Wednesday, 29 May 2013

All The Pretty Pins: Naked Cakes

I LOVE the current trend of 'naked cakes;' they are both beautifully simple, whilst terrifying me with their neatness. You have to be a good buttercream layer filler and I am afraid that is not me, which is why you will find most of my cakes have buttercream smothered all over them! 

But it is definitely something worth neatening myself up if it means I can create such an  effortlessly elegant cake. Simply stunning.

Vicky xx

Sunday, 26 May 2013

No ordinary gardening cake…

Question: what’s wrong with this garden?

You have to look, but your answer could include: dog with severed arm in his mouth, grave like mound with boot sticking out, strewn body parts and bones.

What we have here is a divorce cake.

I knew divorce cakes existed but, to be honest, I thought it was an American thing. I didn’t think it was something that had slipped into the English conscious yet. But apparently I was wrong.

There are loads of examples of divorce cakes from the hilarious to the down-right morbid! Popular themes include grooms being thrown off the top of wedding cakes, and grooms being decapitated. It has not gone unnoticed that these cakes seem to be mostly commissioned by women. By, us ladies can be a bitter bunch.

Here are a few of my favourite examples. Check the gravestone one – creeeeeeeepy!

I know it's a bit odd but special mention needs to go to Cakes by No More Tiers for this Steampunk cake. The detail is fab (check out the knife in his back:)

Have a peek at their Facebook if you get a second; all the cakes are wonderful.

My moral compass went a bit whizzy when I was asked to do this cake; when you think about it it’s a little bit grim and very sad. But I guess each person has a different circumstance and a different way of thinking about things.

Thankfully I didn’t have to pick the brutal scene for the cake and was asked for the ex-bride to be burying the ex-husband in the garden. No wedding dresses please.

I have to be honest, I got a bit into this and quite enjoyed it. This sick enjoyment spawned the dog-munching-the-limb idea. But then I felt a bit bad that I’d included the dog in the crime.

But while I enjoyed doing something completely different and original, I don’t think I’ll be getting into the niche divorce cake market anytime soon.

On that note, I will leave you with this final thought:


Vicky xx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

All The Pretty Pins: Things I Love (Tulips)

Oh tulips, you are so beautiful! Just looking at this puts a smile on my face.

Vicky xx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Birthday Cake: Acoustic Guitar

When someone asks you if you can make a cake in the shape of a guitar and you say yes, what you shouldn’t do is, just 2 days before, decide your board is the wrong shape/size, not be able to get another one, then have to make a very apologetic telephone call explaining that you are going to have to do a different cake.


I am still racked with guilt over this cake.

I got the biggest board I could get my hands on in the shop where I get my decorating supplies but when it came to planning how to get the cake on it, it just wasn’t big enough. It turns out that for a guitar cake you need to really long board. This board just wasn’t cutting it. I could have got a guitar on it but it wouldn’t have fed the amount of people it needed to feed and it would have looked a bit like a pea on a drum..

Still rubbish

This is how I would have liked it to look! This fantastic cake is by Peta, and you can see a tutorial here.
I spoke to the lady who was asking for the cake and she seemed to understand. For me, it was an exercise in never underestimating the need for planning. If I’d have planned (or if I’d have known I was going to need a plan) I would have ordered a longer, thinner board online.

What I ended up doing instead was crafting a guitar out of fondant icing and popping it on a cake. I think I managed to achieve something quite classic and in any other circumstance I would have been pleased with it but it still sticks in my mind that it wasn’t what she wanted.

The guitar is based on the acoustic guitar of Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics

She loved it when she came to collect it, loved it even more when I just charged her cost price for it (to ease my guilt) and told me her son was also going to love it. I really hope he did!

I’ve got a cake to do for a couple of weeks that I know is going to require some planning. I think I’ll start on it now…!

Cake: vanilla sponge filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream

Vicky xx 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

All The Pretty Pins: Donuts

I LOVE donuts! LOVE them. Check out the capital letters and italics to show just how much I LOVE them!

They are all sugary and soft and doughy and always hit the spot. Glazed, sprinkled, filled with something yummy... I don't mind. Give me the choice between a cupcake and a donut and (shock! horror!) 90% of the time I'll choose the donut.

See that tower of donuts wedding cake? I would totally have that as my wedding cake. I mean, I'd probably have a cake too but look at all those donuts!

Actually, forget wedding. I would like it as my birthday cake please. That's sooner and much more likely...

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A hot pink Parisian birthday cake (& some musings on thievery!)

A couple of months ago I made some ice cream cupcakes. The cake mixture was baked into an ice cream cone and topped with creamy white icing and a Flake to make it look like an ice cream. I didn’t think of this idea myself; I got it from the internet, probably from Pintrest but I can’t be sure.

This didn't stop me, however, from being very cross mere days later when very similar ice cream cupcakes appeared on an old school friend’s Facebook. Being slightly prone to the dramatics I decided that she must have stolen the idea from me and was outraged at the swiftness with which she’d tried to out-cupcake me.

