Thursday, 31 October 2013

Shave to Save

We all hear people say it on the TV, the radio, through "shares" on Facebook, and any other method that media is spread around socially: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year I hear all the amazing survival stories and the stories of people doing great things to help, and every year I miss my chance to do something to helpout... this year was different. No, I myself did not participate in the Shave to Save, but a good friend of mine did. She decided that she didn't want her Mum to go through this process alone, so she would show her support by doing this. Simply fantastic, I thought. I relate very closely to her, and could feel how she wanted to do what ever she could to help her Mum, short of actually curing her. I get that feeling with my Mum; Can't take her MS away, but I'll darn well do anything I can to help! Needless to say I wanted support my friend as a result, so naturally I donated to her worthy cause (which she exceeded her goal!!!) but also wanted to make her a special treat as well.

I know I've written a bit more than usual but I feel I had to, to try to do some justice for this amazing movement. At the very least it raises awareness which might reach someone who goes to get checked out and can get help before it's too late. Or it might give someone hope, who's almost out of hope, just to see that other people care about them. So whenever you get the chance to donate, do so. You never know when it will be you in need.

As best I know how, I made a couple appropriate cake pops for my friend. No wild colours, or characters, just true to form.

Chickie, I think that you are a rock and that you do rock!! You inspire me...

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sweet Spooks

On top of the gorgeous fall colours and the smell of leaves in the air, the approaching cooler weather always reminds me that Hallowe'en is drawing near. Memories of going trick-or-treating with my sister and Dad, carving pumpkins, and collecting sweeties from our neighbours. I've seen people use this "holiday" as inspiration for weddings and birthday parties alike, decorating their halls with purple and orange embellishments, placing cobwebs everywhere and lighting the room with gloomy looking candles. This time of year does lend itself quite well to a party, if done well that is. I tried to imagine one of those parties when I was coming up with the designs for these Hallowe'en Birthday pops. Intended for a 14-year-olds' Birthday party, I wanted them to be fun but also to be clearly Hallowe'en too. Hopefully I was also able to get in as much purple (birthday girl's favourite colour) along with the rest of the theme. I stuck with a classic, the ghosts, then added in some fun spiky monsters and topped everything off with some fun sprinkles. Something for everyone....

 Some of the ghosts looked forlorn.... while others looked a little crazed.

 All the lovely pops, bagged and tagged.

Muahahahahhahahahaha........ hopefully the party goers gobbled up these ghostly, ghoulish goodies.... that way they wont be around to haunt them the next day..........

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Seasonal and Not-so-Seasonal

My final commission for this week, was for a set of cupcakes for a young Birthday boy's party and a cake for the adults to enjoy at this party as well. For the adult cake, I was asked for it to be designed around "Oktoberfest" ( and as for the cupcakes, they just had to be in the genre of Minecraft (no game?). After a few exchanges with the Dad in charge of ordering the cakes, I narrowed the designs down to what I could conceivably turn into cake form. Once that detail was sorted out the rest fell into place.

I have it on good authority that the Birthday boy was quite thrilled with the cupcakes, and although the larger cake didn't have any marzipan (or any beer in it), the adults were also pleased with the Autumnal leafy cake. Certainly made me feel very Fall-like!

So for the adult cake...
Classic design, very seasonal. Loved working with these colours!

And for the Birthday Boy's cupcakes....
"Creepers", and "diamond pickaxes", and "diamond swords"... Oh my!

...and now for a break!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

One Hot Zebra

On top of the cake pops for one of the confirmation ceremonies happening this weekend, I made a big cake for yet another confirmation. This one could not have been more opposite from the pops I had made earlier, however. I had a few requests from the Mum of the young lady to be confirmed. She wanted fun, pink, youthful... and zebra printed, and although these requests weren't exactly something that you find under "religious confirmation cake" description, I think they certainly celebrated life!

I only hope this wild cake made Sydney smile after her confirmation, because I certainly couldn't help but smile every time I'd see it in my kitchen



Confirming Your Beliefs

I've made plenty of cake pops for birthday parties and the various seasons throughout the year, but never have I had the chance to make them for a confirmation. The nearest religious pop I've made are the Nativity pops I make for the children's Christmas pageant at my church, however I could hardly make a dozen Marys or Baby Jesus', or even donkeys.

As far as these pops were concerned, the only requests I had were that they be "religious," "gold," and "silver." Luckily,  I already had an idea what I could come up with based on the design description.

Hopefully they added a sweet touch to a special day!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Apart from the mounds of baking of sweets that I seemed to be doing at this time of year, I also had the pleasure of baking lots of savouries for our "Deconstructed Turduckuailham"... it's the best name I could come up for our meal consisting of turkey, duck, quail, ham, and sausages, and on top of this we had about seven different kinds of veg. The best part of all this food was that we had a raclette, so I could actually sit down and enjoy it!

We couldn't have all of this savoury goodness without the dessert, naturally, so we had that covered with and apple pie from my Mum and a cheese cake from Patrick's Mum. And because I couldn't do without contributing something baked, so I make turkey place markers for everyone at the table.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 Two little quails!
 All the meat roasted...
All ready for the table.
...and the table.
Happy little turkey.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Gluten-Free Flora

Never have I ever been asked to, or have needed to make a gluten-free cake. Despite all the benefits people report after going gluten-free, and of course all the necessary aspects when one cannot process gluten, I have yet to take such drastic measures. I always tell people I would make a terrible vegetarian, and I think this goes for gluten-free too. Although interesting to learn about what has and doesn't have gluten in it, and the alternative flours people use to replace traditional wheat flour, I know that I am stuck in my comfortable rut, and it would take a lot of effort for me to convert fully... so if you've tried the non-gluten route, and have succeeded... props.

Saying that, my hand was metaphorically held by the lovely Anna Olson as I followed a gluten-free almond pound cake recipe from her book Bake to Baking. I also followed a recipe for gluten-free icing, also from the same book. From the little crumbs I tested (they fell off the cake naturally, I swear!!!) the cake had a lovely lemon flavour. The icing was different, to say the least. More a true butter-cream then a half-shortening-half-butter recipe that I'm used to. This one involved heating egg whites over simmering water, then beating again and adding in lots of butter. I'll say one thing for it, it sets up beautifully well, and is wonderful to cover a cake, and decorate with. The reason I was asked to make this cake, was to lighten the load of a friend of mine who is the maid of honour to a gluten-free Bride! I certainly felt less nervous making this cake for someone I've known for ever.

Hope they had a good shower, seemed like everything was perfectly laid out and ready for the madding crowd... gluten-free sandwiches and cupcakes, and all!

My friend just wanted, simple and white with flowers, with no fondant.

A thoughtful message...

Nummy flowers!