A cake to say thank you and farewell – after all, why buy someone lunch when you can get them a cake shaped like lunch instead?
A foot long chocolate vanilla marble cake, filled and frosted with milk chocolate Italian meringue buttercream, covered with caramel flavour fondant and topped with hand tinted coconut flakes and sugar sprinkles.
Layered slices of hand crafted fondant pepperoni and salami (both vanilla flavour), and modelling chocolate ham (strawberry flavour)…
…with fondant cheese slices (orange flavour) on top.
Hand crafted fondant tomato (tutti frutti flavour), cucumber (apple flavour), green pepper (kiwi flavour) and red onion slices (vanilla flavour); liquorice olives and modelling chocolate lettuce (lime flavour).
Cookies shaped from caramel fudge flavoured fondant, hand tinted and studded with real chocolate chunks.
Lunch set out on a printed sugar sheet tablecloth, completed with a message of thanks written in edible ink on a gumpaste napkin with an edible printed logo.
It’s been fun doing the Christmas cakes this year, although I could do with being just a tad more organised about things – a little lot less last minute dashing is the plan for next year.
Working with different media is always refreshing, and it was great to be able to work on the solidity of a fruit cake rather than the more fragile sponge ones.
Devoted though I am to Italian meringue buttercream, it was a nice change to use marzipan again. That stuff is so easy to handle, mould and form – I wish more people liked it!
I was also reminded that I really must get to grips with royal icing. The trouble is, it’s about as unpopular as marzipan so I generally only get one request a year for it (on a Christmas cake). It’s easy to give it low priority. Nonetheless, I need to make the effort to practice with it; quite apart from anything else, the marzipan button tree cake would have looked SO much better on a smooth topped cake.
Anyway, the last three Christmas cakes of 2015…
Star Tree Christmas Cake – 6″ traditional fruit cake, covered with marzipan and fondant, finished with fondant stars and silver nonpareils.
I like the design of this but wasn’t happy with my finish on the stars. I also don’t like the slightly lopsided look of the tree…better star positioning needed!
Snowman Christmas Cake – 6″ traditional fruit cake, covered with marzipan and fondant, finished with fondant features and bobble hat.
He’s cute, isn’t he? I was pleased with him. I was particularly happy with the fondant bobble on his hat, which was made using a ‘brainwave technique’ (involving scissors) that truly worked 🙂
It’s a shame this picture was taken before Mr. Snowman was beribboned and that I forgot to take one after – with a jaunty red and white spotted ribbon tied around him he looked even more appealing.
Gold Stars Christmas Cake – 5″ traditional fruit cake, covered with marzipan and fondant, finished with antique gold fondant stars and gold nonpareils.
I really like the pretty simplicity of this cake – the gold board added just enough glitz to lift a fairly plain cake into understated glamour.
Gingerbread Man Cake
Fondant Star Tree Cake
Gold Star Cake
Marzipan Button Tree cake
Five cakes in total and I really can’t decide which is my favourite. I think the gingerbread man…but maybe the gold stars…p’haps the snowman…?!
Another Christmas cake has been completed and is ready for delivery – hurrah! Only another 3 to go.
This dinky little 4″ brandy infused fruit cake has been covered with marzipan and fondant then finished with hand crafted fondant decorations and a perky gingham ribbon.
I know certain TV shows would have it that BIGGER is always much better, and the big complex numbers are undoubtedly productively challenging to a person’s skills and impressive when well executed.
Nonetheless, I do like doing these smaller cakes; apart from the fact they’re a doddle to cover with icing ( 😀 ) I also think there’s a simple cuteness to them that tends to be missing from grand scale cakes.
I think this little gingerbread man cake is pretty adorable anyway! What do you think?
When I’ve previously made birthday cakes for Barn’s niece she’s been a little young to grasp the concept of ‘you can have anything you like for your cake’ and there’s been a lot of parental input in terms of theme.
This year she was in full on imagination mode when she asked for, “A butterfly cake…with Minion eyes!”
Despite loving the concept I reckoned the end result might be a little scary looking so we agreed that she would have a butterfly cake with Minions involved somehow.
And so this three layer vanilla and strawberry sponge cake was created – a butterfly cake being crafted by Minions.
Ever since my early days of cake making, when Busty Bertha was created, I’ve wanted to try my hand at the infinitely more elegant 3D corset cake.
With complete free rein on the design of Big Sis’s birthday cake, an opportunity was clearly presenting itself and the time had quite obviously finally come.
Why was a corset cake appropriate for Big Sis? Well, we’d had the fine dining experience and to complete things, I felt a little tasteful burlesque would be just the thing to have with coffee and cognac. Ok, a little tenuous, but I really wanted to make this cake 😉
The cake was made up of eight layers of vanilla Madeira, filled with lemon buttercream, stacked and carved into shape.
The ease with which the shaping took place was incredible…I thought I’d be there for at least an hour shaving bits off and trying to get the curves right…in the event, it took about 20 minutes. A very pleasant surprise.
The curve of the breasts was made using crumbled cake off-cuts mixed with frosting to make a mouldable paste (like cake pop mix).
A fresh, zingy lemon Italian meringue buttercream was used to fill and frost. First the rough, crumb coat…
…then the much smoother second layer. And then a third, finishing layer which filled in and smoothed out all the little dimples you can see in this picture. I forgot to photograph the final buttercream finish but it was smooooth!
