Swirly cake

I really enjoyed making this cake, I’ve neglected my baking recently for all sorts of kitchen/boiler related reasons. Regardless of the situation, I have decided to bake on! That is what Mary would do, and don’t we all want to do as Mary does? I digress.

I whipped up a vanilla sponge with a classic 8,8,8 oz (sugar, self raising flour, butter) to 4 egg ratio and bunged it in the oven at 180C until risen, golden and cooked in the middle. I mixed up enough buttercream to sink a kayak, divided it up and coloured it in varying shades of blue. If you whip your buttercream lots and lots until it goes pale (before colouring it), you will achieve a smoother, paler buttercream.

The key to any good decoration is a cool cake. Once cooled, I cut it in half and layered lots of raspberry jam on one half of the cake and blackcurrant jam on the other (it’s good to mix things up every once in a while). I spread buttercream thinly on top of the jam and sandwiched the cakes together.

The coloured buttercream was carefully spooned into three piping bags. I like to put the piping bag in a mug and then fill it up- stops the bag falling all over the place. It is best to avoid buttercream splodges around the top of the bag as it will go all over your hands very quickly once you start squeezing !

To make a neat pattern I piped sausages of colour around the edges of the cake, alternating when it felt right to do so. The tricky bit is to use a spreader and blend it together to get very straight, smooth sides. I can always feel my heart beating LOUDLY when I approach any cake with a spreader (it’s very distracting). The remaining buttercream is used to make a swirly pattern on top to finish. I spent an awful lot of time touching it up, it’s hard to say when to stop phaffing. After all that, best not to keep it near a radiator as it will make you cry when all that smoothing and swirling melts everywhere.

This cake is dedicated to Kate who is due to have a baby boy very soon. ūüėÄ ūü§į

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Golf cake

I was given the delightful challenge of doing a lady golf cake this week for a 60th birthday celebration. The remit was : golf lady, pony tail, visor and funny. So here is the result! The only way I have ever got a golf ball in the right place is either kicking it when no one is looking or blowing it in the hole (although that would be crazy golf not serious golf….)

Nothing quite like a gratuitous ass shot….. I plopped her golf club by her side and painted it silver so it looked snazzy. Matching trousers, bobble and visor at the ready. No jeans. God no. I couldn’t have her kicked off her own cake for not wearing the appropriate ensemble.

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Happy 60th birthday Jane!!!! May you have a fabulous day.

 

 

House cake

My sister-in-law-to-be turned 30 this weekend and to celebrate I made a cake with a GIGANTIC version of her ‘godzillaing’ around her new house. I popped her MX5 on the drive, a BBQ in the garden and added an apple tree where I think they should plant one. Nothing quite like a friendly, iced suggestion ūüôā

IMG_4340Happy 30th Birthday to Cleo! May you stomp around your proportionally sized house with grace and poise.

Easter bunny cake

Happy Easter everyone! I decided to make a hill top and cover it in frollocking bunnies. My favourite bunny is the grey one with the surprised expression. I don’t really like the white one lurking behind the grey bunny… looks a bit shifty to me. I actually made a lemon & lime drizzle cake which is a little controversial for Easter Sunday, but I have made an awful lot of chocolate cakes¬†recently.

Look at their little bunny tails! I had a lovely rainy Saturday making these¬†bunnies. My sister owns a couple of Lionhead bunnies so the white and brown bunny is an impression of her less evil bunny (she has one which isn’t so friendly – we don’t really know why).

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These bunnies may look innocent but they have actually stolen lots of mini eggs from some chicks (no-one knows what condition they were left in) and were then hidden (rather badly) inside the tree trunk. So this cake is a little bit more Watership Down than one might think upon initial inspection.

Spring wedding cake

Spring has officially sprung! What could be more fabulous than a spring themed wedding cake? I have to say, for my second wedding cake I’m very proud of myself! Working from the top to the bottom, the tiers contained almond cake, lemon cake, chocolate cake and fruit cake. This cake can feed up to 134 people or 120 without the top tier. The flowers and butterflies were prepared by myself and the help of my sister in January out of modelling paste. I coloured the sweet peas to the colour of the bridesmaids dresses and kept the whole cake very dainty. Everything was cemented in place with Royal icing including the topper which was ordered from¬†Weedots & Just Toppers based in Essex (link below). Such lovely bunting! All of the piping detail on the cake was also done with Royal icing with different sized piping nozzles.¬†I lost a bit of sleep over delivering the cake to the venue as I thought the butterflies might flutter away during transit. Luckily, only one butterfly was sacrificed during the journey and was promptly replaced by a spare one I had made!

