Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Spotlight Interview: Lorna Jane Cake Designs

Beautiful cakes need to be photographed beautifully, and so once again it was the quality of this baker/ cake decorator's photographs that captured my attention.
 But pictures aside, as you'll see, Lorna's cakes are exquisite creations in themselves.  

Spotlight interview: Lorna Jane Cake Designs



Tell us a little about yourself/ your background.

I grew up in Westville and after completing school I qualified as a primary school teacher. A few years after getting married I moved to Kloof where I now live with my husband and daughter. My son is studying and working in Ireland.



How did you get into baking/decorating?

From a young age I was always experimenting with new recipes and baking delicious cakes and desserts. My Mom was definitely a huge inspiration and I have many family recipes that have been passed down over the years. While my children were still little, I kept myself busy baking a variety of cakes and confectionaries for a local home industry. I’d never worked with fondant until two years ago when I decided to try my hand at more formal cake decorating. I went for some lessons, enjoyed every minute of them and my new hobby took off from there.



What do you like making the most?
Anything you steer clear of?
At the moment, definitely layered cakes decorated with fondant or chocolate where I can put to the test newly acquired skills and techniques. I also enjoy making sugar flowers.I’ve tried decorating biscuits but it just isn’t my forte and not really something I enjoy doing, so I’ll leave that skill to those who are more proficient in that area. 




What would you say your style is, or is there a particular style you like to follow?
Whose work inspires you?

I like simple, clean lines and contemporary designs. I view each cake as a blank canvas. I like to believe that I am creating a piece of art that is not only visually pleasing but that tastes delicious too. There are so many extremely talented cake artists whose work I admire and aspire to, both locally and internationally, to choose one would be impossible.


Where would you like to go with your craft?
What’s the high point been so far?

I want to continue learning as much as I can, perfect my technique and be the best that I can be without losing the creativity and enjoyment that I have for cake decorating.Making my first wedding cake for friends was definitely a high point and a huge learning experience for me. Recently I had one of my cakes shared by an exceptionally talented, international cake artist and the response was phenomenal...it was certainly a confidence booster!




Any words for the cake decorating community?
I have met many wonderful and talented people since I began decorating, many of whom have shared their knowledge and expertise with me. Kerry Crampton was inspirational in teaching me the basics and she has been invaluable in helping me on my cake journey. Denise Dyson taught me much of what I know about flower making. I am a member of the Pinetown Branch of the South African Cake Decorators Guild where I have acquired a wealth of knowledge from demonstrations and workshops.
 


   
                                                                                                                           


 Lorna tells me that she doesn't really bake for orders, just for friends and family. But maybe if you have a cake request that tickles her fancy, you'll be able to twist her arm! 
Follow Lorna Jane Cake Designs on https://www.facebook.com/lornajanecakedesigns?fref=ts

Until next time...
xxM 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Veined Flowers: 3D Flower Veiner


I'm not a huge fan of super-realistic sugar flowers. (I'm alone in that, I know. I can handle it!)
I fully appreciate the incredible skill that goes into making them; I just don't want to do it myself.
I don't have the patience for perfectly proportioned pistils or carefully correct calyces...
But a little bit of realism is a pretty thing, especially if it's simple, easy and quick!






How to use a 3D flower veiner:

Roll out CMC/ tylose paste

Cut with a 5 petal- blossom cutter.

Dust the petal veiner with a little corn flour.

Position the petals upon the veiner (you can use either side).

Press the two parts together - too much pressure will break the petals, too little will leave little imprint.

Carefully lift the flower away from the veiner.

Dry in a flower former.


Complete with a little dusting and a few sprinkles in the centres ...


...so realistic  ;o)



If you want to see my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, you'll find it here.
And here for this creamy, dreamy chocolate icing.






Happy baking and flower making!

xxM 



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Royal Icing Transfers: Horse Silhouette Cookies

A year ago I started priming my niece for the kind of cake that I wanted to make for her next party. (Generous aunt that I am!) It's a theme I've been wanting to do for a while, but haven't had the opportunity yet. And I still haven't, because then Tyla went and fell in love with horses and horse riding, and... well, it's her party and she can have a horse theme if she wants to!


So, I made a cake and some decorated cookies in a very short space of time (it was one of those crazy weeks). And to speed up the decorating I used royal icing transfers for the cookies.

Here's how...

Royal Icing Transfers: Horse Silhouette Cookies 



Print out a template. Tape onto work surface.
Secure a sheet of acetate over the template.

  


Using piping consistency royal icing, outline the design 


then flood the area with flooding consistency royal icing


Once completely dry (allow 24hrs), slide a pallet knife underneath each decoration to remove from the acetate 



Flood a cookie with royal icing. 



 And gently place the royal icing transfer onto the still wet cookie.

You'll find  a recipe and explanation of royal icing consistencies here





Happy decorating!

xxM

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mothers Day Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

You'd think that it would be a good idea to post a recipe that you're suggesting for Mothers Day tea a few days before M-Day. On Wednesday, perhaps. That would be timeous.
But that would be presupposing that (my) life traveled along neat, linear lines.
It doesn't.
I had put Wednesday morning aside to do some baking and blogging, but found myself in theatre, prodding a brain instead.
The great juggling act of life.  And baking.

