How to Make Flexible Icing

Flexible Metallic Iced Cookie
How to Make Flexible Icing:

As an instructor, I have always wanted to improve a process or make a process easier. It all started with royal icing string work and one of my student’s strings were breaking as she had improperly made her icing. Additionally, another student nailed the technique, only to ruin it by accidentally knocking her tip into it, breaking the strings to pieces. It dawned on me – what if I created a flexible royal icing that would withstand string work creation and was durable? Sure, there are products on the market that you can use, however what if you are in a pinch or you do not have the funds to buy the mixes and tools? So, I researched and experimented, and came up with my version of a flexible icing that would hold up better than the traditional royal icing AND I could add metallic color and it would not disappear. In addition to piping with the icing you could use it on plastic texture mats to create cut outs. For piping, after making the recipe, you must use it immediately or it will dry. For cut outs, use a pallet knife and spread the mixture on your choice of texture mat. Allow it to dry (2 hours or so), then peel it from the texture mat. For the Valentine’s Day Cookie, I used the same heart shaped cutter I used to make the cookies. I peeled off the flexible icing, laid it on wax paper, and used the cutter to cut the shape. I immediately “glued” it to the cookie with piping gel or corn syrup. I also have substituted gelatin in the recipe to create more of a “clear” mixture so when I add luster dusts, they don’t get muddied. However, I do not have specific amounts for the clear gelatin. I can tell you that if you use gelatin that the substance will clump a little more than the recipe below. Please beware that if you spread too much flexible icing on the texture sheet, it will not dry thoroughly, and if you spread it too thin the mixture will curl and peel prematurely.
Brush cookie lightly with Karo Syrup

  • 3 Tablespoons Xanthum Gum (or Tylose powder)
  • ¾ Cup distilled water
  • 3 Tablespoons C&H Powdered Sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 6 tablespoons corn starch
  • ¾ tsp Meringue Powder
  • 4 tsp of piping gel
Boil water. In a glass bowl, add the tylose powder and add the water slowly to dissolve. While the powder is dissolving, in another bowl, add confectioner’s sugar, corn starch and Meringue powder, and whisk. Once the tylose powder mix is clear and still warm, add the dry ingredients, mixing well. Then add the piping gel. You may add color (gel or luster dust) at this point. Mix well. Use mixture immediately. I have tried to save unused portions however it tends to clump, and does not perform well if refrigerated and then brought to room temperature. (If you are using the mixture for piping and the mixture is too thick, add a little more piping gel.)

The Ever Consuming Cake Pop by Ro Zinniger

The Ever Consuming Cake Pop Post is an edited post from 2011, when the Cake Pop was the trend!

Cake Pops - Hmmm, the greatest trend? And, it's still trending?  I do not agree because honestly it is such a time consuming endeavor, that I would rather spend the time baking a decadent scratch cake. But, noooooo. All my peeps are asking for the pop - at least in 2011. Pops, and cake balls, really?! What happened to a good old fashioned cake? With yummy ganache or Swiss Meringue Buttercream!? Over the year, I taught lots of cake pop workshops, and I have to say, they are both so time consuming that it kind of takes away from the whole decorating process. With cake pops, you have to form them correctly - period - or you will end up with a mess. Some recommendations in books or blogs just don’t work. They are either too dry or too wet. There is nothing worse than dipping the “pop” ball and then have it drop in chocolate and have to rescue it with a fork to dredge it out! I know most of you are nodding your head right now! Right? It is frustrating. I can help, follow the tips below and your pops will stay on the stick while achieving a successful dip!
Begin with setting up your tools: A deep bowl for dipping; microwave and pyrex measuring cups; quality confectionery coating – I prefer Merckens or Alpine (found only at cake shops or specialty food/kitchen stores); paramount crystals (if using chocolate chips or another type of chocolate); flavoring - optional; Americolor color oils; Americolor Flo-coat; wax paper; cookie sheet; latex-free gloves; 6" candy sticks; fork; sprinkles and sanding sugars; and, a glass of you can chillax while you are creating these pop things!