She could have got the idea from anywhere. And who was I to kick up a fuss when I knew I had also taken the idea from someone else. Was it ok for me to do it because I had taken it from the faceless internet? Not really, it was still someone’s idea somewhere along the line.

This issue cropped up again when I was asked to do a 50th birthday cake. The lovely lady wanted a Paris themed cake for her Mum and I was so excited when she sent me over some pictures; the cake was going to be all pretty and girly. But she’d sent me pictures of someone else’s work. “Could I do something like this?” Yes. But I’d be copying. But then what do you do in this situation? That’s what she wanted.
Using pictures googled from the internet is easy. It gives the customer ideas, and it gives the baker a clear idea of what they want. It also makes it easier the other way round; it’s easier to have picture references for your ideas. 

So my current way round this is to ‘fess up: this cake was not my idea. Someone else has spent a lot of time and effort making these cakes. So please have a look on the sites for the cakes this design came from; they are both very talented cake decorators and I hope I did them some justice.

All that being said, I had a great time doing this cake, it was so bright and feminine, and was well received by the customer.

I know in my heart that I do have some work that is original. Or at least I’m pretty sure it’s original. And I just hope if anyone ever uses my ideas(!), they take the time to at least give me a little credit.

Vicky xx

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

All The Pretty Pins: Bark

Bark. Sounds odd, but the images of the sweet treat popping up on Pintrest have certainly intrigued me. I think it's an American thing and originated with Peppermint bark, which is typical at Christmas.

It seems you just melt down chocolate, add whatever else you like, spread on a tray, wait until it cools and then break it up. I'm sure there is more to it than that but generally it sounds quite easy, and some of the combinations sound delicious.

This is definitely something I am going to try as soon as I can find the time!

Clockwise from top: Strawberry & pistachio, oreo cookie, rose syrup, chocolate chip cookie dough, rocky road, peppermint bark, cake batter, cranberry, orange & pecan, peanut butter & chocolate

Vicky xx

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Batman & Wonder Woman Superhero Wedding Cake

When my Mum & I were asked to do a Superhero wedding cake, we were quite excited, and, in all honesty, when we found out the specifications, we were a little concerned: the bride seemed to what so many different and contrasting elements:

 - the cake topper were to be based on this cartoon:

-  Robin from this cartoon to be sat further down the cake:

- the cake was to be red

the flowers were to be baby blue and based on the small roses in the brides bouquet

At first we couldn’t get our heads round how it was going to look. I think mostly because it was unlike anything we’d been asked to do before.

But then, when we started putting the cake together we quickly found out that the bride and groom knew exactly what they were doing, and had visualized something quirky, personal, and unconventionally elegant.

My mum was put in charge of cakes, covering, and flowers. (She may have drawn the short straw!) The tiers were three different flavours: fruit, chocolate and sponge. And square. That’s not our best shape cake. As we needed red to cover the cake, we went for Renshaw's pre-coloured fondant. At £2 per 250g, it’s more expensive than colouring the icing yourself, but we knew we were going to need a fair amount and wanted to make sure the colour was consistent. Conveniently, Hobbycraft sent out a 25% discount voucher just as we were planning on stocking up!

The flowers were made using a pale blue flower paste. I love working with this flower paste. It can get sticky but stretches to get beautifully thin and dries quickly, maintaining its shape. We made a lot more flowers than we needed because we weren't sure how many we'd need. In the end we went for a couple on each corner: this meant that it didn't take away from the characters.

We probably would have used a mix of flower paste and fondant to make the figures but before we started we came across Squire’s sugar dough and decided to give this a go.
It costs £4.35 for 200g and we used 400g. Similar to the flower paste, it get quite sticky if you have warm hands but it was nice to work with. It was easy to mould, set quickly but unlike flower paste, if you decided you needed to re-mould something, and hadn't left it too long, you could do so without it going crumbly and full of bits. I would definitely use this again but probably only for a special occasion; for every day use, fondant is more than good enough.

Batman was the easiest to model. He was mostly column-like, with a nice cape to help keep him up right on the cake.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, was a pain. She was bending from the waist to kiss Batman and this made it very difficult to keep her upright! In the end we had to package her up separately and have her put on the cake at the venue; we couldn't risk her falling off in transit!

And there was also little Robin, who was just minding his own business sat on the edge of the cake. He was fun to do - he had lots of the little details that help figures come to life.

So here is the finished thing! It was a lot of hard work and a bit of stress right at the end trying to put everything together but I enjoyed watching it come together, and, most importantly of all, the bride and groom loved it! :)

Vicky xx

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

All The Pretty Pins: Cartoon Cakes

Following on from this weekends Catbug cake, all this week's pins are fantastic cartoon themed cakes, So bright, colourful and fun!

Clockwise from top: Garfield, Spongebob Squarepants, Care Bears, Hello Kitty, Pink Panther, Katsuma, Tokidoki, My Little Pony, Lumpy Space Princess, Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time, Dexter's Labratory

By the way, how awesome are those 3D Hello Kitty cookies?! I need to be finding the cutters for those!

Vicky xx