Oh the dramas with this wedding cake!
I was asked to make a simple elegant cake, with a bunch of flowers on top. Sounded like fun – I was looking for an excuse to practice making sugar flowers so was quite excited.
The cake was three tiers: the bottom was a 12 inch chocolate cake, and the 10 inch and 8 inch tiers were a very delicious fruit cake speckled with dark chocolate bits.
First drama: Burnt fruit cakes
The last time I made fruit cake was for my own wedding. From that I learnt that the ‘classic bake’ function on our previous oven is a very handy thing. It means that only the bottom element is turned on and when baking for 3 hours it helps prevent the tops from burning. Our new oven doesn’t have this function so alas the tops needed a bit of ‘levelling’. Tasted fine in the end though.
Second drama: Broken bouquet
After hours of labourious intricacies, the hubby accidentally knocked over my completed sugar bouquet, smashing half of the flowers. Luckily I had enough time, and experience by then, to whip up the replacements without too much bother. Luckily for him he was helping me roll fondant and it was indeed an accident. (My husband tells me that I have to mention that “In hindsight I should’ve put them in a better place and not teetering on the edge of the bench”. Who’s writing this post huh!? :D )
Third drama: Squished cake
Well bad things seem to come in threes. During transportation to the venue, a friend’s hands moulded into the sides of the top tier while he held it in the car. We got there and the round cake looked more like an hour glass. NooOoooOO – why now!?! Not now!!! I kept my cool, which is surprising for a pregnant lady, and luckily (yes, luck was the saving grace for this cake) the icing was thick and soft enough to mould back into shape. It wasn’t perfect but it at least it was round (mostly) again!
Plenty of lessons learnt from my first commissioned cake and it was worth it all in the end to see how happy the bride was.
You can view the gallery of my cakes on the Cakes page.
I asked the husband what cake he wanted for his birthday, and we went through the usual “Ummm, I dunno… uhhh”. (It’s kind of like trying to get him to choose baby names, or make any decisions that require creative thought actually. He says that’s my forté.) He’s a geek, so we thought about doing a robot, ipad, motherboard, and other various typical geek things. He had bought me some Ninjabread men cutters because he wanted them at the party, and I said if he wasn’t going to choose something then I’d make a harpooned whale with ninjas doing scientific research on it.
He must’ve had an epiphany or something, and said “Ooh! I know what we could have – you know that furry monster thing on the motivational poster about God killing kittens whenever someone masturbates?” – ok, maybe not an epiphany but he decided that’s what he wanted (because of the Internet meme association, not because of the fate of kittens). We’re talking about Domo-kun (we weren’t geeky enough and had to Google for that).
He also wanted a red velvet cake and ended up baking the cake himself (yay) and I decorated. Things worked out really well because the cross section of the cake looked as if we had given Domo an autopsy.
And the cake was delicious. I hadn’t tried red velvet before, only heard about it, usually in the form of cupcakes. We tried the Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet recipe – it’s a perfect density for decorating and the bonus is that it tastes good and isn’t dry (and pretty easy to make).
Will definitely make red velvet cake again – just got to remember to get lots of red food colouring each time!
I was asked to make a cake that could be raffled off for the Greenacres School gala. I wanted something whimsical and not too boyish or too girly and it had to appeal to school kids, or at least kids at heart. I chose Alice in Wonderland – oh the options!
In the end I decided I wanted a cake shaped like the Mad Hatter’s hat, with a tea party happening on top. This is the result:
This beast is made of three 8 inch chocolate cakes split into six layers to make the hat, then a smaller madeira cake to make the table and pedestal, also layered. I used lemon buttercream as the filling because it’s easy and delicious.
It’s hard to tell from the pictures but it’s quite a large cake, and damn heavy! Should feed around 60 I say, depending on how big you like your slices.
Our good camera is being fixed which annoys me because I couldn’t take proper photos showing the details. The flash on our backup seems to bring out some of the shine and smaller details, but ruins the colour.
The hat has stitching details around it, some fan patterns pressed into it, and painted with golden lustre for a shine. The ribbon’s also got some pink lustre on it but it’s quite subtle.
I created some pastillage mushrooms, teacups and miniature roses to decorate the table tier. I still hate working with pastillage in that it dries so quickly and cracks. The mushrooms were easy but the others were hard. My teacups ended up looking rustic, but hey, anything goes in Wonderland!
I tried quite a few things on this cake, including piping patterns with royal icing. That was fun, but I really need more practice with piping on vertical surfaces – the numbers on the hat ticket were a bit squiggly as I didn’t know how to keep my hands stable at that angle.
Anyway, it was great practice for Abby’s first birthday cake – something that I haven’t decided on yet and the party’s next week!!
By the way, the gala’s on tomorrow Saturday 20 November 2011, 11am to 2pm at the Greenacres School at 60 Raroa Terrace, Tawa. If you’re in Wellington, drop on by. You can buy raffle tickets to win this cake there :D
I mentioned a while ago that I was making a cake for a friend’s little boy – I’ve realised that I never posted about it even though I said I would. So here it is.
It’s a bigger stumpier vesrion of the baby Godzilla cake that I made for the Threadcakes competition earlier. This time I made its teeth match the birthday boy’s – a total of six baby teeth :)
I also made a cake last week for our Plunket group’s joint first birthday celebration. It’s a wonky Jack in the Box, but it was lots of fun and so delicious.
His face was made from a few chunks of cake that I squished into a ball – lol. Hence, he looks like he’s suffered from severe acne.
I finally got to try out my edible lustre to make the handle look metallic, and then played around with the shapes on the sides to see how terrible I was at painting on sparkliness.
And yes, Jack’s body was also cake. Pieces of cake stacked on top of each other and skewered in place as he began to sag – I didn’t stack them perfectly because I didn’t want him to look “stiff”…
We had the celebration at the Hataitai Community Centre play room. I had not been there before and only vaguely knew where to go. Luckily the hunch was right. Someone said it was where the Plunket was, and I found that ok. Problem was, when I went inside to investigate I disturbed a hypnotherapy birthing class. The instructor was not impressed. I explained what I was looking for and the group was nice enough to tell me I had to go down the stairs to the play room. I thanked and apologised. Whoops! (And because my previous phone broke, I found that all the contacts I needed that day weren’t in my new phone so I couldn’t call them!)
I have a cake to make every week this month. In three weeks it’ll be for Abby’s first birthday – yikes!
I’ve been up to my eyes in cake this last week!
First was an entry into the Threadcakes competition. I’ve been wanting to make this baby Godzilla dinosaur cake, based on a Threadless shirt design, for a while and finally found the motivation (and time) to do it.
I baked a couple of test cakes and found a delicious madeira recipe (which I tweaked to make it an orange madeira cake) that was perfect – delicious, moist and something I could carve into. It was a lot of work, but I think I did well for my first sculpted cake. More details and photos can be found on my Threadcakes entry.
The other cake was for a friend’s grandaughter’s third birthday party. The wee girl wanted a yellow castle cake and I decided to add Rapunzel into the mix.
The main cake was a dense banana cake (I think I’ll use another recipe next time), and the skinny tower was a chocolate roll. Both are filled with a delicious butter cream. The skinny tower gave me troubles as it started leaning and sagging a bit – oh dear. The top tower was also a challenge to cover.
Just a bit of practice to better my cake decorating skills. I have lots to learn still!