2011 Del Mar Fair Cake Pop Demo
Now for the fun part! Warm 1lb confectionery coating or chocolate chips with paramount crystals (I prefer using a small crock pot on warm or a Chocolate warming pot). While the chocolate is warming, take the cake tops that you have saved from your cakes and crumble until fine. Add a small amount of flavored coffee creamer (tastes better and holds better than icing) to the crumbs to create a “meatball” type texture or cookie dough texture. If it is too loose, then add more cake, or if it is too crumbly add a touch more creamer. To create Gourmet Cake Pops, I had a firm filling like peanut butter or ganache or a chocolate fondant. If you add a filling, then you will want to insert the stick prior to refrigerating. If not, then once you have the perfect “dough” consistency, roll 1” balls and place them on a wax papered cookie sheet. Put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove, and take a cookie stick, dip it in warm chocolate and insert ¾ of the way through the ball. Place on the cookie sheet, and repeat for the balance of the pop balls. Place sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set the stick (do not freeze). Remove once set. Now it is time to dip in chocolate so make sure your chocolate is smooth. Dip the ball once completely, then gently tap stick to allow extra chocolate to fall back into pot, while slowly spinning the stick. Place dipped pop on clean wax papered cookie sheet. Repeat for all others. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes to set. Remove and decorate. You can use small fondant pieces and attach them with a little bit of chocolate. Or use royal icing to embellish.
I hope I have been able to guide you through a more efficient process. Remember, allow yourself time to prepare these desserts, and do not rush through! Enjoy!

Super Bowl Black Bottom Stout Cupcakes by Ro Zinniger

One of the recipes in my cupcake
book available on Amazon

Each year Super Bowl parties get more competitive when it comes to bringing a dish to a party. Will guests like what I bring? I always am in angst when it comes to bringing something new. I can tell you this, if my husband gives me the two thumbs up, then it certainly is worthy. I have found great success with the following recipe, which I created several years ago, and find it complimentary to most Super Bowl food spreads. (Actually, I brought a few dozen to my high school charity fundraiser a couple years back, and made some new friends!) The key to this recipe is quality ingredients, namely a nice full bodied dark stout. I have used Guiness Stout, however recently I used Belching Beavers Peanut Butter Stout for a completely different flavor (can find it at a Sprouts). Another nice stout is a Double Chocolate Stout sold at Trader Joe's. Whichever you choose, you cannot go wrong! This recipe is also Vegan friendly as there are no eggs. Enjoy the recipe: 

·        1 ½ C Cake Flour

·        1 C granulated sugar

·        1 tsp baking soda

·        ¼ C unsweetened dark Cocoa powder

·        1/3 C oil (light extra virgin olive oil is great)

·        1 T apple cider vinegar

·        1 tsp vanilla

·        1 C Guiness Stout or Chocolate Stout


·        8 oz Mascarpone cheese

·        1 large egg at room temperature

·        1/3 C granulated sugar

·        1/8 t salt

·        6 oz. chocolate chips

·        ½ C finely chopped pecans – optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa and salt in a bowl. In another mixing bowl, add oil, vinegar, beer and vanilla beating well. Add the dry combination slowly. Make Filling: Combine cheese, egg, sugar, salt, chocolate chips and nuts. Fill liners 1/3 full with batter, then top each with a heaping tsp of cheese mixture. Please note that the middle will be liquid until it cools – approximately 15 minutes.
Serve with a light whipped cream topping and candied pecan on top!

For more Gourmet Cupcake recipes from scratch, please buy my book at or go to my website: to purchase your autographed copy today!

