Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Palaloolali Patrick!!

(I never thought I would be spending time searching for that on the internet, but did you know that Palaloolali! is Happy Birthday in Minionese? Now you do...)

My Husband (and I) recently celebrated our 30th birthdays! Now we have to start feeling more grown up and all the rest of it, but for now I'll just post about the fun cake I made to celebrate the occasion. With all the gifts I give him there's always a theme: Minions. These yellow tic tacs have certainly made an impact on him so I try to have everything minion themed. For Christmas, I got him the string of minion lights and we made the Minion gingerbread house, we went to go see The Minions Movie in 3D, and even Patrick's favourite pick-up line he uses on me is from the Minions: "tu et bella, comme la papaya!" So to indulge him for his birthday, I sneakily made him Minion cake pops and a mint chocolate ice cream cake with a Minion flare.

I think he like them.... :)

(It's a bit blurry, cause I was excited to see his reaction.)
I put these Minion sprinkles in Patrick's stocking at Christmas. I knew I'd find the perfect time to use them!

Not too bad for a first attempt. I know what I would do differently next time, so I guess he'll have to suffer through more Minion cake pops at some point :P
It's hard to get a tall man, me, and a cake into a picture so this was as close as we got!
Happy Birthday my Darling!!


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Defintely One for the Books

This particular cake was a combination of a birthday cake for a close friend, and a way of remembering my Dad as he would have been 75 at his last birthday. When I was asked to decorate this cake, I was told that the cake would be baked in a "book" cake pan so that was my base, and the birthday boy wanted a quote on top of the cake which I was provided, but apart from that the details were up to me. The suggestion which stuck with me was "decorate it how you would decorate a cake for your Dad". When you have an instant idea it's hard not to think of something else, so the word that kept floating around in my head was "manuscript". I knew this would work for the birthday boy as well, as he and my Father were close friends and colleagues. In many ways they were similar: stoic, scholarly, learned men, who enjoyed solving life's problems from an arm chair. Growing up our two families often had dinner together. Post-meal I would go play with their daughter, leaving our Mothers to drink tea and tackle a puzzle with several hundred pieces, and our Fathers to retire to the book room and quietly discuss the world around them in great depth. These books which enveloped them during their discussions were my inspiration for this cake.

The snails were apropos of something called marginalia. A phenomenon seen in ancient manuscripts where the Monks who were responsible for recording life and verse in these manuscripts, apparently got bored and started doodling. Most of what you can find on the internet is quite rude when it comes to marginalia, but the safer snail is present in several examples. Often the snail is depicted as fighting off a knight of some form, perhaps because of the damp monasteries that would have been full of snails so might have been seen as a threat...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Super Spy Chase and his Chocolate Cake

I've discovered I learn a lot through my cake baking sessions. I learn about new techniques, about new holidays, different sports, and certainly about new TV characters. It would make sense if I had kids or friends with kids of the appropriate age to know who some of these characters are, but most of the time I just have to sit down with Google and a cup of tea and get to grips with a whole new world. Such was the case with this last cake order.

The initial email discussion the order set the bar pretty high because the whole name of the character was used (showing that details were very important), and they mentioned the character's accessories (no pressure now!). Above all this, kids don't hold back. If they don't like a cake, they'll tell you straight out. If they wished for something different but didn't mind this cake, they'll say "it was okay, but I really like [insert their favourite flavour]!" So needless to say I wanted to get the details right, and I wanted the birthday boy to really feel like this was a Super Spy Chase and his Drone from Paw Patrol cake.

I knew that trying to create Super Spy Chase and his Drone out of anything edible would be an impossible and very expensive task, and knowing my artistic limitations it would not go well, so I asked if they would have a toy to put as a cake topper and I would decorate with appropriate details. I've heard that the 4-year-old in question was very pleased with his cake so I can wipe the sweat from my brow and breathe a sigh of relief!

I had worked with this edible paper one or twice before, but only in a minor capacity. I used red sugar sheets to make the fire engine cake, and as a backdrop for the logo for the White Side Taylor cake. It's a great alternative to fondant taste-wise, and buttercream (because if you manage to actually get buttercream red-colour and not pink, it wont taste good...).
 This time, I used the paper with edible markers and drew the logo and dog tags
for the famous Super Spy Chase.

