My darling friend LL, who quite frankly should know better regarding timing ( 😉 ), made a last minute request for cakes for her sister’s 30th birthday.
With insufficient time to create the desired vodka bottle cake (damn! I’d have loved to do it), the spec then became very loose: a small cutting cake, with 30 cupcakes, the design somehow involving Absolut vodka.
I have no wish to cast aspersions here, but if at age 30 the ONLY thing people thought of in relation to you was Absolut vodka, would you not have a quick assessment of your lifestyle?! 😀
The lack of time also explains why there are real miniature bottles of vodka on top of the cutting cake, rather than gumpaste ones.
6″ dense, moist, chocolate fudge cake, filled and frosted with chocolate Italian meringue buttercream, covered with fondant, decorated with hand crafted fondant roses and real (miniature!) bottles of Absolut vodka.
Cupcakes in two flavours: vanilla confetti with strawberry Italian meringue buttercream (silver cases) and chocolate sponge topped with white chocolate Italian meringue buttercream (black & white cases).
I think with under a week’s notice, this cake design worked out rather well 🙂
During some extended internet pootling I’d been utterly enchanted and more than a little inspired by the many examples of gorgeously styled dessert tables; so, when it came to Big Sis’s 2014 birthday, I pounced on the opportunity to try my hand at one.
Roses, ribbons, hydrangea and pearls adorned the welcome sign on the door.
Desserts Menu (made by me):
Centrepiece birdcage birthday cake
White chocolate & pistachio cheesecake served in dark chocolate cups
Fresh raspberry mousse served in dark chocolate shot ‘glasses’
Raspberry lemonade cupcakes – mini & regular
Chai cupcakes – mini & regular
Strawberry Belgian chocolate rose shaped lollipops
Also on the table (not made by me):
Pink Champagne truffles
Bon-bons (cherry; chocolate; apple)
Assorted flavours pink & green jelly beans
For Mum, on Mothers’ Day. This was two cakes, stacked. Both were lemon Madeira, filled and frosted with silky smooth Italian meringue buttercream that had been flavoured with fresh berry purée.
The roses were coming along nicely – still too thick, particularly in the centre, but leaps and bounds improvement on earlier efforts. I particularly liked the silver lustre on these ones.
The last cake of 2103 was for a friend whose birthday falls just after Christmas. I was given free rein on the design and took the opportunity to try working with edible printed sugar sheets.
The cake was a four tier vanilla Madeira cake, layered with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream. The entire thing was covered with white fondant then cut panels of pre-printed edible sugar sheets applied. I really liked the effect, and how easy they were to work with. It would have looked even better if I’d done a more proficient job of levelling the top of the cake.
Lustred fondant pearls and Belgian chocolate roses. Don’t be too impressed by the roses – they’re bought white chocolate ones – all I did was tint and lustre them!
Strawberry flavoured modelling chocolate was used for the bow, ribbon and tag. This time I worked out that the modelling chocolate could be worked a lot thinner that I’d previously realised.
I thought the Champagne bottle shaped candles added a lovely finishing touch to this cake.
The femininity and elegance of it made me want to wear a pretty hat and a floaty dress…I enjoyed doing it so much…it really was a pleasure.
You can see how my technique had improved too…the sides of the cake were much straighter and neater than the ones from earlier in the year. A lot of improvement still to make though.
A: It is immeasurable, particularly when coupled with a low fat, low sugar, reduced carb chocolate cake with choc/mint filling, suitable for a diabetic*!
*There is no such thing as ‘suitable for diabetics fondant’ – clearly the outer covering of fondant would need to be removed from this cake before a person with diabetes consumed it. But I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you that.
When I agreed to do this cake I must have been under the influence of a full moon or something. Making it was a horrible experience that took me through full scale tantrums (not a pretty sight) and left me with my confidence shot to pieces.
On the plus side, I learned some extremely valuable lessons.
Of course, the first thing I had to do was to come up with a cake recipe suitable for diabetics. This was really difficult and took a LOT of trial bakes. Trust me, when it comes to cake there is no such thing as a good sugar substitute…my experience was that they either made the cakes look great but taste vile, or the cake tasted ok(ish) but didn’t rise properly. In the end I managed to come up with something suitable using a mix of xylitol, fructose and a tiny amount of muscovado sugar.
The next issue was the frosting. Mint/chocolate was the request but, try as I might, I couldn’t stop it from tasting like toothpaste. It didn’t help that the sugar free frosting recipe I initially used ended up also having the consistency of toothpaste. The taste-testers tried gamely but feedback wasn’t good.
In the end I used a packet mix of chocolate flavour sugar free whipped dessert as the base for the frosting, adding a bit of the toothpastey stuff for firmer texture and a touch of mint flavour. It was passable. At least it wasn’t green. I didn’t take any pictures.
Mum, Big Sis and I all like ourselves a bit of Downton Abbey. We’re also quite partial to a sweet treat or two. Seemed pretty obvious to me that combining the two things would be a good plan, so I came up with these cupcakes for us to eat whilst watching the carryings on of the Granthams.
Light sponge cakes, flavoured with Champagne and just a hint of lemon, topped with raspberry Chambord frosting and finished with hand crafted fondant roses, daisies and pearls. This was my first go at doing roses using cutters, rather than the ribbon method used previously.
The designs were inspired by the many (far better) examples, of elegant, vintage style cupcakes that can be seen across the internet. I liked the effect of the quilted one (my first go at quilting) but it didn’t make the final selection, instead getting taste-tested into oblivion by Barn and Petit Man.
This was the final selection, consumed with Earl Grey tea and great company.