Sue Gygi is an artist in an unusual medium.

Gygi decorates cakes but considers her effort comparable to the creation of a painting, sculpture or another work of art.The difference: Gygi's composition is edible.

That's the difficult part.

"When I've spent hours and hours on a wedding cake, I crumble when people cut it. I can't watch; it's like slashing a knife through a painting," Gygi said.

Louise Hill agreed.

"I designed quarter-size sugar cookies for my missionary son. I decorated each one with tiny details - the stripes on his suit and the print of his favorite tie. When he picked one up to eat it, I fell apart. I offered him a piece of cake instead."

Gygi and Hill, both members of the local chapter of the International Cake Exploration Societe, will participate in the eighth annual cake decorating show on Saturday, March 16, at Valley Fair Mall.

Cake and candy decorating demonstrations begin at 11:30; entries will be on display throughout the day.

Included in the display will be examples of a variety of decorating techniques.

Judy Bruse, a novice participant, will enter items decorated with a pastry tube.

Bruse practiced a number of techniques, following the guidelines in a handbook, but wanted to learn additional methods.

"The fondant-covered cakes or gum-paste flowers made a cake become a real form of art. When I saw these new ideas, I was ready to move beyond the tube," Bruse explained.

The fondant coating is an Australian technique, a mixture of powdered sugar, glucose and gelatin. Fondant is kneaded like bread, rolled out, then carefully smoothed over the cake layers.

"The fondant cake usually has a butter cream filling but was traditionally filled with marzipan," Gygi added.

Hand-painted cookie bouquets, with holiday themes, will be a part of the exhibit. Cookies shaped with custom-designed cutters and dusted with an artist's brush assume a lifelike appearance.

In addition to the show, local members of ICES will teach decorating techniques on Sunday, March 17, at Harmony Park, 3700 S. Main, from noon to 6 p.m. Fee for the workshop is $10.

For registration information or entry forms call Cheri Schulzke, 969-8458. Forms are also available at Bakers Cash and Carry, Orson Gygi or the information desk at Valley Fair Mall.



Sugar Cookies

1 pound margarine, softened

3 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter flavoring

7 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt


1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon white corn syrup

2 tablespoons water

Food coloring, if desired Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and flavorings; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; chill. Roll out on lightly floured board; cut. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

For glaze, combine ingredients and beat until smooth. Brush over cookies. Stir well each time you use it, even if it has only been 10 minutes since you used it last. Otherwise, the glaze will dry mottled instead of a clear, solid color.

Note: Cookies can be frosted, glazed, stenciled, brushed with sugar or airbrushed.

Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored for two weeks. Re-whip before using. Makes 3 cups.

Royal Meringue Recipe

3 level tablespoons meringue powder

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

6 tablespoons water Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7-10 minutes until icing forms peaks. Yield: 3 cups. (For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.)

Royal Egg White Icing

3 egg whites, at room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar Beat all ingredients at high speed for 7-10 minutes. Use immediately; rebeating will not restore texture. Yield: 21/2 cups.

Jell-O Shamrock Cookies

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 package (3 oz.) lime Jell-O

1 cup shortening

3 eggs Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and Jell-O together. Add shortening and mix well. Then add unbeaten eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.

Roll and cut out with shamrock-shaped cookie cutter. Bake in preheated 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Yield: 4-5 dozen.

Sugar Cookie Mix

Cookie Mix:

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup shortening

6 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

Sugar Cookies:

2 cups sugar cookie mix

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon milk

1 egg

Colored Sugar:

1/4 cup sugar

2-3 drops food coloring For mix, combine butter and shortening; blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 weeks. Yield: 8 cups of mix.

For cookies, combine mix, sugar, milk and egg. Stir until well blended. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes, sprinkle with colored sugar and bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Yield: 31/2-4 dozen cookies.

For colored sugar, combine sugar with food coloring in tightly covered jar; shake until color is well distributed.