Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Cake

A couple of months ago I started work on a cake that I was making just for the pleasure of making a cake! What?! 
 Then reality whacked me on the head (with a hammer fist), so I wrapped up the un-finished cake  (in double layers of cling wrap) and packed it away in the freezer. 
I can't even remember what my original plan for it was :o\

But finally, its moment to be released from cryo-existence came: My niece's 14th birthday party - slap, bang in the middle of a very busy work week and Mothers Day cookie classes. How very handy to have a half-decorated cake already in residence. What great foresight, on my part ;o) 
A quick unicorn topper, and a bit of airbrushing later and the birthday cake was done. 

See how I cover a double barrel cake here.
See Crumb Avenue's adorable unicorn tutorial here.  Mine is the teenage version ;o)

Because you're never too old for a rainbow unicorn cake...! 

Happy decorating!


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mothers Day Tea and Cake Cookies

Happy Mothers Day! Or just happy Sunday, if you're not a mom! ;o)
I'm not big into celebrating these "holidays", but my family doesn't need to know that... So I capitalised on a bit of guilt (we're good at that, us moms!) by suggesting that in lieu of a gift, I wanted the house cleaned and tidied this Sunday - up to my standards, not theirs.
A friend suggested that this request would mean I'd be woken up by the sound of clanking dishes and vacuuming. I'd be quite happy with that if it meant someone else had noticed that there were dishes to be washed!!

Let's talk about colours. The theme for this Mothers Day cookie class was Tea & Cake. I wanted pretty, but not too bright or fresh. It's not summer here, after all. So, to get this look, I used the standard Cake Flora/ Americolor gel colours (see below), and added a touch of black  (and I mean just a touch!).  The result is still a very pretty colour scheme, just muted - let's call it antiqued, rather than washed-out. (Appropriate for Mothers Day?!!)

  Both pinks are deep pink; the green is mint green with a bit of turquoise, and the purple is a mix of regal and electric purple

Add a touch of black. If you overdo it, just add a little more of the original colour. 

Our "antiqued" colours. Pretty, huh? 


Yes, that's it - I'm just antiqued

Happy decorating!  


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Butterfly Wedding Cake

So, this was the wedding cake that I didn't know I was making.
Don't you just hate that when it happens?!
Well, I had agreed to make it... 4 years ago...

Long story.
A friend of my sister's. Different wedding, same bride. The first one wasn't meant to be (and thankfully she found that out before the big day). This guy's a keeper.

But, truthfully, I haven't been much involved with the in's and out's of it; and hadn't considered that my offer from 4 years ago (when I had way more baking & caking time on my hands) was still standing.

So, when was "reminded" about the cake 10 days before the wedding, it came as a b-i-i-i-t of a surprise...! Thankfully it was a simple mandate: a small cake, and a few dozen cupcakes with a butterfly theme. And in a colour scheme I love.

Here's how I made this large butterfly for the cake: 

Cut out with a cookie cutter; embossed details with a  Dresden tool. 

Dried in a fold of cardboard. Shaded with brown 

Dusted with luster

Done and dusted ;o) 


And the crackled effect on the sides of the cake is courtesy of this video tutorial by Cakes by Angela Morrison
I had to press on the gum paste (CMC paste) layer very firmly to get the cracks to appear; but that could be because I got my drying time wrong.
It's a lovely effect, isn't it?

Happy decorating!


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Rainbow Bunny

April has been a busy birthday month! 
I'm usually oblivious to it. Well, no. That's not quite right. There's just not much I can do about those birthdays, as I'm usually too caught up in the busy-ness of Easter classes. But with those wrapped up in mid-March this year, and no classes booked for April (too many holiday weekends and other functions on the calendar), I've had the time to pay attention to some of our family and friends' birthdays this month. And take the opportunity to make their cakes and toppers. (Must. Create ... Can. Not. Stop!) 

This one was for Summer, my daughter's friend. 
I enthusiastically volunteered to make her a cake topper based on her favourite fluffy toy, a bunny. And then discovered that it was rainbow coloured. Hmmmn...that's a challenge!  
But I'm so glad it was, because (after some pondering) in the end the way to create the look was straightforward, but rewardingly creative (I always feel so arty when I get the paintbrushes out!)  

I made the body out of white fondant/ modelling chocolate blend. Then dry-brushed the shades on using Rolkem dusting colours. Really simple. But pretty and effective, don't you think?