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Many congratulations to Mr & Mrs Percy on their wedding and a big thank you to Pam Percy for asking me to make it!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/weedots

 

 

Rose themed wedding cake

This cake has been a labour of love all week. I worked out that I have spent 28 hours making roses and leaves out of sugar and a further 37 hours shopping, ordering supplies, baking, assembling and icing this monster of a cake. I have to say I am pretty tired, but it is the best kind of satisfied tired I have been in a long time.

I have learnt many lessons whilst making this cake. The most important lesson was letting the iced tiers dry separately before assembling together. Secondly, one must use a large pizza peel to move the cakes about without marking them. And thirdly, Royal icing is now my favourite icing as it sealed up any gaps between the tiers and smoothed over any unwanted cracks. If you are ever asked to make a wedding cake, think about where you buy your supplies from as you can easily cut costs by ordering cake boards, icing and boxes from warehouses. Making flowers takes time and should be started weeks before the wedding day, I accidentally dropped a few (which was heartbreaking) and it is a good idea to make more than you think you’ll need. Doweling is ESSENTIAL and shouldn’t be overlooked. I worked out that the cake weighs about 30kg and that poor fruit cake at the bottom has to support quite a lot of that weight. One must respect the fruit cake and stick many a dowel in it so that no caketastrophes occur (that is what Juliet Sear calls them).

edited wedding cake

Cakes should be transported SLOWLY and on a flat surface in the back a car (balancing a 30kg cake on a car seat is a disastrous idea). I was a great lover of google this week as every cake query I had was fixed in a matter of minutes. Now I know what to expect whilst making a wedding cake and I think the next one will be a lot easier (but not necessarily any lighter).

Tea party cake!

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My latest challenge was designing a tea party cake. I made a light vanilla sponge and smothered it in rich vanilla buttercream. I put a base layer of icing on the cake before ‘throwing’ the tablecloth on so that the table had a smooth surface.¬†I¬†cut out a big circle of icing (~10 inches diameter for a 8 inch cake) and draped it over carefully, the folds naturally appeared which was rather lucky. I let the¬†icing dry for hours before gluing on the iced tea set so I didn’t make¬†fingerprints and imperfections. I never realised how important cocktail sticks were until I started icing cakes, they are just so handy to poke tiny objects into¬†position. I also learnt that piping mistakes onto dried icing at 2 in the morning is okay because it just wipes off!¬†The tea set was constructed with lightly¬†coloured Regal icing and bits of wire. I stuck everything down with Royal icing which is¬†essentially cake cement and is now my answer to every cake problem.

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A big thank you to Jane for challenging me to such a cute cake idea. What will the next cake challenge be? Dum dum dummmmmmmmmmm….

One big jazzy

It’s my brother’s birthday today and to celebrate I¬†made a GIGANTIC jazzy. I baked a¬†chocolate fudge cake and covered it in chocolate butter cream and¬†coated it in¬†hundreds and thousands.¬†It¬†dawned on me that perhaps taking the cake into the garden would be a better idea than chucking hundreds and thousands of hundreds and thousands all about the kitchen. It is safe to say that the cake (and the garden) have been decorated.

DSCN6256This cake was baked using one of Juliet Sear’s recipe from her book ‘The Cake Decorating Bible’. Juliet is amazing, I have learnt so much from her book and thoroughly recommend buying it or at least googling her for inspiration. My sister told me last week that Adele is one of her spirit animals and I must admit that I think Juliet is one of mine.

http://www.fancynancy.info/index.php/fancy-nancy-book/

 

 

Wedding cake prep


Well I’m having a fabulous rainy Wednesday prepping the wedding cakes I made yesterday. I have used 63 eggs and am too scared to calculate how much the total amount of cake weighs. I have foraged for ingredients, baked, shaped, buttercreamed and marzipaned the cakes over the last 48 hours. So far so good.

Making a cake this big is surprisingly physical, I shall be incredibly beefy by the time I am finished.

Now for icing, assembling and decoration…. but maybe a nap first.

Carrot cake

  
My mum’s favourite cake is carrot cake. This is the best recipe ever!

  • 350g self raising flour
  • 350g light brown sugar
  • 350ml sunflower oil
  • 6 carrots
  • 6 eggs
  • Several handfuls of sultanas
  • Good dash of orange juice
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger

Cheese frosting:

  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • Orange zest
  • 50g icing sugar

Soak the grated carrots and sultanas in orange juice whilst greasing your tin and finding all the things you need. Mix all the ingredients together and then add the soaked carrots and sultanas. Bake in a 8 inch square tin for about an hour on gas mark 4. Leave to cool and make the cheese frosting. Sift the icing sugar into the cream cheese and apply generously on top of the cake. I also decorated it with lemon zest and a big ‘Mum’ out of sultanas. Happy Mother’s Day!