A wedding, news and excuses!

Hi everyone

I know it’s been a while, and I’m really sorry. There’s been a lot going on and writing is really at the bottom of the priority list. It’s also quite hard to write when you haven’t been doing anything to write about.

There have been three occasions where I’ve created quite fabulous cakes, but that’s been about the extent of my sewing and baking. The latest cake was a wedding cake, my very first, and the stress involved in that made any other form of baking entirely horrific. I couldn’t do anything! The cake was for a very good friend, and honestly I don’t know if that made it easier or harder. All I could think was what if she hated the cake and it ruined her whole wedding for her!

As it turns out, she was super happy and the cake was very well received with everyone at the wedding (or at least so I heard, no one’s told me otherwise!) It was three tiers (my first ever this big!) with chocolate mud cake on the bottom and top tiers and white chocolate mud cake in the middle. Raspberry coulis between each layer all covered with ganache then fondant.

Beach Themed Wedding CakeBride and Groom with Beach Themed Wedding CakeI used silver spray paint (edible, by Wilton, I just can’t remember the name) to paint each tier, fading it up towards the top. As it turns out my husband was much better at this than me, I only wish I’d known that before I’d already done two of the cakes! The shells were fondant, pressed into chocolate moulds, which worked really well, if you didn’t mind mostly destroying the moulds after a few batches. It was so hard to get them out! I dusted well with cornflour but to no avail. They are still kind of usable, but I’ve gone from a five starfish mould to a three, the rest is pretty broken and battered. One massively useful tip for this, put them in the freezer! Much easier to get out.

After the moulding and a while drying I dusted them with a selection of colour and lustre dusts. That was kinda of fun. I used a big poufy make up brush and kind of buffed it on. The dust went everywhere and my kitchen and I were blue for a while, but it cleared up eventually.

Beach Theme Wedding Cake - Detail

I’d done this cake (a smaller version) as a trial for my Mum’s best friend’s 60th a couple of months before and had used a silicon mould to make the frangipani flowers. But they just didn’t look that flash (photo below). So this time I used fake flowers, which were also used in the centrepieces on the tables (for continuity).

Beach Themed Cake - Moulded Flowers

In the end, the cake was a bit wonky in places and I wasn’t entirely happy with that wonkiness, but I was very happy overall. I was even happier when it was finally completed and delivered to the reception venue and it was no longer my concern. I could then go about normal bridesmaid duties and actually enjoy the occasion!

There was another rather big stressor in the lead up to that wedding (which was just two weeks ago). The worry of whether I’d fit into my bridesmaid dress, bought way back last year. At least when we chose the dresses I knew there was a chance I’d be 12 weeks pregnant and chose a suitable style. As it turns out I was only 10 weeks, but still quite large considering (I hear you pop out a lot faster the second time, especially after the twins). But in the end the dress did up on the day, morning sickness stayed away and I didn’t pass out at any point during the ceremony or reception or anything. I even managed to stay up until 1am! It was fabulous! (It wasn’t all just standing in line looking pretty like the photo shows either! I had to walk a really long way!)

Bridesmaid Bridesmaids
So that’s my big news, in a really roundabout kind of way. Baby number three (and just number three, not number four) is on the way! And the exhaustion and sickness is also my excuse for not baking, sewing or writing. So I dare say there’ll be a few baby related things popping up on this blog in the near future 🙂

So back to the cakes. As well as the wedding cake we had a momentous occasion in our household when my baby girls turned two. We had a small party for friends and family and as it wasn’t a really big one I didn’t want to use a fantastic theme up for it, so I went for a low key ladybug theme, which in honesty was a great theme and really easy and fun to work with.

I did a ladybug cake with white chocolate mudcake for the base (it was a practise for the wedding cake!) and a chocolate cake ladybug. I loved it and it’s one of my all time favourites! (Mind you I have only been doing this a year, with their first birthday cake my first properly decorated masterpiece!)

Ladybug Birthday Cake

I also made a cute Happy Birthday banner using printed letters off the computer, cut out in circles and stuck to red flower shapes. Ladybug cookies and crackers (crackers with cream cheese, half a cherry tomato and a piece of olive – no photos unfortunately), red cake pops (disaster in the hot weather, and just all round failure!) and some red and white spotted balloons for good measure.

