Friday, March 25, 2011

What's been happening around here lately.............

What a busy few months it has been in the Baked by Kate household!

I have some exciting news to share and you, my loyal blog followers, are going to be the first to hear about it.  While driving up through the NT for our "goodbye" tour I got to thinking about how this all started and where I am now. I seem to be less about the baking and more about the design and art these days.I wanted a name that better fitted this direction.

I also thought that given I was moving states back to Mornington, it was a perfect place to draw a line in the sand. So for the last two months I have been madly working behind the scenes on logo design, website design, council accreditation and some more training, as well as raising a family and making cakes.

So, in the next 10 days, I will officially become "The Cake Table". All very exciting. I am also lauching myself to the community at the weekly Mornington Wednesday Market in the first week of April. Eeeek!!

Meanwhile I have been squeezing in some cakes, and I am cheating and showing them all here at once. Here they are:

This one was straight out of the Planet Cake book and made for my inlaws friend who is being treated for a multitude of cancers. May I have the pleasure of making his cake for many years to come. Happy birthday Ken!

This cake was just a bit of a play and I took it to a friends BBQ lunch - I was very popular!

Oh, how I love this cake! Love the colours, love the flower, the shoe and I, on the other hand have a love hate relationship! Everything, including the shoe, is made from fondant. Although the shoe has some helping hand with acetate and styrofoam. I completed this cake at a Planet Cake Training Day and it is something I have wanted to learn for a long time. The shoe and I ended the day unhappy with each other, so I will be practicing this again soon! LOL! So pleased to have learnt the technique though, very popular cakes with ladies of my age group!

This teapot was completed in Planet Cake training too. I had a ball. It was such a relaxing, enjoyable cake after the shoe! I wanted to try something different here, so the blossom stems are all hand painted. Amazing how tricky this is on a rounded object! This cake was then consumed at my mum in law, Kay's, birthday. Happy birthday Kay!

This cake was made for a person leaving their workplace for the police force. Her boss commissioned me to make it. I was told later that the lady in question refused to cut the cake at her farewell and last I heard was scouring the shops for a display case to put it in. Very nice compliment.

I love this cake, I wanted to keep it all for myself! It was my first barbie cake and after a particularily challenging week, it really gave me back my cake "zen".

And lastly, here are some cupcakes. I don't do a lot of these anymore, although that will change with the market, they are quite time consuming for such a little morsel. I have a new appreciation for those that only specialise in cupcakes.

Thanks for reading x

Friday, February 25, 2011

My first baptism cake!

I loved making this cake! (I feel like I say this all the time lately).

This cake was white chocolate and raspberry, filled with a white chocolate and raspberry sauce and covered in white chocolate and fondant.

It was a joy to make, partly because it is a simple but elegant design and partly because the people I made it for are so damn lovely (and not just because they are about the only ones who still bother to read my blog, now that I am on facebook!).

Michael and Lisa have been long term friends of ours, we love catching up with them and having a good old talk fest about life, loves, marriage, children, parents etc. Lots of laughs. And now they have also turned into paying clients, the best friends to have ;).

Lisa has been a great supporter and encourager of mine in this cake game. Which is also very handy, because she is a lawyer, so lots of friend type advice and lots of serious business advice, like, "charge your clients properly Kate!" and words to that effect.

When they contacted me to do this cake, she also warmed my heart because she said "do what you want, it will be great". This is often music to a cake makers heart because we get to try new things or favourite cake designs we have saved away for a rainy day. In this instance, I had a few too many designs I was keen to do, so I sent a few options to Lisa to narrow down.

She chose a design I had seen done by a very talented lady in Melbourne, Designer cakes by Effie, who I just happen to know as she trains and works at the same place I trained, Planet Cake. So, I contacted her for permission to use her design for inspiration. So, this one is designed by Effie and made by me.

I loved the square cake and the balls were quite nice to make for a change but more time consuming than I thought. Lots of cake artists try and steer their clients away from square cakes as they are technically much more difficult to pull off than round cakes, but I love them. I love the challenge, the neat, methodical order of them. Their sharp edges and straight lines (if you do it right!).

This cake was well recieved by the gathering and I have orders for two more, which is even more exciting!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

50th Wedding Anniversary

Ohhhh, how pretty! I love cakes with flowers, and pink to boot. What a lovely combination. I loved making this cake!

It was a raspberry and white chocolate mud cake, layered with white chocolate ganache and raspberry jam and, I am not too shy to say, it was divine. I have been tweaking this recipe for a while and each time it tastes better. I may need to keep tweaking just to invent reasons to eat it. :)

This cake was ordered by my former boss, Megan, from my former marketing life. She, along with some other former collegues, have been following my Alice Springs cake journey over the last couple of years, so when I came back to Melbourne, they have all been so supportive and decided to try the real thing.

Her mum and dad have been married for 50 years and were having a celebration. They had pink water lillies in their original wedding so we decided to keep the theme, along with a "wedding cake" tier look.

The cake is actually white but because my cake room is pink, I think all the pink in the room and on the cake reflected back on to the cake so it looks pink!

The large flower on the top was hand cut and assembled, the others were made using a daisy cutter and some imagination! Anyone who knows me, or has been following the blog, will know that sugar flowers make me shake in fear. I have mentioned that I need to conquer them this year, so I guess, I am off to a good start.

My main problem with flowers is that they are so delicate and breakable. I am always breaking them. Maybe my home made flower paste is too soft. But also, I am not the most delicate petal going around myself. So this combination saw me making and pulling apart and making the top flower THREE times. URRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHH!

Everytime someone mentions flowers on a cake, I find it hard to breathe. I am definitely going to work on this. It will not break me! I will be fine! LOL. :)

Happy 50th Anniversary Ken and Norma.  Something to aspire to.

