Monthly Archives: August 2009

Wedding tower

On Friday I made my first wedding tower of cupcakes for my friend at work.  He very kindly let me make his evening wedding cakes and I learnt lots about making large numbers of cakes, storage, delivery and setting up as well as how long things can take.  It was really a great experience and I’m really grateful to Jon and Lucy for letting me do this.

Here’s the top cupcake which I suddenly decided needed to stand out a bit more than the other cakes. I’m so glad I did and equally glad that Wendy helped me make these – thanks Wendy who is turning out to be a bit of a star sugar paste manipulator and royal icing dot piper.

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It was a quite a picture to see 150 cakes on my dining room table all iced and glittered in their New York theme. I really understand the value of some of the hand piping and hand cut sugar paste and how they are so time consuming.

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Here’s the lot of cakes, just after a liberal dusting of glitter.

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The lighting wasn’t great and although Phil had set the camera to deal with low level lighting I could have done with him there to fiddle around with ISO and apertures etc which I have little knowledge of. But I think you can see the final 10 tier stand of cakes in the photo just about clearly enough.

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And of course the tiers don’t actually hold that many cakes, so nearly half of the cakes spilled out onto the table. I think this looked ok though.

Coming up next, a two work colleagues share a box of cakes and a friend and her husband celebrate their 40th birthdays with a pub quiz, pie and cupcake!  Then of course it’s Millie’s birthday and a bit of a surprise for another friend….

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Any day flowers

Any day flowers montage

Here’s some cupcakes I made for a friend at work who just wanted them for her children to have as a treat.  I like it when people eat cake for no particular reason, just for a treat.

Blackberry delight

We’ve been cultivating the wilderness which is our garden and the blackberries always do well.  These home grown little, slightly sour berries are delicious inside the vanilla cake and on top.  The buttercream was mixed with a generous dollop of jam. Lovely with a cup of tea.

Sex in the City cupcakes

This weekend I had the first of a two part commission for Jon’s wedding. This weekend was Lucy’s hen night which had a ‘Sex in the City’ theme.  Thanks again to the generous people on Flickr for posting their images and inspiration.

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I had lots of fun personalising the toppings but my goodness it takes a long time! I might have to limit myself in future.

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Red white and blue

A colleague at work asked me to make her some red white and blue cakes. Here’s the result, she seemed very happy with her birthday cakes! Lemon sponge and lemon buttercream.

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I still am having problems with the papers coming away from the sides and can’t work out what it is…Any suggestions anyone?!

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Moomins for Ivan

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This weekend was a real test of my abilities and also getting a number of items actioned at the same time. All good practise though.  After the owls came the Moomins. I really had so much fun creating these little characters and used a variety of methods. I’m not sure if I prefer one over the other but it was good to try them all.

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Here you have the sugarpaste with royal icing added definition and also the royal icing run out method. I’m getting better and the consistency of royal icing needed for the borders and the run outs and also the steady pressure required.

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Then I also tried out modelling with the sugarpaste. The picture below doesn’t show the best one I did but it was passable, and hopefully looks moderately like a moomin.

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And of course there were flowers. I also used petal paste – another first – for the letters and tried out the new letter templates I bought. They’re so small and fiddly but good fun.

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I think Lucy was happy with them, I certainly was!

Owls for Fiona

This weekend was another adventure in learning to create cupcakes to a theme.  Jake asked me to make chocolate and owl themed cakes for Fiona’s birthday so I dutifully spent days perfecting a chocolate ganache buttercream….which, in the end, happened quite by accident.  What fortune in accidents though as I now have a pretty much indestructable chocolate ganache buttercream which was so delicious. IMG_8963

Following the perfection of the extra special buttercream I then set about creating the owls, roses and leaves to go on top.  Phil did point out, as is his way, that the scale was a little off but I told him to use his imagination and that these were a particular kind of minature owl….or a particular kind of giant leaf….Either way, I had to work with what I had…giant leaves, small owls.

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I was a bit over excited with the prospect of buttercreaming a large cake and then having such a bigger surface to decorate than the usual cupcake so I think I could probably tone down the decoration a little bit next time. It’s quite a crowded tree up there.

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And perhaps two types of leaves is unncessary.  Next time I think I’ll make two of these cakes sandwiched together so the cake is a bit taller, then some of the owls could have sat on the sides.

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But I’m happy with the finished products although, once again the paper cases were really testing my patience this week.  I think this is all to do with the moisture getting into them on cooling. I think I left them sitting in the baking tray for too long and they all peeled away from the paper. So frustrating but I have learnt not to do that again.

Birthday cupcakes for Sarah-Lou

This weekend it was our nanny’s birthday and she asked for pink pink pink cupcakes. So this is what I made for her!  I tried out my new shoe cutter, hand painted, which I think worked well.

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I was also testing some new flavours out – mandarin and cream cheese icing and chocolate ganache.  I also tried out a recipe for cucpakes with cream cheese in them…but they were so strange with the mix of plain and SR flour that I chucked them in the bin.  I think I might not have paid enough attention to the recipe, oven temperature and timings but they were a cross between a pancake/cake and scone. Weird.

Here’s the mandarin cream cheese cakes.  The mandarin wasn’t really strong enough so I’m going to have to investigate how I can make that stronger.

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Chocolate and me don’t get on. I made a brilliant chocolate ganache up to the point where, based on lots of advice from a variety of sources, I put it in the fridge for a few hours and then attempted to beat it so I could pipe it onto cupcakes.  However either I whipped it too much or when it wasn’t warm enough or what ever but it does that thing that chocolate does when it gets temperamental and goes from being a nice smooth consistency to looking like its curdled.  Annoying to say the least.  I will have another go as I am determined to master chocolate ganache, whipped and iced on a cake. I won’t post a picture of the disaster, or of the truffles Phil tried to make from it.  Instead I will post a picture of good old, reliable, chocolate buttercream.

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