Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Helix Swirl Great Cakes Challenge

It's been ages since I've used my square mold, so I was pretty excited to break it out and try the helix swirl. As a soap maker, I'm drawn more to the mystery of soap designs made inside the soap. The agony and ecstasy of the anticipated unmolding and slicing appeals to me more for some reason, but it was nice, for once, to not have to wait. What you see is what you get. Not that there wasn't any agonizing preparing for this soap. First it was going to be a Black Amber Musk soap with blues and purples, but I had more than enough blue soap on the rack.

What I really needed to round out the stock was an Oat Milk and Honey soap. It sells well all year and with little flourish. This is one of my plain Jane soaps that people LOVE. I make with actual oat milk (yes, I milk my own oats), real honey, no color other than what the fragrance and oat milk impart. I wonder if it'll sell just the same with helix fancy top? For the challenge, I went with my super-stay fluid go to recipe for swirly designs...high percentage of olive oil and sunflower oil. For my colors, I thought Nuture Soap Mocha Brown, Morrocan Red Clay which is orangey-red, and white would look good together against the tannish base. I wasn't going to milk the oats for this one since I knew it would thicken up my recipe, but last minute, I said what the heck and milked the oats anyway. I had some leftover coconut milk, too, so I threw them both in, at trace, using only half the normal water called for. I think its called milk-in-oil method and it works great. you detect a theme of liking to frustrate myself? I knew the milks would thicken it up. Would it stay fluid enough with this recipe?

Full steam ahead, sure enough, just a few spins with the stick blender and it was thickening up, but behaving nonetheless.I put a few ounces of the three colors into three squirt bottles and went to town. This was the fun part, but I was sweating bullets trying to go fast before it really thickened up, but surprising stayed pretty good. Now for the "S" curves to create the helix. I am "S" curve challenged. I even printed out Amy's "S" curve cheat sheet and between sweating bullets  and being dazzled by those pretty colors, I  didn't know where one s started and the other quit. I think it looks pretty chaotic. You can see the drag lines made with the chopstick, but I really like how it gives extra texture to the soap.

I really wanted to make sure this soap gelled, so I put it into warm 170 degree oven for 15 minutes.
I usually don't do that with my milk soaps, but I didn't think 15 minutes would cause any cracking. It definitely would have if I added honey, but left it out of this one. In my experience, I think gelled soaps are much less prone to developing ash and there is nothing worse than ash on this type of design. It worked great! Here's the bars after about a week. I love it! Thanks Amy! As always, another fun technique/challenge. I can't wait to see all the pretty color schemes people come up with.


  1. Looks great! Love the colour combo, too! :)

  2. Good color choices for an oatmilk soap! I like the texture too!

  3. I love that you milk your own oats!! LOL! I think I need to make a design sheet that has patterns on it so you really do have to think. Your soap turned out lovely just the same!! I'm sure your customers will love it too!

  4. Those are some beautiful bars, Cindy! I need to add the helix swirl to my to-do list.

  5. Love that you milk your oats, first I thought it was a typo and you meant goats! ha, jokes on me! Beautiful soap, love the colors and you nailed the swirl, great job. (soaplilysoaps)

  6. Thanks for all the nice compliments!