The whole cake was then wrapped in fondant and detailing added.
The front panel was embossed then hand tinted with edible silver dust.
The panel underneath the lacing was hand painted with silver before the lacing detail was added.
The back lacing detail and bow were my favourite part of this cake…so dainty and effective.
The ‘fabric’ top and draping details were created from thinly rolled fondant, which was then folded, tinted and lustred with various grey, silver and pearl dusts.
The flowers were made using a simple rolling technique to create a fabric roses type effect. These were the only non-edible part of the cake, and only because I’d used the diamanté embellishments.
Presented on a simple white cake stand with slender, curved, silver candles to give a pretty finish.
This cake gave me a real indication of the progress I’ve made and the increased proficiency that is coming with experience. It felt really good to know my skills are continuing to improve.
Hot on the heels (sorry) of the dragon slaying shoe, I was asked to do another shoe cake – this time a friend of mine wanted to surprise one of his friend’s on her 50th birthday. He said she likes shoes and her favourite colour is red…apart from that, the design was left to me. Taking a huge amount of inspiration from the extremely talented Iris Rezoagli of Cake Dreams by Iris, I created this high heeled shoe cake.
The shoe box cake is a four layer vanilla Madeira cake, filled with strawberry jam and vanilla Italian meringue buttercream.The gumpaste shoe was made using the heel mould and sole cutter from the kit I used last time. However, because I decided to go with a platform sole, it was necessary to create my own toe and heel strap templates. There was some cursing involved. And maybe a little bit of pencil throwing. Got there in the end though.
The upper of the shoe was created using two layers of gumpaste; I made the lacy detail with a heart shaped cutter and two broderie anglaise cutters. I was initially planing to use Cake Lace but the lace mat I’d purchased wasn’t big enough, and patching bits together wasn’t going to work. Not to worry, Plan B came out just fine.
(As it happens, I have a future cake planned that will utilise the cake lace, and allows me time to buy a larger lace mat! That’s assuming I can make it work. General consensus is that it’s a doddle to use, but I reserve judgement until actual usage has occurred 😉 )
The bow on the shoe and the black flowers (of undetermined species) are both embellished with non-edible diamanté.
Hand modelled gumpaste poppy(ish) flower set against black satin ribbon.
There are a few key areas for improvement, as detailed above, plus the top of the cake was still sloping at the edges – dammit I will get a straight finish!
That said, I’m really, really pleased with how the shoe came together and the over all look of the cake. I had fun making it.
The recipient was reported to be delighted and amazed and so all is well in my little corner of the universe.
A whole lot of learning has been accomplished, a mass of experience gained and just over one year elapsed since the failed first attempt at a high heeled shoe cake. Just look at the difference a year can make……well, a year plus having cutters and moulds plus using the appropriate medium!
This three tier stacked cake was for a friend’s 30th birthday. From bottom to top the flavours are: vanilla Madeira with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream; chocolate fudge cake with chocolate buttercream; firm carrot cake with fresh orange buttercream.
I’m generally pleased with the finished cake but there’s still a ton of room for improvement…not least, remembering to check that the top cake is big enough for the shoe! I think I got away with this but it wasn’t the finished look I had in mind.
Forward planning, or lack thereof, is to blame for almost all the elements of this cake with which I’m unhappy. Forward planning is not really to blame for the sightly barrelled shape of the top cake…that’s just down to needing to take a little more time. However, the crooked ’30’, the marbling effect of the purple glitter (I intended to have it more solid), the off centre positioning of the cake on the board, the purple ribbon on the top cake instead of the intended diamanté…all of this was down to me not checking, measuring and thinking ahead.
One of Mum’s friends asked if I could do a birthday cake for her Aunt’s 90th birthday. It needed to be fairly traditional and relatively simple, so this is what I came up with:
This a three layer vanilla Madeira cake, filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream, then covered with fondant. I’m happy to note the continued improvement in smooth finish to the fondant covering. The animals are fondant renditions of the lady’s pets. Admittedly they’re not absolutely faithful replications, but I think they’re reasonably cute.
Contrary to appearances, Jessie does not have a pitbull…this is supposed to be a border collie… Practice needed!!
This cake was made for a friend who was godmother to the little girl being christened. It was a three layer vanilla Madeira cake, filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream, then covered and decorated with fondant. The hood was made from rice krispie treats, shaped with the aid of a ball cake tin, also covered and decorated with fondant.
There were also coordinating strawberry and vanilla cupcakes, decorated with fondant and piped sugar shapes.
Everything was boxed up and ready to deliver the following day, and then disaster struck…Just before going to bed I discovered the hood of the crib had fallen off backwards, making this horrific mess 😦However, I am British, so I did not falter; I called upon my birth bestowed stiff upper lip, girded my loins, then proceeded to strip off the fondant from the hood and back third of the cake, adding better supports, before re-decorating. I actually preferred the second, less fussy version.
Hand crafted fondant and modelling chocolate baby and bear, and gumpaste keepsake plaque. Eventually the cake was delivered intact and with a huge sigh of relief. Later, this photo of it in situ at the party was sent to me, along with delighted feedback about how it looked and tasted.