Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Pumpkin Pie in August

Because soap takes about 4-8 weeks to fully cure, I have to work ahead of the seasons in order to have seasonally-appropriate soaps ready on time. That leads me to my newest soap, Pumpkin Pie, that I've made with my husband in mind. He loves pumpkin pie so much that he requests it every year for his birthday in October instead of cake. So when I decided to start working with fragrance oils, I knew that I would have to try a pumpkin pie fragrance. And though I know that it will be comforting to use this soap in September and October when the days get cooler and rainier, it feels a little odd in the heat of summer to be working with a fragrance that contains top notes of clove, nutmeg, and ginger, middle notes of orange and lemon zest and a rich bottom of vanilla, butter, coumarin, pumpkin, and cinnamon.

Acrylic soap mold with a silicone base liner and dividers; Pumpkin Pie fragrance oil
For this soap, I used my new acrylic slab mold. I was planning on layering a small amount of white soap on top of orange soap with a sprinkling of cinnamon to make it look a bit like pumpkin pie with whipped cream, but my husband suggested going for a more deconstructed look. The design is a simple chopstick swirl of orange, brown and white soap batter. 
Messy lines of soap batter; the result of a simple chopstick swirl; the finished product ready to set
In my soaps, I usually include lots of conditioning oils, tussah silk and some sort of milk. I love the lather and silky feeling that this combination of ingredients produces. This soap contains a high proportion of olive, avocado and sunflower oils, a lesser amount of coconut and palm oils, and unrefined cocoa butter, along with the silk and buttermilk. The orange colour comes from olive oil infused with annatto seeds (and a touch of orange oxide, just in case), and the white and brown from titanium dioxide and cappuccino mica, respectively. 

Oils with a natural orange hue due to annatto seeds
Because I used buttermilk in the soap, I popped the mold into the fridge to set. I find that keeping milk soaps cool and (hopefully) preventing them from gelling creates a nicer looking soap in the end. After 24 hours, the soap was firm, so I put it in a 170F oven for 10 minutes as per the instructions that came with the mold; apparently this procedure helps to release the soap from the mold, and so far it has worked for me. Once cooled, I slid a butter knife under the silicone liner to release the first bar, after which the dividers were easily removed.

Lifting soap out of mold with a butter knife; dividers removed; excess soap trimmings
Because I like the soap to have a really crisp appearance, I trimmed tiny bits of excess soap from the bars, but this isn't strictly necessary. 

Finished soap ready to cure
I really love the resulting design, both back and front. The smell is also fantastic: lots of spices upfront, with a nice base of pumpkin, vanilla and butter that round out the scent and enforce the "pie" aspect of the fragrance. I have enough fragrance left to make another batch, and I likely will before autumn is over. 


  1. Oh YUM! That turned out beautiful Deirdre, gorgeous swirls! I'm totally in love with your see-through divider mold too!

  2. Thanks so much Cee! I really appreciate your kind words :)

  3. Those soaps look awesome Deirdre! Can I make an order??

  4. Hi! I found your blog linked in Cee´s oil&butter-blog. I agree with your husband, these swirls are beautiful. Is the soap going to darken to brown or are those bars in the last picture already cured?


    1. Thank you Marika! This soap was made a few days ago, so I'm not sure if it will discolour or not. Tfhere was no info about discolouration from the fragrance supplier. If it does, I'm hoping that the white swirls will remain distinct from the rest of the soap, but we'll see!

    2. Just a quick update on this soap. It definitely darkened, but retained some of the orange hue. The white swirls stayed white, so there's still some nice distinction in the design.

  5. Love your swirls and the pumpkin pie f.o. sounds rich, warm, and yummy!