Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Soap Challenge Week #3 ~ Piping Soap

Whew!  I was excited about this challenge.  Week #1 was in the pot swirls, which I have done before.  I just had to increase my level of challenge.  Week #2 was milk soaps, which I have done before.  I just had to get back on the horse (so to speak) after a terrible past failure.  But Week #3....well, I was a complete newbie for this challenge.  I have never piped soap before!  I have piped frosting before, but nothing real challenging in that arena either.  I've never taken a class or anything.  I've merely played around with decorating cakes and cookies for my family's birthdays.  So I was quite excited/nervous/anxious about this challenge.  I was so excited, in fact, that I knocked this challenge out at the first of the week.

I'm a little low on several of my standard soaping oils, and a little low on funds to purchase more oils as well.  So I decided to develop a new soap recipe.  Hey, it never hurts to branch out and try a new way of doing things.  Using the lye calculator at www.soapcalc.net takes all the worries out of trying new recipes.  You can tweak your recipes; change your oils, change your super fat percentage, change your quantities...anything!  The best thing about this lye calculator is that it tells you the suggested range of such qualities as hardness, cleansing, conditioning, bubbly, creamy, iodine, and INS, and then shows you where your recipe lines up.  For example, for hardness the suggested range is 29-54.  Less than 29 and your bars may be too soft, and greater than 54 and your soap may be brittle.  This new recipe of mine listed the hardness as 46.  I can live with that.

I started with a very simple soap recipe that included palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, and castor oil.  The super fat percentage is 6% due to the fact that it is a little harder and bubbly than the soap recipes I normally follow, and the fact that I didn't use goat's milk in place of some of my water.  I considered a super fat of 8%, but hey, I was going to be piping this soap.  I figured the harder the soap (and simpler the recipe) the better.

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as usual for this recipe.  In part, it was because I just didn't have enough hands!  Mostly it was because I was having one of those days that my hands weren't cooperating.  I actually dropped my bottle of kumquat fragrance oil and spilled about a half ounce of it all over my kitchen counter, cabinets, recipe page...really just everything!  My soap notebook smells like kumquats now.

On to the soap!  I blended my oils and lye water to a light trace, and added my kumquat fragrance oil.  I then separated the soap into two portions, coloring one portion with titanium dioxide for the white cake mix, and the other with a blend of strawberry red, citrus orange, and purple liquid soap dyes for the icing.  The liquid dye was my first mistake.  I was going for more of a rose tinted icing.  I was thinking more along the lines of 'garden tea party' than 'fiesta!'....or more 'ladies pink' than 'kids pink'.  Anyways.....I lined an old muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and poured the 'white cake batter' into the cups.
I then waited for the 'icing' to reach what I thought would be proper piping consistency.
I'm guessing this will work

This looked like it would work to me, but honestly, my brain kept creating images of me piping this soap icing, and it just collapsing into a little blob.  I decided to just go for it anyways.  The few videos I viewed showed piping a star into the middle and using it to build upon.  Honestly, I think it is unnecessary, but it gave me an opportunity to test the consistency and get familiar with piping the soap .  If it looked horrible or turned into a blob, I could cover it up with the rest of the icing.
Perfect consistency!  Better than I'd hoped

All looked well.  The peaks didn't fall.  So I moved on.
They look like cupcakes!
They looked better than I'd hoped!  They looked like cupcakes!!  Of course I was WAY off on my estimation of how much soap to make, so I had a bunch of rose colored soap icing left.  I decided to make some cupcakes that were rose-colored all the way through.  Although the soap was a great consistency for piping, it wasn't so great for trying to fill the paper liners.  I was sure they would be full of all sorts of air pockets (and I was right).  I finished piping the soap and tapped some pearly white mica over the top.  I wasn't real excited with how that looked, so I added some cosmetic glitter and nonpareils on top.
Lots of cupcakes...sparkly!
Ready to be insulated
I did consider spraying the tops with alcohol to prevent ash, but didn't think about it until I sprinkled the nonpareils on top.  I was afraid at that point that the colors running would do more harm than some ash, so I just left them alone.

Drum roll, please...............................
White cake cupcakes
 Wow, that color changed!  Also, they did develop some ash on top.  It's not too bad on the cupcakes with the white cake.  However, it really is hard to NOT notice it on the ones with the purple cupcake.
Purple cupcakes made with excess 'icing'

On these, the cake portion doesn't have as even of a texture due to the fact that the icing portion of the soap had already started to set.  The real problem I have with these cupcakes comes from the fact that the colors did not integrate fully.
Blotchy purple coloring. * Deep sigh! * 

   I was truly expecting a disaster, and was surprised at how easy it was to pipe the soap icing.   I still think I'll be able to sell these cupcakes.  They smell fabulous, and although they aren't perfect, I still think they are pretty.  Anyways, perfection is overrated!


Amy W said...

Fascinating color change! I really like the purple better actually - the cupcakes turned out great, Natalie!! Good enough to eat! :)

(And your cupcake tin looks exactly like mine!!)

Amy@10th Ave. said...

I think they are absolutely gorgeous!!!! Those would make me a happy soaper!

I love your blog, by the way--I'm glad I found you!

koinonia community said...

Thanks Amy...and Amy! It feels great to be back to blogging.

Michelle said...

Perrrrty! You did them so perfectly!

Tina said...

They look wonderful! I love that fluffy look.

koinonia community said...

Thanks ladies! They were so much fun. I can't believe I hadn't tried them before. A friend of mine wants me to put some in a shop in town. I think I'm going to make a bunch more (and some mini bath bomb cupcakes) to sell for Mother's Day.

mic said...

Wow,lovely cups!! they turned out so perfect!

Heather Estes said...

I think these will sell. These are cute!

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