Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cupcake Day 2017 #1


With the end of May creeping up fast, and all my work done for this month, I'm starting my preparations for #CupcakeDay 2017 already.  

Thursday, 15th June 2017 is Cupcake Day!

If you're interested in attending, and you're on my personal Facebook page, please feel free to bring a friend along to. 

If you are unable to attend but would still like to make a donation to the Alzheimer's Society, please follow the JustGiving link below.


Don't forget to 
Making your donation go further

If you'd like to host your own event, why not find out more on the official Alzheimer's Society Cupcake Day page by clicking the image below.


All ingredients and time is freely donated, I do not take or make one penny from this charity event!
Which means, you cannot buy these cupcakes. 
You can, however, have cupcakes in exchange for a donation to the Alzheimer's Society

Friday, 19 May 2017

Football Cake - Red


This year, the Grandson didn't give me any ideas for a theme for his cake. I know he's a Liverpool supporter, so a football on a "field" of luscious green "grass" seemed a good idea.  But the football's inside will be red!

This one cake is to be made from two, seperate cakes, then joined together with inedible internal supports.

As he was amazed by the blue sponge of last year's Sonic the Hedgehog cake, it goes without saying that I'm going to try and amaze him again this year.

Cake scraps, but what a wonderful colour.

The football is a lovely red sponge, using Trex as a substitute for butter, this will ensure a vibrant red sponge rather than the yellow of the Stork taking away it's brilliant colour. For this portion of the cake, I used the Wilton 3D Sports Ball pan set.

Green sponge before buttercream and de-caramelising

The sponge for the green "field of grass" will also be made using Trex, for the same reason as the red spinge and coloured green. For this portion of the cake, I used a standard 8" round pan and two mixes of this recipe for the sponge.


The red ball was crumbcoated in white buttercream which was rather difficult. I'd never crumbcoated a ball before. I have read that, using a piece of acetate helps as it curves around the ball, but I didn't have any.


The green part was much easier. This will not be having fondant top coat, it will have green buttercream, made to look like grass.

Each football decoration has been hand moulded and hand painted with black food colouring. To make these, you could use the Jem Easy Pop Football Moulds.

Football decorations, work in progress.

I had big plans for this football! But I forgot! The black bits were supposed to have been in red. It just totally slipped my mind. But black and white with the red decorations is cool.

There is one thing I am seriously annoyed about! I had six inch pans and the fondant cutters, for the football detail, were designed for a six inch spherical cake. As you can see, they did a terrible job on the bottom half. Tried as I did, and it was a lot, they just would not have it! My next football bake will have me cutting them by hand at this rate.


Having said that! My Grandson is a happy chappy and I just know he's going to love it - and be amazed by it too. To me, that's all that matters.

He loved it!
My biggest challenge was ...

... not having a refrigerator all day!
As I needed a new one, which was delivered, damaged and not fit for use the previous day, I had to wait for a replacement to be delivered.
This meant, my old one was taken away the day before, for recycling, and I was left with nothing.
Working without a refrigerator was difficult, but not impossible. To chill I had to place the cake under netting with a box fan blowing on it. It was not possible to chill the buttercream enough too.
Which meant that the sponge wasn't strong enough to maintain its correct shape and the buttercream "grass" slid and fell off in places.
But I think it still all worked out in the end, if a little uneven in places.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Buttons and Bows


"All things lively must be used."  

I love it when I get the chance of a cake with full artistic licence! This is one of those. Small, but perfectly formed and decorated it buttons, bows and flowers!  

It started off as two 6" chocolate sponges, both of which contained one full mix each, I wanted a taller cake but only two layers, which were dowsed in some simple syrup.


Sandwiched together with delicious chocolate buttercream, crumb coated in the same and allowed to chill before a generous coating of the chocolate buttercream, then ... chilled once more! 

Oh I do love chocolate buttercream. As it was only a small cake, it only needed one mix of the recipe.


Once this scrumptiously smelling chocolateness was completely chilled, it was time to cover in, well, what else but chocolate flavoured fondant.


This Renshaws Chocolate Fondant is not without its trials. If you haven't used it before and your first time is dawning, here's a tip for you:

Tip: Use in a cool kitchen, wear food grade gloves and 'polish' your smoothing paddles when working with it. It has a tendency to be stickier than 'standard' fondant. Stick with it (if you pardon the pun)


Once covered, I topped this cake off with fuchsia pink! What a wonderful contrast. I needed the topping to look like a table cloth and didn't want it to be on the top looking absolutely perfect, that would spoil it. So I scalloped the edges before I put it on the top - off centred! Then little sugar balls were added to each scallop.

The bottom ribbon was made of a pale pink standard fondant, which was made at the time of decoration to ensure it wouldn't crack and break when fixing it to the bottom of the cake.


A few days in advance, I made fondant roses, buttons and bows, again from standard fondant and allowed them to dry out. Allowing these creations to have a day or more to dry out makes life easier on the day of decorating. They're obviously harder and much, much easier to handle without distorting the shape.  

The topper is a ruffle flower or fondant carnation. This was made from standard fondant, not modelling paste (as my instructions tell you here), with CMC / Tylose powder added. Adding this will increase elasticity and durability and will also allow it to harden more than standard fondant. Having said this, the creation made using CMC and standard fondant will still mean your creation is delicate and not a robust as a creation made using modelling paste. Which means ... It can be cut when the cake is being cut and softer than modelling paste when eaten.

Usually you'd dust your mould with some icing sugar or cornstarch to enable the release of your creation, but as I wanted my flowers to have a little bling, I dusted the mould with edible glitter. I think it worked perfectly.


Randomly add the buttons, bows and roses to the sides, with leaves made on the day of decoration, add some sparkle (using edible lustre dust) and voila! There you have it! Small, sweet and beautiful!


All that's left for me to say is "Happy Birthday Louise!"

Monday, 1 May 2017

Survey

I'm interested to know about the people I have made cakes for.

So, for the month of May, I am asking all my previous customers to complete a generic survey.  From here on in, I will be asking individuals to complete a survey unique to them.

Please take a few moments out of your busy schedule to complete this survey

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