So, here's to all you mothers, grandmothers and great women out there who are expert jugglers
- I hope someone else made tea for you today (but if they didn't, I know you'll have managed perfectly well doing it yourself!)

Lavender and Lemon Shortbread

This melt-in-your-mouth all-butter shortbread has a lovely fragrant, fresh flavour - it's a perfect mid-morning teatime treat.
And prettily packaged, it would make a great gift. (Bookmark for Mothers Day next year!)





Lavender and Lemon Shortbread
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Preheat the oven to 160'C
Grease and line a 20cm square baking pan

Ingredients
250g butter
60g caster sugar
420g cake flour
20g cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs lavender florets, finely chopped
1 tbs lemon zest




In the bowl of an an electric mixer, beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the lavender, lemon zest and vanilla.
Sift in the flours. Mix on low speed until just combined.
Bring the mixture together with your fingertips to form a stiff dough.
Press into the prepared pan.
Mark into fingers or squares with a sharp knife and prick with a fork.

Bake at 160'C for approx. 1 hr or until slightly browned and shrunk from the sides of the tin.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Allow to cool in the tin for 15min, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.


Happy Mothers Day!

xxM

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mini Cake and Cake Stand Tutorial


Why is it that things in miniature are just so darn cute?! 
It's why the internet abounds with pictures of kittens.  You could just eat them right up, right?! 
Well, you can if they're mini food made out of modelling chocolate and fondant. 
(Unlike kittens ...um... eeuw! ) 



                     





So, in case you couldn't join us for our Tea-Time Treats Cupcakes classes, here's a mini tutorial for you...




Mini Cake and Cake Stand Tutorial 







You'll need:
A small fondant roller 
Modelling chocolate / fondant mix in turquoise, pink and white
(Fondant with CMC powder added to it will work too) 
Small round and scalloped cutters
Small blossom cutters 
Cake smoother
Toothpick
CMC/ tylose glue or water** and a brush 
(** if you don't have CMC glue, water will do) 




Roll 2/3 of the turquoise paste into a long tear drop


Flatten its base and top on your work surface 


Cut out the top of the mini cake stand using the scalloped cutter. 
And place a toothpick into the stand. 
Allow both to firm up before assembling.  





To make the mini cake, take two balls of pink paste, one larger than the other...










..and use your cake smoother to roll 
and flatten them into cake shapes 











 Stack; use a little glue to secure them together.

Roll out a long thin ribbon  of white paste and position it around the join of the two cakes. Cut off the excess. 
Add some small flowers. 


Cut out a round of white paste to "plate" the mini cake. 


Once the top of the cake stand is firm, place it onto the base before putting the cake on top. The tooth pick should go through the cake, too. 







Happy decorating!

xxM 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Autumn Leaves Tutorial

A couple of years ago I made another autumn themed cake.  It had a lot of leaves on it. A lot
They hid the myriad cracks, craters, bubbles and other blemishes that were a feature of my early fondant cakes. 
I've learnt a few things since then. Thankfully! So I can decorate with a more minimalist autumn look these days....





Autumn Leaves Tutorial

You'll need:

Sugar paste in autumn colours*
Small fondant roller 
Leaf cutters
Bone tool
Dresden tool / veining tool
Petal pad
Egg box for drying (the shallower "lid" part works particularly well)
Dusting colours - 
Flat tipped brush 

*(I'm using a mix of fondant and CMC (tylose) paste here, but you can use pure CMC paste/ gum paste. To get russet, colour the paste with red and brown gel). 


Roll out paste, and cut out leaves


Thin and curl leaf edges
with bone tool 


                                                      Add veins.


Dry leaves with edges curled up


 Once dry, dust with dusting colours 


 Add little brown dusting to enhance the veins


All done.












Autumn Themed Wedding Cake


Happy decorating! 

xxM

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sea Themed Cake Pops

I almost forgot about these - snapped on my phone amidst the chaos of birthday prep a month ago. But a busy March, transitioned into a busier April and I'm needing to play a little catch-up.
So, this is a gone-fishing kind of filler while I work on some meatier posts.
;o)


Sea Themed Cake Pops




You'll need:

  • cake balls ready for dipping (See how I make cake pops here.) 
  • cake pop sticks
  • melted white chocolate, coloured aqua/ sea green
  • finely crushed cookie crumbs
  • small edible fish (of course most fish are edible... but you know what I mean!)  
  • piping consistency royal icing



After you've secured the cake ball onto the stick with chocolate, dip it  into the aqua-coloured chocolate; tap it gently on the side of the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip off.



Before the chocolate sets completely (but has stopped dripping), dip the base of the cake pop into finely crushed cookie crumbs. 


If you get the timing right, and the chocolate hasn't set yet, the fish will stick to the cake pop. Otherwise use a little chocolate to glue it in place. 













Once the chocolate has set completely, pipe on small dots of royal icing to imitate bubbles (you can use melted white chocolate, but my chocolate piping skills are not so hot, so I'll stick with what I know!)  It's an important step - the bubbles really bring it to life (breathing air does that, I guess...!)



Nestle the finished cake pops in a bed of cookie crumbs to serve (for the realistic ocean floor look!).

Happy creating!
xxM