Friday, 17 November 2017
On the hunt for a larger imprint thing I scoured the entire internet and found just one option - there was someone in the Netherlands who made their own imprint mat and sold them. In euros. Via international bank transfer only (no PayPal). Sigh. With no other options I went ahead with a 16 euro purchase and we won’t talk about the shipping. Having said that, I must add that the seller was actually really nice and helpful thoughout the transaction.
To make my knitted-positive I cut the ugly basket up into rows, trimmed them, and lined them up on some wood.
The size of the stitches actually changed from the top of the basket to the bottom, so I tried to adjust for that as I stuck them down. Then I used a silicon-cornflour mixture to make the mat, pressed it down as hard as I could, and left it to dry. The first go wasn’t great (below left), but the second attempt went really well (right). Yay! After many purchases and many months I finally had my knitted-imprint mat - yay me!
Then it was time to test the concept of using it with actual icing to make a jumper pattern and I quickly found out that it was very hard to any sort of pattern, in fact it was going to be impossible to do what I had originally planned. dang.
So I put the whole lot back into the stupid ugly half cut up basket and pushed it to the back of my cake shelves.
It was only last week (some six months later) that I had the strength to pull it all out again and try to create something. Originally it was in order to justify at least some of the hard work (and expense!) that had gone before it - but in the end it was simply quite fun to create something using my hard-won knitting imprint mat.
The funny thing is that there's absolutely no way anyone will look at that cake tomorrow and guess its complicated past!
Sunday, 25 June 2017
As a sufferer from Dried-Fructophobia I don't like fruit cake. I don't like making it, I don't like decorating it, and I absolutely wouldn't eat it.
However when Denny asked me to make a cake for Rob's birthday breakfast, I thought that adding a heavy chocolate mud cake to the feast of yummy breakfast foods might be a bit much, so I suggested I make a cake-shaped-fruit-sculpture instead.
I was confident in the concept, but the whole process was a bit nerve wracking - I couldn't really practise it beforehand (due to winter fruit prices). I just had a vague idea in my mind (inspired by other creations on the internet) but I didn't know exactly how it would work, or even how long it would take to make. Until the day before I wasn't even sure I'd be able to buy the fruit I needed - although as it turned out everything was available including a whole watermelon. In the middle of winter - amazing!
So after shopping for the fruit the kids helped me cut up half the fruit and we put togther a few test pieces the night before.
I wasn't sure how I was going to support the skewers but luckily I had enough bits and pieces of foam around the place, so I carved something that would fit into a cake tin..
Arranging the structure in a tin turned out to be quite clever as it stopped it dripping everywhere.
On the morning of the party I got up at 6.30 and continued cutting fruit and making fruit skewers. My intention was to have two tiers of the skewers but it wasn't really working out, so I tried out a few other ideas and eventually settled on the watermelon middle tier and blueberry top tier which I think worked really well. The number 40 is carved out of watermelon skin.
The whole process was pretty messy and time consuming, but I just had time to finish it off before we had to leave..
The party itself was really good - Denny had done a lot of work with decorations and the rest of the food, and I think the cake was a success. Aside from being unusual, once it was cut people were able to help themselves to the fruit skewers and slices of watermelon. There wasn't much left by the end and the spare bits of fruit that I didn't use were served with the pancakes. Perfect.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
As I tell everyone who asks how my cake business is going*, I only really make cakes for friends and family nowadays. Here are a couple of little cakes I've done for friends and family recently..
The first one is for Paul and his friend Roger's birthday which they were both celebrating on the overland track this year - so the cake had to fit into a plastic container..
The second one is for some friends who got married a few weeks ago in a very small ceremony. This little cake was my gift for them to enjoy privately after the celebratory drinks we were all invited to (even though they'd said no gifts) ..
Anyway - I enjoyed making both cakes, it was nice to be creative.
* it's surprising how many people do ask me - even though I'm pretty sure I've had the same conversation with them about how I'm not making them anymore, every year for the last 5 years.
Thursday, 23 June 2016
With the lid on, it was a matter of cramming in the treasure and making the paper scroll/map. Zali had great fun doing this although she was too nervous to do the lettering so I did that part.
With some dessicated coconut 'sand' we were done! Laree actually got a good photo of the entire chest on her phone (above right)- I've stolen it off Facebook - thanks Laree!
Jamie was pretty happy with the end result. Zali and I had fun. Wins all around.
Saturday, 24 October 2015
I think it's safe to post the full cake picture now.
I'm pretty happy with it - I wanted it to have a formal sort of structure, suitable to a regular 60th party, but then have the octopus busting out of it because David comes up with all sorts of wacky ideas. I'm happy with the result - particularly as the sides are sort of test-pattern-ish - colourful but with restrained order. Suitable for someone who thinks up crazy ideas for hilarious cartoons.
