Monday, 23 May 2011

Icing 150 soap cupcakes

Ive been moaning a bit today on twitter about how I have had to ice 150 cupcakes today for a really nice order - a shop in London.  Well I really should not be whingeing at all, I love my job and this is a nice opportunity to show you some before and after photos.

Firstly, 150 soap cupcakes is a lot and cannot be iced in one go, it takes a lot of preparation and organisation.  I think its the organisation side I always find a bit daunting to start with, once I get my head around exactly what is needed in advance its not so bad. 

Anyway, this order was split into 3 separate batches of different styles which means different soap flowers and bits to put on the top.  My new Lavender Summertime cupcakes have a mauve base scented with lavender essential oils, then the top is piped through a flower nozzle and decorated with one large, double flower made of white and darker mauve soap and either two smaller flowers or ivy leaves - these have to be made and hardened off first.

Then the order needed 50 of my normal Rose garden cupcakes.  These are slightly more complicated as they require 4 different sized and different coloured rose for each one as well as a heart and rose leaf, again, all needing to be made in advance.  I use old, CP soap for making my flowers, grating them to re-batch and re-colour, nothing ever goes to waste.
The last of the 50 cupcakes is my new Rose Garden Red and White range which need 3 larger roses and the usual heart and leaf.  So as you can see, just getting ready and preparing for an icing pour takes ages in itself.

The first job after making all the topping bits is to pour the cupcake bases, they are then left overnight to harden enough to take them out of the silicone base molds.  Sorry these pictures are a little dark.

Then they are all iced, I can usually ice about 30 cupcakes each time so I have to make quite a few batches of icing.  The icing has a really annoying habit of setting in the piping bag, which is pretty difficult to handle.  I have learned not to mess about when this happens, just go with it, take out the nozzle, clean it out and start a new batch!

Then, once the icing is done and the flowers and other bits have been added the whole lot is dusted with a very fine layer of cosmetic glitter, this really gives them a lift and sparkle that is difficult to beat!

One finished tray of Lavender Summertime Cupcakes ready for curing  

I really do enjoy making these little soaps, so next time you hear me moaning, take no notice OK?  The best thing of all is thinking about new ones and coming up with new ideas.  I'm working on a new cupcake for a wedding later on this year, its going to match the brides theme of ivory Avalanche roses and diamonds - Ive got lots and lots of ideas I can tell you!   To see the whole range of cupcakes available just go and visit the website, I would really love to know what you think of the new ones.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Yes, yes, yes it is finally done - Phew.... what a job, trying to do the photography (around the showers), the labels (had to buy a new printer and source new see through labels), sorting each image for the website (using Photoshop - ARRGGGHH), writing the blurb (trying not to repeat myself and make them sound as nice as they are) etc. etc. etc.  All the items are selling really well at markets and fairs so I know they are good and liked very much.

So finally -

Naturally Made Soaps bath and shower products are born

Please do go and have a look - I really want to know what you think.  I still have to put my new lip balms up and there are some items missing but I really am nearly there.
Thanks for looking - all comments gratefully received

(By the way, I just went to put my two remaining chickens to bed tonight and they are cuddled up together, head to tail in one nest box - they look so sweet)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

New Cutter Arrives!

It's not quite what I expected, but I was ready to go as soon as it arrived.  I roped Ryan in to help as I was sure I would make a mistake somewhere down the line.

The first loaf I tried was Chamomile Spring.  This is the only soap I make that uses Melt and Pour soap base, I would really like to find a CP alternative but unfortunately the whole design of this soap relies on being able to look through the clear top down onto Chamomile flowers embedded in the CP soap below.  It is one of my top 3 selling soaps and I am loathe to do away with it although I really don't like the M&P use.  This was a bit of a nightmare as my molds are 24" long and this cutter only does 10 bars, so I had to cut up the whole loaf first.  (see the other bit of soap in the background)

 It all worked fine until I got half way through, then the M&P was just too hard for it to handle.  I quickly took the whole thing out, half cut - and cut through the M&P top by hand, after lining it up again the cutter went through the CP soap underneath like a dream.

Lovely, really neat slices.  The wires did leave a slightly rough surface but I think that once the soap has cured a bit more and I trim the edges, a quick polish of each bar should sort it out.
Then I tried my Azeite Puro - rapidly becoming my best selling soap ever.  As a Castile soap it is quite soft so I knew I would not have much trouble, and it was effortless!

Line it all up and..............

Hey Presto!  Perfect bars.  This is such a soft soap its quite hard to cut accurately by hand but with the cutter the bars are absolutely even in thickness.

Don't they look good?  Just got to cut each one in half again (by hand :-( this time) and they are ready for curing.  I would say this will cut down my cutting time by 3/4.  Well worth the price.  Thanks very much Celine from Soaperstar for setting me up with this fab buy and Sam from Outer Hebrides Soap Shack for selling it to me and shipping it all the way from Uist.

And if you are interested this is the maker.  I don't think its the best cutter ever and It's probably not much good for someone who cuts up high volumes of soap but for my immediate needs its ideal.