot to see what would happen, and although it didn’t darken a great deal, it definitely took the candy-brightness out of the colour. Next I added a little blue, which definitely brought it to a far more natural looking ‘rose-leaf-ish’ green. Overall it was still too light a shade, but at least I know that the colour combination works, so it’s a good starting point.

Next up was to colour the bulk paste for the rest of my roses. Now, anyone that knows me well enough would know that I’m a sucker for pink roses, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer that I’ll be making pink roses for my cake. Once again, the Wilton colours are too ‘pure’ and I don’t particularly want ‘fairy floss pink,’ so my idea was to use mostly pink with a little purple and red to take it more towards a plum-pink.

I took about two thirds of my remaining uncoloured paste, and made what turned out to be a brilliant guesstimate of how much pink gel to add. Once I had it kneaded through enough to see that it was spot-on for the depth of colour I wanted, I added a little purple. The purple did a similar thing to the pink as the black did to the green, taking away some of the brightness and turning it into more of a dusty pink. A touch of red (and a LOT of kneading!) then brought it to the colour I had in mind.

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