Ladybug Happy Birthday Banner Ladybug Cookies

Regardless of all of the above, the girl’s loved it and had a great time with their friends (and Mum and Dad of course!)

Family So until next time, and hopefully it wont be that far away now I”m starting to feel a fraction better! I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe got something useful out of it. Or maybe you just liked the cute picture of my kids, either way, please remember to comment, like and follow me on Facebook!

x x x



Other Baking and My Wee (read MASSIVE) Accomplishment

Hey all. Hope you’re all doing fantastically today 🙂

Today I had a wee revelation. It’s now October, which means winter is well out of the way. And this year, for the first time in many, many years (probably, might not be quite so many, memory ain’t what it used to be!) I made it through those cold, miserable, wet months without having a major bout of depression (or any depression at all really). It wasn’t easy. In fact it was really hard work, but I made it. And I’m so excited about it!

So with that, I present to you a beautiful gallery of images 🙂

(First, a snippet of explanation): Since a lot of the baking I do is just experimenting (and I do a lot of it) I can’t do a full on post for every thing I do. Also, I have a lot of ‘back issue’ things I’ve tried, that I’d like to share… So without further ado, here is a lovely little gallery of some of my past baking accomplishments, ranging from just a little while ago to years ago 🙂 Enjoy!

John Deere Tractor Cake

Hi all!

I’m so excited to share this cake with you! I can’t believe its taken me a whole week from making it to posting! (Didn’t want to over-do things with two posts too close together then have nothing to post for a while!)

I was asked by a little boy recently to make his fifth birthday cake. He’s mad keen on tractors, but not just any old tractor. It has to be John Deere.

The cake also had to work for two parties, one with a whole tribe of little boys and another family event. So it had to be fairly sizeable…

And here’s the end result:

Alex's Birthday Cake!

I love it. But to be honest, probably never, ever want to make green buttercream again… or fondant.

So it’s base is four batches of Mum’s chocolate cake recipe baked in a square tin and place side by side (couldn’t afford a new big tin!) Lots of buttercream later we created a mown hay paddock and a grass paddock, piped with the Wilton grass tip number 233. It was the first time I’ve used the tip, but it was fairly easy to get the hang of and I’m pretty happy with my grass.

Next up, my husband (who’s nephew the cake was for) took on the challenge of creating the tractor. I think he thought this fondant modelling business was easy. Ha, he soon learnt. After four nights work he had a pretty good representation of a John Deere tractor and baler. Overall I think he did a better job than I could have, though he did have a few cracks and flaws in the final product (he failed to realise just how quickly fondant dries out). My contribution was the yellow stripes, because his fingers were too big and clumsy to work with the tiny pieces.

Fondant grass was stuck around the sides of the cake and finished with white fondant daisies made with the smallest blossom plunger cutter in the Wilton Flower Cutter set. I brushed the centres with a bit of gold lustre (even in a boys cake I include lustre… It’s like my favourite cake decorating thing!)

Some fondant lettering and grass piped onto the board and all finished off with some chocolate cows, fondant hay bales and green and yellow candles. Oh, and I almost forgot: the fence. I’d made a beautiful white rail fence from fondant, but as I was assembling the cake on the morning of the party I snapped it! Disaster! Lucky my husband arrived with some pliers and quickly whipped up a great little fence from florist wire. Phew!

And without further ado, to the photos!

If I’ve missed any details you’d like to know about let me know.

I’ve got some more cool stuff coming up, including some cute party desserts I’m working on at the moment. My new craft room is also a few steps closer to completion so I’ll give you a peek at that shortly too, Can’t wait 🙂


The Owlie’s Nest – A special cake for a special girl

My most recent cake was for a very close friend’s daughter’s first birthday.

I was so excited to make a little girl’s cake. My first fancy cake was done for my own girls’ first birthday and it was pink and purple and flowery in the form of a GIANT cupcake. It was awesome, I mean check it out:

Twin's First Birthday Cake

So anyway, I had grand ideas of what I wanted to do with this gorgeous cake. Girly, but not too pink as she’s more of a purple, green and teal kinda baby. I searched the web for inspiration (mostly on Pintrest) and found plenty.

Then the rules came into play. Well not so much rules, but guidelines.

1. My friend wanted chocolate cake. Easy. Can so do chocolate cake. The cupcake masterpiece was chocolate cake. I’ve inherited an extremely easy chocolate cake recipe from my Mum, who got it from her mum, so there’s a nice little family link there too.

