Joshua John Russell presented at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show last autumn.
Russell got his start by earning a baking and pastry arts degree from Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. From there, he moved to Atlanta where he began creating cakes and working as an instructor. He quickly emerged as a regular on The Food Network and began to dazzle audiences with his sophisticated and detailed designs.
“I am inspired by many different things including fashion, art and urban living,” he says.
At the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Russell demonstrated several techniques in intricate piping to create the illusion of a spider spinning a web.
“I’m going to do some string work using Magic Décor,” he says of an innovative product available from in2food. “It’s just a powder that you hydrate with water. To get color into it, I’m going to use powder and I’m going to hydrate the powder with water. We want this to dry, and the more liquid color I add to it or gel color, these all have anti-drying agents in it, and it takes longer for it actually to dry and it breaks the product down. If I don’t hydrate the powder, it’s just going to just speckle.”
Russell says he likes to eye the desired consistency, “especially when I’m piping. It’s the consistency that I want. I mix it until the powder is completely hydrated.”
Before he starts piping, Russell usually strains the mixture with a cheese cloth. “I also like to massage as much of the air out as possible. If one of those strings breaks (on the cake), it’s tough to get off.”
To gauge how dark you want the color, he suggests, “I let a piece dry first and see what it’s going to look like.”
Russell says Magic Décor is especially useful for creating unique lace patterns on your wedding cakes. “I cannot even count the amount of times a bride has asked me to incorporate lace from her dress into the cake. This stuff makes my job a whole lot easier.”