It was a learning curve, but if anyone wants me to make a Rainbow Bright, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Cabbage Patch, or Polly Pocket cake, I'll be in my element
(and showing my age!)

Chocolate Offerings

I never like going empty handed to a friend's house for dinner. In these cases I usually play to my strengths and bring something sweet, and knowing that our hosts enjoy a good chunk of chocolate I figured I couldn't go wrong with my mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing decorated with one of my newer sprinkles (I really think I need to address my sprinkle addiction...).

Nothing complicated with these, but when you have chocolate cupcakes, they don't nee to be!

My bumblebee mug from my Mum, which reminds me that though the bumblebee shouldn't....it flies.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Double Baptismal Blessing

Sometimes I'm asked simply to decorate the cakes for my clients, say if they have Grandma's favourite recipe for fruit cake but don't trust themselves with a piping bag, I can help them with the icing half of things. For this family, I was asked to decorate a cake they had baked, in order to celebrate the baptism of two babies in their family! They chose a beautiful design that suited both babies, I just made sure the names were right (pretty important!).

I've never had the opportunity to make little figurines out of fondant, but I'm super pleased with how these ones turned out- so cute!
I adore the stitching on the ears.
Sweet little wings for the bunny.

Deceptively simple, but perfectly suited for the occasion.
Every blessing!

Cute Cupcakes for Easter

Given that I have a wall of jars that are full of sprinkles, ranging from coloured nonpareils to adorable little shapes for all the seasons, when I have a request for "cute" Easter cupcakes I instantly run through my types of sprinkles to create the best sweet treats. Instead of making classically iced cupcakes, I thought I would extend the Spring-theme and use my trusty grass tip and make little tufts of sweet grass, covered in adorable pastel-coloured sprinkles, thus forming cupcake nests for chocolate eggs.

These cupcakes were to function as place markers for a friend's Easter dinner table, and with these accompanying her already beautifully decorated table, I can't see how her guests couldn't have been thoroughly impressed.

I got those cute little carrot and bunny tags for my friend to write her guests names on and mark the cupcakes, so cute!
Love the little bunny sprinkles.

And the multi-coloured eggs.
...and the little carrot sprinkles!!
Happy little Easter tufts!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

We All Scream for Ice Cream...Cake

There is always a first time for everything, and most of the time you never know what you are capable of until you try it. Albeit, I'd rather try something new with someone I trust and not someone I'd never met before, so when my friend asked if I made ice cream cakes, and I said I never had before, I felt confident to try it out (and she trusted me enough to do it). I searched You Tube and armed myself with a plan.

My friend's son was having a birthday and an ice cream cake was his wish. The other wish was simply put: "chocolate". And chocolate it was! Chocolate ice cream, with chocolate cake, covered in chocolate buttercream... think there's enough chocolate?

The trickiest thing I found with an ice cream cake was the timing. Firstly, you had to be sure that you made it far enough in advance because it had to solidify in the freezer for a minimum of three hours depending on the size of your cake. Secondly, once you started working on the cake you had to be quick and get it back into the freezer before you ended up with a nicely decorated bowl of chocolate soup, as I was telling my friend. Luckily for me, timing was on my side and I didn't hand my friend a sprinkle-filled bowl of chocolate soup.

The cling film made the cake easy to take out of the cake pan. Otherwise I would have had to melt it slightly to slide it out (potentially resulting in the aforementioned chocolate soup).
My friend told me that Camron is into gaming, so I tried to incorporate that into the decorations. Much Googling, and double checking of details was required because although I don't know the first thing about different controllers (one's white?!), there was a young man who would have been looking at this cake and checking the details so I had to try my best to get the details as accurate as you can with chocolate and a tooth-pick.
Green was the colour of choice for the birthday boy, good choice Camron :)
Simply green sprinkles up the sides, which stuck to the freshly spread buttercream.
First time using these plastic cake domes....love it!! I like how you could see the cake through the plastic which isn't the case with the cardboard boxes. I may have to use these more and not just for ice cream cakes.