If you do try something similar, make sure all your pieces are shaded before you assemble your creation. It's just easier to get good colour coverage that way.  And it helps you avoid dusting over wet glue. (And you'll know why you don't want to make that mistake if you've ever done it!)

Happy decorating!


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Giant Cupcake

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to make a giant cupcake! You don't see them around much anymore.  It's been about two years since I last made one ... which was probably already at the edge of their trendiness! These days it's all elegantly drippy and naked cakes.  
There's something quite pleasantly "bouffant" about a giant cupcake, though, isn't there?!
It might be too soon to re-introduce them as retro, but with the speed at which the world is going these days... who knows... maybe they're already vintage ;o)

The very first one I made was a bit nightmarish. I spent over an hour covering the base in vertical stripes of fondant. This was before I knew much about fondant. Let alone working with stripes! Now of course, I won't touch a stripe that isn't made out of a fondant/ modelling chocolate blend. But I won't cover the base of a giant cupcake like that again, anyway. Making a pure chocolate case for the base is very easy, and very cute. 
See how here

(The recipe I use for the sponge is this one:

And if you decide to leave the base uncovered - that's fine too. Naked cake is trendy, right? ;o)

Happy baking!


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Quilled Fondant

I've wanted to try my hand at quilling for a while (with fondant though - not paper. Although I might give that a try too, now!) It looks like a lot of work, but it's actually a very simple technique. And you end up getting completely absorbed in the process. It's hard to stop!

I made this cake for a friend's 40th. She hadn't asked for a cake, but I decided to make one as a gift... honestly, that was my motivation - not that it was a good opportunity to finally try some quilling!

If you'd like to give it a try, here are some tips: 

  If you've only got a wide strip cutter like this one from Jem Cutters, just make your first impressions, then shift the cutter to the halfway mark, and press down again... narrow strips! 

I use a strip cutter to mark my strips, then a clean sharp knife to cut them; you get cleaner edges that way.
It helps to work on a cold surface like granite, as chilled strips of fondant/ modelling chocolate blend are really easy to work with. 

Check that your subsequent strips are the correct length with one trial one before you cut the rest.  

Let your design firm up well (overnight preferably) before placing 
on the cake.

Use pins to keep the decorations in place once glued on with CMC glue

Sterilize the pins first in a little vodka. Drink a shot too, if you need to steady you hands... ;o) 

See, I told you - once you start, it's hard to stop. (The quilling! Not the vodka!!)

Happy decorating!


Monday, 4 April 2016

Amarula and Almond Ice Cream

I've been wanting to post this recipe for home-made ice-cream for a while now, but it's quite a challenge to take decent photo's of ice-cream in mid-summer (apparently professional food stylists use ice-cream substitutes made from play-dough, potato starch and icing, amongst other things..!)
And when it's cooler, the motivation to make ice-cream fades...

But when it was was just too hot to bake last week, and I had to make something for my husband's birthday, an ice-cream cake seemed like the perfect solution.

Of course, on the day of his birthday, the temperature had dropped by 20'C, but this ice-cream is so good that we ate it despite the cold weather (well, it was the only cake on offer - so I wasn't giving anyone any other choice, anyway!)

Amarula and Almond Ice-Cream 


500ml fresh cream
1x 370g tin condensed milk
4 egg whites
50ml Amarula
1 tbs coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g sliced almonds ( or use whole raw almonds sliced lengthways)
80g dark chocolate - finely grated

Place the bowl of a stand mixer into the freezer for 10 minutes to chill, then use this bowl to whip the fresh cream until soft peaks form.

In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff.

Dissolve the coffee in the Amarula and then mix this into the condensed milk. (You can microwave the Amarula and coffee for a few seconds to get the granules to dissolve). Add in the vanilla.

Stir the condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream.  Mix well.

Fold the egg whites into the cream/ condensed milk mixture. Fold gently but thoroughly - the mixture should be a uniform consistency, with no steaks of egg white visible.
Fold in the nuts and grated chocolate.

Pour into a suitable container ( I used a silicone cake mould, but an a loaf pan works well, too) and freeze. You should stir the ice-cream once before it sets completely (after it's been in the freezer for about an hour), but if you forget this step it will be fine!

Note - it's melting's real! 

Try playing around with the flavours. The original recipe called for brandy and pecan nuts, which is also delicious. I've made a peanut butter and chocolate version. And next I'm going to try rum and raisin.  Yum!