The Courthouse cake

Last week, I had the pleasure and professional challenge of building my first court house replica.

The local courthouse, which is now an information centre, turned 150 this week and wanted to mark the day with a celebration. I have displayed some cakes there in the past, so they asked me to quote on a cake for them.

The week spent building the cake coincided with one of the hottest, humid weeks the Mornington Peninsula has seen for some time. It was also the week my air conditioning was installed. Yay!....But alas..... it blew up within 24 hours.

Despair. I managed to get the cake carved and ganached before it blew up but the covering of the cake in fondant occured in 96% humidity. I quickly transported the cake to the inlaws and continued work there. The poor cake was sweating, along with its maker.

Once the humidity left us, the rain came. I needed to make a site visit and make some notes but it was raining so bad even the kids refused to leave the car. LOL!

Luckily, I had enough photos to go on, although one night I snuck down to the courthouse and did a walk around to double check before continuing! The detail in replicas are amazing and incredibly time consuming. It took around 15 hours work, 3 mud cakes, 2kg of ganache and I seriously under quoted it but I am learning as I go and have made notes for next time!

It was a fantastic experience and to quote the event organiser I "exceeded their expections" and the cake and some committee members made it into the local paper. Great result.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Short and sweet today. Here are two cakes I made for love!

The first is for my father in law to take to his volunteer job at the local old Courthouse in Mornington, where we have an information centre, staff entirely by volunteers.

I thought they deserved a special cake this christmas. The cake itself is strawberry white chocolate mud cake layered with white chocolate ganache and strawberry jam.

All the decorations are made from fondant, including the bow/ribbon.

Enjoy Norm and the vollies!

The second cake is for the Workaholic's workplace. It started off its life going to be a white covered cake with a 3d christmas tree with presents around the base and a snowman on the top.

But I was watching/listening to the Channel 7 Domain Carols on Saturday night while I was doing these two cakes and looked up and saw their visual identity and wanted to give it a go. Talk about design and execute on the fly!

I just checked in at every ad break to see if I had it vaguely right. LOL! I then added the tree base and the balls around the bottom.

Often people have a theme or an invitation design for their event that they would like transferred or carried through on a cake. I guess this is what happened here!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas................

How much fun is christmas? I love this time of year. In fact, I am sure I blabbed on about how much I love christmas in this blog twelve months ago, so I will try and keep this short and sweet.

I have been fairly slack this christmas with my baking and christmas preparation in general. Just so much going on - renovations for my cake room, end of year school functions, parties, life. All the stuff that other people have too but it has caught up with me this year. Just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. It is so bad, that for the first time EVER, I have not written a single christmas card. So, if you are expecting one from me, "Merry Christmas, hope it's a good one and can I please have this year off? I promise I will be good next year!" Thanks!

I did spend a late night during the week making a present for Oscar's teacher. You know I could never buy something, I have to bake it, create it or something silly like that.

So these are the results. Tada! I may have said this before, but I will say it again. Designed, individual face cupcakes like these take an incredible long time to do. They are so fiddly, time just rushes by. I know some fellow cake people charge $20 each for these. I used to think that was OTT, now I think they are being generous. I may just act like a supermodel in regards to these individual babies and say I wont get out of bed to make them for anything less than $X. Ah, funny.

Anyway, these are so cute, I would do them again in a heartbeat. They seem to take on their own personality.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh Max!

Oh, I had such fun with this cake. For those of you old enough (but ageing gracefully, thankyou!), you will recognise the theme from a popular American TV series - Get Smart.

An old work friend, Liz, contacted me when I was still in Alice Springs, lamenting that I wouldn't be around in Melbourne to make her partner's 50th cake. Well, as circumstances have it, I was, and I am glad I was, it was a beauty to work on.

When talking to me about designs for the cake, they were just wanting a small shoe phone on top of a cake in a very minimal way with some writing on it. I said "how about the shoe is the cake" and off we went. And so did lots of big ideas!

At first, I thought I had bit off more than I could chew (nooooo, you? I hear you say!). But I got right into the research of the old episodes, the Workaholic's brain (which is full of old TV, he watched ALOT when he was young, misspent youth and all that), and various fan websites.

The more I researched, the more the cake grew. Really, I could have gone silly on this but I had quoted the cake based on the original design and as much as Liz and Trev are a gorgeous couple and I enjoyed making this one and taking a hit on the costings, there was a limit.

The Workaholic, now he is not so much of a Workaholic, keeps sticking his nose into my cake designs and he actually finessed this design for me on the run. Turning into quite the apprentice he is.

So, to refresh your memory on Get Smart, what you see on the cake is:

  • the red line leading Max into the building at the opening of the show
  • the first of a series of doors, this one is meant to look like lift doors, but actually open up into a stair case
  • brick walls signifying the hallway and walls around the doors
  • one of the secret agents in a letterbox. It could have been a phone box, locker, cupboard, washing machine, ship fog horn etc. Options were endless. They were always in the most bizarre spots.
  • the cone of silence. According to much of the footage I watched, this changed a number of times, sometimes the Chief and Max sat together under the plastic and other times they had their own domes.
  • the shoe phone. This was the hardest to find pictures on for reference. I have no idea why. There are also a number of versions of this phone but I decided to go with the earliest version.
  • a classic line from the show

I adored making this cake. It was quite big in the end. The bottom cake was a 10inch square turned into a 15 inch by 10 inch rectangle. The shoe phone was a 8 inch square but I finished up probably only using half of it.

Somewhere along the line, although I started of doing classic formal cakes, I have morphed into quite a bit of novelty. Not sure which I like the best yet. Just have to keep experimenting!