Rule number 2: She wanted the cake covered in buttercream – no fondant! Not so easy. I’ve only managed to successfully pipe buttercream onto one cake, this Rosettes Cake:

Rosettes Cake

Unfortunately, as part of my whole personal development thing was that I needed to challenge myself and do something new. Or at least try something new and resort to what I know if all else fails. So, I’d have to redo my inspiration search and I’d have to do a lot of piping practise! I find fondant so much easier to work with. I don’t know why.

The other information I was given is that birthday girl would be wearing a specially made outfit with an owl on it. That I knew I could work with.

I restarted trawling the web and came up with a great idea: ruffles! Much like this gorgeous creation.

I did some practise on a basic cake I was making for a much more casual birthday. It wasn’t overly successful:

Chocolate Buttercream Ruffle Cake

I showed the birthday girl’s mum, who preferred the rossettes cake. Then she saw a picture of some other piping practise I’d done with the left over buttercream.

“I like that lattice,” she said.

Awesome, basketweave. Not at all daunting! (<–heavy sarcasm) After yet another peruse of the internet I came up with a game plan. All of the basketweave cakes online had an arrangement of flowers on top. And I’ll tell you something now. I CANNOT do flowers yet. The four gerbera’s I did on the twins’ cake was quite enough. Roses or anything else were way out of my comfort zone. So instead of flowers, I’d do leaves. I mean what kind of owl hangs out in flower baskets anyway?

Despite my husband’s doubt, I set about making chocolate leaves for the first time. Turns out it was really easy! Melt some chocolate, dip well washed lemon leaves in so the chocolate coats the back and then place on a tray in the fridge to set. Just make sure they are really set before you start to peel the leaves off (my impatience got the better of me there). But the beauty is, if you do stuff it up, just throw the broken leaves back into the chocolate and melt it down again 🙂

So the leaves were done. Next task was the topper – the owl! After reading several tutorials online (seriously, there’s a tutorial for pretty much anything on the internet somewhere) I set about creating my own version. That was a steep learning curve though. I’ve never done any previous modelling or anything and I didn’t even know if I should use fondant or gumpaste (In the end I used fondant, but I’ve since read I was supposed to put something in the fondant to make it hold shape better?) Anyway, after it kept kind of squashing down on itself I decided to stick some toothpicks in it to hopefully hold it a little more upright. It was never going to be a tall owl, but short and wide was a cute look.

The wings were made from three colours of purple fondant cut out using the dogwood cutter from the Wilton Gumpaste Flower Cutter Set. I just cut this into four heart shaped petals/feathers and attached to the side of the body. I did also spend a lot of time working on a tiny bow to sit on wee Owlie’s head. Only to find it squashed on the floor a short time later. I must have knocked it off at some point, and there was no way I could achieve another without really losing my mind. So we went forth bow-less (I don’t really think anyone missed it).

Phew, so my decorations were made, some piping practise had been done on the side of a glass bowl (really great idea that – thanks to who ever I got it from) and I was ready to bake. My Nana’s chocolate cake recipe came out and I was off.

And it all came together REALLY EASY in the end! My oven co-operated (it’s a bit finicky), the basket weave was not perfect, but good enough (I’m a real perfectionist so ‘good enough’ is generally pretty good). I even managed to do a ‘rope’ edging for the top and bottom of the basketweave. This worked not so well, but honestly, I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it without destroying the rest of the piping and by that stage I was pretty exhausted with the piping.

Throw around a lot of gorgeous lustre dust in gold and silver and copper (copper looks AMAZING on dark chocolate leaves), plonk it all together and ta-daa!

Owlie CakeOwlie Cake 1Owlie Cake - TopperOwlie Cake - Basketweave

Then I just had to transport it to the party two and a half hours away. That had to be the most stressful trip of my lifetime! But it made it in one, un-smooshed piece and received pride of place at the party. (At which the girls’ and I had a fantastic time by the way!)

The chocolate leaves were a particular hit with the kids at the party, who could munch on them while us adults debated the pros and cons of which way to cut the cake. It took much longer to figure that out than it did to eat the cake!

It was such an honour making the first birthday cake for a little girl who is so special. I have to thank her mummy for giving me the chance. Love you and all your family 🙂