Blog - Superhero of Sweets - Tunde Dugantsi
What kind of Superhero would you be if you didn't have a powerful back story to define the kind of hero you would be? In this "Superhero of Sweets" we get to know Tunde Dugantsi – the Hungarian Gingerbread Artist and blogger behind Tunde's Creations.
Learn how Tunde's Hungarian background and American life have inspired her incredible talent and informed her style in this "Superhero of Sweets" blog.
How did you get started in cookie decorating?
I made some decorated cookies for Christmas 2012 with my kids and I never stopped decorating ever since.
What is your training in baking and cookie decorating?
Photo courtesy of Tunde's Creations.
I had no formal training. I read books about cookie and cake decorating, tried to reproduce looks I liked and did a lot of research about traditional techniques of my native Hungary.
Do you have a signature style for cookie decorating?
The traditional lace design and the Hungarian folk art flowers are my most popular designs. I also like to give traditional techniques a modern twist, play with new tools and techniques.
Do you have a favorite decorating tip you can share?
Actually, I have two: have fun with your cookies and simple is beautiful.
Aiming for perfection might lead to frustration. Having fun with your cookies will lead to making more cookies and practice makes perfect.
I like simple things. My icing recipe has only 3 basic ingredients. I love bare cookies decorated with just white icing. I like simple, clean shapes and using the shades of just one color. Simple elegance is easy, simple is beautiful.
If you've used Ann Clark Cookie Cutters in projects, can you describe the shape you've used and how you've used it?
I love the Snowflake cookie cutter that I use to make cookie candle holders.
Can you share any trends in cookies you envision in the near future?
I think the popularity of cookie decorating will increase even more as many hobby cake decorators realize that they can get all the fun of cake decorating without the stress of cake making. To be honest, I don't even follow the trends so it's impossible for me to predict them. As I see, some new trends are born from a "happy accident" like the cracked effect on cookies. Social media has a huge role in setting trends. But a new cookie cutter can set a trend by itself, like the Mason Jar did.
How has social media influenced your cookie decorating?
At the beginning of my journey social media was my school. I learned more about cookie decorating in Facebook groups than anywhere else. Social media also helped me to find other decorators to work with and a lot of like-minded friends. These days, I don't follow social media as much as I used to, but I try to keep up my accounts and I do my best to help others when they have questions about cookie decorating.
How do you get inspired for creating new designs?
Inspiration is everywhere. A nice fabric, an object with a distinct shape, or the colors of a sunset can all inspire a new design. Folk art is an amazing source of inspiration because the motifs are usually relatively simple but artists refined them for centuries so they look amazing.
Many times, coming across a nice tool (stamp, stencil, cookie cutter) can inspire a new design. I like to use smaller cookie cutters as a template for a design on a bigger cookie. Of course, when somebody is just starting to decorate cookies the most natural source of inspiration is the work of other cookie decorators. I started my journey the same way. But it's much more fun to create something completely new, something coming from inside.
Favorite decorating tool:
My scribe tool. It's not a scribe tool, really. It's sold as a blackhead extractor, but it sounds gross so let's forget about this part. It has one end which is very sharp and it's perfect to pop air bubbles, clean the clogged tip, trace my design on the cookie before decorating and much more. The other end has a metal loop which will pop the stubborn bubble that would just go around the sharp side, remove unwanted icing. I also use it to mix my TruColor powders with water.
Favorite cookie cutter shape:
Favorite decorator who inspires you:
I have two favorites: Aniko Vargane Orban is an amazing artist and instructor. She is the co-author of my book Gingerbread Academy. Her work is breathtaking. She takes the ancient traditional motifs and creates something truly original out of them.
My other inspiration is Kornelia Noe. She is a folk artist and she does more that cookies. But her creations have soul. Looking at her cookies you can feel love. The love of gingerbread, the love of the design and the love of live.
My family and friends who support me through my journey and my wonderful students who help me to get to new levels.
The Gingerbread Artist