Tips to Baking a Perfect Scratch Cake by Ro Zinniger

Prep for Ro Zinniger's Lemon Pound Cake
Everyone goes through the, "I am not sure this scratch cake recipe is going to turn out." I certainly did. Now, I am the experimental type of person who loves to substitute and change recipes. Recipes are formulas, and these formulas need to be balanced to achieve a good result. I have had many trials and errors, with many cakes ending up in the garbage. I have come up with basics that are needed to help you achieve that perfect result.

First, you must begin with the correct equipment: stand mixer or hand mixer; professionally anodized aluminum treated pans; stainless steel measuring utensils; sturdy rubber spatula; parchment paper; an oven thermometer/gage; cake tester; and, of course, quality ingredients. Second, it is wise to choose recipes from professionals and reputable websites. I will tend to bypass or as many of the posted recipes can be from amateurs or unreliable sources. I tend to stick to Rose Levy-Beranbaum's books; Martha Stewart (she uses a collaboration of professionals recipes); and Food Network (at times). Once you find the recipe that you would like to work with, make sure that you read through completely, making a shopping list of the quality ingredients you need to purchase, and the recommended pan sizes (to make sure you have them in house).

Once you have your ingredients, make sure eggs and butter are at room temperature along with anything else noted as such. Use unsalted butter (not salted and not made from cream), as you will be able to control the salt going into the recipe. Make sure you measure correctly! Use a scoop for your flour, and pour the flour into the measuring cup, then level with a straight metal spatula. Do not pack flour, only brown sugar. Follow the instructions (read through the instructions first prior to beginning your cake to make sure you understand them). It is imperative to follow the steps and not reverse steps, as the end result may not be what you want. Pre-heat your oven at least 20 minutes in advance, and prep pans with parchment paper rounds on the bottom and a light spray of cooking spray does the trick. Remember not to over mix the batter, as gluten will form which will create a tough result. When pouring batter into your pans, make sure they are evenly distributed. Place pans in pre-heated oven with one pan on the middle rack to the left and the next pan on the rack lower to the right, which will allow proper air circulation for even baking. Check the thermometer to make sure it reads the temperature you desire or adjust up or down to get the oven to baking temperature.

Bake for the recommended time, however I will look at the cakes at least 5 to 10 minutes prior to the timer going off. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN in the early stages of baking, as the cake can sink due to the temperature change. Check cakes with a cake tester or bamboo skewer by inserting the stick in the middle of the cake. If it is clean with no batter or crumbs when you remove it, then the cake is done. If there is batter on the stick, then bake the cakes for another 2 minutes and check again. Do not over bake! If you cake "shrinks" from the edge, then has been over baked. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans on top of the stove or cake rack for at least 15 to 20 minutes, then you can invert on a cooling rack for an additional 45 minutes. Never frost a warm cake nor wrap a warm cake. Once completely cooled, you can wrap cakes in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator....or fill and frost!

I hope you have learned a bit. Questions? E-mail me at Don't forget to like my Facebook page: Sugar Blogged Blog :

Citrus Pound Cakes by Ro Zinniger - Completely level and
Sugar Crust formed due to the amount of sugar in the recipe

How to Work with Satin Ice Rolled Fondant

Satin Ice – The Fondant How To Guide:

Supplies needed:
·       Satin Ice Fondant

·       Rolling Pin – 20” & 9”

·       Rolling Mat (Silicone preferred)

·       Fondant smoother(s)

·       Cornstarch Dust Puff

·       Metal Spatula or cutting implement

·       Cutters & templates – cookie cutters, or impression cutters, etc.
Before rolling out your fondant, you will need to condition your fondant by kneading until smooth. (Do not microwave your fondant as this will create a tough texture and become unworkable.)

To color your fondant, apply a drop or two of gel color (no liquid color) to conditioned fondant and knead in. (It is always recommended to buy Red or Black fondant, as the amount of color that you need to add to achieve the color may make the fondant too soft.) You may knead color into the fondant halfway to create a marbleized effect or you may knead the color into the fondant fully. If the color is not intense enough, you can add more drops until you achieve the color you desire.  You may also use pre-colored fondant and mix with white to create softer colors or mix pre-colored fondant colors to create new ones. It is recommended to use pre-colored fondant, as the consistency tends to change when you add gel color. 