Friday, 21 March 2014
This is what I've been working on most evenings for the last few weeks - it's arguably my biggest cake ever, comprising six individual cakes iced as 3 double height tiers. I've never made a cake that I couldn't lift before, but this was definitely a job for Jon. Normally I would remove the top tier for delivery then set it up at the venue but due to the placement of the flowers, it was impossible - it had to travel in once piece.
Aside from the fact it weighed more than a cow, delivery today was complicated by the fact that it was also raining. Rain, or more broadly, water, is the enemy of smooth wedding cake icing as the smallest drop can leave a pock mark which is not ideal. So the cake needed to be wrapped up like a mummy, then covered in a garbage bag in a most undignified manner.
Happily this isn't a story of cake delivery gone wrong, rather a story of a happy ending - here it is arrived safely..
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Ok - I was probably still feeling a bit guilty when Jon asked me to cover him a Christmas cake in the shape of a couch - luckily no job is too hard for Super Guilty Woman!
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Thursday, 30 August 2012
I'm just looking through some photos of Zali's Creepy Party from 2011 for something to illustrate Jett's party invitations with (he wants a 'Gross' party - somehow it is different?).
I think I found the perfect thing - I know I would have posted this at the time but I think it deserves a re-post - as this cake was a masterpiece if I do say so myself. I seem to remember the kids bunching up at the party food table as far away from the cake as they could possibly get.. job done me.
Friday, 15 June 2012
My sister Denny asked me if I could make a train cake for my nephew Jamie's forth birthday tomorrow.. normally I only ever post pictures of finished cakes but just for a change this is it's full story.. or journey (hahaha)
1) First.. the cake - one I happened to have in the freezer, and the train, supplied by Denny.. It practically looks done already doesn't it - actually this is usually about where I stop with my own kids as I think it's important to keep the bar nice and low..
2) Shaping the cake. I had a vague idea in my head of how it should look.. which is lucky, cos no-one else would have worked it out at this point..
3) Covering with ganache, which I happened to have in the fridge. Still a cake only its mother could love..
4) Using regular green colouring I coloured some green icing (now I have green hands) and then covered the cake..and put it on a green cake board, as covered boards are a simple way of making a cake look fancy schmancy.. note I wasn't worried about the tear in the top - you'll see why next..
5) Fondant icing lends itself to good rocks, and really good mountains, so why fight it..
6) I added some dark green hills as well for some depth and to hide the messy edges where the side of the cake meets the board..
7) On with the track.. this involved rolling out some brown and pre-cutting all the sleepers and letting them dry while we had dinner so they would be stiff and hold their shape when I put them on.. I built a bit of a rustic railway bridge going up the hill with the spare sleepers as I'm always concerned about passenger safety.
8) Then it was time for the finishing touches - these weren't pre-planned but it was clear the cake needed a little bit of non-green-or-brown colour, so I added the flowers (and more rocks) to the fields at the bottom, and the red end-of-line sign at the top..
And Voila. Done. How long did it take? Well I started step 1 at about 2.30pm and finished at 9.30pm but in-between I picked up the kids, made, ate and cleared up dinner, and pottered around doing some other little things as well. During the making I also watched a couple of episodes of 'Laid' and 'Mad as Hell' on iview which probably slowed me down a bit too. Luckily I had leftover brown & yellow fondant already which saved some time as that can take ages to colour.
So there you go, from a brown blob to precarious mountain train journey all in one afternoon..
Friday, 25 May 2012
I haven't made many cakes lately, with all our weekend activities it's difficult to focus on cake deliveries and it also means I have to be around to actually make them during the week - so it just feels too restrictive at the moment.
Having said that, there are circumstances where I will agree to make one. This one is for a customer of an ex-student who did an order of mine when I realised I wanted to go away - this is basically the reverse situation (she took the order then realised she was going to be away) so I was happy to agree to it.
So the customer sent me some photos of the home-office belonging to a surgeon and asked me to do something based on that.. The photos showed a very very messy office with piles and piles of books stacked on the floor, on the shelves, anywhere really.. and also files (presumably medical) piled onto the desk..
So this is what I did.. it's a book-a-lanche.. everything is edible, the desk is the cake, the rest is fondant..
Friday, 2 December 2011
As I'm about to write a post about a cake disaster that happened to another cake maker & venue I though it was only fair I write a post listing a few of my near misses and tense moments in the last 10 years...
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Married happy hikers would be more correct today. I delivered this cake yesterday to a venue 30 minutes south and up a long long very steep and bumpy gravel road. Happily there were no mishaps and the hikers got their cake in tact.
Friday, 10 September 2010
Treasure chest : Check, Map: Check, Eyepatch: Check, Skull and Crossbones: Check, Sword through Cake: Check... This is actually my first ever pirate cake and I'm pretty happy with it. Jett chose the colour scheme and told me which bits of cakes he liked from a selection of googled cakes. I did have to persuade him to let me use red on the cake as well as the blue is almost a bit dowdy for my liking..