The formula used to estimate cake coverage is: Height x 2 plus the diameter (not circumference) of the cake = number of inches to roll out to. For example, if you have an 8” round by 4” cake, it will be 4 x 2 = 8 + 8 = 16”. Roll fondant to the height of a nickel or about 1/16th of an inch making sure it is even across the sheet with no wrinkles or undulations. Roll the fondant and turn, do not flip over. Sprinkle cornstarch on the mat, as needed if the fondant is sticking. 

To apply the fondant to the cake, make sure fondant is not stuck to the mat, and gently roll on edge halfway over your rolling pin and apply to your cake. When you apply the fondant to the cake, begin smoothing from the top with your fondant smoother then to the edges then sides with the edge of your hands or fondant smoother. Do not pull, as this will create cracks and can create holes in your fondant. You will want to “smooth” or lightly press the fondant to the cake to make sure it sticks well and press any air down and out at the edge of the cake. Any areas of the cake the fondant does not stick to will form air bubbles.  

Once you smooth the fondant to the bottom of the cake, trim close to the cake edge. You are then ready to decorate!

Working with Fondant in the Summer Months

Red Carpet Cake by Ro Zinniger
 Working with fondant in the Summer months can be challenging! Some parts of the nation and world can be more than a challenge due to high heat and high humidity. Also, every brand of fondant poses its own challenges, and forget about homemade ... unless you have the time and energy to spend it making it flawless. My studio is in Southern California and about 6 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Our Summer months tend to be mild with some humidity and relative heat, however we have our days. I have worked in many areas of the U.S. demonstrating and teaching, and have encountered all types of weather conditions that effect fondant. 

The following are some tips and tricks that may help!

*  Work Surface: If you are working on a Wilton mat, just know that you will have to treat the mat with a dusting of cornstarch if it is a humid day and a super light coat of shortening if it is a dry day. The goal of treating the work surface is so your fondant will not stick and you will be able to roll smoothly. If you are working on stainless steel or granite, make sure that your surface is not too cold as this will tend to make your fondant "dry" or set quicker. Fondant is tempermental and likes room temperature conditions. 

*  Fondant: Before you begin to roll your fondant out, make sure that you condition (massage) your fondant until soft and pliable. That means you have incorporated all the fondant in a kneading motion and the fondant is dough like. Although too soft will result in tearing and not enough kneading results in cracking and elephant skin fondant.

*  Rolling: When using your rolling pin, make sure that you do a pressing forward motion and pulling toward you motion while smoothing. Turn the fondant as you roll, but do not turn the fondant over or you will have a sticky surface and may have issues. Run your hand over the fondant to make sure that you have smooth consistent fondant. No peaks and mountains.

* Working Time: Work diligently and quickly to ensure that your fondant (no matter what brand) is not drying out or forming any elephant skin. It can happen to the best fondant on the market, so stay on top of your project.

*  Thickness: DO NOT ROLL TOO THIN! Roll to the height of a nickel or 1/8 of an inch or so. This will allow your fondant to cover your cake and as you work to cover your cake you will find that it will not tear so readily.

I have so many more tips and tricks, check out some of my classes at! Take a class today!

Gourmet Cupcakes From Scratch: Simple & Easy Recipe Book

I am happy to announce my new book, Gourmet Cupcakes From Scratch: Simple & Easy! The book is a compilation of cupcake recipes from scratch that I created along with frostings and filling recipes. The book is a 40 page black and white recipe book that includes a resource page where you will find places to buy key ingredients. The recipes have been tested on friends, family and students, and I teach how to prepare those recipes in my classes at Ro Z's Sweet Art Studio. You can pick up your copy today at! Buy yours today!